16.01.17 – Estate Agents

•17 January, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I am in the process of renting out my house in Barbados. It consists of a tree bedroom flat downstairs and upstairs there is a two and one bedroom flat. It is not a small concern and is important for the self sustaining prospect of the estate.

Over the last couple of weeks I have seen a barrage of estate agents in different guises.

Some are hungry for the work and make every effort to take notes, look around the property and really listen to what I want. They also give of themselves by discussing there own experiences in this game and making useful suggestions on how the property could be rented quickly.

Others are full, either because they do not cater for the rental market that I would attract, or they are long in the tooth, or do not need to take on any more properties in order to live comfortably.

One agent set about telling me how the property should have been rebuilt from scratch in order to attract a rental prospect, while another discussed the moral dilemmas that he is forced to bare being an estate agent.

Once couple could not stop looking down their noses at me and made it clear in actions more than words that a person such as I should not be in possession of a property such as this, and they would have been much happier dealing with a lighter complexion.

Once thing that most of them stated, was that they met people from all walks of life in tenants and landlords, buyers and sellers, tourists and returning nationals.

16.01.17 – Better under whites

•17 January, 2017 • Leave a Comment

“Africa was better run when it was under the white people. Robert Mugabe went wrong by kicking out all the white people from Zimbabwe before they could teach the Blacks how to farm. The black farmers should have left the white farmers where they were, and set up in an adjoining farm so that they could learn from the whites.”

It was Wednesday night and I had swung by my cousin for our usual late night debate.

There was so much wrong with his sentence that I did not know where to start.

I wanted to talk about Mugabe starting off as a puppet for the British empire, even being rewarded with a knighthood for his role. I wanted to talk about how his decline into dictatorial madness was overlooked by the British because he provided the firm hand of stability in this once British region of Africa.

But I was not being heard. He was on a roll because at some point in his past he had read a book on this subject, although with these statements, I am not sure whether the author was not a person that longed for the return of the empire upon which the sun never sets.

He continued “Look at all the countries in the world. Those run by white people are prospering, and those run by blacks are struggling, and corrupt.”

His statement though unfortunately accurate, had not taken into consideration why this was the case. That centuries of self serving colonial interest in the Africas had raped the countries of there original government structure, civilisation, education, and natural resources, before leaving it without the trade contracts vital to sell to the western world, as well as deliberately destabilising the governments so that they would constantly war against each other, and not mobilise into the power cartel they could be.

His “white is right” outlook was no longer unusual to me, as this is one of many conversations that we have had on similar subjects.

Only recently in an evening promenade, I was forced to make him aware of the fact that he was only acknowledging the white tourists that were also enjoying and evening walk along the boardwalk, and not the Blacks.

He continued

“If we want to make political and economic change here in the Caribbean, if first needs to happen in Africa”

“I disagree” I interjected “I believe that we should not wait for others to make change and fro us to follow, I believe that we all change, wherever we are and the world follows.”

He allowed me to continue

“Change happens at a grass roots level and grows up through the political system as we demand more from our politicians and the people that we have elected to represent us. Politicians work for us, they are not doing us a favour.”

He continued to disagree and we continued to have a lively debate about a slowly rotating number of subjects, well into the evening.

09.01.17 – Crystal clear clarity

•11 January, 2017 • Leave a Comment

If anyone is wondering whether ‘The Transporter Series’ is the same without Jason Stratham, the answer is….no. There is no substance to the character or the dialogue, and objectification of women is reminiscent of a bad Sean Connery Bond movie

The sea today was incredible.

The waves were nothing more that ripples on a still pond and the visibility was crystal clear to the sea bed.

Maxwell beach was like a lagoon.

I was able to lie there floating near motionless in the sea, staring up at the clouds in a clearish blue sky, only to change position and view the depths of Maxwell beach with absolute clarity.

It was the first time in years that I have seen this type of visibility at Maxwell beach, certainly as an adult.

For me, that kind of tranquillity is rare.

30.12.16 – White moon rising

•1 January, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Walking to the beach today I passed a security guard for Maxwell Apartments. Normally we just nod or say hello, but today he engaged me.

“My job is observation” he started “And I thing that you need to live here.”

“I do live here.” I replied sharply “I live up the hill.”

“Well well, how long have you been coming to this beach?”

“Four months now, I live up the hill and pass here every day.” So much for his observation I was thinking, if he does not even recognise that he sees me most days at the same time.

“Well” he responds “Your face looks much more relaxed from when you first started coming here.”

I smiled and continued through the grassy gap between the two buildings to get to the white sandy beach.

My face looks more relaxed, more like I have come to the resolution that I can not get anything done at a pace I would prefer and therefore what he sees on my face is submission.

There are more white people in non white areas.

I live a stones throw away from Silver Hill, a notorious government housing estate which has the reputation of Brixton in the 80’s and 90’s.

Recently I have seen a lot more tourists driving past my house, heading up the hill. What could be up there that is drawing these people off the tourist trail, away from the beaches and into our domain?

I also noticed that there are a lot more houses in my area occupied by Caucasians that clearly live here, rather than being on holiday. It is understandable that some people come here for a holiday, like it and start buying property in affordable areas of Barbados, and like in England with Blacks and Asians, they buy property in areas where they can have neighbours like themselves. However to come this far up the hill is unusual.

As I am writing this piece, a family of seven white people in sports clothing walked in single file past my house heading up the hill like the Von Trapp family. The sight brought people to their balconies, including me, all wondering where they are going and what brings them to Silver Hill?

Massey is a supermarket chain and Carters is a hardware store, both are staffed this year with extra holiday help, but unlike previous years, Carters is staffed with young white men of university age, pushing boxes around the store, while Massey has turned to middle aged white women with English accents, stacking shelves and moving goods around the store over the xmas period.

I am in no way, making a judgement, merely an observation that the integration of Black and White Barbados has now come as far as Silver Hill.

29.12.16 – Quiet times

•30 December, 2016 • Leave a Comment

It has been relatively quiet all around the xmas period. Everything went on an official and unofficial go slow from the end of the independence day celebrations and the start of xmas. (see previous articles)

Things were so quiet over xmas, that the tourism authority and supporting news agencies are complaining that for the four days over xmas, boxing day and the two bank holidays, there were no shops open to entertain the one day tourists getting off cruise ships. Apparently we must give up our time with family and friends, give up what ever religious beliefs we have, give up our holiday traditions, to entertain white people from cruise ships.

The tourists that are enjoying our beaches found themselves inundated with black faces for the three days after xmas. Some looked visibly unsure of what to do, whether to get into the water and be surrounded by loud black bodies, or find another part of the beach that does not lend itself to swimming, and hope that the locals dissipate when businesses go back to work.

The turtles have been showing themselves at Maxwell beach. More often than not recently, one has swum very close to me as I go for my morning swim. If my arms were twice as long, I would have been able to reach out and touch it.

Mind you, I am surprised that it is not been scared of by the brazen amount of sexual activity performed by tourists in the water at Maxwell beach. I know that they think that they are being subtle or inconspicuous, but there are certain universal rhythmic and repetitive actions that that simply can not be disguised.

I was given another example of the Barbados work ethic yesterday when my cousin was told that to replace and align four break pads would take two days. Not two hours as anyone in England, Europe, Australia, or America would expect, no two days. I remember driving with an ex-girlfriend from Belgium to France on a French bank holiday, accidentally putting petrol into a diesel engine, and breaking down in the motorway miles from a small French town in the middle of nowhere. A roadside lorry picked up us and the car, drove it to this ‘one garage town’ and left us with the owner of the garage, a mechanic that was either unimpressed with my limited French, our my fluent white partner. This mechanic, drained and stripped a diesel engine, rebuilt it, and sent us on our way considerably lighter in the wallet, in less than two hours. Yet here, an authorised Toyota dealership, takes two days with replacing simple break pads.

It is time for me to take a more aggressive stance with my business here in Barbados, as my time here grows short.

Let us see how they like me now.

13.11.16 – Response to: IMF bound

•14 December, 2016 • Leave a Comment


The country is in decline, and the sooner we take our heads out the sand and see the country the way others see it, the sooner we can fix the issues that are holding back the development of this great nation.

We only need to read more widely to discover how we are perceived internationally, and fuelled with that knowledge we, as a country, should not only claw back to our late 60s early 70s position, but drag ourselves into 21st century standards.

Bureaucracy, corruption, poor customer service and a general lack of pride in quality of what we do, are the main factors that we can actively influence and change as citizens.

We should not wait for politicians to do the right thing, we should demand that the represent us as we have instructed.

Inviting the IMF into Barbados when we are near rock bottom will not be good for us as a nation, but maybe it will shake us awake.

Maybe it will shake out some of the practices that are not only holding our country back, but are sending the nation into decline.

We need to compare ourselves to other countries, and implement better practices to meet international standards.

Only this will make our country more competitive, and thus more lucrative.

11.12.16 – University has made you stupid

•13 December, 2016 • Leave a Comment

“University has made you stupid! It has stripped away your Christian values and opened you up to the Devil” said a cousin as we discussed the state of Barbados and the essential changes required to bring it into the 21 century.

He continued, “Your parents were good Christians, I can not believe some of the things that come out of your mouth.”

And then as what he considered to be the final ‘nail-in-the-coffin proof of my intellectual and spiritual demise he said; “I bet that you believe in evolution”.

His views were not isolated here in Barbados, and I do not blame him for the way that he thinks.

He is a product of this environment and prodigy of church doctrine taught as a substitute for activist action and passive acceptance of your circumstances.

We continued our back and forth as we spared over politics and my view of how the people should effect change, compared to his view of God will provide.

“The problems with the country would all be resolved if we all sat down and prayed.” He said, presenting this statement as a ‘deus ex’ solution to all of the problems facing Barbados.

“So you are telling me that we do not need to do anything about the corrupt politicians, and poor service, we so not need to protest and make our voices heard in order to bring about change, all we need to do as a nation is get on our knees and pray for help” I responded.

“Yes”. He replied “It says in the bible that when that nation bows to pray, that God will restore the land”.

For me, this conversation is another example of how religion was used to pacify the masses during slavery and how this doctrine has been passed down through the years by slave masters, politicians, and preachers alike.

Do not look for peace in your lifetime, carry the burdens of misfortune, corruption and unfairness with a hymn in your heart, as you will be saved not through your own direct action, but through divine intervention.

This may have worked when we were shackled to irons and out gunned by a smaller opposing white force, but then there was emancipation. Then there was free will, then there was the vote, and then there was the responsibility of taking our destiny into our own hands.