the broad street Journal Monday, January 11, 2010 • Vol. X No. 1 • Barbados • Established 1993
A man for Four Seasons
Tribunal to review former LOB agents’ claims against Sagicor this week
Former LOB and now Sagicor Life insurance representative Patrick Hill.
t may come as a surprise to those who know him that there is one professional issue about which insurance executive Patrick Hill feels more passionate than even his vocation. But not even discussing whole life insurance, endowments and annuity products, which might cause the average person to doze off but about which Mr. Hill can speak of animatedly at length, comes close to how he feels about his role as “front man” in a six-year-old legal battle with his current employer Sagicor Insurance Company. After a ruling two years ago by the Supreme Court in his
favour, and by extension, some two dozen other life insurance employees who were formerly employed with Life of Barbados, Mr. Hill will walk into a hearing room at the National Insurance offices on Culloden Road this week to attend a Labour Department tribunal hearing into the case, which should determine the financial settlement to which he and his colleagues are entitled. The hearing’s dates are set for Tuesday, 12th, Friday 15th and the following Tuesday, 19th January, and the tribunal’s ruling should come by mid-year. The tribunal may determine Continued on page 2
Thompson administration says it will maintain “equilibrium” in land use policy
Professor Avinash Persaud brokers a deal to restart Four Seasons resort. But can Barbados afford the risk of yet another loan guarantee? -p.5
person G’day, mate!
arbados’ use of its scarce land resource has had its share of controversy but Prime Minster David Thompson said last Friday night that his administration would go by the book to ensure established policies were properly carried out at all times. Addressing guests gathered for the opening of the Condominiums at Palm Beach, a project envisaged by leading real estate executive and Chairman of Realtors Ltd. Nick Parravicino, and developed by the Parravicino family, Mr. Thompson said that with only 105,000 acres and Continued on page 3
Three-month-old Aussies Beach House carving out its own niche in The Gap. -p.9
Prime Minister David Thompson chats with Nick Parravicino at the opening of The Condominiums at Palm Beach.
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Continued from page 1 payment at the most basic severance level, or higher if it is determined that their redundancy should be calculated at four weeks per year of service, as was the case with other Life of Barbados employees who opted for severance when Sagicor bought LOB in 2003, or even higher if interest is awarded to cover the intervening six years since 2003. Mr. Hill told the Broad Street Journal in an exclusive interview that while the quantum was, of course, important, the principle of the case was perhaps moreso to him. He said it had taken far too long to get the matter to this point, and the ongoing effort of having to sue one’s current employer had taken its toll on
everyone involved. “It has impacted on the performance of most of us, because we could do even better than we have doing without this distraction,” he told the Journal, saying spirits had been “dampened” but not broken along the way.
Harder to earn a living now
The insurance executive said it had become harder to earn a living in the industry because “our compensation package has changed since 2003 to our detriment, and again in 2007, further to our detriment, but we are still doing well.” But he said he felt it his duty to do everything in his power to ensure a similar
situation is never allowed to occur again, and he could not just walk away and “pretend it never happened.” Said Mr. Hill emphatically: “I could not live with myself if I did not do this.” Explaining how his name came to be in the plaintiff slot one of four lawsuits ruled on jointly by Chief Justice Sir David Simmons in 2007, Mr. Hill said, “I am the ‘front man’ because most people don’t like to be singled out. I am also one of the people who got us to join the union prior to Sagicor acquiring over LOB. So I found myself in this position and I decided not to relinquish it. I will see this thing through as long as I have life and breath.” BSJ
How Sir David came to his decision
he lawsuit brought by Patrick Hill against Sagicor has its roots in the takeover of Life of Barbados by Sagicor after a fierce and sometimes controversial bidding war which pitted Sagicor (the then Barbados Mutual) against it main rival, Guardian Life of Trinidad & Tobago.
But that was the bigger picture. At the “less macro” level, the former employees of Confederation Life, which had itself been acquired by Life of Barbados during its own growth phase in the latter 1980s, found themselves now being taken over by a company which claimed they were independent contractors and thus not eligible for redundancy payments before being rehired by their new employer. Mr. Hill told the Journal that when Sagicor became convinced that the former LOB agents were serious about having their status determined in court, it agreed to pay their legal fees, and then added two other insurance representatives who already worked for Sagicor in order to test their status as well. A fourth person, a former Sagicor employee whose representative contract terminated, also joined the suits, believing he should be treated as a full-time employee and not an independent contractor. In his ruling, Justice Simmons said that the four cases all sought a “free-standing declaration” as to the nature of Sagicor’s employment relationship with the four worker categories variously designated as ‘canvassers’, ‘senior financial services representatives’, ‘sales representatives’ and ‘representatives’. Wrote Sir David: “The issue for determination raises the perennial question: are the workers engaged under a contract of service or under a contract for services?” (p.2) In other words, he added, “A determination has to be made as to whether the worker is a ‘servant’ or an “independent contractor’, in the traditional vocabulary of the law.” (p.2)
He noted that the workers contended that they were under the former type of contract (that is, entitled to the same legal rights as fulltime employees) while Sagicor claimed they were under the latter, and therefore were not. The Chief Justice ruled in favour of the workers and against Sagicor. Sir David noted that it had previously been held in a Montreal case that “the fundamental test” of a contract for services was in determining the person was performing “in business on his own account.” (p.10)
ut after an extensive review of case histories and key court rulings on the subject from around the Commonwealth, the chief justice then turned to each of the employment contracts before him. In Mr Hill’s case, he said (p.61), “I find that he was employed to solicit business for Sagicor and collect premiums as he was directed by Sagicor. He was ‘governed’ by the rules, regulations and instructions of Sagicor. Since he was paid on commission, his earnings were entirely the result of his own resourcefulness and diligence. But, as the cases show, that fact, by itself, is not conclusive of his status. Of especial significance, however, is the evidence that the instructions given to Mr. Hill involved instructions about methods of sale. In my view, Sagicor reserved to itself the right to tell Mr. Hill how he should go about the business of selling its insurance policies. This fact and the fact that he collects premiums as directed by Sagicor suggest strongly that Sagicor exercised a high degree of control over Mr. Hill.” Continued Sir David (p.62): “Having considered all of the clauses of this contract and the way in which it was performed, I find that Mr. Hill was engaged in a contract of service. He did not provide all of ‘the tools of the trade’; he took no financial risks; he had no responsibility for investment and management. It cannot be truly said on the totality of evidence that he was carrying on
business independently of Sagicor and on his own account.” The chief justice closed his judgment by stating that in arriving at his decision, he had purposely sought to avoid evaluating the contracts “based upon a mechanistic or arithmetic calculation of the factors pointing to a contract of service vis-à-vis a contract for services.” Instead, he noted (p.63), “I have allowed myself time to stand back from the mass of information provided by Counsel in order to understand the business realities and to make an informed, considered and qualitative appreciation of the entire arrangements as disclosed by on the evidence.
he picture which emerged is that the defendants are professional persons engaged by Sagicor to sell its insurance products. None of the defendants was free to set his/her own standards of performance. They all had “to observe the rules, regulations and instructions’ of Sagicor, if I may adopt and apply the language of Lord Hope in Hanna. They require specialist training constantly to update their knowledge base and make them proficient in the insurance business.” He added (p.64): “The fact that these workers have no fixed hours of work, are skilled, highly trained, competent and do not require detailed and close supervision does not preclude a finding in favour of contract of service. A contract of service may exist even though control does not extend to prescribing how work must be done....The defendants are employed as part of Sagicor’s business; their work is an integral part of its business and not merely accessory to it. They are not in business on their own as entrepreneurs.” And he concluded (p.65): “I hold that each of the defendants and the other workers whom they represent in the various categories in the first paragraph of this judgment are and/or were engaged by the Plaintiff under contracts of service.” BSJ
The Broad Street Journal • Monday, January 11, 2010 • Page 2
The Condominiums at Palm Beach, seen from the office building also located on the compound. Continued from page 1 a population of over 275,000 people, the island had to manage its land use carefully. “We have to reconcile the conflicting demands for space from housing, commerce, agriculture and tourism,” the prime minister said. “The overall aim is to do so in a manner that
is environmentally sound and economically resilient,” in order to ensure sustainable development. “National leaders have wrestled with these challenges since 1950 and with the help of a series of Town & Country Planning Acts, the establishment of the Town & Country Planning Office in 1958 and with a succession of
Physical Development Plans, have succeeded in maintaining balance between conflicting interests.” He said the most recent controversy over land use concerned the sale of a prime site in Holetown, as people had become worried that this “window to the sea” would be blocked by new condominiums.
230-5700 The Broad Street Journal • Monday, January 11, 2010 • Page 3
He said, however, that, as had been the case with The Condominiums at Palm Beach, “every development under my watch” would be carefully scrutinized “to prevent any disruption in the agreed and established equilibrium” regar– ding the use of land in Barbados. “This commitment,” he said, “underpinned the vision of Barbados as a healthy community sharing a common economic base and pursuing common goals, “a nation in which physical and economic growth is balanced with the conservation and enhancement of rural landscapes, cultural heritage and natural heritage; a nation characterized by increasing opportunity and social equity through which all residents may partake in the benefits of development.” He said the policy was essentially about the sustainable development of Barbados for the benefit of all, citizens, residents and visitors alike. With the demand for land and luxury properties currently exceeding supply, the temptation was to sell to the highest bidder Continued on next page
Continued from previous page at the risk of upsetting the aforementioned balance of usage. The Palm Beach project had been fully scrutinized and had met all of the requirements of the planning process, he stressed, adding it had generated a flow of “greatly-needed foreign ex– change” and was an example of the “sensible and systematic transformation of Barbados into a developed state.” The 59 units were built on four acres of beachfront which in the past had been occupied by only 15 houses built. Mr. Thompson said this “multistorey solution” to the problem of limited space was one the island would have to resort to more and more in order to solve the general housing problem. The development was a good example of “communal living,” which benefitted the country in reducing the pressure on water resources by sharing amenities such as swimming pools and security. It was also helping to diversify the tourism product on the south coast at a time when there was increasing competition for the typical tourist in search
Nick Parravicino (right), with his brother Bob (centre) , sister Noreen Patterson (second right), the architect of the project, Andy Voss of Tomlin Voss Associates and his wife Kathleen at the opening ceremony. of sun and sand for a few weeks. “this prime site.” It also provided a this that Barbados is benefitting “Barbados has to target a different significant “stimulus package” for from a significant injection of clientele,” the prime minister said. the construction and real estate capital now to help it ride out the The demand for upmarket sector, he said, noting that “It has recession as well as a constant tourism project like the brought in an initial investment flow of foreign exchange from the Condominiums at Palm Beach was of no less than Bds$100 million constant letting of these units,” “far less elastic than mass tourism” and is likely to generate and said Mr. Thompson. Palm Beach had already created and was highly consistent with circulate considerably more 30 jobs with more expected in the the 3rd Physical Development through the sale of units.” And Plan amended in 2003 which because Realtors was a Barbadian future. “I therefore also pledge recommended the modernization company, the country stood to the support of the government of older beachfront properties to benefit from the inflow of foreign of Barbados for carefully planned help revitalize the tourist industry, exchange as well as the revenue projects like this to enable the and was a “vast improvement” from transfer taxes and stamp sector to remain buoyant during over what previously occupied duties. “It is through projects like these trying times.” BSJ
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A man for Four Seasons
Photo © 2010 The Broad Street Journal
Professor Avinash Persaud brokers a deal that will see Four Seasons resort resume construction. But can Barbados’ highlyindebted economy afford the risk of yet another loan guarantee? A BLUE FENCE RUNS THROUGH IT: This view is of the norhern end of the property, showing villas at various stages of construction.
Professor Avinash Persaud
here may be some irony in the fact that “Kampala,” the charming cottage at the end of the road to Paradise Beach, should be literally a stone’s throw away from the southern end of the Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences being constructed on the site of the former Paradise Beach Hotel. Ironic, because Kampala was the beloved beach house of Errol Barrow, national hero, former prime minister and main architect of Barbados Independence, who espoused the notion in all he did that the best things in life were, if not free, at least simple. But the independent country he helped to create has found itself more and more dependent on the creation of luxury real estate developments to fuel its tourism-based economy and to bring in foreign investment. The residences at Four Seasons, located at the northern end of the property and less than half a mile from “Kampala,” will cost up to US$18 million for a beachfront unit. That is, if the money can be found to complete the hotel that the residence owners want as they move into their villas. Enter Professor Avinash Persaud, a highly-respected international financial economist who
only returned to Barbados a couple years ago. According to a press release sent to the media at the beginning of the year, “After two failed attempts by the developer to refinance the (Four Seasons) project using private investors, Professor Avinash Persaud, with the support of the Government of Barbados and existing project shareholders, has been successful in negotiating a refinancing plan with lenders, creditors, private residence owners, shareholders and developers. This plan will secure the future of the project and construction will resume early (in 2010).” Prof. Persaud, who was born in Barbados, had over 20 years of experience in investment banking before becoming an advisor to governments and institutions around the world. He was recently ranked #2 in the world of public intellectuals on the financial crisis by Prospect magazine, ahead of Ben Bernanke and Paul Krugman. He has also emerged as the new executive chairman of a body representing stakeholders in the previously moribund project, announcing that, subject to certain conditions, the Barbados government would guarantee a new loan of US$60 million to get it rolling again. That was welcome
The Broad Street Journal • Monday, January 11, 2010 • Page 5
news to a country whose tourism industry has taken a beating over the past year due to the global recession. The statement went on: “The plan includes a US$60m facility from ANSA Merchant Bank and its Barbadian affiliate, Consolidated Finance (Co. Ltd.), that allows for a repayment of the Bank of Scotland loan, the acquisition of the Esso land to complete the site, a settlement with creditors, and the recommencement of construction.” It added that a new management board for the project would be appointed, and it had the support of the new lenders, private residence owners, existing shareholders and the Government. The release quoted Prime Minister David Thompson as saying he was pleased to “support an initiative where Barbadians pull together to put an iconic project back on track, one that will help the shape the future of tourism in Barbados. “Under Professor Persaud’s plan, the Government of Barbados will guarantee repayment of the loan as long as the project is run under strict conditions and will in return be awarded an equity stake in the project, a ‘golden share’ to guarantee our interests versus other shareholders and a charge on the assets of the most Continued on next page
Photo © 2010 The Broad Street Journal
This view over the fence is of the southern side of the Paradise property, where the parking lot of the former Paradise Beach Hotel was located. Continued from previous page significant development to occur in Barbados for some time.” According to Prof. Persaud, the problem which the Four Seasons project encountered was one of “iinsufficient liquidity at a time when banks were pulling out of property investments around the world and villa sales had slowed.” He complimented residence owners “for their refusal to panic amid the global crisis” and their long-term commitment to Barbados, and he added that “Prime Minister Thompson must be congratulated for his bold and strategic support of this project. This rescue would not have been possible without it.” In a follow-up email interview with The Broad Street Journal, Prof Persaud provided answers to additional question posed by this publication. Q: How much will the entire development be likely to cost by the time it is completed? A: There will more than US$350m worth of residences and a 100-room hotel valued at over $150m, so this is an estimated US$0.5bn project in terms of value. Q: How many units will be built and how many have been paid down on or reserved to date? A: The original plan was for 36 separate residences and a 100-room hotel. The new team is re-looking into whether some of the unsold villas at the highest point of the property can be replaced with penthouse apartments. 16 of the villas had been sold, with deposits paid and stage payments put down. There is a waiting list of potential residence owners, who have expressed an interest in buying one of the remaining villas as soon as the project restarts. The value of the villas that have already been sold is around US$180m, though less than half of this has so far been paid.
original plan or are they to be redesigned? A: We are sticking as close as possible to the original concept and design, as this is what led some highly discerning individuals to buy into the resort. The villas are marketed at US$18m for the beachfront and less, higher up the hill and away from the beach. The average footprint of the villas is over 10,000 square feet. Residence owners were able to configure the residences differently. Q: What stage had the project reached when it was last halted? Up to foundation for any of the units? A: 16 of the villas had been sold and they are in various degrees of construction, but on average they are half completed and most are up to the ring level, so they are way past foundation. Q: Will the name Cinnamon 88 still be associated with the project? A: No. There is entirely new management and we will set out a tender for a project management firm to complete the resort. Q: The IMF puts Barbados’ GDP at Bds$7.2 billion, which is the same sum the government says it owes to lenders ($5 billion locally, $2.2 billion foreign). On top of that are the existing government guarantees and now we have Four Seasons. Putting on your analytical hat, should we be worried about another large potential addition the national debt by government guaranteeing US$60 million of the debt? A: Strictly speaking this is not an addition to the debt and from the beginning the government is not putting into the project a single cent, however, this is a “contingent liability” for the government. This contingent liability will have little effect on the balance sheet of Barbados - something I have been publicly concerned about - because it has matched by a larger, contingent asset. In the circumstanc-
es in which the Government is called upon to offer its guarantee the Government will have a charge on all of the assets of Paradise Beach Limited - the land, the permissions and designs, stock of materials and partially completed villas and hotel - which is significantly in excess of US$60m. This is not a convenient accident, I deliberately set the size of the guarantee to a level that I felt was safely covered by the value of the assets. Q: From your summation, are you saying that if all went swimmingly, as we all hope it does, that the Barbados government could end up with no outlay at all and still have a 20% stake in the project? That sounds very generous indeed... A: Yes. I believe it is generous and certainly we every year the balance sheet effect of this arrangement will be increasingly positive. In four years time we will be debating what we should do with a stake worth Bds$120 million plus. However, whether it is generous or not depends on the probability that it all does go swimmingly and whether US$60m could be recovered from the sale of assets in the circumstances of the guarantee being called. I rate this probability above zero - which is why the Government is receiving 20% equity in the Four Seasons project - but I do not rate it as threatening. If the probability of failure was zero we would not need a government guarantee in the first place. All in all, taking the value of the equity stake, the Golden Share I have designed for the Government, and the charge on the assets in the event of the guarantee being called, the net effect on the assets of the Government of Barbados should be significantly positive. BSJ • Interview and reporting by BSJ Editor & Publisher Patrick Hoyos
Q: What is the price range for the villas, and will they follow the
The Broad Street Journal • Monday, January 11, 2010 • Page 6
THE BOTTOM LINE - Highlights from published statements of public company and financial institutions Gross Rev.
Trading Companies Company and Yearend Almond Resorts Inc. (Sept. 30)
Net Income Net Income
2008 2009 -$1.8M -5.2¢
West India Biscuit Co. Ltd. (Aug. 31)
B’dos Dairy Industries Ltd. (Aug. 31)*
Goddard Enterprises Ltd. (Sept. 30) Banks Holdings Ltd. (Aug. 31)
Net Interest Net Interest Net Income Net Income & other & other Income Income
Financial Institutions Company and Yearend
BNB Finance & Trust Corp. (Sept. 30)** Clico Mortgage & Finance Corp. (Dec. 31)***
B’dos Mortgage Finance Co. Ltd. *part of BHL group
**part of BNB group
***CMFC’s figures are for 2008. Its 2007 net interest & other income was $4.4M, with net income of $1.7M.
Wibisco defies the downturn; for others, a struggle just to maintain revenues
ho would have thought that Shirley and her biscuit family would have been able to prosper in a recession? In a year when many publicly-trade companies have struggled to make budget and others are reporting significant losses, West India Biscuit Co. Ltd. (Wibisco) managed to increase its gross revenue by 7% to reach Bds$50.23 million. Its aftertax profit or net income was also up by 6%, reaching $7.4m.
As a result the company announced a dividend of 50 cents per share, more than double the 23 cents it paid out last year. Chairman David Bynoe, in published remarks, complimented the Barbados Workers Union for what he called “their faithful wisdom” in negotiating “a fair wage settlement for our team without the intervention of a third party.” He also noted that the company’s capital investment programme which had been underway for some time should lead to the completion of new buildings during 2010. • Banks Holdings Ltd. managed to hold onto its revenue stream, postings revenues of $185.7 mil-
lion for the group, just two-anda-half million dollars more than the previous year’s revenue. And while its net income of $10.1 million was only a few hundred thousand dollars below last year’s, CEO Richard Cozier and Chairman Sir Allan Fields pointed out in their remarks that the portion of that net income attributable to shareholders (after minority interest) was down by 16% or $1.7m., adding that there had been “declines in case volumes across our major brands.” Without citing figures, the company officials noted that its subsidiary Citrus Products of Belize had become unprofitable due to “unfavourable climactic conditions” and “the falling price of orange juice futures.” They said the plan was to put in equipment so that the company could package and distribute juices from its location in Central America. • Gross revenue for Goddard Enterprises Ltd. also fell by nearly
seven percent to $889 million for the year to Sept 30. But the fall-off hit the bottom line much harder as net income fell by over a third to $33 million. However, net income attributable to shareholders fell by 47%, to 22.6 million. With the EPS almost halved to 38 cents, the group declared a dividend of 16 cents per share.In their review, Chairman Joseph N. Goddard and CEO Martin Pritchard said the downturn was due to “the negative impact of a decline in tourist arrivals and consumer spending on our Trading Division.” The officials said it expected the challenges it faced to persist for most of the new year, with a possible recovery in the last quarter of 2010 (which would be after the close of its current financial year.)However, they felt, “we are in a strong position to weather the storm.” • Almond Resorts Inc. had a second bad year, posting lower gross revenue and another net loss.According to Chairman Arthur Lok Jack and CEO Ralph Taylor, the
The Broad Street Journal • Monday, January 11, 2010 • Page 7
TABLE © 2010 The Broad Street Journal
bottom line the
“adverse world economic climate” had hurt the global tourism industry as “discretionary spending has been negatively impacted everywhere.” Almond’s revenue, as a result decline 27% to $62 million due to the fall off in tourist arrivals and the deep discounting undertaken to win occupancy. The company posted a net loss of $2.9 million for the year on top of its loss of $1.7 million the year before. However, Mr. Lok Jack said ARI was looking forward to a better year, as it expected an increase in the demand for travel. • The published results for Barbados Dairy Industries Ltd. (aka Pine Hill Dairy) are interesting in that they show that the company, a subsidiary of BHL, accounts for a little over a third of the group’s gross revenue and net income. Continued on page 8
What’s past is prologue
his week will mark the beginning of the third year of the Thompson administration. It will also mark the first press conference on the economy given by the new governor of the central bank, Dr. Delisle Worrell. The most important problem for all of us caught up in it is, of course, getting out of the recession. 2009 was not a very good year, and we await the hard numbers chronicling just how far the economy declined during the year just gone by as the central bank publishes them in the coming weeks and months. However, for the International Monetary Fund, the main problem facing our economy is the growing national debt. We are now facing an economic situation out of which it could be even harder to emerge despite an upsurge in the world’s economy, whenever that should occur. As the IMF intoned in its staff report last September, “If left unchecked, the large fiscal defi-
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In a nutshell, we are hemmed in on all sides by policies that need to be followed if our future is to be bright once the darkness has gone.
cits, combined with an uncertain foreign financing outlook, could result in a sudden and sharp deterioration in investor confidence. A concerted adjustment effort is, therefore, crucial to countering such a risk, by reducing fiscal financing needs, supporting the balance of payments, and placing public debt on a firm downward path.” So at a time when the easiest thing to do would be to borrow and try to spend our way out of recession, we risk pushing our economy over the brink and into the abyss of economic chaos in so doing. Perhaps that was why Dr. Worrell, in his first speech as governor late last year, warned about the dangers of pumping money into the economy through a ‘stimulus package’. Loosely paraphrased, Dr. Wor-
rell suggested that such attempts to boost an economy only created a temporary feeling of well-being, as around two-thirds of every dollar earned locally is required to fund the foreign exchange input into supplying that good or service. On the other hand, projects that earn foreign exchange for the country, such as real estate developments that attract foreign buyers, are needed more than ever. But despite this, the prime minister has signaled that adopting a policy of selling land to the highest bidder also has long-term detrimental effects on the economy, and his administration seeks to maintain a balance between all demands for land. This policy became one of the major planks of the DLP’s successful campaign to reclaim office and it is important that
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The Broad Street Journal • Monday, January 11, 2010 • Page 8
the prime minister and minister of finance continues to place it front and center at a time when the temptation is there to take an easier path forward. So, in a nutshell, we are hemmed in on all sides by policies that need to be followed if our future is to be bright once the darkness has gone. In a very real sense, we have been here before, both in the early 1990s under Mr. Sandiford’s administration, and more recently in the early 2000s, as a result of 9/11, under Mr. Arthur’s. The experiences of the past must be at the forefront of both the governor’s and the prime minister’s minds. How will they attempt to take us through this tough year until the world economy begins to pick up and our traditional sources of foreign exchange begin to return to the level we need for growth and development? We will be watching with interest.
bottom line the
Continued from page 7 In fact, while BHL’s total net income was flat this year, Pine Hill’s doubled to $3 million, showing unequivocally that fruit juice can also be a healthy financial alternative to beer and soft drinks. Barbados Dairy Industries is spending $15 million on re-engineering its two plants into “one modern and highly automated facility,” according to Chairman Sir Allan Fields and Managing Director Clyde Gibson. They said the project would get into full gear by mid-January and should be completed by August.” The goal, they said was to improve the company’s export capacity as well as improve productivity and profitability that would be reflected in the bottom line. BSJ
oving to Barba– dos was quite a quick decision. I have always wanted to set up my own place in the Caribbean so when the opportunity arose, I took it.” So says Scott Sorensen, the owner of the recently-opened Aussies Beach Bar in St. Lawrence Gap. Located in the building where the former Café Jungles Tree House Restaurant formerly operated, Aussies is the brainchild of a peripatetic 36-year-old Australian, Scott Sorensen, who has been involved in the music business for the past 15 years. In an interview with Talk of the Island, Scott summarized the entertainment career that led him to Barbados. “I have been involved in the music industry for the last 15 years. I was a songwriter for Sony, which saw me travelling around the world to write, including Sweden, the UK, Nashville and Spain. Then for the last six years my partner and I have operated a company out of Abu Dhabi called Starlight Entertainment and Events Management. We are an entertainment supply company for the leading 5-star hotels. We take care of the entertainment for around 120 of the world’s top hotels like Hilton, Sheraton and ShangriLa in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, China, Japan, The Maldives and other countries. After arriving in September, Scott soon found an opportunity to set up a restaurant of his own, and decided to develop the prototype for Aussies Beach House, which he says he would like to duplicate in other countries around the world. So we asked him what Aussies’ kitchen chef Fasil Bacchus is serving up.
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Scott Sorensen (owner) with Manager Helen Caddock, (right) and two of Aussies’ staff.
G’Day, Mate! Aussies Beach House bringing the taste of Australia to Barbados “The food at Aussies Beach House is a blend of Australian and International cuisine. We Australians are renowned for our steaks and seafood, so we have ensured our prime steaks are the best on the island and grilled to perfection. We also offer a great selection of grilled seafood, fresh handmade pastas, Cajun-rubbed pork ribs, and lamb shank.” Apart from the food, what sort of ambience is Scott
trying to create at Aussies? “We want people to be able to come to our place to relax, enjoy fantastic food and also be entertained.” The “beach house” is currently featuring live bands on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, and DJs on the other nights. As a special promotion, the restaurant is also running a karaoke contest every Wednesday, offering a prize of Bds$1,000 to the final
Enjoying drinks at Aussies’ bar
If you would like your establishment featured in the BSJ’s “Talk of the Island,”call Pat Hoyos at 230-5687
The Broad Street Journal • Monday, January 11, 2010 • Page 9
A talented musician, Scott makes “cameo” appearances at Aussies. winner. Scott points out that the live entertainment doesn’t start until after dinner so that families with kids won’t be affected. At present Aussies opens at 4 pm, but will be serving lunch soon. Scott says one of the restaurant’s most popular entrées is Tuna Tartare, while the most popular dessert is Pecan Pie with butterscotch sauce, strawberries and ice cream. Aussies’ signature drink is Big Red and the average price for dinner (appetiser, entrée, dessert and one drink) is about Bds$70 per head. For more information, call 420-8584 or go to www. aussiebeachhouse.com
Published on Apr 26, 2011
G’day, mate! A man for Four Seasons • Flexible Financing Options www.firstcaribbeanbank.com/corporate Professor Avinash Persaud brokers a de...