What’s with these insurance companies in Barbados making such exorbitant profits? Sagicor and Insurance Corporation of Barbados are the latest to inform of their killings, reaping hefty profits from suffering Bajans.
Sagicor also informed that some of their investments in Europe had bottomed out and to be discontinued and put up for sale. Bajan markets like they still are good grazing grounds when you looking for the green. Why if I recall right sometime back, big able Cable and Wireless was reporting their setup down here was out-performing others all over the world. Why was this? Anything to do with the costing and marking up when it comes to Bajan customers, that these companies are “lickin cork” from our distress? Like we Luv-a-bull or like true Bajan Syrup. Fa real though, how come these companies do so well in our backdoor? Why can’t they now have a lil feeling for us down here seeing we totterin….Help a fella nah ! Help out now we need it.
We were never ones for complaining in days of plenty.
Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank/Watchdog Group
Sir Leroy Trotman (l), Minister of Labour Byer-Sukoo (r) – Credit: Barbados Today
For some time, we have warned that the trade union movement in Barbados was being marginalized. The coziness with employers brought about by the so-called Social Partnership, has long been a cause of concern to the Mahogany Coconut Group. The frequent love fests of the employers’ representatives and the union bosses were brilliant public relations stunts designed to fool those who don’t understand the treachery inherent in such exercises.
We have reached a state of utter delusion, if we believe that the playing field is level and the actions of LIME clearly demonstrate that the Social Partnership is exactly that-nothing more than high level social gatherings and smiles for the cameras.
Recession or no recession, we cannot surrender the rights of workers and their representatives to be respected. The truth is that LIME decided to dismiss workers while promising to continue the collective bargaining process. No self respecting union can take such an insult lightly.
BU understands that Cable & Wireless is currently experiencing serious Internet networking issues. According to a BU family member the problem is complicated to explain in layman terms but involves something called Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). This is a protocol used by big Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and carriers to exchange routing information between each other.
To translate: several Internet services currently cannot reach Barbados LIME customers. LIME has been experiencing the problem since 13.07.2012 and it may not be resolved for a few more days. Without an active Fair Trading Commission and Consumer organization the Barbados public is left to ferret information based on the effort of a few good souls.
We also take this opportunity to highlight the recent offer by LIME to double the ADSL bandwidth of customers. Customers should be aware that at the end of the offer is a caveat. If you do not respond to LIME to say you refuse the service your ADSL billing will be increased! It is not free!
1 goes to Up to 2mbps
1.5 goes to Up to 4mbps (3 month trial, at the end of which, the customer must opt out or will be billed at the new 4mbps rate).
In a Press release issued yesterday, LIME announced “all post-paid mobile customers completing data streaming, browsing, tethering and downloading of documents, games and any other transactions which go via the WAP (Wireless Access Protocol) and/or Internet Gateways on the LIME data network will be billed”.
Barbados Underground agrees with the decision by LIME’s management to increase mobile rates effective July 1, 2012. Today many Barbadians have been demonstrating outrage via the various media channels at what they believe is the obtuse manner LIME has unleashed its new pricing plan. BU would venture the opinion that LIME has made its decision full in the knowledge that Barbadians will ‘keep noise’ but continue to subscribe to their services. Truth be told BU can’t wait until the next increase.
LIME prides itself on being a good corporate citizen although BU recalls that it was one of the first companies in Barbados at the onset of the global recession to retrench staff. It should come as no surprise after the recent settlement of the collective bargaining agreement with the Barbados Workers Union that LIME would seek to find ways to boost its revenue position. It now has three quarters to get the job done.
LIME’s biggest problem is that they simply do not have the bandwidth available to share among it’s current subscriber base. When they first introduced ADSL their customers actually got what they were paying for. Now, the network is so congested that everyone has to fight for a piece, and this problem is especially bad in heavily populated areas where one or two fibre links have to serve a single exchange from which thousands of phone lines are served.
To their defense however, they have been constantly upgrading and installing mini exchanges all over the island to circumvent this problem, but it’s not enough. And what’s more is that they’ve increased contention ratio which only compounds the problem. I’m speaking subject to correction here but the last I heard is that it’s set at 50:1, which means that if you’re paying for 8Mb/s, then you have to share that between 8Mb/s of bandwidth with 49 other users… I don’t know about you, but that’s unacceptable considering the rates that they’re charging when we see what they’re offering in other islands like Grenada. If they charge the same rates here that do in Grenada, then an 8Mb/s connection would be $120.66 BDS Incl VAT! A 2Mb/s connection would be $59.90 BDS incl VAT!
Haven’t you ever noticed that the internet is slower during the day (business hours) than it is at night? I can’t wait for Digicel to start offering their WiMax service for residential use…
Trust this note finds you well and eager to clarify… I have everyone on board so we’re at the same page – last night a number of regular readers to my site said they could not access it – now I have a new server to accommodate increased users, I checked via Safari/Firefox/Chrome/Internet Explorer browsers and my signal is fine! But the fans who could not?
They all were using LIME, my service is no longer with Caribsurf – so my site appears in no time flat? Is there a problem in relaying my info to your customers? The fact I carry regional Football coverage from your competitors is considered objectionable? Or their forays into Asiatic climes?
In addition I decided to add Political coverage on my site, is this another problem? I recall having a chat with you at the Ermy Bourne Resource when George Payne said he was running for the BLP’s Party Chairman – I should hate to think LIME is embroiled in political intrigue at the behest of certain interests? If that was true, it would speak poorly to freedom of press which the BAJ so valiantly upholds, even Social Media as myself, plus if this can happen to myself… Imagine what would happen to Advocate, Nation or other online media houses when they have truth to carry? Perhaps an alert campaign with each house’s subscribers should be made to warn people who they support via Internet or Mobile or otherwise they may be denied complete access to their service which they paid for which is contrary to dictums from the Fair Trading Commission?
Sir Neville Nicholls - Chairman of the FTC and SEC
(6) The Commission (FTC) may on its own initiative or on the request of any person carry out any investigation that it considers necessary or desirable in connection with matters falling within the provisions of this Act, the Utilities Regulation Act, and any laws relating to consumer protection and fair competition which the Commission has jurisdiction to administer – Fair Trading Commission Act
When the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) was established in 2001 so much was promised by the previous government of the leadership it was expected to exert on how Utilities were regulated in Barbados. For many years before that it had been the public’s perception that Utilities operated to the beat of their own drums. Since the establishment of the FTC in 2001 nothing has changed to reshape that perception. The Utility which has attracted the greatest ire from Barbadians has been LIME formerly Cable and Wireless. Perhaps what has stung Barbadians the most is the fact jobs have been relocated to St. Lucia and other low cost based islands. This is after decades of Barbados being the cash-cow for Cables & Wireless in the hemisphere. Even if Barbadians were persuaded to finally accept LIME’s, formerly Cable & Wireless restructure, the promise of enhanced customer service as a result of the changes has been elusive.
Barbados Today carried a funny piece last week which poked some fun at the online customer support which kept advising users to visit LIME’s Windsor Lodge Office to seek resolution.
It seems like yesterday Barbadians rejoiced at the news the government would liberalize the telecommunications sector as part of WTO obligation. Barbados was an early signatory to General Agreement on Trade in Service (GATS) and the Telecommunications Reference Paper in 2000. Why did Barbadians rejoice? Hitherto Barbadians would have felt they were being shafted by Cable and Wireless, the London-based telecommunications monopoly which has operated in the region since the twentieth century. According to C&W’s 2005 Annual Report the Caribbean region ranks second after the UK in profits generated(United Kingdom turnover: £1,602 million, Caribbean turnover: £550 million). The decision to liberalize Barbados telecommunications market would have raised expectations that the onslaught of competition would have driven telecommunications costs down, welcome news in a service-based economy seeking to be competitive.
Several years post-liberalization of the telecommunications market and Barbadians are yet to benefit significantly, especially in three key areas. In the fixed line market it has been business as usual for LIME formerly C&W. In the mobile market we have seen a new entrant Digicel which has created some competition for LIME by forcing the price of handsets and packages down, as a result we have seen a deeper penetration of the Barbados mobile phone market. On the data/broadband side of the business LIME continues to dominate.
Many Barbadians believed when Telebarbados entered the market it would have ‘buss it open’. Bear in mind Telebarbados is affiliated to the Barbados Light and Power (BL&P) which has the most comprehensive pole distribution in Barbados. The import of this is, there was and still is the opportunity for Telebarbados to launch a frontal assault on LIME. Instead our best information indicates that Telebarbados is happy to focus on the more profitable commercial segment of the market. In fairness to them a major hurdle to date has been getting LIME to agree to allow Telebarbados customers to walk with their LIME landline telephone numbers. For example the Telebarbados subscriber would have to get a new telephone number. Another area where the regulator should play a pivotal role when adjudicating interconnectivity agreements in the sector.
First it was water, followed by electricity, based on recent reports Barbadians will suffer another increase in the telephone rate of $1.77 per pricing plan, whatever that means. The biggest of all ironies is the recognition that the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is owned by government and not regulated by the Fair Training Commission (FTC). Cable & Wireless aka LIME and the Barbados Light & Power fall under the oversight of the FTC. In both cases the PEOPLE lose.
BU can join the esoteric debate by the academics and analysts to argue the merits of hiking utility rates at the hike of a recession. We have always been more comfortable using arguments rooted in commonsense.
Barbadians have had to pay by decree up 60% increase in the water rate. Most Barbadians given the value of water to maintaining our existence would have been persuaded to suffer the increase, balanced by the argument the BWA was insolvent and in dire need of a overhaul. Prime Minister David Thompson told Barbadians in June 2009 that the increase in the water rate was necessary to ensure the BWA meets its mandate to deliver a quality water management infrastructure to Barbadians. Approaching one year the customer and other support services at the BWA remain abdominal. Minister Denis Lowe who is responsible for the BWA has been silent regarding progress in restructuring at that state body. Last week Barbadians were treated to the news that a consultant contracted by government will recommend the discontinuation of sucks/ pit toilets. Additionally current water zones may have to change.
Is this another case of the chickens coming home to ruse? It wasn’t too long ago when politicians Don Blackman and Trevor Prescod were defending the rights of squatters in the Belle. Other politicians have been known to put politics above the health of the nation by ignoring the growing problem of squatting in water zones. A lack of leadership in our water management perhaps?
When Bartel and Cable and Wireless (C&W) consolidated its business some years ago to operate under the one-name C&W it made sense. Back then Bartel managed the local business and Cable and Wireless managed the outbound traffic. In 2008 when C&W rebranded its Caribbean operations to LIME (Land, Internet, Mobile and Entertainment) the reaction was what the hell! The word LIME in the Caribbean lexicon does have a meaning which one has to admit is not complimentary in a business context.
The rebranding exercise immediately signalled major restructuring in the company which continues today. In Jamaica CEOs are being changed like dirty socks. In Barbados significant numbers of LIME employees have been retrenched and there is promise of more to follow – all in the name of balance sheet efficiency and creating a more competitive entity. LIME formerly C&W after comfortably raking in profits operating in the Caribbean as a monopoly since colonial days has now been jolted it seems by the deregulation sweeping the telecommunications industry globally.
Many decisions which LIME has taken since rebranding continue to baffle observers. Many people on the street are convinced C&W is planning an exit strategy from the Caribbean in the face of the onslaught from competitor DIGICEL in the mobile arena.
It would really be difficult not to have noticed the various mission statements recently put out in the print and electronic media by Cable and Wireless or LIME, including ‘a better greener business’, ‘go green with us’ or ‘go paperless’.
Yet the latest ‘ads’ placed to get your new Directory today,17th September, (well actually from 19th September), makes absolutely no mention of taking your old directory to the collection point where LIME could have partnered with one of the recycling companies to dramatically reduce the number that will eventually go to the landfill.
While is perhaps too easy to knock the company for its huge declared profits, they could at least effectively implement some of these admirable objectives. I stumbled across one of their media releases dated 31st October 2008, where among many other ‘promises made in this manifesto’ included ‘calls to LIME’s customer service centres will be answered within one minute’ and ‘no LIME customer will be without the ability to communicate, via at least one of LIME’s services, with their friends, family or colleagues, for more than one day’.
Recently, I’ve coined a phrase because of how often I’ve had to use it. My telephone line has been “mis-behaving” for quite a while, making it a pain to keep in contact with important people. We called LIME to look at the line, of course, and it seemed as though they took their time in coming. One technician came and said it was too late to tackle the problem and he would return tomorrow. That was the last I saw of him. Another technician eventually came and said that the problem was our phone. We have multiple phones in the house and they are all exhibiting the same symptoms. We borrowed a phone from next door and tried in on our line and it exhibited the same symptoms. Therefore, I was forced to coin the phrase “it’s not the phone, it’s the LIME”.
This was been happening for a very long time now. Whenever he rain falls, the line misbehaves and the technician try to tell us that it’s the phone which is misbehaving. Yet, they always eventually manage to fix, or should I say, plug the problem from the pole, which would logically indicate that in each case, the problem has been the LIME and not the phone.
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