Scorching summer temperatures have been netting huge profits for stakeholders in the air-conditioning business.
Corporate, residential and even automobile clients have reportedly been flocking to stores, which sell A/C units, fans and other cooling systems leaving some local businesses out of stock and contemplating expansion.
“From August and September 2018 to 2019 sales have actually gone up 33 per cent because of these heat waves that are passing,” Director/Owner of Subzero Services Ltd Allan Hodgkinson reported.
“People are saying that they just can’t take the heat and the lack of wind. We actually had someone coming in from Bottom Bay. I never sold an air condition in Bottom Bay before but if Bottom Bay is hot, then everywhere is hot in this island because that is where the wind comes from first.”
[caption id="attachment_310091" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Director/Owner of Subzero Services Ltd Allan Hodgkinson is reporting “insane” sales during this year’s summer heat waves.[/caption]
According to Hodgkinson, the company’s primary business is maintenance and servicing, but this has expanded with the demand for new units.
“Because it is so hot, air conditioning units that are not serviced start to drip or ice up and the customers call us and nine times out of ten it is because of poor maintenance,” he said.
In light of the tremendous uptick in sales and recent predictions of hotter days ahead, the business owner plans to engage a more proactive sales strategy.
[caption id="attachment_310092" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Most of Cost-U-Less’ A/C Units and fans are out of stock.[/caption]
“My future plan is to take 2019 and multiply it by two in terms of what we order to keep us for the year, because this year has been absolutely insane in air-condition sales versus 2018, 2017 and 2016.
So the main thing is keeping the equipment in stock, but it is so hard because the one time you buy 50, someone comes and buys 20 from you right away and you were thinking it could last you two weeks and it disappears in one day. So for me it’s just to try and purchase more and keep more in stock so that we can satisfy the demand,” told Barbados TODAY.
At popular chain Cost-U-Less, a supervisor said the popular 16-inch LASKO fans were completely sold out, leaving just a “couple” Tower Fans, and a gap of over a week before more stock arrives.
“All small A/C units are sold out… there are only 10,000 and 12,000’s [air conditioning units] left,” the official reported.
“The majority of questions we’re hearing are about fans and even on a day like today [Monday] when rain is falling, customers are still coming in to ask about the fans.”
Automobile Air-conditioning units have reportedly also been selling “like crazy”, according to Managing Director of Cool Air Auto Clinic Kandrew Callendar.
[caption id="attachment_310093" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Managing Director of Cool Air Auto Clinic Kandrew Callendar working on a customer’s vehicle A/C unit.[/caption]
“We have seen an increase of about 30 or 40 percent over the previous months,” reported Callendar who acknowledged a steady flow of both commercial and private vehicles.
“I have never seen a year like this before. I have never seen so many people so eager to have their A/C repaired and even if they don’t have the money to repair it, they are willing to try something.”
In response to the demand, the business has implemented a number of specials and discounts on parts and services.
Callendar also revealed plans for minor expansion.
“We have no room to expand as far as size is concerned but we are bringing on two additional technicians from next month. Outside of that, we have increased the volume of parts we are bringing in,” he said.
“There is a lot going on in the automotive industry in terms of air conditioning. We have now invested heavily in equipment for recovering, re-gassing and testing. We have also invested in diagnostic equipment, so we are ready for the challenge.”
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The global free trade watchdog, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), may soon be asked to back a preferential trade agreement for Barbadian pork and poultry products, Minister of Small Business Entrepreneurship and Commerce Dwight Sutherland has said.
Sutherland has hinted that some manufacturers may be in line for similar support while contending that pork farmers have for too long been priced out of the market by cheaper imports.
Although the WTO generally disapproves of preferential arrangements and similar protectionist measures, its rules do make provision for exceptions in cases where regions, sectors and industries may be unfairly disadvantaged.
Sutherland told Barbados TODAY: “We have the capacity and the scope in my view to be self-sufficient in pork production in this country, but having said that, we are signatory to the WTO regulations and indeed the technical barriers to trade, require that we have imports.
“However, we need to create the policy space through the WTO trade law mechanisms, whereby we can indeed build out our industries.
“Not just the pork industry but also poultry and some manufacturing industries as well.”
The Minister noted that while there must be exceptions, it was imperative that local producers are allowed the space within their home market, otherwise they would be forced out of business.
He said: “There are certain
manufacturers that need to import certain parts of the pigs for their products and indeed we cannot stop that, but what we can do is discussed with the WTO through their trade law mechanism to create that policy space that we become self-sufficient in pork production.
“Those special cuts that come into the country that are being used in manufacturing and the hotels must still be allowed to come in.
“So we have to sit with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Ministry of Commerce to see how we can create that policy space.”
He continued: “For the year thus far we had 1.1 million kilograms of pork imports. That represents $6.3 million going out in foreign exchange. In 2018, we produce 2.8 million kilograms of pork and in 2016 and 2017, we produce 2.5 and 2.6 kilograms of pork respectively.
“So, you can see that the space is there for us to empower our small pork producers. We can’t have persons selling in this country, what would be termed in other countries as a dumping price.
“I understand pork was on the shelves for less than $5 per kilogramme. Our local producers cannot bring pigs to market at that price.”
The Minister’s pronouncement should be music to the ears of pork producers, as two months ago they complained through CEO of Barbados Agricultural Society, James Paul, that the market was being flooded with pork. They called on Government to immediately address the issue.
At the time the farmers reported a slump in the number of pigs being slaughtered on a weekly basis as a result of the imports.
According to one farmer, his numbers fell from 40 carcasses per week, to eight. Another farmer said that his numbers decreased from 100 per week, to between 60 and 25, contending that the situation was simply untenable.
Farmers complained that the market was being flooded with pork from the United States and Germany, resulting in a severe slump in their sales and threatening their survival.
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The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) appears to be throwing the weight of its membership behind a longstanding fight by their secondary teacher colleagues who are demanding payment from the main regional examining body for payment for marking School-based Assessments (SBA).
For more than a decade the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) has been agitating for Barbadian teachers to be compensated for marking the SBA component of the Caribbean Examinations Council’s (CXC) examination which forms part of several subjects offered across the region. The hierarchy of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) say they are pleasantly surprised that their sister union has finally come around to their position.
“We have been fighting this at the level of the Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) since 2006 and the BUT never spoke up on this and never encouraged their members to take a stand. So, I am very surprised now at the fact that they have. I don’t know if things have changed because there is now representation from the secondary school level in the leadership of the BUT and now persons have firsthand knowledge of the problem,” said BSTU President Mary Redman, noting that Spencer, who ascended to the presidency of the BUT two years ago, would be among the persons involved in marking SBAs.
The SBA issue is to be one of the main agenda items when the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) meets tomorrow at Solidarity House, resulting in all public schools being closed from midday. It was reported that BUT president Sean Spencer made it clear that his union would not be relenting on the issue.
However, in an interview with Barbados TODAY this afternoon, Redman noted that the BSTU had been battling with the CXC on this matter since 2006 on their own, leaving them to wonder what could have inspired the BUT’s change from their non-interventionist position 13 years later.
She contended that the BUT members would have been disadvantaged by not having this type of representation until now, as a fragmented approach among the teaching fraternity did not augur well for the chances of success.
Redman also revealed that her union has always been open to dialogue with the BUT regarding a plan of action to tackle
the longstanding issue and that offer still stands.
“The BUT has not discussed anything with us besides the statement that they have made in the press. We do not know what position they intend to take up. This was a discussion that we were trying to have with them for years and we have never closed the door for such discussions to take place,” she said.
However, the outspoken trade unionist made it clear that the added support will only make a difference if it means that this time around that teachers are prepared to make a unified stand on the matter. She pointed out that each year CXC has been offloading more of its responsibilities on teachers and it appears that the council won’t stop until teachers are being made to carry the entire burden.
“This is now a purely industrial relations matter and the buck stops at the hand, the feet of the teachers in this country. They must do what they need to do if they intend to ever get compensation. The solution rests with the action of the teachers. Besides having made complaints to CXC, they continue to add more and more responsibilities, to the point where they now have the schools responsible for registering the students online as well as all of the data entry on grading,” said Redman.
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PM Benjamin Netanyahu fights for a fifth term after failing to form a coalition during the summer.
A 52-year-old will spend the next three weeks at the Psychiatric Hospital’s drug rehabilitation section being evaluated following a request for professional assistance for his addiction.
Richard McNeil Cheltenham, of no fixed place of abode, pleaded guilty to possession of apparatus for the misuse of cocaine when he appeared before Magistrate Kristie Cuffy-Sargeant today.
According to the facts, police responded to a report about 12:15 a.m. on September 15 where they saw the accused. A search was requested and he handed over a plastic container containing a small bottle with burnt wire mesh and white residue suspected to be cocaine.
“That is my lil apparatus, I ain’t get no stones though give me a break man,” Cheltenham reportedly said to lawmen.
When he appeared in the No. 2 District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court attorney-at-law Lesile Roberts submitted that Cheltenham was a person who was “right” for drug treatment or drug rehabilitation.
Cheltenham, who is known to the court, also told the magistrate that he wanted help, as he had never received any in the past.
He will make his next appearance before Cuffy-Sargeant on October 7 to find out whether he is a suitable candidate for drug rehabilitation at Verdun House.
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The Supreme Court will hear two appeals that will determine whether the PM acted lawfully in suspending Parliament.
An act of retaliation, carried out over three days, has landed a 30-year-old pregnant woman on remand.
Stancha Clerona Augustine, of No. 78 Crystal Heights, St James was remanded until October 14 when she will learn her fate on a burglary charge.
The nail technician admitted to trespassing in the house of Thelma Warren between April 7 and May 8 and stealing $5,413.10 in items including a fan, rice cooker, convection oven, stereo set, binoculars, hand mixer, food grinder, electric oven, blood pressure unit, five sheet sets, food items and alcoholic beverages.
According to the facts presented by police constable Victoria Taitt the complainant returned to Barbados after a month abroad to find his apartment ransacked, with the laundry room door broken and the lock on the bedroom door “knocked out”.
A check was made and Warren discovered foodstuff, household items, personal documents and other items including meats from the freezer missing.
Augustine admitted to police that she broke into Warren’s house over a three-day period and removed the property. According to the prosecutor, Augustine also told lawmen that she threw away the items in various garbage cans and dumps as she left the residence. None of the property was recovered.
The woman also explained, according to Constable Taitt, that Warren broke her finger among other things earlier this year and she reported the matter. When the matter was brought before the court a magistrate ordered that Warren pay her $800 in compensation. However, the woman said she did not believe that the sum awarded was enough for her pain and suffering and as such she decided to get revenge on the complainant by breaking and entering his house and stealing his property so that “he could suffer the way she suffered.”
After hearing the facts, Magistrate Kristie Cuffy-Sargeant remanded Augustine pending sentencing.
However, she also has another theft matter before the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court to which she pleaded not guilty.
Augustine is accused of entering De Hill Mini Mart and Sports Bar as a trespasser and stealing several items including 30 bottles of assorted alcohol, 140 packs of cigarettes, deodorants, cornflakes, a case of mincemeat, hot dogs, shampoo and conditioner totaling $4,642.50 belonging to Francina Reece. The crime is alleged to have been committed between April 15 and 16. She was granted $2,500 bail in that matter.
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A senior Canadian police intelligence official charged with espionage-related offenses had access secret information from both domestic and international allies it was confirmed Monday.
After 40 years of dedicated service, Mr Wayne Burnett retired from A1 Supermarkets on August 31, 2019.
Burnett was an unmistakable pillar in the supermarket’s growth and success. As such, the Directors and the Bynoe family recently treated him and guests to a memorable retirement dinner at the Hilton Barbados Resort where Mr Burnett basked in the showers of praise from staff, suppliers, family and friends.
Mr Burnett shared several fond memories and noted that he was “happy” for all his years at the supermarket as he was treated with respect and he never had to write a letter asking for a promotion. He started as a supervisor and moved up to an assistant manager and finally became manager because of his undeniable contribution.
Well-known businessman, Andrew Bynoe praised Burnett in an ebullient contribution which highlighted that Burnett proved himself worthy by building customer loyalty and earning the admiration and support of staff. (PR)
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A ‘zone of vulnerability and devastation’.
That’s how Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Professor Sir Hilary Beckles recently described the situation in the Bahamas.
The Vice-Chancellor and UWI teams had been and are in the affected islands working on the ground with Government officials in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian which clocked winds of 220 miles per hour and battered the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama for almost two days. Lecturers and graduate students of The UWI School of Clinical Medicine and Research have been providing family medicine to triage, treat, contain, and prevent diseases. They have also been manning the eight shelters which average 1, 500 evacuees each. Vice-Chancellor Beckles noted that the presence of The UWI on the ground so swiftly is an indication of the institution’s agility and responsiveness.
Jeremy Collymore, resilience consultant/Advisor attached to the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, noted that Hurricane Dorian affected the north-western Bahamas islands for an approximate 68 hours, with the southern eye-wall planted over Grand Bahama for about 30 hours. “While,” he said, “the major population and resource centre were minimally impacted, the impacted areas were major contributors to the national economy.” He pointed out that detailed socio-economic impacts were in the embryonic stage of determination.
Dr Barbara Carby, head of The UWI Disaster Risk Reduction Centre, reflected in her presentation, “During this recovery period, the UWI is ideally positioned to advocate for as well as action risk reduction and resilience building in support of longer term Sustainable Development goals.”
The UWI Mona Guild President, Christina Williams was clear in her call to action. “In 2018, a young 15-year-old by the name of Greta Thunberg started a strike in her country. It erupted in thousands of students across the world striking on a Friday and they termed it Fridays for Future – A stand against the climate crisis and the disregard by politicians and world leaders to climate change.”
“As young people,” she said, “we need to also ensure that our countries are doing as much as they can to always have disaster reduction policies and also disaster reduction principles in place before there is actually a crisis to work on.”
The Vice-Chancellor-led team on mission in The Bahamas met with Prime Minister Hubert Minnis and his ministerial colleagues as well as the Recovery Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office. The UWI has also been liaising with the Regional Response Mechanism, the UNDP, and other international agencies. The UWI’s response is focused on multiple areas, including psycho-social support, damage and impact assessment, hazard resistance and resilience, resettlement and relocation, coastal engineering, and environmental management. (PR)
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