Category Archives: Moving to Barbados: Helpful Hints

Update

Good evening, everyone:

I have been away for a long time but note that all email and comment responses are now up-to-date so you can check your email/comment section.

 

I will try to post a Q & A at a later date since some of the questions asked fell into the same category and others may benefit.

 

I wish you well and belated New Year’s greetings.

 

Best regards,

 

Bajan Mom

The Daily Snorkel – Blog by one of our readers

Ladies and gentlemen, it has truly been my pleasure to write for your information and your entertainment. What brings me even more joy is your encouraging feedback and hearing about your experiences in beautiful Barbados, my home, now OUR home.

One reader, an American mother with two wonderful toddlers, has made it safely to our shores a few weeks ago and has been documenting her journey with vivid photos in her own wordpress blog https://thedailysnorkel.wordpress.com/. The pictures are breathtaking and I enjoy her realistic and sincere commentary. She also offers tidbits such as how to handle driving on the left-hand side of the road for the first time. It is worth a long look, so please visit. I wish her and her family well, and I look forward to more readers sharing their experiences with us.

Have an enjoyable Friday and weekend ahead.

Toy Stores in Barbados

Storage-Blog-Access-Christmas-Toys-Appeal

 

I had been working on a comparative analysis of supermarkets in Barbados for some time but I became so busy that I could not follow up on all of the stores as I would like, and at this time of year, so many changes may have occurred that I may have to question the currency of my research. It is quite possible that I may have to start afresh in 2015.

Still, I owe you something after my lengthy hiatus, so in keeping with the season, I thought I would list a few stores in Barbados where you can purchase toys for the little ones.

There are a number of stores in Bridgetown that sell toys, especially at this time of year, even if toys are not their specialty or regular items on their inventories. If you want a one-stop shop for toys in Town, however, a number of people seem to have been gravitating towards Tasha’s Wonderland on the First Floor of Cave Shepherd, Broad Street.

Personally, I prefer to shop outside of the City, and there are a number of options out there. First on my list is Deanna Dash’s Toy Shop, conveniently located in Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St. Michael. There is a Lower Bay Street, Bridgetown location as well. It is not a large store, but it definitely has variety.

Toyriffic in Sheraton Mall, Christ Church has a wide assortment of toys as well, though some patrons have complained that it is a bit pricey. Krackerjack Kidz in Limegrove Lifestyle Centre, Holetown, St. James is another pricey yet viable alternative.

I am sure there are more so feel free to share your favourite toy store in Barbados. Who knows, you may be able to help some other moms looking for that perfect gift for their offspring this holiday.

Ask Bajan Mom: Home Schooling in Barbados

Q: Hey… I wanted to know if you knew anything about the homeschooling process in Barbados. I know that it is accepted, but I am unsure as to what the procedure is. I have been living outside of Barbados for the past 8 years. I have been home schooling my 2 children since that time and believe in the parents right to provide the best education possible for their child.

I do so with the help of online curriculum as my children are American citizens. I use a program which provides me with teacher assistance, books, and online class. By the end of their high school life, my children will have recognized high school diplomas. I would like to continue on this program with my children. Do you know of the procedure that I have to go through in order to do so.

I think such a program will be highly beneficial for parents in Barbados most schools are overcrowded and teachers are overworked. – H.W.

A: Dear H.W.,

Thank you for your question. There are many variables which may impact whether you may be able to continue the curriculum you outlined, one of which is the length of time that you plan to spend in Barbados. If your children are to sit any of our national or regional examinations, it may be in their interests to follow the appropriate curricula which lead to those certificates. Your best recourse is to contact the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation at (246) 430-2700 or mined1@caribsurf.com, if you want specifics.

Generically speaking, however, I do have some information for you. In order for a child to be home schooled in Barbados, one must write a letter, asking for permission, addressed to:

The Permanent Secretary

Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation

Elsie Payne Complex

St. Michael

Barbados, W.I.

In this letter you need to:

  • Give the reason why your children are to be homeschooled,
  • Include your children’s names, dates of birth and any previous schools that they attended,
  • Provide the curriculum to be used for the Ministry’s perusal,
  • Provide the qualifications of those who will tutor your child, whether it be you or someone you hire.

I hope that you find this information to be helpful and I wish you all the best in your planned transition.

 

Best regards,

Bajan Mom

 

An Opportunity for Returning Nationals: Barbados Network Consultation

BNC icon

If you are considering resettling in Barbados and are currently in the island on holiday, you may want to check out the Barbados Network Consultation Conference. The conference takes place from August 5th – 7th, 2014 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre located in Two Mile Hill St. Michael. Besides establishing linkages among Barbadian business persons and other Barbadians who live on the island and abroad, much information will be provided on the resettlement process.

According to the BNC’s programme, you may register daily from Tuesday, August 5th where programming takes place from 8:00 am – 5:30pm. The cost of registration for all three days is BD$100. You may find a copy of the registration form here. You may also register online here. You should note, however, that when you register online that all prices are quoted in US dollars.

There will be an opening ceremony, meet and greet, displays by local businesses, various lectures/panel discussions and Crop Over themed entertainment. The session that returning nationals may find particularly interesting is the one that takes place on Thursday, August 7, 2014, from 2:15 – 4:15pm. It is a two-part discussion. The first is Returning Home: Building Pathways to Resettlement, and the second is Building Connectivity Across Generations: Creating Pathways to Barbadian Status. It is an opportunity to get information on the resettlement process from senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Customs and Excise Department, Customs Brokers, Car Dealers and Shipping Associations as well as returning nationals who seek to improve the resettlement experience for others. Immigration officials and legal experts will also be present.

For further information, such as the cost of participating for one day only, you may email pmapp@foreign.gov.bb or call 246-431-2227.

 

 

 

 

BUSINESS REVIEW: Electronics on Edge

Electronics on Edge

                 When we returned to Barbados, my husband and I regretted that we did not buy unlocked cell phones before we had left the US. Our old phones definitely needed an upgrade, and at the time, we had not been familiar with the stores that unlocked cell phones so a purchase was definitely needed (since then I have seen unlocking services offered by stores in Swan Street and another on St. Micahel’s Rowe. I went online and researched phone prices, plans and special promotions offered by the island’s two cellular service providers, Digicel and LIME. Since many people we knew had a Digicel phone, it was more cost-effective for us to subscribe to their services but purchasing a phone from that company, or its rival, did not seem to be the most economic. After some online research and discussions with some good friends, we settled on purchasing our new phones from Electronics on Edge in Bridgetown, a retail enterprise that sells electronics and accessories.

                             The store is easy to find, opposite Cave Shepherd underneath its monochromatic sign. As I entered, I was struck by its clean simplicity. It is a bright, narrow space lined with long glass display cases on either side, shelves gracing one of its walls, and the customer service desk straight ahead, fully in the customer’s line of vision from the entrance.

                             I said “Good morning” to the young ladies near the entrance, sitting behind the glass cases to my right. One mumbled, the others said nothing. Not a good first impression. I went to the customer service desk where I was greeted, with a smile, by two others. I knew what I wanted and asked for it. The products were brought to me, by the mumbling young lady from the beginning of my experience, so that I could inspect them. Once I was satisfied, one of the customer service ladies told me she would give me the phones at a particular price. A good sales tactic which made it seem as if I was getting a good deal, which would have worked if I had not pored over their website for days and was already aware that the price she offered was the asking price. I smiled, made my purchase and signed under the 3 month warranty offered by the store on its phones. I would be remiss not to mention the free screen protector that I was given and that the young lady who showed me the phones turned out to be quite polite. I left the store pleased.

                             Unfortunately, the phones had a few issues that were diagnosed after purchase. In synopsis, after the technician did his best to figure out what was going on, the phones were exchanged with no problems. The technician was polite and professional. He answered all of my questions fully, which was helpful. I had been unable to go back to the store myself to exchange my phone, but my husband, who did so for me, reported that the owner himself was apologetic. We were also given adapters for our phone chargers since one was designed for Latin American electrical outlets and the other for Asian ones. It also gives a clue to why Electronics on Edge can afford to be fairly reasonably priced.

                             Since then I returned and purchased iPad accessories which are serving me well. Overall, Electronics on Edge is a valid option in cellphone retail. The store presents well, reminding me of the smooth edges of the electronics it sells. The products are properly displayed and easy to find. The business also has integrity, honouring its warranties and investigating issues thoroughly. The technician is knowledgeable, and he and the ladies behind the customer service desk are professional.

                             The kink in E on E’s armour would be the ladies in the front. They are the store’s first representatives and it would help if they are more engaging; nothing that some customer service training cannot correct. In the end, I give Electronics on Edge three and a half Barbados flags out of five for its affordability, presentation, customer service and business integrity. One and a half stars were deducted for the first impression and the trips that had to be made back and forth to the store due to initial challenges with the phones’ function and chargers which could not fit electrical outlets in Barbados.

                           flag bim flag bim flag bim flag bim

Ask Bajan Mom: Buying Cars in Barbados

Q: Hi there, Bajanmom. This is my first time commenting but I have been reading your posts for a couple of weeks now. My question is,  what are car prices like in Barbados? I am trying to figure out if I should buy a car here or in Barbados after I move. Thanks. UKB

A: UKB, thank you for your question. I wish you had given me more information like your age, where you live, how long you lived overseas,  and when you are planning to move to Barbados. Information like that would help me to understand if you fall under the rights and privileges of returning nationals or not and also assist in making price comparisons. That said, I will answer you to the best of my ability.

Let me address your first question first. I have found that, due to Barbadian taxes and duties, that Barbadian vehicles are almost four times more expensive than those in the US. When I was in the States I visited US and Barbadian car dealership websites, which gave me an idea about costs. I also called dealerships in Barbados to ask if they would be able to service the particular brand or model I was investigating, since these are factors to consider as well. So, for example, let us look at the 2014 Toyota Rav 4. In the US, according to www.toyota.com, this vehicle’s 2.5L Gasoline engine model’s starting price is US$23,550, that is roughly BD$47,100. In Barbados, the 2013 model of similar engine size retails for a starting price of BD$166,995 or US$83,497.50. If my maths serves me correctly, the 2013 Rav4 in Barbados is 3.5 times plus more expensive than its 2014 equivalent in the US.

I should warn you, however, that your decision to purchase your vehicle overseas is not as simple as which country has cheaper vehicles. If you are a returning national (see criteria here), you will be allowed ONE motor vehicle free of all duties and taxes with certain restrictions. If the car is used, it cannot be more than four years old or have more than 50,000 kms on the odometer unless you have proof that you owned it at least four years before importation. If it is new, the vehicle must be retained for at least three years. Each year you must provide proof from the Licensing Authority that the vehicle is still registered in your name.

If you are not a returning national, expect 45% import duty, an environmental levy determined by whether your vehicle is new or used, 17.5% Valued Added Tax, an excise tax based on engine size and port charges. Furthermore, depending on where you live, you may want to import a left-hand drive vehicle. If so, please note that the insurance for left-hand drive vehicles in Barbados is considerably more than their right-hand drive counterparts. If you will incur taxes and duties anyway, getting a right-hand drive in Barbados may be a better choice for you. In terms of the type of vehicle you may want to purchase, you also need to consider road tax which increases in accordance to the vehicle’s weight.

I cannot make your decision for you, but I hope that the information that I have provided will assist you in some way. Some Barbadian car dealership sites you may want to visit are Nassco, Simpson Motors, and McEnearney.

Best wishes,

Bajan Mom

RSPCA – Save a life, Make a Friend

saving a dog

This page is for the animal lovers. If you are looking for a pet, or looking for a companion for your furrier family members, before seeking to purchase, why not take a drive on the Spring Garden Highway and stop by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals? Before leaving the island, my husband and I had the privilege of utilising some of their services. We employed the Society’s veterinary services for our dogs and adopted a lovely white older dog of indeterminate origin named Venus. Sadly, we also had their assistance when we had to find a home for our beautiful Great Dane mix in 2003. Naresh Belgrave, an employee at the RSPCA, was very considerate and kept us updated, letting us know when our Thunder found a good home a week later. The RSPCA also has kennels for those owners who need somewhere for their pets to stay while they are overseas, renovating their homes, or to spare their furry friends in the hustle and bustle of a busy move.

               My daughter is interested in becoming a vet and my sons love animals, so we were quite pleased when Dr. Joyanne Pollard gave of her preciously little spare time to accommodate a visit from my family last weekend. (Thank you again, Dr. Pollard!) The short tour was enjoyable and informative. At that time Dr. Pollard said that there were 48 animals waiting to be adopted. Of course, these numbers constantly change as animals are adopted and new ones arrive. Case in point, we saw these gorgeous brothers last weekend and by this weekend, they are enjoying new homes after adoption.

Photo by Naresh Belgrave, RSPCA

Photo by Naresh Belgrave, RSPCA

               There are others waiting for adoption, however, so feel free to visit them at their Cheltenham Lodge location, next to Courts Warehouse. You can also call the RSPCA at (246) 426-3077 or visit their frequently updated Facebook page for more information. Most of the dogs and all of the puppies, since they are more susceptible to diseases such as Parvo, are vaccinated. The cats and kittens are wormed and treated for fleas, however, if the new owner wants the adoptee to be vaccinated, then the new owner may pay to have this done. All adult animals are neutered before going to their new homes. Volunteers (from age 11) and donations are always welcome. So why not save a life, and make a friend today?

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Important Information for Returning Nationals and other Expatriates

View of the Barbados Port Authority Entrance at dusk Photo by Bajan Mom

View of the Barbados Port Authority Entrance at dusk
Photo by Bajan Mom

International relocation is a complex process which is made simpler by having the right information. One advantageous tool is the Returning Nationals information booklet, prepared by the Barbados Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. Returning nationals are defined here as Barbadian citizens who are at least 50 years old that lived in Barbados for at least 183 days in a year at some time prior to leaving the country. Such persons should have lived overseas for at least ten years and deportees do not fall into this category. Despite the specific definitions, there is information in the booklet that is also useful to other migrants. This 58-page document is a gold mine of valuable knowledge about the rules and regulations governing an expatriate’s return. Addressed issues include:

  • granted concessions in regards to household effects, vehicles, etc.,
  • procedures to establish eligibility,
  • clearing your belongings,
  • varying charges,
  • customs brokerage, and
  • duty-free concessions.

Below is a link to the second edition of the booklet, published in March 2007.

Returning Nationals Information Booklet

Further information may be garnered from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Facilitation Unit for Returning Nationals, located at 1 Culloden Road, St. Michael. You may also telephone at 431-2200 or email Barbados@foreign.gov.bb.

The Relocation Checklist

Aeroplane on tarmac at Grantley Adams INt'l Airport

Aeroplane on tarmac at Grantley Adams International Airport, Christ Church, Barbados
Photo by Bajan Mom

              Moving is stressful enough without having all of your plans careening through your head like a cerebral whirlwind. It is best to write everything down so that you may achieve greater focus.

               Below is a generalized version of my list. I will add to it gradually since there were some areas covered that I did not write down that I may recall later. I will also expand what is here by providing additional information on specific actions in other posts. Here are some essentials in no particular order:

ü        Figure out what you are taking with you, selling and giving away. This is crucial to the decision about container size. A good company will send a representative to your home to assess what you have to help you envision the container sizes and what can reasonably fit.

ü        Once you have decided on a date, contact the moving company at least 4 – 6 weeks in advance, depending on your current location. Containers take a considerable amount of time to reach their destinations and the moving company needs to be able to reserve appropriate time for the shipment. Do not give yourself unnecessary stress by waiting until too late.

ü        Call at least 3 companies to get estimates and be sure they include Barbados Customs fees, broker fees, etc. in their price. Shippers know you are trying to get value for money and some may not include Barbados fees in their estimates to appear as if you are getting a bargain. Ask them about these matters upfront to avoid surprises.

        Ask your chosen moving company for some boxes, Bubble Wrap, etc. Although they can do all the packing, there may be some items you want to pack for yourself such as medical records and other private documents.

– ..   If the house to which you go is smaller than the last and you cannot bear to part with your possessions, research the island’s storage facilities. Two such facilities are Pro-Storage and Store All.

ü       Make arrangements for alternative accommodation, just in case. You may have rented or purchased an unfurnished home, but you have to wait for your container to arrive to decorate it. The shippers will give you an estimated time of arrival, but this does not necessarily mean the container will meet this deadline. Whether it is staying at a relative, friend, guesthouse or hotel, be sure that you have a backup plan.

ü       Purchase your airline tickets. Ensure your passports, visas etc. are up-to-date. Be sure to have a portfolio folder or some other method to keep all of these documents together. Ensure they are not accidentally packed away in boxes during the moving melee. You would be surprised at the kinds of things movers put in boxes when you are not looking.

ü       Research policies on what items are duty-free and the requirements for importing motor vehicles. I will expand further in another post. It is also a good idea to have your car fully serviced before travel. This is not only as a safety and cost-effective measure, but having the car in good condition is one of the requirements for importation.

  ü  Research public schools for the children that are near your chosen place of abode or investigate private schools. Barbados has over 70 public elementary or primary schools and 23 public secondary schools. There are also a number of private schools so you have a myriad of options. I will expound on this further in another post, but until then, explore your options by talking with persons within your Barbadian support system and by calling the Ministry of Education for information. It is possible that you may have to provide documents to prove your child is a Barbadian citizen so he/she may benefit from free education.

ü       Inform your children’s current school that you are leaving. Get copy of school records if required.

ü       Real estate: If you are returning to your own home be sure to refer to your tenants’ lease agreement and give adequate notice. If you are looking to rent or purchase, there are a number of real estate agencies at your disposal. Again, contact information will be provided over the course of this site’s development. Until then, a good resource is www.cariblist.com, which advertises available properties for rent or sale under varying categories.

ü        Especially if you have good, up-to-date health insurance, make appointments for physicals, dental, ophthalmology etc. before leaving. Be sure to have up-to-date vaccinations, and request all medical records from physicians.

ü        Stock up on prescription medication and any personal care products. There are certain brands that you like that may not be readily available in Barbados. Of course, this is not to say that you may not find viable alternatives.

ü        Make job enquiries. The labour market in Barbados is currently skewed in the employers’ favour. Finding work is not easy in this current economic climate where lay-offs have become too common. Start your search early and be diligent.

ü       Be sure to alert the following about your move/ change of address and ask about refunds where appropriate. Some companies will not give you unless you ask:

o   Banks

o   Credit card companies

o   Utility Companies:

§  Electricity

§  Water

§  Gas

§  Telephone

§  Cellular Phone

§  Internet

§  Cable

§  Lawn Service

§  Security Company

o   Car Insurance

o   Health Insurance

o   Gym

o   Water Delivery

o   USPS

ü        Try to get your new abode’s utilities in your name as soon as possible and your Barbados driver’s licence. This makes opening a bank account in Barbados easier, since you need to provide proof of residence in order to open an account if you have none there already.