Daily Archives: June 15, 2006

ENRON: Sublime Irony From Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur

As reported in the Nation News online here, Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur made the following comment while addressing the Institute of Chartered Accountants at the Caribbean's 24th annual conference at Hilton Barbados…

"Happily, we in the Caribbean have thus far been spared Enron-type experiences.

"The duty falls now on our accountants, especially those performing the role of auditors, in addition to our lawyers and other gatekeepers, to ensure that there is no erosion in our system of corporate governance, fragile as it is." …

…Barbados PM Owen Arthur addressing Institute of Chartered Accountants

ENRON Barbados Connections

When the Prime Minister made his Enron comments, was his tongue planted firmly in-cheek? Or perhaps he was just being cheeky?

The Caribbean and Barbados figured prominently in the Enron scandal. Perhaps the PM just had a memory lapse, so we shall remind him…

* ENRON management used Caribbean and Barbados offshore companies and banks to set up some 900 front companies to facilitate the movement of money to the detriment of Enron shareholders.

* Barbados and several of its Caribbean neighbors have been linked to the collapse of Enron, one of the world's largest energy companies, reports Tony Best (Jan. 21, 2002). According to documents which Enron filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Texas-based energy giant had six subsidiaries in Barbados and they may have been used to help the company avoid paying federal income tax for four of the past five years. Enron had almost 900 subsidiaries in the Caribbean, most of them registered in the Cayman Islands and the Turks & Caicos Islands. The Enron reports showed that on December 31, 2000, the firm had 692 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands, 119 in the Turks & Caicos, 8 in Bermuda, 6 in Barbados, 4 in Puerto Rico and 1 each in Aruba and the British Virgin Islands. In addition, it had 43 in Mauritius, 2 in Hong Kong, 2 in Panama and 1 each in Singapore, Guam and Guernsey. Experts were quick to point out that Enron's actions were perfectly legal under U.S. laws and there was no evidence to suggest that the tax havens where Enron registered the offshore companies did anything illegal. (link here)

You Want Irony? Prime Minister Owen Arthur Calls For "Full Disclosure" For Corporate Governance (But Not For Elected Officials, Of Course!)

The same newspaper article quotes PM Owen Arthur as supporting a proposed regional code of corporate governance that would "strengthen the role of boards vis-a-vis management, to govern excessive payment of directors and to provide for full disclosure…"

Just hilarious.

This from the Prime Minister of Barbados after 12 years of failing to introduce any Conflict of Interest or public integrity legislation – despite a majority government.

What was that phrase again?

Oh yes… "Do as I say, not as I do"

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Filed under Barbados, Business, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Cricket World Cup 2007 – “Nothing Else Matters To The Powers That Be”

It doesn't matter whether you are a DLP, PEP or BLP supporter. I don't care if you are for or against Barbados hosting the Cricket World Cup, or whether you are monied, poor, old or young…

You simply must read in full Hartley Henry's article "Under the Microscope – Living for CWC" in today's Nation News online.

School About To Close For Lack of Funds – But Cricket Money Keeps On Coming

Challenor School for challenged children is about to close for lack of Government funding, and in the midst of this debate, Mr. Henry makes a number of points that ring of truth – whether inconvenient or not…

All of a sudden, it would appear that all Barbadians are working for and paying their taxes towards is the hosting of Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007. Nothing or no one else matters to the powers that be. We are all now living for the hosting of a cricket game.

On one evening a Prime Minister is on state television telling us of $135 million that has been spent on readying Kensington Oval for the hosting of a few cricket matches. Then, a few days later, a frustrated administrator of the Challenor School is almost tearfully telling us of how 60 gifted, but slightly challenged children will have their hopes of a brighter tomorrow dashed, because Government either refuses or is not in a position to give them the subvention that they require to keep the doors to that institution open.

Barbados Free Press has stated in the past – the costs for Cricket World Cup are out of control and it is not going to get any better. Spending priorities are upside down. School, health, water, sewage and other infrastructures are in crisis, but by God the elites will have their gin & tonics while they watch cricket at their new stadium.

As we wrote in our recent article "Barbados Government Triumph! – Plastic Water Drums Are Blue, With Faucet!"

Sometimes I get so angry, but other times I just want to weep – for the tragedy of Barbados citizens whose expectations have been driven so low that they are reduced to being grateful for a plastic water drum.

Scraps tossed from the table of those who are spending a third of a billion dollars on a few weeks of cricket.

We will leave you with a few more excerpts from Mr. Henry's article…

…There is no way under the sun that the Challenor School should be closing because of a lack of funds in a country that is forking out I predict, no less than 175 million hard- earned taxpayers' dollars to ready a cricket stadium for the hosting of a cricket match.

There is no way that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital should be going without adequate professional staff, amenities and medications, while $175 million is set aside for a cricket game, that will be witnessed live, by less than two per cent of our population.

There is no way that over 7 000 Barbadians should be on a waiting list at the National Housing Corporation for a house spot or rented unit, while $175 million is found to support the hosting of a cricket game.

Read all of "Under the Microscope – Living for CWC"

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Filed under Barbados, Island Life, Politics & Corruption

The Parish Behind God’s Back: Rural Barbados

theparishbehind.jpg

As our first offering this morning, Titilayo has posted her review of the book "The Parish Behind God's Back: The Changing Culture of Rural Barbados".

After reading her review – I want to read the book.

Have a look at either Gallimaufry or the cross-post at The Pan Collective.

A wave of the rum bottle to Global Voices for the tip. 

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Island Life