Fire at Harlequin’s Buccament Bay – report of arson by unpaid employees

Harlequin’s management silent on report of arson

St. Vincent’s I-Witness News is today reporting that a fire at Harlequin’s Buccament Bay Resort “might have been started by disgruntled employees for non-payment of wages.”

I-Witness News bases its story on unnamed reports and sources, and also says that Harlequin’s management has so far failed to respond to press inquiries. How strange. We thought that the Harlequin management team would be right on this like any professional organisation is these days.

Bucket Brigade and Garden Hoses? Oh My!

Where are the sprinklers and fire hoses?

Just as disturbing as the reports of arson are the photos of staff forming a bucket brigade in their attempts to put out the fire.

Buckets? Garden hoses? Excuse us folks, but isn’t this a 5-star resort where people bring their loved ones to unwind and have a little fun time? One would think that a new resort would have been designed with guest and worker safety in mind and be equipped with the latest alarm, fire sensors and sprinkler systems.

What? Are there no sprinkler systems in the rooms? No fire hoses with sufficient capacity? How many fire points are there in the resort?

Employee emergency fire response at Buccament Bay is a bucket brigade and garden hoses? !!!

My, my oh my!

If this fire is reflective of the building, training and emergency standards put into place by Harlequin, perhaps Barbados authorities had better take another look at what Harlequin is doing on our fair island. Whether the Buccament Bay fire was accidental or deliberate hardly matters if there are no adequate sprinklers, fire hoses or staff emergency training.

Further Reading

I-Witness News: Fire at 5-star Buccament Bay Resort

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43 Comments

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43 responses to “Fire at Harlequin’s Buccament Bay – report of arson by unpaid employees

  1. yatiniteasy

    I have a friend who lives in St Vincent….the word on the street is that Harlequin is very bad at paying local suppliers and contractors…its only a matter of time before this bubble/ponzi scheme blows up.
    They have announced they are purchasing another Barbados South coast hotel.
    Assets International continue to state the following;
    ” You will therefore be pleased to know that Harlequin Hotels & Resorts are currently in the process of purchasing an existing hotel in Barbados on the South Coast. Over the coming 18 months the hotel will be refurbished in phases and brought up to Harlequin’s unique 5 star standards. ”
    ” Harlequin cannot disclose which hotel this is, or confirm its exact location, due to Non Disclosure Agreements, and until they have completed on the purchase. However, we have been advised that it is frontline beach and we’re sure will prove to be another huge success, offering the ultimate in luxury and adding a superb hotel to Harlequin’s ever growing portfolio within the Caribbean. “

    What a joke, they are stuck on the Hastings project for weeks now…no work being done at all.Yet they are being actively sold in the UK,based on opening Nov 2013…and the prices are not cheap!

    rental returns are anticipated to start … November 2013
Harlequin Hotel, Barbados
    Pool & Garden View Studios
     
    Ground Floor Studio      £250,000
First Floor Studio           £255,000
Second Floor Studio      £260,000
    Ocean Front Studios
    Ground Floor Studio       £270,000
First Floor Studio            £280,000 “
     
    Lots of luck with this, Investors.

  2. Dave allen

    There is no fire ring main on the B.B. site and no fire hydrant points this is totally against all building regulations Harlequin cut all the corners. It is time someone in S.V. with some knowledge of construction went to B.B. and inspected the project and actioned the shoddy work before someone is killed.

  3. John

    The hotel is the amaryllis barbados…. Not a very nice hotel…. Needs lots of work done to it.

  4. yatiniteasy

    @john…great location though..nice beach frontage with a created pool in the sea…pity if Harlequin gets it.

  5. St George's Dragon

    So does the St Vincent building code require a fire main and sprinklers?
    The Barbados one doesn’t because it only exists in draft and is not mandatory. Why?

  6. robert ross

    @ BFP and YATIN

    I need to speak to you URGENTLY about Raul Garcia.

  7. robert ross

    @ BFP

    I’m taking up no space on this post. WHY are you not responding to me?

  8. Jeff King

    John you are incorrect the hotel Harlequin is rebuilding is the old Allamanda next to KFC in Hastings. Amaryllis is downhill around the corner from the Garrison Savannah it’s owned by a Scandanavian not Ames.

  9. victor

    Yeah, dream on. Those kind of tourists can’t afford to come anymore.

  10. BFP

    Hi Robert,

    Sorry, didn’t see your comment until now. If you’d like to discuss this privately please send an email to barbadosfreepress@yahoo.com or leave a private message on the contact page here: http://barbadosfreepress.wordpress.com/contact/

  11. robert ross

    @ BFP

    Have already sent two ‘contact’ emails from yahoo and hotmail. In response to yours above I have sent a further email from hotmail. Am waiting your response to that to know we’re linked.

  12. BFP

    Hi Robert,

    It’s sent.

  13. robert ross

    @ BFP

    Forgive….you received my email or sent a response?

  14. Kevin Webster

    Up until February I was employed as a contracts manager on Harlequin Developments Construction Site at Buccament Bay.
    I was responsibLe for the building off and most importantly the development of the new villas and block two.
    However when I was ordered to use Mr Andy Smith (procure indirect) foreign workers , all from Prague , instead of excellent qualified local brothers & sisters . When I question this practice I was told by Messers Smith , Campion and Ghent that if I didn’t “toe the Company line” then I would be out.
    Without hesitation I resigned . I do not want my professionalism and great work ethics ruined by such devious and underhanded business practices.
    I was contacted by Simon Terry (Lawyer) and told I must leave st Vincent immediately and that if I mentioned anything about Harlequin or Buccament Bay, that I would be sued.

    How dare this pompous and arrogant Man and Company deal with me like this. I suffered daily threats and acusations from Harlequin People, especially a Mr Shaun Ghent who actually told me “I will make you disappear Boy” how dare he . He is a nasty , racist ,rude and angry man who tries to intimidate because he is a big overweight bully.
    Just a small point. These are my lands and Islands, as a Proud Bajan Man, don’t come here and try and throw your weight around.
    We are a proud People West Indians and we know how to deal with imperialist racists . How dare he call me “boy”.

    I continue to get threats of Legal action against me and also violent, intimidatory threats from the South African bully boy. Everywhere he now goes he has a heavily tattooed man and a big German shepherd dog with him, does that mean the bodyguard now needs a bodyguard.

    I am happy to stand by all my words and actions.

    Kevin Webster

  15. 144

    Wow, if that is true, how are we allowing these people to do business in our islands? They are evidently running a scam based on all the evidence and to threaten people like that, shame on our authorities for allowing them to continue to operate here. The bully will pick on the wrong guy soon I would think.

  16. 189

    revolt- thats what happens when you treat people like slaves

  17. mountgayfan

    to be honest ,I dont think the race card should be played here ,its a nest of corruption plain and simple ,obviously with harlequins people at the top . Throughout the build a procession of personalities and egos have attempted to build a large resort with limited funds.trampling on peoples livelyhoods and careers to perpetuate their ineffective management techniques .
    A lot of senior management and support staff without much hands on supervision by the looks of it
    We have had people of various nationalities taking backhanders , some indigenous and some not ( by the way what does that mean these days – does the majority population believe that their group has been in this region since the dawn of time in isolation?)
    no slaves 189 ,the british stamped that out 170 years ago ,slavery still exists in some regions of the world as it always has and always will as its in their culture ,along with amputations and other forms of cruelty.
    White management not keen on employing black supervisors and Black management not keen on employing white supervisors ,it works both ways and it is the way of the world !

  18. Kevin Webster

    “Race Card”

    You were not there. You were not insulted by the manner or attitude of this man, Who incidentally is an extremely large and aggressive South African man. He intimidates and threatens people continuously.
    Do not tell me how to feel when it was i who was insulted. It is i who has had threats against me

    The way these people deal with our Local Brothers and Sisters is in an extremely patronizing, threatening and racist manner.

    Apologies Sir, but you were not there and you have not had to work under these conditions or threats.

    Harlequin and Buccament Bay allow an overgrown bully to do what he wants to do. He walks around with a Big tattooed Man and a Dog, as he now feels he needs a bodyguard.

    Kevin

  19. 31

    I Wonder if any of the Buccament Bay workers employed by Mr Webster while he was the Project manager for the previous contractor, would call him ” arrogant , threatening , patronizing , and aggressive , intimidating or a racist . Mr Webster must know that you don’t have to be big to be a bully.
    as the post from “mountgayfan” said it goes both ways . sounds like the shoes on the other foot Mr Webster.

    A interested bystander ;

  20. Kevin Webster

    Could i please correct Mr Jeff King.

    Sir
    you are wrong, Harlequin have indeed purchased the Amaryllis Hotel. They announced it to the World last week , AT the same time they were refusing to pay Contractors and Staff . Good honest People who carry out there duties and deserve payments.
    However it is more important for the megalomaniac Ames to continue to add to his Ponzi empire at the expense of others. While the workers at Buccament Bay are kept waiting for salarys, the little man with delusions of grandeur flies the world First Class.
    World wide , well except Thailand, as the excellent expose by Mr Andrew Drummond highlights and also it was aired on Radio in ST Vincent on the past weekend . Ames cannot go to Thailand as he has robbed, swindled and defrauded People out of Millions of Dollars, exactly as he is doing at Buccament Bay and all the other developments

    Like all little men Ames surrounds himself with a Team of Bodyguards , he has state of the art Security at his home and offices in England. Who is he scared off

    I wonder if the Amaryllis is a Mary Celeste (Andrew Smiths Words) the same as the Allamanda Hotel has proved to be, Due to useless surveys by incompetent Staff at the Harlequin Offices in Oiystins . They got the survey so badly wrong that refitting work will costs millions in extra costs.

    It made my day when i realised who was responsible for these costs and extreme neglect as he was one of the main reasons i left the employment of Harlequin at Buccament Bay. I refused to work with incompetents like David Campion,

    Well you really messed up at the Allamanda Campion, Good Work

  21. John

    Jeff, harlequin own both hotels…..

  22. John

    Is it true that one the local contractors lost one of his machines last week? Due to Harlequin not paying the burnt his new machine which cost in excess of $75,000 and his insurance refuse to pay out now….

  23. Kevin Webster

    Mr Austin Bullock , Layou resident and contractor at Buccament Bay Development had his Excavator / Digger burnt to the ground

    All due to unpaid Workers. They word is that one of the disgruntled Contractors mistook it for Harlequin Property.

  24. Kevin Webster

    I Wonder if any of the Buccament Bay workers employed by Mr Webster while he was the Project manager for the previous contractor, would call him ” arrogant , threatening , patronizing , and aggressive , intimidating or a racist . Mr Webster must know that you don’t have to be big to be a bully.
    as the post from “mountgayfan” said it goes both ways . sounds like the shoes on the other foot Mr Webster.

    A interested bystander ;
    Mountgayfan

    I am a Bajan and a very proud West Indian Man, I am not a racist .

    When i worked for the previous Company i was very highly respected and treated well by ICE and Ridgeview. They were perfect Gentlemen to work for as you well know.

    They paid on time and treated the workforce respectfully. The crews i had working for me , were well treated and given the respect they are due
    I am proud to say i am still in touch with many of my ex-colleagues, Brothers and Sisters.

    Kevin

  25. John

    Interesting facts, your Kevin Webster who was the Project Director on the site in SVG?

  26. Kevin Webster

    I worked on the site in SVG Yes.

    During the time i was there , we never had any issues with arson, non-payments or violence.
    Well not until Harlequin brought in so many outsiders and changed all working conditions.
    There were two really decent gentlemen who were in charge. Joerg and garret but then we had David Campion come in, he only listens to hs own voice and nobody else has an opinion.

  27. The Real Kevin Webster

    Good Afternoon All,

    It is time to clarify who the “Real Kevin Webster” is and I can assure you it is not the individual how has previously posted his personal comments on this website.
    It is a shame to see that those of you who have “A Bone To Pick” choose to hide behind the image of others creating false impressions of those who are so busy with our daily lives we are unaware there is someone out there stealing our identity.

    It is interesting to see that the “Kevin Webster” when asked by “John” if he was the “Project Director on the site in SVG” did not come out and directly acknowledged that he was indeed that person. Why??? Because he is an imposture using the identity of the “Real Kevin Webster” to vent his fustrations to the world using anothers identity.

    As adults those of you who have participated in this conversation should find a better method of venting/addressing you “issues” as this is both childlike and unprofessional.

    To “Kevin Webster” I suggest that you find another means of communicating/addressing your problems with Harlequin or any other party for that matter. As of this afternoon the “Real Kevin Webster” will be contacting his lawyer to determine what steps can be taken if any against “Kevin Webster”, “BFP” or any other party who continues to use the identity of the “Real Kevin Webster” to personal satisfaction.

    As for the “Real Kevin Webster” despite having parted ways with Harlequin in 2010 there still remains an amicable relationship with those at Harlequin. The “Real Kevin Webster” has no issues with Harlequin or any other party for that matter. Life is too short.

    To all have a nice day!!!

  28. rastaman

    Interesting post.Wonder why the “false” Kevin Webster would have to use someone else’s name?Couldn’t he /she have just posted annonymously?

  29. yatiniteasy

    @the real Kevin Webster…if you are the real Kevin, please provide your address and phone number. Bet you won`t!

  30. harlecon101

    We note with interest that “A” second “Kevin Webster” has now appeared, we know from our investigations where the first Kevin Webster posted some of his comments to our site from.
    and it was not Barbados, we however do believe that the latest Kevin Webster is from Barbados, maybe BFP could confirm this.

    Neither “Kevin Webster” was ever project director of the Buccament Bay Resort.

    Regardless of who is really who, The facts remain,

    (1). Mr Austin Bullock , Layou resident and contractor at Buccament Bay Development had one of his JCB Backhoe’s badly damaged in a fire which seems to have occurred within the cab. The fire was not very hot as the glass of the cab remained intact. The fire occurred down by the Apartment Blocks being constructed on or about Thursday the 17th of May. On Saturday the 18th of May at approx 10.30 am the BackHoe was removed from the Buccament Bay site.

    (2). There was a Kevin Webster that was employed on the project up to October 2010, He did work for Mr. David Campion, Development Director of Harlequin Developments and Mr. Andy Smith CEO of Harlequin Developments and indeed also the CEO of Procure-it Direct from Prague. It is also worth noting that Procure-it Direct were awarded the procurement contract for Harlequin in Barbados on their prestigous Alamanda Hotel. Indeed the signs state that this hotel will open in 2012 with Ames stating that the Hotel will open in 2013.

    Furthermore Prague is in the Czech Republic and that is where many of the expatriate employees come from who are employed on the Buccament Bay site.

    (3) The first Kevin Webster stated that he was employed on the Buccament Bay up to until Febuary and was responsible for the construction of Apartment 2 and the building of the new villas. We can state categorically that no new Villas have been constructed at the Buccament Bay site for nearly two years.

    (4) There are many employees of Harlequin “Developments” and Harlequin Hotels and Resorts who are paid late and paid short. This is fact. And many of these employees are direct labor.

    Regardless who the real Kevin Webster is many of the salient points remain mostly factual, if not slightly embellished in some cases by the “First” Mr. Kevin Webster, whether these original postings were carried out by a member of Harlequin or otherwise is not known. Could it be that Harlequin are attempting to entrap journalists and websites like BFP in order to prove defamation against them. Who knows?

    However what cannot be denied is the latest audited accounts by HMMSE, (Harlequin Property) in the UK, Which clearly appears from Carol Ames’s notes that all the Harlequin companies are inter-linked.

    These accounts have been disclaimed by the Auditors, (last year they were heavily qualified.)

    What does this mean, see below;

    “Although this type of opinion is rarely used, the most common examples where disclaimers are issued include audits where the auditee willfully hides or refuses to provide evidence and information to the auditor in significant areas of the financial statements, where the auditee is facing significant legal and litigation issues in which the outcome is uncertain (usually government investigations), and where the auditee has issues (the auditee may not continue operating in the near future). Investors, lending institutions, and governments typically reject an auditee’s financial statements if the auditor disclaimed an opinion, and will request the auditee to correct the situations the auditor mentioned and obtain another audit report.”

    It is also worth noting that Mr. Matt Ames, who was arrested last year amidst allegations of fraud and who’s investigation is still ongoing received BDS $273,136.00 in 2011 and
    BDS $458,405.00 in 2010 from Harlequin. See Matt Ames is a 10% share holder of the company and thus is entitled to a dividend.

    The Ames family also borrowed BDS $ 15,300,248.00 of Investor / Purchaser deposits for the purchase of overseas properties in the names of the Ames family members. And lest we forget Mrs Carol Ames loaned BDS $ 31,613,291.00 of Investor / Purchaser deposits to a company called Buccament Bay Resort Ltd. However this is not the Hotel Operations Company, that is Harlequin Hotels and Resorts, It is not the Resort Development Company, that is Harlequin property SVG Ltd, It is not the contractor that is Harlequin Developments Ltd. And finally HMSSE retained BDS $132,272,188.00 of the Circa BDS $264,000,000, 264 Million BDS puchaser deposits paid by them in the 12 months to March 2011.

    All of the information is contained in the HMSSE audited accounts in the UK which are available for the public to see and can be downloaded from this link http://www.mediafire.com/?8155mm9v1xid18i

    And there are new revelations about Harlequin, SVG and their financiers on http://www.andrew-drummond.com Grumpy Old Men – The Good Life – And Financial Scammers

    So we wonder could it be that Harlequin and the Ames family are trying to divert attention from the very real and serious issues surrounding their companies and the fact that they cannot account for the Investor / Purchaser funds.

    Does it really matter who the real Kevin Webster is, do we really need to know his number or email address. ????

    Carol Ames at the start of the Audited accounts trys to make sad pathetic excuses and reasons why the Auditors BDO did not or were not able to sign off on the accounts. Anyone thinking of investing in this company should first check their credit rating in the UK. Sadly Harlequin given their current credit rating in the UK would not be able to raise cash to buy a shovel.

  31. John

    Harlecon 101, why don’t you tell us all who you are and how you obtain all this information.

  32. rasta man

    All very quite here with regards to HQ, I see the Mr. Ghent lasted long on the resort. Where he now? Someone need to tell he to show respect, he can’t talk to we like we dirt.

  33. Dear Sir,

    I find a lot of the minor comments very churlish and should be left for the playground. What is important is that Dave Ames, Simon Terry and the Bully Boy Ghent are walking all over the good people of St Vincent.
    They are egotistical megalomaniacs who use threats and bribes to get their own way.

    How on earth could Mr Simon Terry state that it was a “Minor Fire” ? we have all seen the photos, the building was gutted by the fire. I note that Mr Terry has been silent about the latest arson attack at Buccamen Bay. Why is that ?

    There are every day occurrences were Staff are threatened i=on the way to work. Because they are wearing the uniform of the Resort. Staff are openly stealing to get money back that they are owed, Take a drive from Kingstown towards the Airport on most days and you will see Resort Vehicles at the side of the road and Porters and drivers can be seen going through Guests bags.

    Were is the Security Chief ? Oh hang on Ames has deserted the shores for yet another Holiday and so has his Minder!

    It is strange to note that with all the rumours , allegations and publicity that shows Harlequin and in particular the Ames / Fagan Dynasty in such bad light that they just go on yet another “Holiday”. Has Ames now taken on the role of the “Artful Dodger”. This little man is making a fortune from Innocent Peoples Pension Funds, Life Savings and off the Hard Work of the Wonderful People of St Vincent.

    Were are the Police and Government of St Vincent to stop this mass fraud and the thefts from their people ? Well to stop thefts or to protect your People maybe you should inform them to close they hands, pockets and wallets and earn a decent days wage . Not just take Bribes.

    When presented with irrefutable evidence of theft on behalf of Senior Management and Security Chief Ghent . The Police do “Nothing”

    Staff cannot speak out as they have been threatened with instant dismissal.The General Manager of Buccamen Kevin Smith is a spineless excuse for a Man. He wont say anything as he too is frightened for his job, but then why be concerned about your job when all you do is say “Yes Sir”

    The latest incident were Mr Austin Bullock had his Heavy Machine burnt out . Security didnt report it to him or the Police, they watched him drive in to the site in the morning and didnt mention it, Then when Mr Bullock approached them and asked what happened the answer “We didnt do it”
    So by inference they no who did.

    Ghent was as always when anything happens at Buccamen , not there. Were was he you ask ? Eating icecream in the HQ Shop. Apparently he has moved his desk in there, so Staff say.

    So what will happen with this whole debacle ?

    One thing you can be sure of , it will be the People of St Vincent, the Investors and Local Contractors who suffer. Because Ames and Ghent will have run away with Simon Terry long before the s… hits the fan

  34. 158

    Yet another site has come up by an investor claiming all sorts of wrong doing, http://www.harlequin-property-problems.co.uk/ Harlequin by all accounts are crooks taking money from people and delivering nothing in return other than constant broken promises. Who can put a stop to this before more innocent people lose out?

  35. rasta man

    He Ghent need to noo he come to our country, we rasta no like black African, we no slave and we talk with respect. He come our island not we go he island. he want to come our island he come with respect and show us. I hope he never return to St.Vincent.

  36. rastaman

    @rasta man:Seems I will have to change my name.?????

  37. rasta man

    Maybe you will, I a rasta also in SVG, I not say where to many people will know if I give he clue. Why we have these problems all the time?

  38. pudding n souse

    It seem like the latest white bosses thrown off job ,w’happen there man?

  39. 138

    Ask the question : look to the SVG government who OK’d the project

  40. 138

    I hear a lot about getting respect , and an other white boss .
    Respect is earned and not demanded ?.
    Please don’t tar every one with the same brush.

  41. 64

    it would appear that buccament bay has a new general manager. if you look at the old line up of management and the current line up, the GM , director of food n beverages, chef, hospitality/guest liason person have all changed. only 2 of the original appointees appear to still be there. wonder why???

  42. LOL!!!!!! CAN WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? ( RODNEY KING).

    Mr. Ames
    Do the right thing and let’s get this beautiful project done.
    To the real Kevin Webster: What’s up Boss.

    SILENCE!!!!!!!!

  43. J chalmers

    Why oh why has nothing been done about situation at buccament bay resort following letter by Harry James in July people want work but won’t go there because staff not paid regularly or on time and now no doctor on site and staff being shot.please Harry at least keep writing and Vincentians unite to get these crooks off your beautiful island

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