Monthly Archives: April 2013

Raul Garcia vs. Bajan national Earl Victor

handcuffed-barbados-hacker-2.jpg

Fabricated murder charge dropped, but Earl Victor still held for five years

by Nora

It was the Barbados Free Press (BFP) who blew the lid on the Director of Public Prosecution Charles Leacock corruption racket. It was the BFP who exposed the Earl Victor story last year, and I thank you for your objective reporting. (BFP editor’s note: We covered Victor’s earlier arrest crossing the US Canadian border too!)

If Raul Garcia must be made whole, what about Bajan national Earl Victor who Charles Leacock has been holding in custody for almost five years without a trial and without due process of law?

“The fabricated murder charge has been dropped against Earl Victor, but Leacock and Magistrate Randall Worrell would not release the man on bail unless his poor mother comes up with $75,000 cash and land and property.”

One would think after serving 5 years at Dodds Prison without trial, with the only current charge of procession of stolen property against Mr. Victor would be home with his family. The penalty for handling stolen property in Barbados should not be an indefinite sentence. Mr. Victor’s mother is poor and and can’t afford this kind of money Leacock and Magistrate Worrell are demanding for Earl’s release from custody.

Nora

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Human Rights

Barbadians should shake and fold!

The popular adoption of small ideas can lead to big changes. Here’s one from the TED Talks.

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Filed under Barbados, Environment

How government makes small, self-sufficient businesses support corporate leeches

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

Perhaps more than many, I can totally empathise with those individuals who have recently seen their business either fail or brought dangerously close to insolvency. In 47 years, it has happened to me twice and in both cases they were largely external forces which caused near personal financial catastrophe.

Of course, it is easy to attribute the blame to others, but in my case I can unequivocally state that both near failures, which occurred years apart, were largely caused by strike action in the United Kingdom involving the National Union of Seaman.

I personally witnessed bus loads of what can only be described as pickaxe wielding thugs, destroying property and intimidating ordinary people simply wanting to go about everyday work and operating their businesses. More than a decade later it was the same union blockading the English channel ports, which prevented literally thousands of our booked holidaymakers taking their hard earned trips.

Unless you have been a small entrepreneur and fully understand the work, sacrifice and dedication it takes to grow and nurture a business from nothing, it might be difficult to comprehend the feeling of sheer devastation you experience when all those efforts unfold and collapse in front of you.

Starting a business in Barbados

When we moved to Barbados some twenty five years ago and put our life savings into purchasing a derelict hotel, we were starting all over again.  Not surprising, the local banks we approached were not overly helpful, regularly quoting those seemingly worldly phrases like that we were ‘undercapitalised’ or ‘over trading’.  Little did we know then that these ‘pearls of wisdom’ would come back and haunt the many supposedly ‘responsible’ financial institutions, globally just years later. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Story changes… Nation News self-censoring? Government running the Nation News?

barbados-lawsuit-question.jpg

by Not Taken

In BFP’s post “Canadian tourists robbed at gunpoint in room. Sex assault upon wife as husband held at gunpoint.” it was said “The Nation News has withdrawn the original story from its website – probably to try to limit the public relations damage for the Barbados Tourism Authority……..”

On Saturday April 20 I read an article  “New tourism boost”  at http://www.nationnews.com.

On Sunday April 21 I read an article  “$11m plan to boost tourism”  at http://www.nationnews.com.

Both articles covered the Minister of Tourism’s unveiling of the “Barbados Island Inclusive” programme to members of the media.

When I first read the article on Saturday, the Minister was quoted as saying something to the effect that “there really is nothing to be gained by counting the numbers of visitors disembarking from airplanes and cruise ship gangplanks in Barbados; but rather the important thing is how much money they spend when they are here.”

When I read the Sunday article, I was surprised that the comments about the numbers of visitors was excluded.  Of course it is not surprising that he does not want to talk about 9% declines.

So I revisited the Saturday article; and to my greater surprise those comments were no longer in the Saturday article.

Is it possible that the Minister or someone else in Government was able to have the article re-written to exclude those very strange comments that the numbers of visitors do not matter?  Is it possible that  knowing the MOF was to have his rather gloomy economic update/press conference yesterday, the PM decided that it would be inappropriate for MOT to be upbeat one week, when the MOF would be saying he is “disappointed” with the the state of the economy the next week.

Given that neither you nor our friend Adrian has been all over those comments, I am guessing they were deleted before either of you saw them.

Both articles, the Saturday April 20 one being apparently re-written from the one I originally saw are copied below.  Each had a different photo.  In the Saturday photo The Minister and his colleagues all appear to be searching for an answer somewhere in their papers.

The Sunday article also excludes the following, which was in the Saturday issue.

“For example selected vendors at Oistins will be able to participate,” he said.

Sealy said 15 eating places have signed on for the programme adding the list as ‘not exhaustive’.

It is all very confusing

Not Taken

New tourism boost

SAT, APRIL 20, 2013 – 5:51 PM
Barbados will invest  $11 million on a new tourism product, ‘Barbados Island Inclusive’. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Freedom Of The Press

Lawyer Mark Goodridge named Queen’s Counsel – How many previously “Most Wanted by Police” are awarded QC?

QC mugshot?

QC mugshot?

Lawyer Mark Goodridge named Queen’s Counsel

“The honour which you have garnered has come at the price of your continued respect of the court system in which you work and of which you have been officers since the date of your admission to practise law,” Sir Marston told them.

“Those junior to you in years called, and in years born, will look to you for guidance and leadership. They must continue to receive it and to see it demonstrated, not only in your words, but in your actions, particularly in your respect for Her Majesty’s judges and her courts,” he said.

And with the words: “May I invite you to take your seat at the Inner Bar?”Sir Marston welcomed Deputy Solicitor General Donna Brathwaite, Speaker of Parliament Michael Carrington, Brian Clarke, Stephen Farmer, Hal Gollop, Mark Goodridge, Deputy Clerk of Parliament Nigel Jones, Milton Pierce and Stephen Walcott as new QCs.

Full story at The Nation Show Respect to Judges

I can’t remember what the end story was about Mark Goodridge…

There was some controversy about him back in 2006. Mark Goodridge and his son were charged with a racial attack on a young black man on his property, but then it all faded away without any public announcement that I saw. What was the ultimate disposition of all the happenings? Does anyone remember… because I can’t find it on the internet.

Barbados Free Press story published October 16, 2006 – Barbados Lawyer Wanted For Beating Of Teen – Thoughts Of Racial Tension, White Privilege & Black Attitudes

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Race

Raul Garcia free after being jailed illegally for three years

Raul garcia free Barbados

After serving a 20 year jail sentence for drug trafficking, and then being held illegally for almost three years by a Barbados Government that refused to obey a Supreme Court ruling, Raul Garcia walked free yesterday.

Barbados Free Press published over 20 articles about Garcia in the past year alone. The U.S. State Department issued a Human Rights Report criticising Barbados for continuing to illegally hold Garcia. The Barbados Bar Association took up his cause.

And still the government continued to hold Garcia against the order of the Supreme Court.

We celebrate today with Raul Garcia, and you know that the Bajan news media will focus on the joy of his release until public interest fades. There will be a few stories later on to say how Garcia is making out… but Bajans should continue to think about how our government ignored the Rule of Law. That is the big story here because it happens so frequently on this little rock that those in power develop an attitude that they are above the law. That’s the real story of Raul Garcia.

Garcia a free man
by Emmanuel Joseph

High Court judge approves Garcia’s release to rural family

Tonight, for the first time in almost a quarter of a century, Raul Garcia will sleep in a bed that is not owned by the state.

His 20 years of jail time for drug trafficking and more than three years of immigration detention, pending his deportation, came to an end just after 3 p.m. today, when the Cuban national, with hands raised, walked out of the Supreme Court, unescorted for the first time in seven months of hearings.

Garcia emerged from the Number 9 High Court Chambers with a broad smile, never before seen since proceedings began in front of Justice Margaret Reifer, hugging members of the Prison Ministries who had been supporting him in his quest to be freed from detention.

After spending “a few minutes” immediately outside the doors of the courtroom with his team of lawyers, the family with whom he will live and Prison Ministry officials, an emotional and visibly overwhelmed Garcia, spoke briefly with reporters on the steps of the judicial complex.

Struggling to fight back the tears, the Cuba-born man’s voice was heard in public for the first time since his “incarceration” for the past 23 years…

Thanks to Barbados Today for the photo. You can read Barbados Today’s full story here.

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Filed under Barbados, Human Rights

Harlequin Investor Group Update

Harlequin Resort

Harlequin Update – 25th April 2013

The Harlequin Investor Group (HIG) have met following the Harlequin presentations over the last few days.

The presentations brought forward two key issues.

1.      The re-financing of the Harlequin companies and the “Rescue Plan” and ;

2.      The quality of the initial advice surrounding the investments in Harlequin.

Re-Financing

The key to any financing is that those providing the monies are confident in both the company and the investors. We have little evidence as to the progress being made with regard to the finance.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues

Canadian tourists robbed at gunpoint in room. Sex assault upon wife as husband held at gunpoint.

Cheerful Commissioner Dottin comments on the recent tourist robberies

Commissioner ‘Do-nothing’ Dottin

Downstairs American couple also robbed at gunpoint

“Then he grabbed me inappropriately,” she said. “It felt like forever, but it was probably like a minute.”

“I’m laying there in my night dress thinking, ‘What the hell is going on?’”

The Nation News has withdrawn the original story from its website – probably to try to limit the public relations damage for the Barbados Tourism Authority – but that doesn’t stop the foreign press from reporting another violent gunpoint robbery of tourists in Barbados.

The Star newspaper in Toronto Canada is reporting that a Canadian couple was robbed at gunpoint in the Sea-U Guest House on Tuesday night. The wife was ‘touched inappropriately’ as the husband stood impudently by and made the wise decision to let his wife be sex assaulted instead of being shot.

From the news story the robbers would have kidnapped the couple had they had a rented vehicle. Another vacationing couple at the guest house was also robbed. They were from Virginia USA so the robbers took care of tourism from both the USA and Canada.

Our Commissioner of Police, “Do-nothing Dottin” had this to say about the tourist robberies… (nothing at all)

Meanwhile in other news two men shot at Barbados Water Authority employees last night, and a home was burned to the ground after someone tossed a Molotov cocktail.

Wonderful. Just wonderful. Just f’ing wonderful.

The local press can ignore violent tourist robberies all they want, but there is this little thing called The Internet where 90% of people research their vacations before deciding on the destination. When the politicians finally decide to care about the quality of life on this rock for all of us including the tourists, they can take a few logical steps…

  1. Fire Do-nothing Dottin
  2. Raise police salaries enough to attract the kind of police candidates that Barbados deserves
  3. Hire 100 new officers immediately to bring the RBPF up to strength.

Until all that happens and we see some improvements, be prepared to read more stories in the foreign press like this, while watching the tourism revenues tank…

York U profs robbed at gunpoint in Barbados

… from The Star, Toronto Canada Published on Thursday, April 25, 2013
Intruders in plaid shorts and bandanas entered their guesthouse and demanded money, access to the safe and a car, before doing the same in another unit.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, Police

Time for citizen oversight and control of lawyers

Crooked lawyer David Bryan turns from camera at court

Formerly crooked lawyer David Bryan turns from camera at court

Thieving lawyers shouldn’t be in charge of themselves

by Passin thru

Lawyers are one of the few groups in our society who get to set their own rules and are allowed to discipline their own wayward children without being accountable to anyone except themselves.

Now the lawyers are having a fight over paying dues to the Barbados Bar Association. You might remember this is the same Barbados Bar Association that usually lets thieving lawyers repay stolen money to not go to jail. Regular thieves don’t usually get such a deal in the courts!

And when citizens dare mention how many crooked lawyers there are, the Barbados Bar Association blames the victims – the public – for choosing crooked lawyers “at random”!

“If the lawyers don’t respect their own Bar Association enough to pay fees, then it’s time for the citizens to step in.”

I’d call upon Parliament to set up a citizens’ committee to provide oversight and discipline to lawyers, but too many of the MPs are lawyers themselves so the likelihood of change is about the square root of zero.

What an incestuous bunch they are and it’s all out of control at the moment.

Over the High Court

A High Court judge will have to determine whether lawyers are obligated to pay annual fees to the Barbados Bar Association to practise.

The association’s council has decided to take the matter to court because many attorneys at law refuse to pay the fees, but are still working. Continue reading

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Does Harlequin’s The Merricks have “full planning permission” or not? We have some doubts…

Merricks-Barbados-Bankrupt

Dave Ames says Merricks has “full planning permission” …

“Last month, Harlequin’s The Merricks Resort project in Barbados was finally granted full planning permission after years of protracted studies and work. It was initially anticipated that this process would be much quicker, but Harlequin has always kept purchasers updated with progress.”

Financial Times Adviser, Beleaguered Harlequin owed £30m by property buyers April 24, 2013

“Harlequin is delighted to announce that last week it received full planning permission for The Merricks Resort project in Barbados. There are normal conditions attached to the permission and our team is now working to ensure we have full compliance to allow us to commence works.”

Financial Times Adviser, Harlequin halts construction amid £9m legal battle April 9, 2013

BFP’s old friend St. George’s Dragon checked personally at the Planning Office and is not so sure…

Mr Ames announced at the investor meetings that Harlequin had received full planning for Merricks. I admit that I was skeptical about this so I thought I would drop into the Barbados Town & Country Planning Office this afternoon to check. It is possible for members of the public to check applications. The information you can see is limited, though. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Real Estate

Tourist statistics for March… say hello to the Germans!

Barbados German Tourists

This just in…

In the interest of fairness and accuracy, retired diplomat Peter Simmons stated on Down to Brass Tacks yesterday that visitor arrivals were down 9 per cent for the first three months of 2013.

While long stay visitor arrivals were down 9 per cent in both January and February, they were only down 1.6 per cent in March.

In fact, cruise ship passenger arrivals were up by 9.2 per cent in March 2013. This is when compared with the same periods in 2012.

What was that old saying about statistics and people who use them?

Okay, so we know life is tough ’bout hey, but what does this mean…

March 2013 cruise ship passengers up 9.2% over March 2012

BUT….

March 2013 overall tourist visits down 1.6% compared to March 2012

TRANSLATION…

We had a couple of bigger boats in compared with last year, but the overall visitors are down.

The Germans are coming! The Germans are coming!

We had an extra 367 German visitors in March 2013 over March 2012. How much did those extra visitors cost us in increased BTA spending in Germany? I know you can’t look at it like that because you have to consider the cumulative impact of advertising, but while the Barbados Tourism Authority people will be happy to talk about the increase in Germans, what do they say about the loss of 385 Canadians and 1,431 Americans during the same period?

This is too heavy for me on a Thursday morning. I need a Banks…

=========================================
.                             March        March        Net YoY           YoY%
.                               2013           2012            Change
=========================================
TOTAL                53,304         54,164           -860          -1.6%
U.K                       18,550         17,601            949           5.4%
U.S.A                12,222         13,653         -1,431         -10.5%
Canada              9,086          9,471           -385          -4.1%
Germany            1,343            976            367          37.6%
Other Europe          2,825          2,459            366          14.9%
Trinidad & Tobago  2,937          2,982            -45          -1.5%
Other Caricom         4,237          4,653           -416          -8.9%
Other Countries       2,104          2,369           -265         -11.2%
===========================================
SOURCE: Barbados Statistical Service

Further Reading

Bloomberg Cruise Stats: Barbados Cruise, March 2013

Bloomberg Tourism Stats: Barbados Overall March 2013

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Junior Campbell: Barbados Human Trafficking arrests are too late for many

“I also have difficulty with the assumption that men are the only people those women have to fear.

Information at my disposal suggests that there are more than a few violence-prone, bullying ‘madams’ operating in Barbados.”

by Junior Campbell, All Voices

Child Sex TraffickingThe first arrests for human trafficking by Barbadian authorities may have done little to reassure the US State Department about the country’s commitment to addressing this stain to its human rights record.

This seems to be the gist of a story appearing in the Nation newspaper today. Under the headline “Ring busted,” the local paper reports, “Police have smashed what they believe is a human trafficking ring here, and for the first time have charged individuals with this crime.
“As a result, a man and a woman will appear in court today jointly charged with human trafficking,” it continues.

And Inspector David Welch, the Royal Barbados Police Force’s (RBPF) public relations officer, is said to have confirmed that “the two were charged following a police raid of a bar in Nelson Street, The City, last Thursday.”

The paper also credits unnamed “reliable sources” for informing it that the man, a 22-year-old and the bar’s 36-year-old proprietress were arrested after police found five Guyanese women, dressed only in bathing suits, working in the bar.

“The five were between 17 and 21 years old” the report continues. It also says that investigations revealed that the women were not in possession of their passports and documentations and that there was evidence that they were part of a regional trafficking operation.

Passports are usually held by sex traffickers and other traders in human degradation and misery to prevent those they exploit from fleeing escaping their clutches.  Continue reading

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BREAKING: Harlequin Property applies to go into administration

 “The company is or is likely to become unable to pay its debts.”

Director Carol Ames of Harlequin Management Services (South East) Limited, Basildon at High Court, London on Monday April 22, 2013

URGENT BREAKING: David Ames said nothing during investor meeting although he knew!

“The Harlequin Investor Group met with David Ames yesterday afternoon. It is very disappointing that nothing was mentioned to the investor representatives.  The Harlequin Investor Group will now move to issue guidance to investors on how best to secure their investments in the Caribbean. “

Gareth Fatchett, Director – Solicitor & Notary Public – Regulatory Legal Solicitors special to Barbados Free Press

Notice of Appointment of Administrators   (PDF of Harlequin’s court papers)

Harlequin leaves Barbados with nothing but a huge mess

Harlequin leaves Barbados with nothing but a huge mess

House of Cards about to go?

Yesterday David Ames met with some investors and their lawyers from Regulatory Legal.

Did Ames inform the group that he had already moved to have his sales company apply for administration? NO he did not!

What does this do to ongoing negotiations with various shareholder groups?

What does this mean for those who have not filed complaints that invoke insurance coverage?

So many questions, but if you listen carefully you might hear the answer as the cards on the bottom start to bend and slide…

Harlequin Property applies to go into administration

(Echo-News.co.uk)

SOUTH Essex multi-million pound Caribbean investment firm Harlequin Property has applied for its sales arm to go into administration.

The business run by the Ames family from Wickford which is promoted by big name sports celebrities lodged an intention to appoint administrators for Harlequin Management Services (South East) Limited, of Honywood Road, Basildon, at the High Court in London yesterday.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Consumer Issues

Regulatory Legal met with David Ames & Harlequin – What now?

Harlequin Resort

“The Harlequin Investor Group met with David Ames in the afternoon of the 22nd April 2013.

Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2013 22:06:21 +0000
From: mail@harlequininvestorgroup.co.uk
Subject: Harlequin Investor Group – Meeting with David Ames – 22nd April 2013

Network Email

All,

The Harlequin Investor Group met with David Ames in the afternoon of the 22nd April 2013.

•3 investors and 2 Directors from Regulatory Legal met with David Ames.

The meeting was conducted cordially and respectfully as building a rapport in these difficult times is clearly key.

1.There is no doubt in the minds of those attending on behalf of investors that Harlequin is cash starved and requires new investment.
2.The lack of cash in the business is a key issue as without liquidity the business will continue to struggle.
3.The business has a significant number of non-completed contracts, many of which have completion dates which are overdue. In simple terms, the various companies are obligated to repay investors their money back plus 10%. The “repayment overhang”.
4.The business needs to source new monies. This is going to come from either

(a) Investment into the equity of the business

(b) Completions on properties (eg the balancing 70%)

(c) New investor monies

We feel (a) & (b) are the best way forward. The HIG see (c) as unlikely in the present situation. Continue reading

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Winter ‘high’ season devastatingly bad for tourist arrivals and revenues

Beautiful Barbados beach... but no tourists!

Beautiful Barbados beach… but no tourists!

Tourism businesses ask “How much worse can it get?”

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

Sometimes so many statistics and figures are bandied about in the tourism industry, that it is easy to be distracted from any cause and effect that these may have.

Take the recently announced long stay visitor arrival figures for January and February 2013 for instance: a 9 per cent fall for each month. While that may not appear devastating in numbers alone, you have to look past the percentage decline. These are two of our critical four peak winter months. Add the fall in arrivals during December 2012 and already the heady predictions of a strong winter are completely out the window.

In January 2012 , we welcomed 52,619 stay-over visitors and in February 2012, some 54,162. Many hoteliers rely on the winter for not only a high room occupancy level, but also the premium rates charged over this period.

December 2012 welcomed 52,174 persons, which naturally includes what is probably the busiest time of the year, Christmas and New Year, for most properties.

Compare arrivals with summer months and you can get a feel of the importance of winter volume and revenue. As examples, August 2012, which could have the benefit of Crop Over and visiting friends and relatives,  43,191 and June 2012, 36,656.

From an economic point of view, if you use one of our West Coast 4 star hotels of about 100 rooms to measure the losses, who charges US$709 per room per night in the winter. Then average a typical stay of 7 nights which produces US$4,963 for that room over that period. The same room charge in the summer, falls to US$282  or US$1,974 for the week.  A massive 60 per cent less income, and that’s before you factor in specials like offering 7 nights, but paying for six.

Of course it’s not quite that simple as Barbados is a largely tour operator dependent destination – which would negatively influence net room rates. But I would guess that while the figures may vary, the proportions do not. Continue reading

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UK Foreign Office Minister: Barbados authorities handled tourist robbery “extremely well, thoroughly professionally”

Minister Mark Simmonds personally thanked Prime Minister Stuart

The Bajan Reporter posts a wide-ranging interview with the UK’s Minister Mark Simmonds talking about tourist crime, the controversy of Air Duties, narcotics trafficking, caution regarding renewable energy, trade ties with Barbados, agriculture and regional security.

An excellent job by our old friend Ian Bourne!

Also check out The Case for Compensating the Caribbean by Sir Ronald Sanders, published at BajanReporter.com

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Filed under Barbados, Politics

Barbados Tourism Authority takes a ride on Wigan Athletic’s Emmerson Boyce at the Wembley final

Emmerson Boyce Wigan

We at BFP and many others have been saying for years that the Barbados Tourism Authority should be constantly monitoring news and current events so that when a Bajan is mentioned they can capitalise on the publicity. It’s been a pathetic lack at the BTA for a long long time. We need all the positive vibes and publicity we can get and to miss opportunities to get it for free is almost criminal.

When Adele won six Grammy awards in 2012 it never occurred to the BTA to mention that her musical director is Bajan Miles Robertson. The BTA should have been so ready because anybody could see those awards coming a year in advance – but nothing was done. Contrast the BTA with the efforts of the Aruba Tourism Authority that received world coverage for Aruba by offering a vacation to the losers of the Super Bowl. Aruba received fantastic coverage for no money.

Now we’re happy to see Petra Roach of the BTA in the UK priming the media pump about Wigan Athletic’s captain Emmerson Boyced (photo above) – who qualifies as a Bajan through his parents who both have their navel strings buried in Barbados. Hey… any positive association is welcome!

Okay… that’s one. What’s on for next week, Petra?

Bajan Pride

Barbados International Boyce to captain Wigan Athletic in the Wembley final

THE WHOLE of Barbados will be rooting for Wigan Athletic when they take on mighty Manchester City in next month’s FA Cup final.

On May 11 Wigan will be captained by Barbados international Emmerson Boyce for football’s showpiece occasion. Many on the Caribbean island, and those Bajans that live in the UK, will for 90 minutes at least be cheering on the team known as the Latics.

After securing an FA Cup final berth after beating Millwall in the semi-final, Boyce said that his team’s victory was a dream come true. “I can’t wait for the final now,” he admitted.

Though born in England, Boyce was also eligible to play for the Barbados national team through his parents, who were both born in Barbados.

Boyce’s achievement has put the popular tourist destination in the spotlight as the FA Cup is the oldest and most prestigious domestic competition in football.

Petra Roach, vice president Sales & Marketing of the Barbados Tourism Authority UK, commented: “We’re delighted that Emmerson Boyce has led his team to success in the FA Cup semi-finals, and wish him and Wigan every success for the final.

“Having represented the Barbados national football team, Bajan Pride, Emmerson is not only a friend of Barbados but a fantastic ambassador for our country.

… continue reading this article at Voice Online

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Harlequin Investors must not walk away with a false sense of security

Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal Solicitors

Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal Solicitors

Risk Warning, a voice for distressed investors in the UK, cautiously welcomes Harlequin Property’s meetings with investors and IFAs, scheduled for next week in both Manchester and Basildon. It hopes that investors who have, thus far, met with stony silence from Harlequin will get the answers they have been seeking at these meetings.

Set up by Regulatory Legal Solicitors, Risk Warning recently met with investors throughout the country to help them advance their case with Harlequin.  The response at these meetings was overwhelmingly in favour of opening up a constructive dialogue with Harlequin. Gareth Fatchett from Risk Warning says, “The lack of information from Harlequin has been disconcerting for many of the investors we have been speaking to this month. It is important that Harlequin engages with its investors, many of whom are very concerned about the safety of their property investments in the Caribbean.”

While acknowledging that Harlequin’s efforts to have a dialogue with its investors signals a necessary step in the right direction, Risk Warning urges that investors must arm themselves with the right questions to ensure that they get a full picture of the current status. Mr Fatchett continues, “Given the amount of money invested and the state of uncertainty over a long period of time coupled with some of the recent news coverage on Harlequin, there are many detailed questions to which investors should be demanding answers. It is important that investors do not leave these meetings with a false sense of security.”

Risk Warning, which is acting for a number of Harlequin investors, has compiled a comprehensive list of over 30 questions for Harlequin, which it is seeking to raise with Harlequin next week. These questions demand answers on a number of critical issues such as:

  • how much of investors’ money has been spent on Caribbean resorts being developed by Harlequin
  • what has actually been built but is not yet completed
  • what the cost to finish each development will be
  • what the value of finance payments in arrears is
  • when the Caribbean accounts will be brought up to date

“Hundreds of investors believed in Harlequin’s marketing and invested millions of pounds in Harlequin properties but now find themselves in the calamitous position of not knowing the outcome of their investments.

We call on Harlequin to listen to its investors carefully and to tell them the plain truth about where they stand regarding the current status of their investments and, equally importantly, what the future holds. Anything short of a honest discussion will be unacceptable. We sincerely hope that investors will have productive discussions with Harlequin.”

Gareth Fatchett, Risk Warning

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