Tag Archives: Barbados Government Corruption

Barbados, Trinidad governments excel at turning public assets into private profits

The ‘Eden Gardens’ transaction is a prime example of a large-scale economic crime against the State and the interests of its citizens.

Again, I ask – ‘Who were the beneficiaries?’

As we read Afra Raymond’s latest tale about how public monies are turned into private profits by corrupt T&T politicians and their friends, our thoughts turn to a dozen similar situations here in Barbados.

BLP or DLP doesn’t matter: the record of both major parties makes it clear that Barbados politicians have made it their business to rape the public purse at every opportunity. Think Dodds Prison and the Oil Terminal. Think CLICO. Think land expropriations where government doesn’t pay for the land ever and then some Minister of Government ends up fooping his mistress in a house built on stolen land. Her house but everybody knows where the land and building money came from.

Some church going folks will be upset I used the F word. They should first be upset at the Minister and if they have any upset left over then worry about my f word – for Bajans are being fooped by their guvment every day. It doesn’t stop.

Barbados lacks ITAL – Integrity Legislation, Transparency and Accountability Legislation. Prime Ministers Thompson and Stuart and their corrupt DLP promised it just to get elected in 2008. Then they pretended to push it through when they knew an election would kill it. An doan fool yourself… Mottley, Arthur and the BLP were in on the plan.

We can’t have the politicians restrained by little things like Integrity Legislation and Conflicts of Interest rules, can we?

There is only one political party in Barbados… the DLP-BLP coalition and they take turns every few years to let the other be on top. That’s the way things work in Trinidad & Tobago too. It’s all about turning those public assets into private profits. Afra Raymond tells us about some real experts…

by Afra Raymond

by Afra Raymond

Calcutta Settlement review

The simple, inescapable fact is that the State could have lawfully acquired the ‘Eden Gardens’ property for less than $40M.  The HDC paid $175M in November 2012 to Point Lisas Park Ltd (PLP) for that property, which is the reason I am calling this an improper use of Public Money.

Despite having available the advice of the Commissioner of State Lands, the Commissioner of Valuations and various attorneys at HDC and so on, the Cabinet approved this transaction.  This Cabinet, with two Senior Counsel at its head and several other seasoned legal advisers, appears to have been unaware of, or intentionally ignoring, the legal safeguards.

“I am calling for this matter to be swiftly investigated and the responsible parties prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Some readers may be surprised at those assertions, so here are my reasons for making such…

The last two articles examined the steps leading to the HDC’s purchase of land at ‘Eden Gardens’ in Calcutta Settlement.  In my opinion that transaction, as well as the one which preceded it, are both highly improper and very probably unlawful.  The HDC purchase must be reversed and the responsible parties investigated/prosecuted as required by our laws.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

GEMS of Barbados website slickly deceptive

click photo for large

Website implies GEMS still operates a chain of hotels – only operates one.

by Nevermind Kurt

We’re nearing the end of that failed adventure known as Hotels and Resorts and GEMS of Barbados hotels. The experiment in nationalizing the tourism accommodation industry now operates only one hotel – The Blue Horizon.

You’d never know that from their website though. True to form, it’s all show and no integrity as it deceives unknowing tourists into believing GEMS still operates The Savannah and Time Out.

The scandal of GEMS Hotels and Hotels and Resorts Inc. is a textbook lesson in how the political elites rape public funds and get away with it. Barbados tried to nationalize the hotel industry and lost hundreds of millions of dollars, perhaps over a billion dollars – who knows? They won’t tell us how much we taxpayers lost.

Predatory Pricing by Government… upon privately-owned hotels!

By using tax funds to support an unprofitable operation the Barbados government also kept out other brands and undermined private hotels large and small. The government even subsidized the GEMS hotels room rates to keep them lower than possible in the private sector.

That was decidedly hostile to outside and domestic tourism investors who soon got the message: “Don’t invest in Barbados where your main competition is the all-powerful government.”

As so many learned the hard way, it’s not a level playing field when the Barbados Tourism Authority pushes government hotels over privately-owned businesses.

Except the GEMS project failed just as everyone predicted and now the government is begging outside investors to renew our aging hotel inventory. The Government should have thought of that when they originally established a business climate that was poison to private investment in tourism accommodation.

Can you imagine if we’d have used that now-gone billion dollars to renew our infrastructure and professionalize and expand our police force? As a country we would now be cleaner, safer and more attractive as a tourism product. But no… we “invested” that money in buying run-down hotels, subsidizing years of losses and then selling the hotels at big losses.

GEMS of Barbados was a stupid thing to do… unless you were one of the inner circle personally profiting from the scheme…

… and then it was brilliant!

Further Reading

February 24, 2010: Barbados Government GEMS Hotels folly continues. Where did all our money go? Three remaining GEMS hotels valued at only $74 million!

May 17, 2007: What Happened To The Money From Hotel and Resorts Ltd’s Assets Sale? How Much Went Into David Shorey’s Pocket?

November 19, 2000: Nation News – The Question of Corruption, GEMS

Click to read in full size.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Corruption

WE TOLD YOU SO: Anti-Corruption legislation buried in dark hole

During the 2007 election campaign, the Democratic Labour Party promised to introduce Integrity Legislation and a Freedom of Information Act within 100 days of taking office. They put that in writing in Pathways to Progress, in press handouts and in newsletters and emails.

The DLP also promised to introduce a Ministerial Code of Conduct immediately upon taking office. They put that in writing too.

“Hello BFP folks…

The Ministerial Code takes effect immediately after a DLP government is elected. The Freedom of Information Act and Integrity legislation will be dealt with in the first 100 days in office…

Best regards
Reudon Eversley
Communications Director
DLP General Election Campaign 2008″

The DLP Lied

David Thompson lied about it. Freundel Stuart lied about it. Every DLP candidate lied about it.

You can say that the electorate was naive or ready to believe the DLP lies about Integrity Legislation because after 14 years of BLP corruption we were desperate. You can say the electorate was ready to be deceived, but it doesn’t matter.

We believed the DLP. We truly did. We had faith in the DLP candidates as people. We elected the DLP candidates and leadership because we believed their promises. We believed IN the DLP candidates as people of their word.

The DLP promises about what we called “ITAL” – Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation – were a big part of why Bajans elected a DLP government. That much was admitted at the time in the news media and in comments from foreign observers.

It has been over four years since those promises were made, and three years and seven months since the DLP Government took office and immediately broke their first promise by not implementing a Ministerial Code of Conduct on the first day.

Now we read in The Nation “The Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) wants Government to move quickly to redraft the Prevention of Corruption Bill, 2010 and get it back on the front burner” within six months.

DLP Strategy to make Integrity Legislation fail

We at Barbados Free Press earlier said that the inclusion of the private sector in the proposed Integrity Legislation was a DLP strategy to cause the legislation to fail, so they could blame it on the private sector. We said back in October, 2009…

A DLP insider reveals how David Thompson and his gang intend to sabotage Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information laws by expanding the promised laws to include private citizens and corporations.

This, of course, will throw a spanner into the works of any legislation. After if fails to pass due to public outcry, Thompson and his fellow piggies at the public trough will say, “Well, we tried our best.”

…from the BFP post Prime Minister Thompson’s new strategy for avoiding Integrity Legislation, FOI: “Private sector must be included in this legislation”

We also said that the DLP would delay the Integrity Legislation until just before the next election, so they could blame the BLP opposition for shooting it down or delaying it. That way the DLP would get to use Integrity Legislation for two election campaigns in a row while retaining all the benefits of not having the legislation in place while they are in government. A neat trick if they can pull it off.

It looks like we were correct. That’s unfortunate because we would rather have been proven wrong.

Member of Parliament William Duguid “No Barbados politicians will vote for Integrity Legislation”

It’s also unfortunate that the only politician who told the truth about the Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information was the Barbados Labour Party’s William Duguid, who was quoted on another blog saying that Integrity Legislation will never happen because no politicians of any party will ever vote for it. Duguid is moving to Canada so it doesn’t matter to him anymore if he speaks the truth.

Welcome to Barbados folks! Same old, same old ’bout hey. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

The sad truth about the proposed Barbados Prevention of Corruption Bill

“Being elected or hired into many government positions is a ticket to personal wealth in Barbados. The Prevention of Corruption Bill is supposed to change that, but it won’t.”

“Should elected or appointed government officials be allowed to do business with the government under any circumstances?”

Six Truths on a wet Kadooment Day…

by Nevermind Kurt

1/ For as long as anyone can remember, elected and appointed Barbados government officials have doubled or better their day-job incomes by owning interests in companies doing business with the government. That’s why being elected or hired into many government positions is a ticket to personal wealth in Barbados. It’s just the way it is. The Prevention of Corruption Bill is supposed to change that, but it won’t.

2/ The proposed Prevention of Corruption Bill (2010) does not prohibit elected or appointed government officials or members of their immediate family from being awarded government contracts. Government officials and their immediate family members can still do business with the government.

3/ In order to commit an offence under the proposed law, it would have to be shown that an elected or appointed government official gave or received special consideration in the awarding of a contract AND that money or other benefit was either given or received. Therefore, it is still permissible under the proposed law for government officials to award a government contract to a company owned by a relative or by themselves.

4/ It is highly unlikely that the giver or receiver of a government contract would provide evidence against themselves. Government officials will continue to favour their own family companies in the awarding of contracts. Or maybe a government official will award a contract to the company of another government official, and three months later their own company will receive a government contract. Not a word will be spoken in public or private. Not a word will be necessary. No evidence of a violation will exist in a form that can be put before a court. Just ask Liz Thompson about the government contracts awarded to her husband! This proposed legislation will change nothing.

5/ If the proposed legislation prohibited government officials or their close family members from receiving government contracts, it would be a good start. There’s no way the politicians will enact that law!

6/ None of the above matters because, as Member of Parliament Dr. William Duguid said: Barbados politicians will NEVER pass integrity legislation in any form.

“Currently, many Barbadians are beginning to accept that corruption is a way of life. This being the case, Barbados is now on the brink of following the path of other countries where corruption begins to eat away at the fabric of the society. The Bill has gone to a select committee of the lower and the upper houses. We do know that select committees are often seen as the graveyard for many an unpalatable Bill. Barbados can only hope that, for its sake and that of its democracy, the Bill does not lie there forever in suspended animation.”

… from the Barbados Advocate editorial Addressing Corruption

With no regrets, we now take you back to our regularly scheduled drunk-up, wuk-up…

Further Reading

Prevention of Corruption Bill, 2010 (PDF)

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Champagne sipping Barbados Finance Minister pleads against “excessive discourse” about CLICO disaster

Minister Chris Sinckler cautions against a “frenzy”

Oh yes, Minister Sinckler, his friend Leroy Parris and all the other big ups who helped build the CLICO house of cards would love to see limits on public discussion about CLICO.

The Minister of Finance urged “all parties, including the media, not to try whipping up a frenzy”.

We’ve got news for Minister Sinckler: There’s a whole lot of people on this island and throughout the Caribbean who don’t trust Minister Sinckler or the DLP government. The DLP and senior Ministers (including the late Prime Minister Thompson) have an all too close and non-transparent relationship with CLICO, Leroy Parris and the rest of the people who took our money.

Minister Sinckler and the DLP government still have too close a relationship with Mr. Parris.

Here’s a photo (above) published in The Nation last week showing our Minister of Finance socializing with Leroy Parris. It looks like business as usual to us and just about everybody else who saw the photo.

Frankly Minister Sinckler, we’re not interested if you “just happened” to be standing next to Leroy when the photo was taken. It’s a small thing when compared to your party’s long history with Mr. Parris.

Tell us this, Minister Sinckler: How much money did the Democratic Labour Party receive from CLICO and associated companies and people over the years?

Is the DLP going to give that money back to the folks who lost everything?

Minister Sinckler, did the fact that Leroy Parris and CLICO supported the DLP have anything to do with the lack of government oversight about Clico? Did the fact that former Prime Minister David Thompson was CLICO’s lawyer for years and years influence the DLP government’s policies towards CLICO? Does the long term close relationship between CLICO, Parris, the DLP and David Thompson still have any influence on the DLP government?

Hello? Minister Sinckler? Hello? Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Disaster, Economy, Ethics, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Source: MP’s custom suits, casual clothes purchased in Miami with election funds or tax dollars

DLP Politicians in Miami “Went wild at shopping and partying…”

“Custom made dress shirts at almost US$100 each”

Immediately after winning the January 2008 election, groups of DLP Members of Parliament were rotated through a week in Miami ostensibly to familiarise themselves with our consulate operations in that city.

That was the public story. The truth was something else… Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Exclusive: Harold Hoyte slams Barbados Free Press over Liz Thompson story. BFP “scurrilously unpatriotic” to make her “appear a suspect choice”.

NOT MANY of your contributors choose to reveal their true names.

I do.

It is Harold Hoyte. And first of all, I am a friend of Barbados, and secondarily of Senator Liz Thompson, the Barbados candidate for an appointment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Although I hold no brief for Ms Thompson, yet I am offended by the apparently malicious leading article of the April 8, 2010, Barbados Free Press, titled: Concerned Barbados Citizens oppose Liz Thompson’s nomination to UNFCCC position.

Your headline may factually be correct. Doubtless, some Barbadians believe that Senator Thompson should not have been nominated by the Government of Barbados for this post. I in turn believe that the diametrically opposite also holds true for many: “Concerned citizens support Thompson’s nomination.”

I count myself among this number.

As do Prime Minister David Thompson and Opposition Leader Mia Mottley.

When, however, your corrosive article went on to state, “Shock, laughter and outright disbelief is the almost universal response by environmentally conscious Bajans…”, I searched in vain for the identities of individuals and organisations, and sought their quoted responses, but none were to be found.

None.

What followed were sly, snide, vitriolic and irrelevant generalisations, all of a negative nature.

Except for accurately noting what I regard as a crude and unjustified remark made by Ms Thompson in 1995 with reference to Richard Goddard, one of her fiercest critics on the Greenland landfill proposal, your sneering scenario constitutes nothing less than an unwarranted attack on her good character and reputation.

Where is the honour of hiding under an undeclared authorship to berate an individual on the basis of innuendo, oddments, twisted tales, bogus half-truths, sneering lies and shameless counterfeit concern?

How cowardly!

To a casual reader researching this candidate, particularly one in the international sphere, Ms Thompson might appear a suspect choice, for she is heartlessly painted in a manner that is as cruel as it is unjust, with the potential to effect more disfavour than can be justified.

Thankfully, people who are required to make judgments will have the benefit of empirical evidence with documented information about a track record of integrity and unselfish public service which compares favourably with anyone, I repeat, ANYONE, serving in Barbados public life during the past 50 years.

It is not my desire to do a paint job for Ms Thompson. It is not in my nature. My record as a newspaper editor is open to scrutiny.

What is my desire is fair-minded argument.

What I abhor are quasi-anonymous misfits who use positions of access to mass-dissemination-of- information unconscionably to dismiss the high standing of others under the guise of secrecy, on the basis of merely oblique and concocted hyperbole.

That is why I feel compelled here to register my personal disapproval of your decision to give international glare to your manifest pent-up hatred for an individual without bothering to provide the barest facts for your decision.

It is grossly obscene that a faceless Barbados Free Press can blatantly tout Ms Thompson’s so-called shortcomings (sic) with the wicked intention of derailing a legitimate nomination made on her behalf by the duly elected (and popularly so) government of Barbados.

How scurrilously unpatriotic!

And cowardly.

National pride demands higher standards of us all.

I urge those who chance upon your defeatist outrage to recognise it, and dismiss it, for what it is: a mean-spirited attempt to render ineffective what our Government leadership recognises as a truly splendid opportunity to place Barbados, rightly, in a position of high influence on the world Climate Change stage.

Harold Hoyte

Barbados Free Press replies…

For the information of our foreign readers, Mr. Harold Hoyte is the founder and former editor of the Barbados newspaper The Nation. He is a renowned journalist in his own right. A former President of the Caribbean Publishing and Broadcasting Association, he remains active in media organisations including the Commonwealth Press Union and the Inter- American Press Association.

A former Commonwealth Press Union Fellow and Eisenhower Fellow, he was recognized by Columbia University in the United States for his contribution to Caribbean journalism with the Maria Moors Cabot Citation in 1984. He was awarded the Gold Crown of Merit (GCM) by Barbados in 2003, is a Distinguished Honorary Fellow of the University of the West Indies, and was awarded the honorary Doctor of Letters Degree by the University of the West Indies in October 2005.

Dear Mr. Hoyte

It is george from BFP. Thank you for your email to us and mentioning BFP or any citizen blog for the first time in almost five years that we’ve been on the internet. Marcus, Clive and us all have lunch on Friday. Then they will writing a response to you.

thankyou,

george

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Culture & Race Issues, Energy, Environment, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Race, Wildlife

Barbados prepares for a new political party – Part 1 – How the Integrity, Transparency and Accountability standards changed for DLP supporters

First in the New BFP Series: Preparing for a new political party

When Barbados Free Press burst upon the Bajan political scene back in January of 2006, Democratic Labour Party (DLP) supporters embraced our call for Integrity, Transparency and Accountability (ITAL) in government and legislation to force compliance by the political elites. When we highlighted specific acts of corruption by the then BLP Arthur/Mottley government our DLP friends joined in the call for accountability, criminal charges and generally for heads to roll and effective laws to be implemented.

Domain name “www.barbadosfreepress.com” secured for the DLP!

Many hardcore DLP supporters, including our old (but now estranged) friend Jerome Hinds, were convinced that Barbados Free Press was an arm of their beloved DLP.

I think it was Jerome Hinds himself who advised us during a little tête-à-tête in 2006 that the domain name “barbadosfreepress.com” had been secured for the DLP so that the BFP team could “go public” after the DLP won the next election.

That was then… when Jerome & the DLP thought BFP’s staff members were DLP first and Bajans second.

But as Jerome and the other DLP diehards soon found out after the January 2008  DLP election victory, Barbados Free Press is the real thing: non-aligned citizens calling for ITAL and a dethroning of the political elites who for too long have treated our country like their own little bank account.

What the DLP & their supporters said before they were elected

Barbados Free Press and its readers continue to attack Prime Minister Thompson’s DLP government for lack of integrity, transparency and accountability. We want answers as to what became of the billions of our tax dollars that disappeared during the BLP government’s 14 years in office. We want answers about VECO’s corrupt activities in Barbados. We want to know who received VECO money when the oil terminal and prison were built. We want answers about GEMS, Hardwood Housing, highway construction, the FBI files, illegal payments to politicians and so much more.

Jerome Hinds and his fellow hardcore DLP friends used to want the same.

What happened to change your mind, Jerome? The DLP winning the election and achieving power?

Ya, that’s what we thought…

From Jerome Hinds’ October 5, 2007 comment on BFP’s article Government Says: Barbados Free Press, Barbados Underground Are Unpatriotic

Jerome Hinds

October 5, 2007 at 7:15 pm

It is amazing how these BLP scoundrels are behaving !

You gave the people education……..but by the same token they must not ask you the government to account for your shady deals !

** Where is the promised audited accounts for GEMS ?

** Where did the proceeds from the sale of Silver Rock & Eastry House go ?

** Now Mr. Prime Minister, about that $750,000 “campaign donation cheque” that you deposited into your personal bank account … ?

** Now Mr. Prime Minister, where is the FBI file you told Barbadians was on your desk ?

Doan mind doh…….the BLOGS gine stay pun yuh case ?

Yuh check how Keith Mitchell in Grenada bawling……bout the POWER of the PRESS…..?

Freedom to BFP & BU……!

Death to the cruel deeds of Owen Arthur’s Administration !

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Government, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, FBI, Freedom Of Information, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Lies of Omission: News articles, editorials, hide Chief Justice Simmons’ political background

Barbados lawyer Andrew Pilgrim is stupefied why the Thompson government sacked Chief Justice Simmons!

Barbados news media & lawyers Robert “Bobby” Clarke and Andrew Pilgrim try to suck and blow at the same time

Why, whatever could the matter be? According to the Barbados news media, it is so unfair and wrong that Chief Justice Sir David Simmons was not given the “normal” extension to allow him to continue in the position for two years past his 70th birthday.

“I think it is a political decision that has led to (Simmons) going home. I can’t envision why he was not offered an extension, as all the other chief justices have been given,”” says Andrew Pilgrim, one of two lawyers interviewed by the Nation newspaper in their article Lawyers’ Say.

The other lawyer, Robert “Bobby” Clarke, is puzzled as well – “Extending his term should have been automatic, unless there was a political variable inside there.”

Golly, Bobby, do ya think there is a “political variable” involved? Hmmmmmm? Whatever could it be? Bobby is mystified.

Then the Nation publishes the editorial Saluting Sir David’s services lauding Chief Justice Simmons and talking about what a surprise it is that he won’t be continuing as Chief Justice. Puzzled at the reasons behind this development, the editorial says “Whatever may be the factor, or factors that contributed to Sir David’s decision to retire with effect from April 29 – his 70th birthday…”

Now if you just arrived in Barbados from outer space or New Jersey and read these two Nation News articles you too might be puzzled as to the reasons why Simmons has been sent packing by the David Thompson DLP government of Barbados…

… because the articles NEVER MENTION that before David Simmons was Chief Justice for 7 years, he was a professional politician for 25 years.  A BLP Member of Parliament in Opposition and Government. A senior Cabinet Minister for three governments. Attorney General. Acting Prime Minister.

As a career politician, David Simmons should never have accepted the office of Chief Justice

The articles NEVER MENTION the controversy when then Prime Minister Owen Arthur appointed his old BLP friend Simmons as the new Chief Justice of Barbados – supposed to impartially and independently judge all matters while putting aside 25 years as a professional politician.

The articles NEVER MENTION the disgust at the time by people who were involved in legal battles with the Owen Arthur government when Attorney General David Simmons went from representing the government to being head of the courts that were supposed to judge their case against the same government!

The Nation News articles are lies.

They deliberately whitewash (or is that shitewash?) the fact that David Simmons has been fired because his original appointment was a Barbados Labour Party political strategy designed to exercise political control and influence over the Barbados courts. Simmons’ appointment effectively killed the separation of powers between the government and the judiciary. His appointment brought the administration of justice into disrepute and caused tens of thousands of Bajans to lose faith in the entire judicial system.

Prime Minister Thompson’s decision to sack Simmons as Chief Justice will go a long way to restoring the faith of the people in the independence of the courts – but only IF Thompson resists the temptation to appoint a DLP supporter as our highest judge.

Will our Prime Minister appoint a truly independent Chief Justice this time around? Or, like career politicians Owen Arthur and David Simmons did last time, will Thompson corruptly use the opportunity to further politicize the Barbados courts?

Stay tuned, folks!

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Filed under Barbados

GEMS cover-up continues under DLP: Hundreds of millions of Barbados tax dollars vanish with zero public accountability

What are the functions and objectives of an independent Senator?

During the time the late Sir John Stanley Goddard sat in the Senate he repeatedly called for up-to-date financial statements for Hotels and Resorts Limited to be made available.

After all, it’s a majority Government owned company funded by the taxpayer and surely we have a right to know their current fiscal position?

I understand that HRL’s accounts have now been laid in Parliament
for the subsequent years since 2001, yet why has there seemingly been no Senate debate, discussion or public comment?

Losses for the GEMS project have been quoted at anything from $200 to $400 million, and as yet, no analysis has been in what part in the closure of over 30 private sector hotels over the last fifteen years they have played.

Adrian Loveridge

(Editor’s note: The headline “GEMS cover-up continues under DLP…” was created by Barbados Free Press. The body of the article is exactly as received from Mr. Loveridge)

Below article from the November 12, 2007 Nation News…

THE HOYOS FILE – A GEM OF A FINANCIAL REPORT

by Patrick Hoyos

November 12, 2007

WITH A SORT of morbid fascination, I have been revisiting the shipwreck that was Hotels & amp; Resorts Ltd, the above-ground financial counterpart of the Stavronikita at the end of 2001.

Yes, dear readers, I know this is almost December 2007 – so, you may wonder, what is the point? Well, there really isn’t any except that the 2001 accounts were only recently laid in Parliament along with the remainder of the company’s annual reports from 1997 to 2001, so I thought it would be “interesting” to recap the disastrous position GEMS had found itself in by then.

Writing in the notes to the financial statement for 2001, KPMG stated that “the company incurred a loss for the year ended December 31, 2001 of $22 million and had accumulated a deficit of $60 million at the year-end date. Also at that date, current liabilities exceeded current assets by $51 million. This raises substantial doubt that the company will be able to continue as a going concern without the continued financial support of its shareholders.”

$51 million? How did that happen? Current assets – which were made up of cash in hand as well as trade, VAT and other receivables, prepaid expenses and inventory – totalled a paltry $4.1 million, while current liabilities – the company’s bank overdraft, accounts payable and accrued expenses, a sum due to CRL Ltd, interest-bearing loans and interest payable – totalled $55.6 million. Subtract one from the other. Continue reading

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Environment Minister Lowe’s speech a farce as he deliberately ignores the largest and best green space near Bridgetown

Lies Before The Election: Denis Lowe & David Thompson Promising "whatever it takes to get elected, not that you can believe a word we say"

Lies Before The Election: Denis Lowe & David Thompson promising "whatever it takes to get elected, not that you can believe a word we say"

Hey friends, just found a short little reminder to myself about something I read in the Nation a few days ago so I’ll write a few lines before it slips away and I forget again…

Environment Minister Denis Lowe was recently rambling on and on about the importance of open spaces for people. Lowe said recreational spaces were important to all Barbadians, “particularly since we are becoming a fast-paced society and we need to find places where we can cool down, so to speak, and recreate”.

Right.

That man has been making the same speech for seven or eight years and I mean the SAME SPEECH. Same words, same hand gestures, same earnest “I care” expression like a preacher man on fire to save your soul. Lowe could have been successful anywhere in the deep Southern USA pitching a tent in the middle of a farmer’s field.

Yup, Dr. Lowe is pretty damn good talking about open spaces, families and green space.

Except… when it came down to it, he voted with the rest of the DLP to change the law protecting 265 acres of parkland at Graeme Hall to allow developer friends to profit from these public lands. To make this happen, David Thompson and the DLP Members of Parliament had to set aside laws that had protected the land from development since 1988. When the government was finished, 2/3 of the parkland (175 acres) was gone.

If you can stand the smell of cow manure, you might read Dr. Lowe’s comments in The Nation News article The worst of green

If you want the truth about what Dr. Lowe, David Thompson and the rest of the DLP piggies did with your irreplaceable national treasure, read Barbados Government Steals 2/3 Of Parkland For Developer Friends – Graeme Hall Environmental Disaster Continues

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Filed under Barbados, Environment

Prime Minister Thompson’s new strategy for avoiding Integrity Legislation, FOI: “Private sector must be included in this legislation”

Government of Barbados guarantees failure of Integrity Legislation by including Ordinary Citizens!

A DLP insider reveals how David Thompson and his gang intend to sabotage Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information laws by expanding the promised laws to include private citizens and corporations. This, of course, will throw a spanner into the works of any legislation. After if fails to pass due to public outcry, Thompson and his fellow piggies at the public trough will say, “Well, we tried our best.”

Writing in The Nation, Frank Da Silva says “Bring on integrity law“, but then slides in the big bombshell like it’s a positive, not what it truly is: the core strategy to kill ITAL (Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation). Says Da Silva…

“All of this must of course include the implementation of the campaign promise for all ministers, selected public servants and others who are doing business with our Government, to ensure there is a declaration of assets to the Integrity Commission (to be established).”

And just to let us know that it’s not Mr. Da Silva’s ideas were reading, he lets us know that it’s Prime Minister David Thompson speaking…

“(I, Frank Da Silva) support our Prime Minister’s remarks at the last family gathering that the private sector must be included in this legislation.”

Citizens get it: David Thompson and the DLP Lied

In Opposition, David Thompson promised "immediate" conflicts of interest rules for Ministers. He lied.

In Opposition, David Thompson promised "immediate" conflicts of interest rules for Ministers. He lied.

Over two years ago David Thompson and the DLP were finally dragged kicking and screaming towards Integrity Legislation by an electorate that demanded a stop to the corruption and outright theft of public funds by politicians. Thompson and the party promised in writing to take some very specific integrity initiatives immediately upon election and then introduce other very specific initiatives, including legislation,  within 100 days of forming a government.

Some of these integrity initiatives, like a Ministerial Code that included conflict of interest standards, did not require legislation – only a declaration of government policy. For instance, Thompson promised to introduce conflict of interest standards that would prohibit Ministers from issuing government contracts to companies they owned themselves.

Thompson could have, and should have, announced the policy on his first day in office. What suckers we were!

It all seemed like a very good start and we almost believed Thompson until the end of his first month week in office when we realized that once again the political class had pulled one on the citizens who believed in them.

Face it folks, we believed David Thompson and the DLP, but we were lied to by the best.

This latest revelation tells you everything you need to know about Integrity Legislation, Freedom of Information, Conflicts of Interest standards and the Ministerial Code. It is difficult enough to implement ITAL upon an unwilling class of political elites. Throwing in a requirement that the little contractor who wants a government contract has to list assets and open up to an audit is GUARANTEED to kill Integrity Legislation.

Thompson and the DLP know that. I dare say, so does Mr. Da Silva.

It’s all a set up folks. Nothing but a big set up so that when ITAL fails, the DLP can say they tried.

What foul LIARS the Prime Minister and his bunch are! They didn’t do what they promised in writing and now they deviously plan to screw the electorate again. The BLP Opposition can’t say a word because of everything that’s hanging over their own heads.

What a desperate mess we good citizens find ourselves in – but there is another way…

VOTE INDEPENDENT!

A Battle of Ordinary Citizens vs the Political Elites

Opposition dares not mention Integrity Legislation

Opposition dares not mention Integrity Legislation

Who are you going to vote for next time? Mottley? Thompson? Arthur? Marshall?

BLP? DLP?

The political elites are all the same. We need ordinary citizens to stand as candidates with integrity as their platform. We need to strategically vote to remove power from the Political Class that has been raping this country like it was their own piggy bank for the past 20 years.

Frankly, I’ll vote for a dead cat before I’ll ever empower the BLP or DLP again.

Further Reading

Living in Barbados, August 19, 2009: Freedom of Information – Basic Concerns and FOI Legislation

BFP, August 10, 2009: Barbados Government On Integrity Legislation: “Not until we’ve pigged out at the public trough for a few more years”

BFP, December 29, 2008: Thanks To Prime Minister David Thompson, Barbados Government Officials Can Still Use Their Office For Personal Profit

Here is the Nation article by Da Silva. Please go to the Nation to read it because they deserve your visit. We only include it here because both the Nation and the Barbados Advocate have a habit of revising history by trashing or changing archived articles…

GUEST COLUMN: Bring on integrity law

Published on: 10/16/2009.

BY FRANK DA SILVA

THE FOLLOWING is an excerpt from a column published on Friday, February 20, 2009, in the WEEKEND NATION. This excerpt is even more relevant today than it was at that time:
My political experience has told me that the best platform for good governance is one in which there is a strong and active opposition party. Our Government should take this as impetus to perform at the highest level of excellence on all fronts. And I believe they will. Continue reading

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Sentencing coming for key accused in VECO corruption scandal – but Barbados never asked US Authorities for Barbados corruption evidence.

FBI seized millions of VECO financial records showing bribes paid to corrupt politicians. Barbados doesn't want to see them!

FBI seized millions of VECO financial records showing bribes paid to corrupt politicians. Barbados doesn't want to see them!

VECO’s Bill Allen going bye-bye

This is just a short note this morning before I head off to bed. (How I hate nightshift).

Remember VECO out of Alaska? The company was disbanded and sold off after it turned out that for the last three decades they had obtained government contracts all around the world through the simple means of bribing politicians. We’re not talking about a slip or two by a sub-manager in a foreign country, we’re talking about a standard operating procedure by a company that was started and built upon corrupt practices.

Under the BLP and Mia Mottley and Dale Marshall, VECO built our oil terminal and our Dodds prison – the one with the $10,000 toilets and no transparency or open bids. ($10k per toilet? Yup… our sources tell us that’s what we paid for them after they came through a “handling company” in Miami.)

But the BLP were smart enough to spread the wealth around so that if and when they were defeated by the DLP, the new government wouldn’t want to go there.

Started VECO Cover-Up

Started VECO Cover-Up

After the Alaska scandal broke, then Dale Marshall had a meeting with VECO executives for 30 minutes and announced “Nothin wrong in Barbados!”

That’s the last that Barbados heard about it.

Like we said, the DLP Thompson government doesn’t want to be forced into charging members of the last government with any offense because what comes around goes around.

So David Thompson lets the corruption stand without any transparency or accountability to the people of Barbados.

You want proof? Good. Here’s ours… maybe the current DLP Government will find the voice to reply…

Proof that the Thompson DLP Government does not want to know anything about VECO’s corrupt activities in Barbados:

Under Prime Minister David Thompson, no authorities from Barbados – including police, the DPP or the Auditor General – have ever asked the US Authorities for evidence concerning VECO’s Barbados operations that was gathered during the US investigations. Millions of documents and hundreds of hours of secret recordings were lawfully collected by US authorities during their operations. Barbados never even asked to meet with US Authorities – because all indications are that VECO’s financial records would show payments & “gifts” to Barbados officials and contracts to offshore suppliers owned by them.

And that tells the story, my children.

Anchorage Daily News: Sentencing for key bribe witnesses may be soon.

Further Reading that should Outrage Bajans

November 17, 2008 – The FBI VECO Documents that Mottley and Thompson don’t want Bajans to see.

September 22, 2008 – Barbados Prime Minister Thompson Confirms Previous Government Officials Stashed Millions In Foreign Bank Accounts

August 20, 2008: VECO’s “Corrupt Bastards Club” has a Barbados Chapter

August 15, 2008: Why Won’t Prime Minister Thompson Investigate VECO’s Corrupt Acts In Barbados?

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Surprise! Barbados Constitution to be amended today with zero notice, no debate by news media, public

DLP Thompson Government picks up where BLP left off – ignoring citizens’ right to know

Like the previous BLP Arthur/Mottley government, the current DLP government will be quietly sliding through various changes to our Constitution whenever it strikes their fancy. Appearing on the Order Paper today is the “Constitution (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill” that will somehow change the legal foundation upon which our country stands. Will this change impact your rights or obligations? Why is it being done? Will any group or persons receive a special advantage because of this amendment? Why is it necessary?

Perhaps you’ll find the answers in the Bajan news media, but usually you won’t.

As citizens we have a right to expect to be notified IN ADVANCE of ANY and all changes to our Constitution – no matter how “minor” the government says the changes are.

The Arthur/Mottley government must have changed the constitution a half dozen times or more with no notice: once even changing it to allow foreign military on Barbados soil and providing foreign military personnel with power and authority over the actions of citizens. That was during the Cricket World Cup and the government quietly slid it in with no notice and the full cooperation of David Thompson and his DLP.

You can read the bill here, but where is the Barbados news media on this? Where is the reporting, the investigative journalism, the probing questions?

Awwww…. forget it.

Barbados Advocate: Parliament resumes after summer recess

Further Reading

April 13, 2008 – Does Anyone Know Which Barbados Constitution Is Law?

March 12, 2008 – What Went Wrong With The BLP Government – And How The DLP Is Heading The Same Way

March 15, 2007 – Constitutional Amendment 2007 – A Crime In Progress (part 3 of 3)

March 14, 2007 – Constitutional Amendment 2007 – A Crime In Progress (Part 2 of a Series)

March 13, 2007 – Constitutional Amendment 2007: Prime Minister Owen Arthur Engaging In Cover-up Of Immense Financial Scandal

March 10, 2007 – Barbados Dictatorship To Change Constitution With Zero Notice, No Public Debate, No Public Release Of Proposed Changes

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What is happening with CLICO’s Villa Nova?

Barbados Villa Nova

Sir,

I have followed your coverage of the Clico fiasco with some interest over the past two years. One of the properties they own is the Villa Nova. Can anyone tell me what is happening to this beautiful property ? I am based in the UK and had the privilige of staying there several times. Please do not tell me they have allowed this treasure to decompose in the way they have other of your National treasures ?

I understand from sources here in the UK that several offers have been made for this property but Clico refuses to sell it !! If they are in such a financial mess surely your Government must insist that they sell these trophies to pay back the tax payers in Barbados ?

I lookforward to your response.

Best Wishes to the wonderful people of Barbados.

(Name withheld by BFP editor)

Editor’s Comment: We understand that Villa Nova is falling into disrepair. The original website: Villa Nova, Barbados

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Cowardly pee-in-pants Barbados Nation Newspaper hides name of corrupt Government Minister

When a Government Minister’s husband is awarded a $300,000 contract for work he has no experience doing – That’s Corrupt!

Cecil McDowald "Asbestos removal? Sure, I done lots of that before!"

Cecil McDowald "Asbestos removal? Sure, I done lots of that before!"

The current DLP Government says it is taking steps to sue the husband of a former Minister in the previous Arthur/Mottley BLP government – over the non-fulfillment of a 2004 government contract for the removal of asbestos roofing from government units.

Naturally, the BLP Government Minister’s husband was paid $300,000 of your tax dollars despite complaints of shoddy work.

Some will hail this move by the DLP Thompson Government as some sort of great milestone or victory for integrity in government. Some will say this proves the current Thompson DLP government is serious about fighting corruption.

Ha! Not so fast, children!

It’s all a sham for the purposes of political publicity and we can prove it – so read on.

Nothing will really happen, so don’t get your hopes up. This is not some fundamental change in the behaviour of government. It’s more of the same politics that we’ve heard all along from the Thompson government. “Going to do” this. “Going to do” that. “Thinking about” this or that. But real change or real action about government corruption? Nada. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

Don’t forget friends – this is the same David Thompson who waved around a “campaign donation” cheque made out personally to then Prime Minister Owen Arthur and corruptly deposited into Arthur’s PERSONAL bank account. In the end, Thompson did nothing about that because the DLP and the BLP have a gentleman’s agreement that only harsh words will be spoken. Nobody will be charged with any offense because the DLP don’t want the same treatment when they are once again in Opposition.

And you can take that to the bank, friends… after all, Owen Arthur did!

Liz Thompson - Married "Her love of four years" McDowald in January 2005

Liz Thompson - Married "love of four years" in January 2005

The current story about BLP Government Minister of Housing, Lands and the Environment Liz Thompson and her contractor husband Cecil McDowald is actually old news that was known as far back as 2005 when the DLP (then in Opposition) made a big deal about it. The papers covered the story and the DLP Opposition knew the details back then.

So why did it take until now to announce “GOVERNMENT HAS instructed its attorneys to pursue all legal means to recover about $300 000 paid to the company of a private contractor and husband of a former government minister for work done at Kensington Lodge, St Michael, five years ago…” ??? (Nation News: Govt wants money back)

That’s simple, my friends. The government strategically held off and then played the issue like a surprise in a card game. Note the government doesn’t say it has filed a lawsuit, or actually DONE anything. The government announced it had “instructed attorneys”. OH…. Why didn’t it happen back in January of 2008? Why now?

The answer is: The DLP government is announcing this now because it is convenient for them to do so. They undoubtedly have all kinds of dirt tucked away that will be released when it is politically expedient. Nothing will happen, but it sure gets people talking for a month or two! Then… it will fade away just like all the other dirt that the government discloses but does nothing about.

Gosh the Thompson DLP government thinks everybody is stupid – just like the Arthur/Mottley government thought too.

And the worst part of it is that even today the yellow-bellied-pee-in-their-own-pants editors at The Nation don’t dare to print the name of the former BLP Government Minister whose lover of four years and soon to be husband was CORRUPTLY awarded the government contract in 2004.

As our friend over at Living in Barbados blog says “Does it look like a piece of rotten fish? Does it look like ‘business as usual?” Ha! The answer “yes to both observations”.

Here are a few quick thoughts about this story that is an indictment of the two major political parties and the Barbados news media…

- It was not illegal for Minister Thompson’s spouse to receive big government contracts back in 2004/2005. There was no law against this, and there still isn’t.

- Back in 2004/2005, it was not illegal for the Barbados Government to arbitrarily award fat government contracts without due process or transparency. If a Government Minister’s husband put in the highest bid and it was accepted… so what? It’s corrupt and immoral, yes – but not illegal. That is still the case today that no law prohibits such activity by Government Ministers and civil servants or their families.

- The current DLP Government said they would introduce a Ministerial Code and Conflict of Interest standards IMMEDIATELY upon taking office in January 2008. They lied to get your vote. Get over it.

- Minister of Housing and Lands Michael Lashley told the papers yesterday that “there were several grey areas in the entire saga, including the manner in which the company was awarded the contract in the first place. He said the company had the highest bid, was not even on the Environmental Engineering Division’s list of preferred contractors for the removal of asbestos roofing, and had no history of dealing with such specialised work.”

- Minister Lashley knows very well that no laws were broken because there are no laws. He knows that his government has failed to put integrity legislation and conflicts of interest standards in place just like the BLP.

- So any potential court case is simply about the quality of the work… and five years later, good luck taking that to trial. I guarantee that no photographs or evidence gathering was done at the time by the BLP against Liz Thompson’s husband, so Lashley can forget about a win in court.

Besides, the Chief Justice of Barbados, David Cathcart Simmons, is an old friend and fellow Cabinet Minister with Liz Thompson!  Cha! For a whole lot of reasons, this case against Liz Thompson’s husband is going to go nowhere fast and Minister Lashley knows that full well.

It’s all a show, my friends. Just a scam.

To the Cowardly Nation News Editors

Cowardly Nation News Pees Self Thinking About Reporting This Story

Cowardly Nation News Pees self thinking about saying the words "Cabinet Minister Liz Thompson"

Why didn’t you print Liz Thompson’s name in your article? What are you afraid of?

If you are afraid of being sued, why didn’t you ask Minister Lashley why the DLP Thompson Government hasn’t changed the defamation laws as they promised to do within 100 days of being elected?

Why didn’t your reporters ask Minister Lashley about his government’s failure to “Immediately” implement a Ministerial code and conflicts of interest standards?

Why didn’t your story point out that Barbados has no laws prohibiting the awarding of fat government contracts to the family members of Government Ministers?

Why didn’t you ask if any other government members or their families were ever awarded government contracts?

Talk about useless!

Here’s the Nation News article folks, in case they take it down like they have so many others. Wade Gibbons is a good man and a good journalist, but he works for Cowardly pee-in-their-pants editors. Don’t blame him…

Govt wants money back (click title to read the original at The Nation)

GOVERNMENT HAS instructed its attorneys to pursue all legal means to recover about $300 000 paid to the company of a private contractor and husband of a former government minister for work done at Kensington Lodge, St Michael, five years ago.

Minister of Housing and Lands Michael Lashley told the DAILY NATION yesterday his ministry was intent on recovering taxpayers’ money paid to Creative Business Services in 2004 despite the unsatisfactory removal of asbestos roofing from Government units. Continue reading

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Where did Denis Lowe get the money to pay for this Barbados Advocate advertisement?

Denis Lowe Barbados 2

The Public has no right in law to monitor any government expenditures – Once elected, MPs do as they wish

The simplest questions are often the most awkward – but only if you have to answer them. Dr. Lowe and our other elected representatives don’t have to answer questions about money, so why should they worry? With zero transparency and accountability required of government officials, Barbados Members of Parliament don’t have to be concerned about keeping financial records showing where the money comes from and how it is spent.

Barbados has no Freedom of Information laws, so unlike in many responsible democracies Bajans have neither the right in law nor the tools necessary to monitor how government officials spend our tax dollars. We were promised an FOI law within 100 days of the DLP’s election, but you know what happened to that and other promises of Integrity, Transparency and Accountability.

But back to our simple little question…

…where did Denis Lowe get the money to pay for the advertisement in today’s Barbados Advocate?

Did Minister Lowe pay for the advertisement out of his own salary? (As if!)

Did the money come from the DLP’s bank account. (I don’t think so!)

I’d have to guess that the money came from the taxpayers. That’s your money and mine that Minister Lowe used to congratulate the Sanitation Service Authority for 40 years of hard work.

How much money does Mr. Lowe spend on newspaper advertising? How much on meals and entertainment? How much on trips? Has he ever purchased any personal items using government funds? Any computers or clothes? Any books or supplies for his “home” office?

How much money does Mr. Lowe spend in a year placing advertisements in the Barbados Advocate? How much in the Nation? How much does the DLP spend in advertising with the Advocate compared with the Nation?

These are all valid questions. Citizens have a moral right to know how our tax dollars are spent, but thanks to the joint efforts of David Thompson, Owen Arthur, Mia Mottley and a host of present and past politicians, there is no transparency or accountability concerning the discretionary spending of the government and individual elected members.

And that is exactly the way that Denis Lowe, Mia Mottley and David Thompson prefer it.

Your local MP?

Your local MP?

And speaking about Members of Parliament and money, we hear rumours that one or two MPs turn around and walk the other way when they see certain landlords and creditors heading in their direction.

With no accountability for official spending and everyone willing to extend credit to members of a newly elected government, it wouldn’t surprise us to hear that some elected members have dug themselves into a little hole with their personal finances. This, of course, opens the door to temptation as a Member of Parliament who is under personal financial pressure might be susceptible to “loans” from land developers or people who obtain government contracts.

As strange as it seems, elected Members of Parliament are free to take “loans” or “gifts” from people who do business with the government – because Barbados has no law against this activity. Prime Minister Thompson and the DLP government reneged on their promise to implement a code of conduct immediately upon taking office, but we don’t hear Mia Mottley and the BLP Opposition saying anything about it. Something about pots and kettles.

Rumours of a Fax from Dr. Lowe

You might want to read our piece from December 19, 2008 to remember a controversy that came and died and was forgotten…

BFP, Dec 19, 2008: Barbados Government Minister Denis Lowe Seduced By The Dark Side

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Typical Barbados Justice System Follies: Another Police File “Missing” at Director of Public Prosecutions Office

Justice-Scales-MoneyIn a real Justice System all the alarm bells and sirens go off when a police file goes missing in a high-profile case.

In Barbados, its only another day of at the office.

Welcome to the Justice System of Barbados…

This is a country where a twelve year old girl is raped and it doesn’t come to court for ten years and then gets tossed because the “old boy network” looked after things.

This is a country where a popular pastor is charged with rape and it doesn’t come to court for seven years.

This is a country where a civil lawsuit against the Attorney General can’t come to trial in 17 bloody years!

This is a country where we have no laws to protect buyers of condominiums, a country where a court dispute over a condominium can take 19 years and still be unresolved!

This is a country where a seriously injured tourist has to wait eleven long years for justice.

This is a country where a foreign resident who purchased land in Barbados can’t get title or deed for 34 years! No, that is not a typo error. It is 34 bloody years and still counting!

This is a country where rape victims are pressured into taking money in exchange for not testifying when criminal charges have already been laid… and the courts go along with it!

And if the courts give a decision that the government of the day doesn’t like? The foreign investor is just as likely to see the army sent in with guns to overrule the court’s decision. They don’t usually print the story of Barbados Sea Island Cotton and Nitin Amersey in the local news!

“Rule of law?”

Ha! You mek sport my friends!

This is the reality of our Barbados courts and it has been recognized again and again but nothing changes.

Here is the latest story. Just today’s story — but citizens and foreign investors alike should be aware that if they have a dispute with one of the Barbados elites or the government, or find themselves relying upon the Barbados Justice System, this is what they are in for…

from The Nation (online story here)…

Delay in Radio Boss’ Case

THE POLICE FILE has been allegedly lost and so a year after the case against radio manager Veoma Alisha Ali first came to court, it is yet to start.

Ali’s counsel Wilfred Abrahams yesterday told the District “A” Magistrates’ Court that “apparently the file had gone to the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office and had been misplaced”.

His comments came after police prosecutor Sergeant Trenton Small said he was not yet in possession of a file.

“Even if that were true,” said Magistrate Pamela Beckles in response to Abrahams’ comments, “this is a whole year that has passed and you should go back to the complainant and re-interview her.”

Ali, 29, of No. 397 A, Westwood Park, Husbands, St James, has been accused that with intent to maim, disfigure or disable Kareen Clarke, of Denton Road, Grazettes, St Michael, she did serious bodily harm to Clarke on August 27, 2008.

Ali remains on $20 000 bail.

The matter was then adjourned until Novembers 9.

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