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