Tag Archives: CL Financial

Court issues order: Afra Raymond can drag stonewalling Trinidad government before Judicial Review

FOI Order Trinidad

Tough guy, that Afra Raymond. Won’t take “NO!” for an answer from a government that doesn’t think it needs to obey the Freedom of Information laws.

They fired Afra from where they could in the news media and thought he’d go away – but still he walks on in search of the truth. They tried ignoring him and now he’s gone to court and obtained an order when most people thought he couldn’t.

Yup, this is getting even curiouser and curiouser!

Order granting leave to file judicial review in Afra Raymond vs Ministry of Finance and the Economy.

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The neighbourhood of CL Financial’s Lawrence Duprey

Hey… that sure looks like my place at Grape Hall!

“10 Harborage Drive, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

This spectacular Intracoastal estate home is located on a private gated island in the heart of the Venice of America. Built in a contemporary Mediterranean design, the home features an open floor plan with soaring ceilings and luxury amenities. This smart home offers both Lutron and Crestron entertainment and lighting effects. Special features include gourmet gas kitchen inside and out, gymnasium, large 3rd floor theater, sauna and up or downstairs master. The garage can accommodate eight cars.”

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Did former T&T Finance Minister break her oath over CLICO insider trading?

CL Financial bailout – Swearing an Oath

by Afra Raymond

The former Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Finance, Karen Nunez-Tesheira (photo above), is once again in the news, due to her dispute with the Integrity Commission as well as her expected testimony at the next session of the Colman Commission.

The former Minister has had to defend against allegations of insider trading related to her early withdrawals from CLICO Investment Bank (CIB). There was a lengthy address to the Parliament on Wednesday 4th February 2009. The March 2009 revelation in the Guardian newspaper, that Nunez-Tesheira was a CL Financial shareholder was also the cause of further defensive statements (PDF) to Parliament on 27th March 2009. In the first wave of defense, there was silence as to the fact of Nunez-Tesheira’s shareholdings in CLF.

In November, her attorney attempted to challenge my position on this at the Colman Commission, but I maintained that ‘If the genuine attempt was to address the perception of corruption in a forthright fashion, all the information should have been given’.

In the second wave of defense, there was no mention of the fact that the insolvent CL Financial group paid a dividend to its shareholders after writing that fateful letter to the Central Bank for financial assistance. Again, through the unfolding scandal we are witness to responsible officials who chose to be selective in making the required full and frank disclosure.  All to the detriment of the tax payer.

Those attempts to defend against the allegations were only partially successful, since there is little doubt that Nunez-Tesheira’s reputation has been damaged by the entire episode.  Continue reading

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Why was a profitable division of CLICO sold off?

Dear Barbados Free Press,

I don’t pretend to be knowledgeable about high finance or corporate affairs, and therefore I have to look at situations on a simple level. I’m having difficulty understanding something about how the powers that be handled the CLICO debacle. Here is my observation and questions:

In the current issue of Barbados Today, the news article “Upturn” says,

“One year after being rescued from under the beleaguered CLICO Holdings umbrella, Capita Financial Services, formerly CLICO Mortgage and Finance Company, is projecting a profit of just over one million dollars at March next year.”

Barbados Today Upturn

Why would the trustees of the CLICO mess sell off a profitable operation?

To my mind it would make more sense to hang onto it. The profit from this successful operation could have been used to shore up the rest or at least reduce the damage to policy holders who were ripped off.

That is unless the vultures saw an opportunity to grab a profitable piece of the company at the expense of the already-victimized policy holders.

Can someone please explain why this selling off of a profitable piece of CLICO was necessary and how it was good for the victims of Mr. Leroy Parris and Mr. Lawrence Duprey?

Thank you,

A fellow victim

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CL Financial’s “Barefoot Billionaire” Lawrence Duprey enjoying Monaco Grand Prix

Smiles come easily when spending OPM – other people’s money.

Lawrence Durprey - Barefoot Billionaire in Monaco 2007

Readers throughout the Caribbean deserve to see these photos and read the story of Lawrence Duprey and friends visiting the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix. After all – our grandchildren will be paying for Mr. Duprey’s crimes until they die. And yes, that is a US$100 “per cigar!” Cohiba in one of the photos. You can bet the wine isn’t from Tesco either.

Enjoy… but first a word about where this material comes from: Monaco Revue and DiversityCanada Foundation.

Although we are using this material under the Fair Use provisions of copyright because we are commenting upon the material and it is also public evidence of the crimes of Mr. Duprey and his gang, and therefore contains an overriding public interest in its publication at BFP, we ask each of our readers to visit Monaco Revue HERE to read the original material.

It looks like DiversityCanada Foundation and Monaco Revue have worthy goals and we encourage each of you to at least visit their websites and give them consideration.

We do note that according to the article, former Trinidad government minister Carlos John (and then “advisor” to Lawrence Duprey) is the “compatriot” of Monaco Revue’s editor.

Colman Commission evidence?

We also see that what was once an article about the elites having a good time in Monaco is now certain to be of interest to the Colman Commission inquiries into the CL Financial Fraud. Especially as the commission looks into the close relationship between Duprey and Ministers and former Ministers of the Trinidad & Tobago Government. This 2007 article is evidence of crimes and has a compelling public interest. Therefore we have been advised that the Fair Use provisions of copyright are exceptionally strong and allow us to publish the material here at BFP.

We hope that DiverstyCanada Foundation and Monaco Revue have the journalistic integrity to leave this information published at Monaco Revue.

Now on to watching Mr. Duprey and his friends spending your money on a good time… Continue reading

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CL Financial collapse: Colman Commission hiding facts from the public

“Sir Anthony Colman needs to be watchful of the wily attorneys, who may seek again to tempt him to agree to conceal some more financial information which might be awkward for their clients.

The fact is that all those companies are now being funded by the Treasury and we have a right to know what caused this huge mess.”

The Colman Commission – The Importance of Money

by Afra Raymond

The Colman Commission was established about a year ago as a Public Enquiry into the failure of the CL Financial group, some of its subsidiaries, and the Hindu Credit Union.  The Commission is also mandated to report on the causes of these costly failures, so that it can make recommendations for possible prosecutions and the regulatory or systemic changes needed to avoid further collapses.

There has been a lot of fresh information revealed at the Commission and that is good, since the public now has a much better view of the various episodes behind the scenes.  The sole Commissioner, Sir Anthony Colman, has now made a statement which outlines his progress in this huge and complex matter.  Colman expects to take at least one more year and will be continuing his examination of the HCU matter when the CL Financial stage is completed.

Despite all the evidence about staggering sums of money and the heated public discussion that has sparked, I am perturbed by the way the essential information is being handled.

Since it is a Public Enquiry into a huge financial collapse, the financial information has to be front and centre if we are to get at the facts.

It is common knowledge that the link between performance and pay is essential in obtaining quality results in any competitive situation.  That basic fact, with which most people would agree, is now seriously challenged by some of the key events in the global financial meltdown.  It is beyond the scope of this article to delve into the new learning emerging from this global crisis, suffice to say that the old learning has literally been ‘tested to destruction’.

An unhealthy relationship between pay and performance would be a problem for any company, but in a financial company the issue is worse.  That is because the investors expect those companies to endure and prosper, so that they can collect the expected returns.

The Colman Commission will be unable to fulfill its mandate if it does not uncover the relationship between pay and performance in the failed companies.  Colman will also need to consider the motives and behaviour of the investors, who must also form a significant part of the story.  Without their participation and investments, the failed companies would have had no money to lose.

There is a strong interest in keeping the real figures and circumstances out of the news and some of the main items are –

  • The Accounts
  • The true levels of salaries, fees, dividends and bonuses
  • The identities and sums of money returned to those who have benefited from the bailout
  • The delinquent borrowers who owe the failed companies huge sums of money
  • The extent to which the failed companies and their chiefs complied with our tax laws

In ‘The Colman Commission – Cloudy Concessions’, published here on 1st September, I pointed out the danger of allowing the HCU claimants to testify without stating the amounts invested for the public record.  It was my view that those concessions represented the ‘thin edge of the wedge’ in terms of the entire exercise being a Public Enquiry into a series of financial collapses.

In this recent, third session of evidence Hearings, we have had three examples of the ‘widening wedge’ in respect of financial information. Continue reading

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Big problems with CL Financial bailout, Colman Commission obstruction

CL Financial bailout – The Truth about the Truth

by Afra Raymond

Continuing from last week’s critique of the revised bailout and its implications, I have further concerns as to the process by which the legislation was passed.

I am aware that the Members of Parliament were given a briefing on this matter, so that they would be better informed on this complex matter.  That briefing was conducted personally by the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank, together with their advisers and certain CLICO officials.

The briefing provided background information on these areas –

  • The status of the various outstanding audited accounts;
  • A ‘profile’ of the monies owed in terms of amounts owed to certain classes of policyholders.  I am told that quite a small number of these claimants held a large proportion of the monies being claimed;
  • The various lawsuits/judgments against the Central Bank;
  • The rationale given for extinguishing the right to sue the Central Bank in this matter was that public rights and stability were being given preference over the exercise of private rights.

I am also told that the Members of Parliament were not given copies of the presentations, which seems to have effectively limited them to gaining certain impressions or the limited notes they would have been able to take during the briefing.

That account of events, given to me by more than one Parliamentarian, seems to suggest that the very rationale of the exercise, said to be the elevation of public rights over private ones, could have been subverted.

The reality is that, despite the extensive debate on the matter, this is the position –

  • Accounts – There has still been no proper, clear statement on the status of these CL Financial and CLICO accounts, which is unsatisfactory.  An emerging view is that this is a calculated silence, since the companies are insolvent, which would make the Directors liable for the criminal offence of ‘trading while insolvent’.  That is a considerable issue, which could only be overcome by the State issuing a guarantee to the group’s creditors, which would have exposed the Treasury to the full extent of the huge claims.  The silence is a shabby ‘third way’, which gives a further insight into why the bailout remains untenable to so many of us.
  • There is no publicly-available profile of the monies owed in terms of amounts owed to certain classes of policyholders.  That is a major omission and one can only wonder why the information is being effectively suppressed.  In addition, there were statements that the claims of Credit Unions and Trade Unions will be fully-paid, which seems to be a favourable treatment in comparison to the individual claimants.
  • In respect of the lawsuits and judgments, I do not see how the block on lawsuits against the Central Bank can stop claims in foreign Courts.
  • The rationale of public rights being preferred over private rights is a solid one in a matter of this type, but upon reflection one is left with a different impression.  How can public rights be said to prevail in a situation where the public is denied the essential parts of the picture?

The Parliament benefits from briefings on complex and important matters, but it is unacceptable that those briefings should be somehow shrouded in secrecy.  The Minister of Finance and Governor of the Central Bank need to publish their full Parliamentary briefing, without delay, to remove any lingering doubts.  Good governance, transparency and accountability demand no less.

Florida: Just one of the Duprey family mansions

Non-payment of taxes by top CL Financial executives Continue reading

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CL Financial Fraud: 31 months of government control and no accounts yet!

UPDATED: November 9, 2011 – 6pm

Afra Raymond testified today at 2pm before the Colman Commission into the CL Financial collapse. No word if the video or audio of his testimony will be made available.

CL Financial bailout – The Final Solution?

by Afra Raymond

The new bailout formula was approved, as two new Acts, by Trinidad and Tobago Parliament on 14th September, 2011…

The Central Bank (Amendment) Bill, 2011

The Purchase of Certain Rights and Validation Bill, 2011

The first one prevents any lawsuits against the Central Bank by claimants, while the second gives the Minister of Finance the right to borrow up to $10.7Bn and places the Republic Bank Ltd. (RBL) shares formerly held by CLICO into a new investment vehicle, NEL 2.

A perversion of our Treasury

These seem to represent what I am calling the Final Solution, in that the clamour and protest which had marked the last year seems to have been fading away.  There have been queries from the various ‘Policyholders’ groups’, but those have been limited.

Whatever one thinks of the actual bailout, which I maintain is a perversion of our Treasury, there are valuable lessons to be learned from all this.  The main lesson for me is the Power of the Few. 

In that although only about 16,000 investors were affected, they were able to mount a successful campaign to improve their position.  We need to note that lobbying and campaigning can be effective in gaining benefits for limited groups.  To all the weak-hearts who say nothing ever changes, please take note. Continue reading

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Victor Stewart on Sam Lord’s Castle and how CLICO pillaged our island

As part of the family that owned Sam Lord’s Castle before the Marriotts, and as a current landowner at Castle Close, I find the whole CLICO subject to be somewhat ridiculous.

Isn’t it obvious what is going on??? CLICO came into Barbados with the support of powerful people in government, and proceeded to pillage our fair Island.

One of the obvious and terrible casualties was my family home (and what our family had raised to equal status with then-nacent Sandy Lane in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a premier resort hotel) that was part of our national heritage. Apparently nobody cares about tradition any more, but Barbados has a long and honoured tradition of respecting the rule of law and more particularly English common law and equity principles of how to conduct business with the people in your community. All of this has been apparently lost in the fight for political power, but I will make a prediction that sooner or later the people of Barbados will rise up and demand an explanation for what has been done in their name.

I can only pray that the burned-out shell that used to be my family’s and this Island’s delight might one day be reconstituted, unlike the sad arson memorial that is Farley Hill. Only time will tell.

Victor E. Stewart
Castle Close, St. Philip

Further Reading

BFP: October 22, 2010 Sam Lord’s Castle as an over-valued asset in the CLICO – CL Financial pyramid fraud

BFP: October 21, 2010 Sam Lord’s Castle burns to the ground thanks to Barbados DLP, BLP, CLICO, Leroy Parris

BFP: April 11, 2009: How CLICO Ruined A Barbados Heritage Site: Sam Lord’s Castle

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CLICO Indian Fraud: Should Leroy Parris and Lawrence Duprey go to jail for this alone?

Leroy Parris and good friend Government Minister Chris Sinckler share champagne

My friends, you should go to Trinidad and Tobago Newsday to read this article, AND PLEASE DO!

But just in case it disappears from the net as happens in the Caribbean, we’re going to reprint the entire article here. But please… go to Newsday first to read the whole thing, okay?

WARNING: If you’re a CLICO victim, you’re going to be mad as hell after the first paragraph!

‘Clico fronted $38M in Indian business’
By ANDRE BAGOO Monday, October 3 2011

CLICO fronted $38 million in Indian business carried out by a Miami-based broker without the approval of the Central Bank, according to documents disclosed to the Commission of Inquiry into Clico which paint a picture of an insurance company with a long history of breaking the law and hiding key aspects of its operations from its books.

The documents disclose that $29.4 million in interest payments on a secret $302.4 million Home Mortgage Bank loan to Clico for the Lascelles de Mercado transaction was dressed up as “an amount receivable” from parent company CL Financial. Additionally, the company had “significant off balance sheet exposures” to connected companies totalling $2 billion, according to Central Bank estimates. Continue reading

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Coleman Commission into CL Financial: Ministry of Finance, Central Bank want to exclude Afra Raymond’s testimony

“A Commission of Enquiry can only make findings on the evidence submitted to it, so it would be very important for some people to have certain evidence omitted.”

The Colman Commission – Balancing the Scale

by Afra Raymond

The Colman Commission into the failure of CLF Financial and the Hindu Credit Union is just about to move into its second round of Hearings and the public can expect to have further testimony on the losses suffered by people who deposited monies with CL Financial.

I have made several submissions to the Commission and have been invited to give evidence. 

I am reliably informed that there have been strong and unanimous objections to my participation in the Colman Commission.  It would seem that only the Commission itself is interested in having my testimony go onto the record.

It is not surprising to me that objections of that sort would be arising now, but readers need to have a context.

The Colman Commission was established to find out how this fiasco occurred, recommend methods to stop a recurrence and also to identify responsible people who are apt for lawsuits or criminal charges.  The main parties can be expected to give self-serving evidence, designed to exonerate themselves from any blame.

We can also expect to hear more attempts to put the blame onto Wall Street, despite the claims in the CL Financial 2007 Annual Report – this is from the preamble -

…“The Next Wave of Growth” is the theme of this annual report, highlighting, to quote our Chairman, “that out of any crisis opportunities will emerge and our progress during the year under review prepares us to seize those opportunities and unlock value.” We have confidence in our ability to not only navigate this financial storm but to find fresh and profitable opportunities within it…

That Annual Report was published on 23rd January 2009 – yes, that is 10 days after Duprey wrote to the Central Bank Governor for urgent financial assistance and one week before the bailout was signed on 30th January.

The Colman Commission is a Public Inquiry into a matter of major importance; it was approved by the Cabinet and installed by the President of the Republic.  A Commission of Enquiry can only make findings on the evidence submitted to it, so it would be very important for some people to have certain evidence omitted. Continue reading

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BREAKING HERE FIRST: CBC sacks Peter Wickham over secret corruption briefings to US Ambassador

WikiLeaks “Confidential” US Embassy cable takes down Wickham

CADRES’ Peter Wickham revealed to US Diplomats: Campaign financing corruption, payoffs, “sweetheart deals”, political corruption by Leroy Parris & CLICO, drug money funding political campaigns, flying in of voters from USA.

“At the same time that Wickham was a political consultant, he provided secret briefings to US Embassy personnel about his clients’ activities. He’s finished. Who would hire him again?”

CBC senior executives “outraged”

Prime Minister Stuart said to be “beside himself” over CLICO / Leroy Parris revelations.

… CBC insider exclusive to Barbados Free Press

EXCLUSIVE to Barbados Free Press

(News media must attribute to “Barbados Free Press”)

The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) sacked journalist and political analyst Peter Wickham on September 1st over the contents of a US Embassy cable released by WikiLeaks on August 30th, 2011.

A CBC insider tells only Barbados Free Press that the Barbados DLP government and CBC senior executives remain “outraged” after learning that Peter Wickham provided a series of secret briefings to US diplomats “over several years” where Mr. Wickham discussed and provided details about political corruption in the Caribbean. The briefings included information about the activities of clients and former clients.

Hitting the fan!

Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is said to be “beside himself” over the cable, which reveals among other facts that CLICO executive, former CBC Chairman and DLP supporter Leroy Parris provided large sums of under the table money to the Dominica DLP in exchange for business and a diplomatic passport. Barbados government members are concerned that the cable will provide more fodder for BLP Opposition calls for details on CLICO financial abuses and CLICO’s political funding of the Barbados DLP. (Editor: No kidding!)

“Wickham met periodically with Embassy Officers over the past several years”

The February 3, 2006 “CONFIDENTIAL” cable was sent by Mary Kramer, (then US Ambassador to Barbados and the Caribbean) and is published at the end of this post. The WikiLeaks cable references other US Embassy cables that are not included in the WikiLeaks releases – indicating that the United States State Department is in possession of additional information that remains secret.

The February 3, 2006 cable also contains Mr. Wickham’s assessment of Caribbean political funding.

Wickham’s assessment and information makes an excellent case for Campaign Financing and disclosure laws in Barbados…

“The amount of money spent on political campaigns in the Caribbean has increased with each election, according to Peter Wickham, a consultant who has worked for various governments and political parties throughout the region.

With no campaign finance laws or disclosure requirements present in most countries, political parties are free to accept funding from any source, including wealthy expatriates seeking to curry favor for their business and personal interests.”

Comment:  The increasing availability of campaign funds to Caribbean political leaders, combined with a lack of legal control over how the money is raised, makes for a troubling situation in a region where many turn a blind eye to corruption.

A few hundred thousand dollars, a pittance to a wealthy businessperson in Barbados or the Cayman Islands, could buy a great deal of influence in one of the small, economically troubled countries in the region.  Some of this influence may be purchased to further legitimate business concerns, but as in the case of marijuana growers, or even the bearers of passports to which they are not entitled, the influence could be used for more nefarious purposes.”

… US Ambassador Mary Kramer in WikiLeaked cable from US Embassy Barbados

Peter Wickham unaware of reason for sacking

Saturday’s Nation newspaper quotes Peter Wickham as not knowing why the CBC sacked him. According to BFP’s source, Wickham may not yet be aware of the reason for his firing.

Says Wickham to The Nation…

“No rationale was given… Needless to say, I am not pleased.”

“Where there’s a termination letter there’s always the impression conveyed that there was incompetence, misbehaviour, non-performance or underperformance, and I hope that’s not the belief that goes out there,”

Peter Wickham quoted in the Nation story CBC sacks Wickham

If Mr. Wickham wishes to comment on our story, we’d be pleased to publish whatever he emails us. Barbados Free Press published Peter Wickham’s writing during the 2007 election when the newspapers refused.

February 3, 2006 “CONFIDENTIAL” US Embassy cable from Mary Kramer, then US Ambassador to Barbados… Continue reading

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Some Queries about the ongoing CLICO Debacle

Who are the CLICO receivers… really?

submitted by BFP reader “H”

Who are the CLICO receivers anyway … and who, working for what company, were appointed foot soldiers? And by whom? And who is paying the cost of the receivership proceedings? CLICO customers and investors, directors or the taxpayer? Surely not the latter.

What about the many CLICO subsidiaries like BAICO and Angostura? Are they liquid and still in operation or have they been shut down? And those overseas? Has a comprehensive list been published yet in the T&T press?

Should Lawrence Duprey be arrested and charged in Trinidad for Ponzi Scheming or embezzlement, like Allen Stanford was for the very same reasons in the US? Or are Trinidadians scared of touching corrupt billionaires like certain as yet uncharged and unconvicted ex-government ministers, past and current state enterprise directors, Calder Hart, Lawrence Duprey and his affiliated cronies …

I think that the entire CLICO debacle is deliberately being made complex and confusing to enable old criminals to manipulate or destroy incriminating evidence and get off scot-free and to lure newly emerging robbers to deliberately get a piece of the unsavory action in the prevailing mayhem …

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I have a problem with fellow CLICO policyholders

Time to join Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA)

by J. Payne

I have a severe problem with fellow CLICO policyholders in Barbados. What are you waiting for? Are you aware that the Judicial Manager has not filed a defence against Parris’s claim for $10 million from CLICO? Are you aware that, in the absence of that defence, Parris has already applied for a judgement from the Court? What is the matter with you? Do you feel that by staying silent and doing nothing that all will sort itself out in end? Without direct action by CLICO policyholders, nothing will be done. Worried about victimisation? This is YOUR money! So haven’t you been victimised already?

I urge all policyholders and those who know policyholders to join those of us already members of the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA). We can and will take action to recover what is rightly ours, and nobody – not Parris, not the Judicial Manager, nor government will be allowed to conspire to keep us from a just end to this fiasco.

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Without fear of punishment CL Financial – CLICO Executives had no limits

“If you let people get the idea that they can never be punished, there is virtually no limit to the rules they will break.  Asset-stripping, Bribery and Corruption can become the new norms of a governing class and that is what has happened in our country.”

This is an edited version of Afra Raymond’s address to the 4th Biennial Business Banking and Finance Conference (BBF4) held at the Trinidad Hilton from 22nd to 24th June, 2011.

The session he participated in was devoted to ‘Lessons from the Financial Crisis: The Resolution of Failed Entities’.

by Afra Raymond

Thanks for the invitation to speak at this forum, it was last-minute, but welcome, since our local Institutions of Higher Learning have not spent the necessary time to explain and analyse this financial fiasco.  I have been very critical of the Institute of Business, the Institute of Social and Economic Research, the Faculties of Economics and Management and the Caribbean Centre for Money & Finance, so it is great to see you making a start on this overdue work.  It is my pleasure to participate in these proceedings.

I want to start by shifting focus to the arena of the mind and the existence of elements such as moral and ethical values, as well as social standards.  In 1971 there was a famous series of psychological experiments in which selected students entered a two-week role-play as prison-guards in control of other people who were playing the role of prisoners.

That experiment was conducted at Stanford University in California and the results were that most of the prison guards adopted cruel behaviour with most of them being upset when the experiment was stopped after only six days.  The entire experiment was filmed and the prisoners suffered from regular acts of wickedness, abuse and sheer perversity – one-third of the guards acted sadistically.

The Stanford Prison Experiment as it is now known, was heavily criticised as being unethical and unprofessional.  Of course the other aspect is that it re-opened the perennial discussion into the nature of things.  The nature of our nature, as it were – ‘Are we humans naturally evil and cruel?’  The learning seems to be that well-adjusted and reasonable people can very quickly lose their moral compass in a situation with a lack of the conventional controls such as disapproval and laws.

The New Norms of the Governing Class…

No surprise to those familiar with history and politics, but the lesson for us in T&T is that…

If you let people get the idea that they can never be punished, there is virtually no limit to the rules they will break.  Asset-stripping, Bribery and Corruption can become the new norms of a governing class and that is what has happened in our country.

We have never had a strong tradition of detecting and punishing White-Collar Criminals, so if we are to make a start in terms of the resolution of failed entities, that has to be the starting-point.  We cannot reconstruct or resolve the failed entities if we do not change that aspect of our culture – the absence of consequence has to be abolished. Continue reading

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Colman Commission ignoring the smell of dirty money?

Afra Raymond asks where the money came from in the first place

Auntie Moses says that all money has a smell. Honestly-earned money smells clean and dishonest money stinks to high heaven. If you put too much of that dirty money in your purse, you start to stink too. So says Auntie Moses and she’s generally correct about those kinds of ethical issues.

Our friend Afra Raymond has noticed a little problem over at the Colman Commission into the CL Financial – CLICO debacle. I’ll let Afra explain it…

“There also seems to be a strange situation on CL Financial, since I am told that none of the affected people are willing to come forward to testify.  I am not very surprised at that and it is yet another indication of the extent of that toxic ‘Code of Silence‘.

What a shame!  25,000 policyholders said to be affected by the failure of CL Financial, yet only one is willing to testify.  Only One!   I wrote before in this space about the probability that a high proportion of those EFPA monies had never been screened by rigorous Anti Money Laundering (AML) procedures.  I suggested to the Minister of Finance that provisions be made in the payout agreements for the applicants for bailout monies to have the source of their funds vetted for compliance with VAT, PAYE, Income and Corporation taxes.  The Minister did not adopt those proposals.

So, what we now have is the spectacle of the Colman Commission set up by the government to examine the causes of the collapse and finding that few want to speak, very few.  I don’t know if it’s dirty money, or ‘keeping it in the family‘ or what…but I do hope that Colman takes a robust approach by using his powers to sub-poena people to appear and testify.”

Read the whole dirty story at Afra Raymond Colman Commission considerations

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Retirement planning by CL Financial Directors & Officers: They got their money!

Florida: Just one of the Duprey family mansions

When did CL Financial & CLICO insiders know that the group was heading for collapse?

by Afra Raymond

When you consider increasing lifespans, inflation and the greater likelihood of major medical expense, it is clear that proper retirement planning should be a major factor for most people.

Central to the growth and long-term success of the CL Financial group was its ability to mobilise the retirement savings of the Caribbean people in pursuance of its wider commercial objectives.  I have been writing on how it all went wrong and who is to blame.

In preparing my submissions for the Colman Commission it occurred to me that the retirement planning of the 3 CL Financial chiefs is central to understanding the entire fiasco.  It is rich in irony.

Fiduciary Duty of Directors and Officers

When did the Directors and Officers of CL Financial (CLF) know that the group was heading to collapse? 

When did the Directors and Officers of the failed subsidiaries know? 

What did they know and when did they know it? How much warning did their management controls give them?

The questions are pertinent and the time-line is instructive – Continue reading

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Tourist writes: “History, beauty… no longer relevant in Barbados”

Tourists come for history and beauty, riches you can’t build with concrete.

by Cindy Martell, American visitor to Barbados

I am so saddened to read of the senseless loss of Sam Lords Castle. My husband and I took our honeymoon in Barbados at Sam Lords Castle when it was a Marriott property 19 years ago. We treasured every moment and the tales of Sam Lord, evil as he may have been. Sam Lords dinner was a highlight of our trip and history of the castle.

I learned of its tragic fate while researching for a return to trip to Barbados for our 20th Anniversary. I’m quite certain we will find a new special place as the history and riches that took us to Barbados originally appear to no longer be relevant. Tourists come for history and beauty, riches you can’t build with concrete.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, History