Tag Archives: Harlequin Hotels and Resorts

How many Harlequin companies did Dave Ames register in Barbados?

Harlequin Resort

Why so many Harlequin companies?

It happened like this… we were sitting around last Friday discussing how David Ames and his Ponzi partners have more companies than anybody knows about. Marketing done by this company, land held by that company, building done by another company supplied by another company delivering materials.

It all collapsed and left eyesores and abandoned building sites that are a blight upon Barbados and other nations.

And then somebody asked if anyone had run the word “Harlequin” at the Barbados Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office.

Everybody looked at each other with that “aren’t we a bunch of idiots?” look. Nope, nobody had done it.

So we fired up the computer, logged into Anonymouse.org to cover our asses, and did the deed.

Here they are, folks… All the Barbados-registered companies with the word “Harlequin” in their name…

HARLEQUINS
POLLY HARLEQUIN PRODUCTIONS
HARLEQUIN DEVELOPMENTS
HARLEQUIN (BARBADOS) PROPERTY MANAGEMENT LIMITED
HARLEQUIN BOUTIQUE HOTEL LIMITED
HARLEQUIN (BARBADOS) PROPERTY LIMITED
HARLEQUIN LUXURY HOTEL LIMITED
HARLEQUIN BOUTIQUE HOTEL MANAGEMENT LIMITED
HARLEQUIN LUXURY HOTEL MANAGEMENT LIMITED
HARLEQUIN PROPERTY (SVG) LIMITED

Truly, the government looked the other way on all of this. How many of these companies filed proper reports? You know how it is here on this rock… a political donation takes care of having to worry about filing the paperwork for companies. No worries about annual reports if you make a big donation to the ruling party.

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Economy, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

With David and Matt Ames as mentors, expect great things from Colonial Capital Group PLC

“That’s quite a team!

With quite a track record: ruined lives, pensions destroyed, homes lost. Suicides. Marriage breakups. Families falling apart as the work of a lifetime vanishes.”

The Ames Gang rides again…

These guys just won’t quit.

Last March saw Harlequin’s Matthew Ames jailed for 40 months for his Forestry for Life fraud that took £1.6million from investors. Ames stole from the rich, from the poor, from widows and pipefitters.

Matt Ames was an equal opportunity swindler who dressed well and talked with such easy confidence that people immediately trusted him. And, hey… didn’t his family develop the acclaimed Harlequin Resorts? Yeah… shouldn’t be any problem with investing in Forestry For Life. Even James Middleton was in the picture! (Oh… you don’t know James? Ah… you might be more familiar with his sister Kate and brother-in-law William: as in “our future King and Queen”.)

One of Matt Ames’ colleagues at Forestry for Life was Kevin Neil – then on the rebound from seeing the High Court shut down his two property firms in the public interest – Agri Ventura PLC and Farm Venture Ltd. Neil was also the main figure in the CleanTech NRG financial collapse.

Three of Kevin Neil's CleanTech victims

Three of Kevin Neil’s CleanTech victims. Despite all Mr. Neil’s current directorships and past failed companies, we couldn’t find a photo of Mr. Neil. Can anyone assist?

The Mirror UK called Neil’s business a “Landbanking scam” and reported…   Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Crime & Law, Ethics, Offshore Investments, Real Estate, Royal Family

Harlequin fraudster: Matthew Ames jailed 40 months in fake carbon credits scam

“Ruined lives, pensions destroyed, homes lost. Suicides. Marriage breakups. Families falling apart as the work of a lifetime vanishes.

That is the legacy of Harlequin’s Matthew Ames, who was just convicted of fraud for running a ponzi scheme. Ames took £1.2million from the rich, from the poor, from widows and pipefitters. He was an equal opportunity swindler who dressed well, talked with such easy confidence that people immediately trusted him.”

… from BFP’s February 13, 2014 article Harlequin’s Matthew Ames guilty of ponzi scheme fraud.

Will father David Ames follow son to jail?

Matthew Ames

Matthew Ames

We were a little low in our previous estimates as it turns out that Matthew Ames defrauded investors of £1.6 million, some £400,000 more than thought – but hey, what’s a few pennies between friends?

The son of Harlequin’s Dave Ames was sentenced to 40 months in jail, which seems a short sentence considering that many of his victims are sentenced to life in poverty and despair.

It took about 3 years to bring Matthew Ames to justice, but that is quick considering the ongoing disaster of Harlequin Resorts created by Dave Ames and other ne’rdowells.

Further enjoyment:

Conman who used James Middleton to promote his bogus rainforest protection scheme is jailed

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

More Questions for former Harlequin associate David Campion

David Campion Harlequin Barbados 2

With the collapse of so many large scale, foreign-owned projects in Barbados in the last few years, Bajans are understandably cynical about any new projects. And when a former Harlequin employee sets up shop, some folks naturally want to ask how much they knew about Harlequin and when they knew it.

Back on June 22, 2013 BFP published an article that asked tough questions of David Campion and his Argo Development Studio. We received no word from Mr. Campion then or since.

Now another reader asks more questions that seem most reasonable to us and are what ordinary Bajans want to know about Mr. Campion and all developers – especially from over and away.

If Mr. Campion desires to comment or reply, we will print his unedited response right here and give him full coverage. We and all Barbadians would like to hear his side of the story.

Regarding David Campion, some questions …

by BFP reader Just give me a straight answer

After the Harlequin fiasco:

  • Is David Campion living and working in Barbados based on documentation as an ongoing employee of the non-operating Harlequin (of Merricks) fame?
  • If not, has he legal status in Barbados?
  • Has he applied for or is he in possession of a work permit?
  • Is Argo (his “company”) actually registered as a company?
  • Is Argo VAT registered?
  • What are his professional qualifications?
  • Regarding the claims of Argo’s expertise made on the Argo website, does he have a core building industry professional qualification? such as Surveyor or Engineer?
  • Is there any other person here working for him (the site claims 4 directly employed persons) who is professionally qualified and is registered and have they paid their yearly fees?
  • If Mr. Campion is properly qualified, is he a member of one of the professional organisations here in Barbados?
  • If he has a professional qualification, is he on the governments register of qualified professional persons …and has he paid the statutory fee for 2013/2014?
  • Has Argo direct or indirect ownership in “Tourism Consultants International”, who with Argo have recently been appointed by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry – BCCI – to carry out surveys of Bridgetown businesses as part of their “Revitalization of Bridgetown Initiative”?
  • If he is in the process of submitting Town and Country Planning applications to the Town Planning Department, and is he aware that certain qualifications have to be proven (for submitting proposals of more than domestic or residential size) before the Town Planning Department will accept the application?

BFP thanks The Nation for the source photo. Used with permission!

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Economy

Scuba diving accident at Harlequin’s Buccament Bay: Friends question emergency care, lack of insurance

diver-flag

“The shocker is that the injured diver was not evacuated to Barbados until the next morning – after additional serious damage happened overnight.”

“Harlequin has offered no support to injured dive instructor Michael Richards…”

Harlequin and St. Vincent news media say not a word about this story…

An experienced diving instructor at Harlequin’s Buccament Bay was evacuated to Barbados for critical care after he was seriously injured on the weekend of November 16, 17, 2013.

From what we’ve been able to gather, Bajan Michael “Richie” Richards fell unconscious after a dive and was taken to Milton Cato Hospital: but the shocker is that he was not evacuated to Barbados until the next morning after additional serious damage happened overnight.

Diving friends and co-workers are incensed and say that Richie should have been evacuated on an emergency basis right away because St. Vincent does not have a re-compression chamber, so by the time any further symptoms became apparent it would be too late.  Any diver knows that unconsciousness within a few hours of a dive is a critical indicator of decompression sickness and serious injuries possibly already done. A gas embolism (“air bubble”) in the brain or heart can kill or maim for life, and if a diver falls unconscious within a few hours of a dive, it is immediately a critical situation even if the victim regains consciousness and appears to have no other symptoms such as joint pain. Dive physicians worldwide agree on one thing: any sign of gas embolism and the diver should get moving towards a hyperbaric chamber immediately by the safest possible means.

Some of Richie’s friends and divers in general are pointing to a statement on Barbados Free Press by Kay Wilson, the owner of Indigo Watersports Ltd., as proof that Richie’s condition was not taken seriously at the time.

Ritchie’s employer Kay Wilson said…

“The following morning it became apparent that his injuries were more severe than anyone could have expected and he was transported with hours to Barbados for treatment.”

One diving colleague told Barbados Free Press “The wrong decisions were made at each step until it was too late. Richie is facing months of treatment and may not fully recover. Immediate evacuation and treatment could have made the difference and probably would have made a big difference in the seriousness of his injuries.”

Richie’s friends are also concerned that he has no insurance and that Wilson stated his dive was “after work”. Divers quite correctly point out that diving illnesses and injuries are often cumulative from multiple dives, and that the earlier work dives that very day were certainly part of the problem. They see Wilson’s statement as a poor attempt to shift liability away from Richie’s employer. They also question why a diving company would not have proper insurance for their diving instructors and students to get them quickly to a chamber the moment a problem happens.

Did Richie have a working dive computer? Was it supplied by the employer? What standards does his employer insist on? Are those standards really enforced or does the work schedule override safety? Does the employer monitor dive logs against work schedules and classes? What was his schedule for the past three months? As a working diver, did the employer arrange medical supervision and regular checkups?

No Ms. Wilson: this is not as simple as “Ritchie was diving after work”.

Barbados Free Press hopes that Richie recovers quickly. As usual, should Kay Wilson or anyone wish to say anything to our readers we would be happy to feature their comments in an article and give it the same prominence.

Further information about hyperbaric chambers and treatment in Barbados and St. Lucia:

BADASS – Barbados Divers Association

Iyanola Dive Ventures – St. Lucia Hyperbaric Center

Here are some of the exchanges about Michael ‘Richie’ Richards that happened at Barbados Free Press:  Continue reading

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Filed under Health, Sports

How many units did Harlequin REALLY complete?

barbados-lawsuit-question.jpg

“I’m not sure of the current situation but I think it is something like only 300 units built out of 6000 sold, and no money left to build the missing units.”

BFP’s Robert takes a WAG (that’s ‘Wild Ass Guess’) about the number of units actually completed by Harlequin.

Reader “J” takes exception to Robert and says…

“The real number is closer to 120 that are built, about 10 are used for reception, liverpool football club  then staff / ‘celeb’ visits. Ten are not finished but in the main resort, not used.

So at any one time the most cabana’s that can be rented is around 100.

At a push if you include the semi derelict ones behind the fence, maybe another 50.

Block 2 is built but only 30 units finished, currently being used by HP staff.”

What do you think, folks? How many units has Harlequin really finished out of the 6000 sold?

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

UK Financial Conduct Authority cautions investors on new Harlequin rescue plans

Harlequin Resort

“We urge financial advisers considering recommending consumers paying monies or further monies over to any of the companies in the Harlequin group at this time to proceed with caution.

You should ensure that consumers fully understand the risks involved with the investment. You should also advise consumers to obtain legal advice from lawyers in the country where the property is located before proceeding with any investment in a company in the Harlequin group.”

… UK Financial Conduct Authority

The last five or six months have seen a lot of talk of plans and schemes to rescue the investments of the poor folks who believed everything that Dave Ames said about Harlequin’s business plans. Nevermind that even the most mathematically challenged should have been able to see that Harlequin’s ability to continue to build relied upon finding new suckers, ah, ‘investors’ willing to suspend their disbelief as if they were watching a child’s cartoon on Saturday morning.

Harlequin was first and only a Ponzi scheme where payback to earlier investors was only possible with money from new investors. I’m not sure of the current situation but I think it is something like only 300 units built out of 6000 sold, and no money left to build the missing units.

Or so I think. No doubt one of our readers can provide the current stats.

The UK Financial Conduct Authority remains concerned about plans by various Harlequin entities to ‘save’ investors’ monies… with only a small additional investment. Ha!

Have a read of the notice and then… class, discuss!

Update to information on investments made through Harlequin Management Services (South East) Limited (“Harlequin Property”)

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) issued an alert to financial advisers on 18 January 2013 regarding this subject. Since 1 April, the Financial Conduct Authority is one of the UK’s two new financial regulators, which has replaced the FSA.

The alert sets out our expectations where financial advisers recommend overseas properties purchased through Harlequin Property. It also sets out what advisers need to do before recommending an overseas property investment through Harlequin Property.

The full text of the alert can be found here. The FCA’s Harlequin page can be found here.

Since this date, important developments have taken place as follows: Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption