Tag Archives: Harlequin Hotels and Resorts

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?

28 Comments

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

What is happening with Harlequin – Dave Ames? Class… discuss!

Harlequin Resort

“We are urging every investor to register in the HMSSE administration.”

Gareth Fatchett, Regulatory Legal Solicitors (Forms attached at bottom)

With over 10,000 discussion comments on Barbados Free Press, Harlequin “investors” (and we use the word somewhat tongue-in-cheek) have lots to say and discuss.

Here’s the latest we have from Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal Solicitors – a memo sent out on May 17, 2013.

Perhaps our readers can add what’s happened since…

From: Regulatory Legal Solicitors [mailto:mail@harlequininvestorgroup.co.uk]
Sent: 17 May 2013 17:09
To: Gareth Fatchett
Subject: 17th May 2013 – HIG UPDATE

At outset, HIG are more than prepared to continue to engage with Harlequin and will seek to understand and support a rescue plan where this is feasible notwithstanding the protective steps we are suggesting below. ie. our objective is to pursue different strategies which aim to achieve the best outcome for investors regardless of the course adopted. Simply sitting back while matters worsen is not a strategy HIG are prepared to adopt.

HIG members are all investors in Harlequin and would like nothing more than it to work. However, we have to be realistic. It is not going to work in the current format. It needs a major overhaul to give us any chance of surviving. Currently, the whole process is dictated by a handful of people at the Harlequin core. Frankly, that does not work for investors who need to understand the actual position.

The seriousness of the situation has increased with a High Court Judge making an order against Mr & Mrs Ames personally. Of course, Mr & Mrs Ames are able to challenge the order and seek to have it revoked. What is concerning for HIG is that the order was granted in the first place.

We are trying to keep an open mind, but the slippage of timetables, non payment of creditors and the issuing and granting of the injunction does little to reassure us. Continue reading

1,657 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Crime & Law

BREAKING: Harlequin Property applies to go into administration

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harlequin leaves Barbados with nothing but a huge mess

Harlequin leaves Barbados with nothing but a huge mess

House of Cards about to go?

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

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

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

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

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

Harlequin Property applies to go into administration

(Echo-News.co.uk)

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

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

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Consumer Issues

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

Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal Solicitors

Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal Solicitors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gareth Fatchett, Risk Warning

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Patrick Souiljaert: “I am making this video to warn people and to help people. Do not give any money to Harlequin”

We’ve been publishing way too much stuff about Harlequin lately only because we foresaw what was happening many many months ago and we know that it will be a huge scandal.

That said, I had to post this YouTube video of Patrick Souiljaert.

YES… Harlequin/Ames did this to the poor man, but so did the regulatory bodies and governments who gave Dave Ames what he needed to carry on his scheme for so long.

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Offshore Investments

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves: How many travel writers will you jail?

Kenton Chance Wikileak

St. Vincent’s racist Prime Minister is on the record very upset that two BBC journalists ‘snuck’ into the country by telling Immigration authorities they were visiting as tourists when they were really working on a story about Harlequin and Dave Ames. Had the BBC journalists been filming a feel-good travel or investment article, Gonsalves wouldn’t have had a problem with them.

Too bad the BBC story was about how Harlequin collected hundreds of millions of pounds from British pensioners but only built a handful of promised holiday homes before running out of money.

Gonsalves threatened that Panorama tele-journalists Paul Kenyon and Mathew Hill committed crimes punishable by imprisonment.

No word on what PM Gonsalves thinks about Harlequin’s Ponzi scheme, but he is sure upset at the reporters for mentioning it!

How dare dem bloody reporters come snooping around and then expose the story of how SVG  and its politicians let a twice-bankrupt double glazing salesman get away with using the country to promote a pyramid scheme!

One problem though: does Prime Minister Gonsalves intend to apply the same rules to every travel journalist who comes to SVG as a tourist and then writes nice things about the island? Or is Gonsalves only concerned about the law when investigative journalists expose the truth?

If Prime Minister Gonsalves wants to put some journalists in jail he should start with every travel and finance writer who took a free trip from Harlequin and declared they were on holiday when they arrived in SVG. They are the ones who printed the flowery stories that set the trap for thousands of trusting Britons to lose their pensions. If any journalists deserve jail, it is that bunch.

Of course, it’s a good thing that the BBC journalists are of the white race because Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is probably going soft on them. You see, Ralph Gonsalves is a racist who dislikes mulattos and brown people – and said so.

Further Reading

I-Witness News Citing possible jail time, BBC reporters staying away from SVG

Cartoon: SVG journalist Kenton X. Chance with PM Gonsalves. See BFP’s More WikiLeaks hit the fan!

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Filed under Culture & Race Issues, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Race

Hope for some Harlequin victims? Investment victims’ lawyer going after Harlequin agents who misled about protection of funds

Harlequin & David Ames: Knew sales agents were lying to investors.

Harlequin & David Ames: Knew sales agents were lying to investors.

“After learning that some of his agents were misleading investors, did Ames and Harlequin take steps to alert investors? Now there is a question.”

Some agents and financial advisers selling Harlequin Property pre-March 2009 were telling clients that their investments were protected in a solicitor’s client account. This according to the UK law office representing a group of disgruntled Harlequin investors.

Gareth Fatchett... Pit Bull, lawyer or both?

Gareth Fatchett… Pit Bull, lawyer or both?

Talking to Barbados Free Press, Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal Solicitors explained “It is clear that Harlequin identified instances where agents were telling people that a solicitors client account was being used to protect their monies.“

Mr. Fatchett also provided a clue that his law office intends to go after agents who lied to prospective investors, saying, “Many agents think that by using a limited company they can absolve themselves personally of any liability for a statement made either fraudulently or recklessly. It is clear that some agents / financial advisers made statements which were plainly untrue.  English law makes provision for limited liability protection to be removed when grossly reckless statements are made.”

Regulatory Legal Solicitors are reviewing advice files for investors who are concerned that they have been misled by agents. Mr. Fatchett is also looking closely at advice given by advisers, financial advisers and pension advisers.

Dave Ames and Harlequin knew agents were misleading prospective investors!

In a March 24, 2009 “Policy Statement”  from Harlequin to agents, Dave Ames told his agents to stop the practice, saying “I am aware that some agents have been suggesting to investors that we do ring fence the payments and this has to stop immediately to avoid investors being misled.” and “It is also not true to say that investors’ money is held in a solicitor’s client account.” (PDF of Ames’ statement here)

While it is shocking is that Harlequin’s Dave Ames was apparently aware that some of his agents were misleading investors, the natural question is: What did Ames do after learning of the lies? After learning that some of his agents were misleading investors, did Ames and Harlequin take steps to alert investors? Now there is a question!

No reply from Harlequin or Dave Ames    Continue reading

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Harlequin Properties stunner! “No agent confirmed Harlequin’s land holdings or company information” SIPP-Pension investors advised to act immediately

Harlequin Resort

“…the due diligence undertaken was the brochures, sale presentations and (free) trips to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

“SIPP Investors / Pension Transfers would be foolhardy to wait as Professional Indemnity Insurance stops immediately upon an insolvency procedure.”

Regulatory Legal Solicitors special report posted on Barbados Free Press

Harlequin investors are sure to be flabbergasted by today’s posting at Barbados Free Press by UK law firm Regulatory Legal Solicitors and their leading lawyer Gareth Fatchett. Mr. Fatchett was in the news lately as he was successful in achieving some kind of settlement for a handful of Harlequin victims.

Today’s Regulatory Legal Solicitors posting alleges that none of the agents advising folks to invest in Harlequin took the trouble to confirm that Harlequin actually held the land it was selling. No sales agent went to the trouble of obtaining company information about Harlequin’s Caribbean operations. And if you want to talk about “Due Diligence”, the agents confined their research to brochures, Harlequin sales presentations and (presumably free) trips to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Throw in free drinks and a few “hostesses” and Bob’s your uncle… the agents were ready to sell Harlequin and at a tempting 30% commission at that. (Not that we’ve heard of Harlequin doing the “hostesses” thing, but this is the Caribbean ya know!)

Master Agent suspends Harlequin sales

The master agent has apparently stopped selling Harlequin so we’ll have more on that in a bit. That sounds important to us because once the sales stop, how can Harlequin sustain current operations even if they scale back? We’re not even talking about building and new construction, just keeping the place open. There’s no staff worth talking about at the Barbados operations, and that is worth thinking about. Was the master agent “TailorMade” ? Can someone advise? See IFA Online’s article Harlequin distributor pulls plug on new investment.

Mr. Fatchett advises SIPP Investors and Pension Transfers to take action immediately because if Harlequin goes insolvent, that is the the end of Professional Indemnity Insurance. Complain now and if it all goes for a fall, the agents’ insurance might cover something. Wait… and, well, the lawyer doesn’t say other than the agents’ indemnity insurance ends but you can read between the lines for yourself. The post also provides advice for other classes of Harlequin investors, so have a read and make up your own mind, folks!

Discussion in the Comments Section

We’re going to make this post the current place at BFP to discuss the Harlequin situation, so join in and please remember to be respectful to each other and also watch the language, okay?

To keep all current discussion in one place, we’re also going to close off comments on previous articles and direct people here. That will take some time so please be patient.

Marcus @ BFP

As posted at Barbados Free Press by Regulatory Legal Solicitors…

Following the court hearing last Thursday, we are now in a position where we understand the full extent of the land holdings and build costs for the various Harlequin projects.

The court hearing last week resulted in a settlement for our clients. The terms of which are confidential.

A few things are very clear :-

1. No agent went to the trouble of obtaining confirmation as to the land position.
2. No agent went to the trouble of obtaining Caribbean company information.
3. Some of the SIPP providers in the main relied on an external due diligence process in 2010 & 2011. We have confirmation

We have both the land acquisition schedule and an affidavit from the new Harlequin accountant setting out the build costs etc. We are currently running the maths to work out.

HMSSE turnover 2006 – 2011
-less land acquisition costs
-less commissions
-less building costs
-less overheads

This should give us an indication of the actual position of the group. There is no evidence of external investors (into the equity of the business) and no evidence of any development finance.

Once again we find it remarkable that agents / IFA’s / SIPP’s have not seen this. These are accounting basics.   Continue reading

1,892 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues

Press release from Regulatory Legal Solicitors regarding Harlequin freezing order

Regulatory Legal Solicitors have seen much comment and speculation about the litigation issued at the High Court in Birmingham last week.

The case was brought on behalf of 10 individuals under case reference 3BM30141 on Wednesday 6th March 2013. Within the substantive proceedings an application for a freezing order was made. The freezing order application was listed on the 7th March 2013 at 2pm.

The judge postponed the hearing of the application until the 14th March 2013. The Claimants asked for an interim order for 7 days until the hearing on the 14th March 2013. This interim application was not granted by the court. The parties reached an agreement on the 8th March 2013. The terms of the settlement are confidential. Procedurally, the Claimants lawyers  will appear before the court on the 14th March 2013 to obtain an order from the court finalising proceedings.

“We have seen significant comment on this matter, most of which is wrong. This is of no benefit to us, Harlequin or those reading the inaccuracies. “

“This statement sets out the procedural position. We have no further comment on this matter”

Barbados Free Press received the above from Gareth Fatchett on Monday March 11, 2013.

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Harlequin’s The Merricks Resort as it really is right now

Harlequin Merricks 21

The Merricks, Barbados – Thursday, March 7, 2013

(click all photos for larger versions)

Dear Barbados Free Press

While sight seeing and using Barbados Holiday Map provided to us tourists as a guide, we went looking for the “Photo Opportunity” shown on the map at Palmetto Bay. As we looked for Palmetto Bay, we came across the Merricks sign; so being a periodic reader of BFP I decided to proceed to see what Photo Opportunities we could find.

The attached pics were just taken Thursday March 7, 2013.  They look strangely similar to those previously published on BFP in August 2012! What has been done in the past year?

There were two workers (?)  on the site.  An old guy who was dismantling a temporary storage area, and a young kid who was wandering around and sitting around. Thought you might want save the time and gas expense to go out to the Merricks site.

Harlequin’s promotional claims that “The Merricks Resort is situated on the stunning Atlantic coast in the south east of Barbados; and the resort has been designed to take advantage of the stunning cliff top position which affords spectacular vistas across the Atlantic Ocean.” are true. I must have missed it but I saw no beach.

“Just Taken” moniker reflects that the photos attached were just taken a couple of days ago.  Fortunately I have not been taken in by the Harlequin Scheme.

Just Taken

Harlequin Merricks 24.Harlequin Merricks 23.Harlequin Merricks 22.Harlequin Merricks 19Harlequin Merricks 32

47 Comments

Filed under Barbados Tourism, Consumer Issues

Harlequin personnel infiltrating the ranks of disgruntled investors, spying on meetings?

UPDATED: Wed March 6 2013 6:30am Bridgetown

“Anonymous” poster thought to be revealed as Sean Ghent, Harlequin employee, bodyguard for David Ames!

“First the commenter claimed to be a Harlequin employee in St. Vincent…

Now they claim to be an investor in the UK wanting to meet and talk with other disgruntled investors.”

Harlequin Resort

The editors at BFP want to remind everyone that this is an anonymous forum and website where most of the articles and comments are published anonymously. Not everyone is who they pretend to be, and some folks like to pretend to be many people for all kinds of reasons – mostly to support their own opinions or to pretend to be different voices supporting someone else.

A few weeks ago we caught a Harlequin supporter (or maybe a group of Harlequin supporters) really working the web under different names and leaving several hundred comments on Barbados Free Press and other blogs and discussion forums.

Now we have caught someone pretending to be two different people, but this is serious because they are not just talking – they are setting up meetings with real people attending investor meetings in the United Kingdom.

First they said they were a Harlequin employee in Buccament Bay Resort and then they came back three days later using another name and want to meet with other people attending investor meetings in the United Kingdom.

These two comments were left by the same person…

Buccament resort worker

Submitted on 2013/03/03 at 7:40 pm

As a worker at Buccament Bay Resort I find it rather disturbing that BFP would post a story from a source without first investigating the truth of the allegation! All resort staff have been paid this week for the month of February as they were paid last month and the month before! Why not check with any one of the 351 local staff before attacking with false stories!

(See the comment here)

Then the same person left many anonymous comments, including this one below… AND they made arrangements to meet with “Paul and Erica on the weekend”. They caution to be careful about people “hijacking the group” when it look like they are spies for Harlequin!

“Paul and Erica” you be careful…  These persons be something else other than what they say they are! They are not some fellow concerned investors coming to the same meeting!

How do we know these two comments were left by the same person?

Any HTML coder can tell you a dozen ways we know. The commenter made mistakes and we saw their mistakes. End of story. 100% it is the same people in St. Vincent claiming to be 1/ a Harlequin worker and then 2/ a concerned Harlequin investor arranging to attend investor meetings in the UK.

Cliverton

Here is one of their other comments where they are going to go to the investor meeting on the weekend in the UK…  Continue reading

98 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Offshore Investments

Serious Fraud Office confirms Harlequin investigation, asks for investor stories

Harlequin Fraud Office

Serious Fraud Office and Essex Police: Harlequin Property

5 March 2013

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO website), together with Essex Police, is looking into complaints in relation to the Harlequin group.  The business activity of the Harlequin group includes the marketing, sale and construction of luxury off-plan property developments in the Caribbean and other resort locations.  If you have invested in Harlequin schemes, we would welcome any information you can give us.

We are particularly interested in hearing from people who invested in the following resorts:

(1) Buccament Bay in St Vincent & the Grenadines;
(2) Merricks in Barbados;
(3) Marquis Estate in St Lucia;
(4) The Hideaway in the Dominican Republic;
(5) Las Canas in the Dominican Republic;
(6) Two Rivers in the Dominican Republic and
(7) Garapua Beach Resort in Brazil.        Continue reading

104 Comments

Filed under Barbados Tourism, Consumer Issues, Crime & Law

Harlequin, Barbados Free Press hit with Court Order

Charles Ponzi never worked for Harlequin... but he could have!

Charles Ponzi never worked for Harlequin… but he could have!

“By the look of this latest court order BFP presumes that Daniel Dalligan and Harlequin have been caught with their pants down (so to speak) spewing untruths about Mr. Fatchett and Regulatory Legal Solicitors.”

BFP receives email from Gareth Ward Fatchett and Regulatory Legal Solicitors

If we at Barbados Free Press read the documents correctly – on Monday, March 4, 2013, His Honour Judge Seymour of the Queen’s Bench Division in the High Court of Justice did a court order against Daniel Dalligan and Harlequin Management Services (South East) Limited, prohibiting Dalligan and Harlequin from publishing words claiming that Gareth Fatchett and Regulatory Legal Solicitors are not legitimate, licensed lawyers.

Mr. Fatchett sent us a copy of the court order and a copy of his Practising Certificate proving that he is a solicitor in good standing. At the end of this article we publish the court order and Mr. Fatchett’s certificate. It sure looks to us that Mr. Fatchett and Regulatory Legal Solicitors are legitimate, hard working lawyers.

Mr. Fatchett alerted us to a couple of comments on Barbados Free Press where a person wrote that Fatchett and Regulatory Legal Solicitors were not legitimate and had linked to another website where someone had uploaded a little diatribe about Mr. Fatchett. We’re going to take down those comments and any others like that when folks inform us, just like the order say. But don’t forget Mr. Fatchett: this is a part-time do-as-we-can blog so it can take us a day or two to check the email and clear the comments. With over a quarter of a million comments on this blog plus thousands of spam comments every month it takes us some time to sort through things. So doan be too quick on the draw when you fire off those legal bullets, okay? Sit back, have a shot of Mount Gay an give us some time to sober up and check de email.  :-)

Regulatory Legal Solicitors

It looks to us that lawyer Gareth Fatchett and Regulatory Legal Solicitors are representing some disgruntled Harlequin investors and that some persons who support Harlequin started to attack Mr. Fatchett by leaving comments at forums on the web and here at BFP.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Harlequin replies to Mail on Sunday article: “highly defamatory disinformation, seeking legal advice”

David Ames and Harlequin released a statement in answer to the latest Mail on Sunday article about the holiday property scheme that has failed to deliver properties in the promised time to thousands of ‘investors’. (See BFP’s Serious Fraud Office asked to investigate Harlequin)

Fair is fair and we’ll let Mr. Ames speak for himself. Please take the time to get Harlequin’s side of the story…

Dave Ames Statement re press  (Download PDF)

David Ames denies bribing Prime Minister Gonsalves

In another recent press interview, Dave Ames also denied giving a suitcase full of money to the Prime Minister of St. Vincent in exchange for citizenship…

“The BBC has accused the Prime Minister of St Vincent Dr Ralph Gonsalves of accepting from me a suitcase of money in order to receive my citizenship. This is an outrageous lie.”

“Sam Commissiong, my solicitor in St Vincent, has attended each and every meeting I have had with the Prime Minister and will confirm the allegation is completely false.”

… read the full story at the Basildon Recorder: South Essex businessman denies bribe claims

199 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Consumer Issues