Tag Archives: Political Corruption

TSTT Inquiry

BFP:

Trinidad’s Joint Select Committee of Parliament is pretending to hold a major inquiry into the administration and operations of the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago – TSTT.

We say ‘pretending’ to hold a major inquiry because the committee did what they could to limit the debate, disenfranchise citizens and make sure that informed persons are unable to present a proper submission.

Our friend Afra Raymond is a thorn in the foot of corrupt Caribbean politicians and business people – and he met the committee’s unrealistic ten-day deadline for submissions.

Here’s the latest from Afra…

Originally posted on AfraRaymond.com:

The Trinidad & Tobago Parliament is now conducting an Inquiry into TSTT and this article is an edited version of my submission to that Inquiry.

The Joint Select Committee’s (JSC) ‘Invitation for Written Submissions‘ was published on the TT Parliament website on Wednesday 23 April 2014, with the deadline for submissions set at 4:00 pm on Friday 2 May 2014. Only ten (10) days.

When one considers the far-reaching scope of the Inquiry as specified in its ten (10) objectives; the size and role of TSTT and the recent published reports as to the proposals for the State to relinquish a critical 2% of its share in TSTT, it is clear that these matters are of the utmost, long-term public importance. Placed in that context, the JSC decision to Inquire into these matters is commendable, but the time-frame is so short as to raise serious doubts as to…

View original 1,288 more words

Leave a comment

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

Trinidad Joint Select Committee of Parliament pulls a dirty trick – provides only 10 days notice for submissions

Afra Raymond

Trinidad anti-corruption activist Afra Raymond

Submitted by BFP reader Yummie Bear

Oh sure… the f**king Trini parliamentarians are pretending to have a major inquiry into the administration and operations of the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago.

What can they do to limit the debate, disenfranchise citizens and make sure that informed persons are unable to present a proper submission to the committee? Easy… give only ten days notice to the deadline for submissions!

F**cking politicians. F**king corrupt b**tards!

Read Afra Raymond’s new column. He doesn’t call ‘em like I do – he’s a lot more polite, but he’d probably like to use the words that I do.

ONE LOVE!

Yummie Bear

4 Comments

Filed under Corruption, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

G2G Policy

BFP:

BFP_Piggy125.jpg

Our old friend Afra Raymond explores the dangers of Government-to-Government arrangements. Once again, those politician piggies at the trough will do anything they can to sideline the tendering process and turn public funds into personal profits.

How many Barbados politicians have foreign bank accounts in Canada, the USA, Switzerland or some private bank somewhere? We don’t know because Barbados has no integrity legislation and no requirement to disclose assets, and no conflict of interest rules.

Take it away, Afra…

Originally posted on AfraRaymond.com:

The current Government to Government (G2G) arrangements are a direct threat to our country’s fundamental interests.

The key element of the G2G arrangement is that a larger, more advanced, country will assist a smaller, less-advanced country by building or operating complex facilities which are beyond the reach of the smaller state.

One of the features the G2G arrangements have in common with the other large-scale projects is the high degree of secrecy with which the proposals are developed.  That secrecy raises doubts as to whether proper Needs Assessments are undertaken and as to the degree to which the views of citizens and stakeholders are sought, far less considered.  The fundamental issue as to the necessity for these projects is thus routinely sidelined, which is inimical to the public interest.

The main criticisms of the G2G arrangements are -

  • Sidelining of the elementary Tendering Process – the procurement process is effectively…

View original 1,052 more words

2 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Afra Raymond on Invader’s Bay: “A large-scale act of intentional illegality…”

“If that is the advice the State is relying upon in advancing their Invader’s Bay proposals, we are seeing a large-scale act of intentional illegality and a worrying return to the ‘bad-old-days‘.”

by Afra Raymond

by Afra Raymond

Since my previous article on this controversial proposal, we have seen that certain legal advice reportedly considered by the government has been featured in another newspaper, The Guardian.  If that is the advice the State is relying upon in advancing their Invader’s Bay proposals, we are seeing a large-scale act of intentional illegality and a worrying return to the ‘bad-old-days‘.

My main concerns are -

CONSULTATION?

Compare the lack of consultation at Invader’s Bay with what happens elsewhere.  In particular, the large waterfront lands near the city centre of San Fernando at  King’s Wharf, which has been the subject of ongoing public consultations over the years.  The press reports that various design and redevelopment concepts were presented to and discussed with a widely-based audience.

Whatever the criticisms one might make of the King’s Wharf proposals, it is undeniable that views have been sought from the public/stakeholders and various proposals have been made for consideration.

The JCC and its Kindred Associations in Civil Society met with Ministers Tewarie and Cadiz on 26 September 2011 to express our serious concerns.  Yet, when Minister Tewarie was challenged by the JCC and others as to the complete failure to consult with the public, the only example of consultation he could cite was the very meeting we had insisted on, which took place after publication of the Ministry’s Request for Proposals (RFP) and just about one week before the closing-date for proposals.

This Minister obviously does not consider public consultation to be a serious element in real development, notwithstanding the lyrics about innovation, planning and, of course, Sustainability and the Cultural Sector.  Just consider the way in which East Port-of-Spain is being discussed within that same Ministry.  The prospects for sustainable economic development of East POS must be linked with the Invader’s Bay lands, there is no doubt about that.  What is more, to carry-on as though the two parts of the capital can enjoy prosperity in isolation from each other is to trade in dangerous nonsense.

When criticising the large-scale physical development plans of the last administration, ‘dangerous nonsense’ is exactly what I had accused them of dealing in. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Consumer Issues, Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

Afra Raymond on More 104.7fm – talks about his lawsuit against the Minister of Finance

afra raymond

Afra Raymond chats on the show ’Forward Thinkers‘ with David Walker on 104.7FM, dealing with the CL Financial bailout and my lawsuit against the Minister of Finance to get at the detailed information as to how the $24B in Public Money was spent. 24 October 2013. Audio courtesy More 104.7 FM. Listen here.

Programme Date: Thursday 24th October 2013
Programme Length: 0:45:41

Leave a comment

Filed under Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Trinidad and Tobago

‘Political Terrorism’ is not too strong a phrase…

Flag-Trinidad-and-Tobago

Is this debates commission playing power politics with our elections?

by Phillip Edward Alexander

How could the debates commission in all good conscience include the ILP ‘one man party’ and the MSJ ‘not yet a party’ in the electoral debates and exclude the COP which has seats and corporations under its control?

See why I continue to say that the Chamber of Commerce could NEVER be trusted to handle the debates fairly and without attempting to control outcomes through underhanded moves?

This is an outrage of epic proportions. I am incensed and every Trinidadian should be as well.

And I am no supporter of the COP or its leader; but right is right and if you can include David Abdulah’s imitation ‘wanna be party’ you are morally obligated to include this country’s third largest political party or the entire debate would be a sham.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COP Demands Equal Access to Local Government Debates
Calls on Debate Commission to Reverse Outrageous Decision Restricting Access to Key Public Dialogue
Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

Duprey, Parris, Thompson and some other people need to go to jail

CL Financial, CLICO – one huge unsustainable Ponzi Scheme

“Lawrence Duprey was paid $90 million a year from the deposits of policyholders in collapsed insurance company CLICO, attorney Neal Bisnath said yesterday.”

“CLICO invested US$445 million of policyholders’ money in a Florida real estate project called Capri, while the investment was worth only US$200 million.”

If Prime Minister David Thompson was alive today, he would have some difficult questions to answer about his activities as CLICO’s lawyer, and about how he and his government participated in building the house of cards Ponzi scheme known as CLICO. The public deserves the truth about what Thompson knew, what he did – and how his long-term service putting deals together for CLICO, Duprey and Parris put him in numerous conflicts of interest as Prime Minister.

David Thompson knew that CLICO policy holders were paying outrageous money to Duprey and Parris – probably illegally with no segregation of funds even where the rules called for this. David Thompson knew that the payments were being hidden. David Thompson was CLICO’s lawyer when ten years of accounting records were illegally withheld.

“We know now that on May 15, 2005 while acting as CLICO’s lawyer, David Thompson signed a secret contract between CLICO and Leroy Parris’ private company that in effect deceived shareholders into believing that Parris was being paid less than he really was.”

…from the BFP article Leroy Parris’ defence of Prime Minister David Thompson rings hollow now

David Thompson knew that CLICO was being raped by Duprey and Parris. David Thompson was part of it and you can bet that when he became Prime Minister his senior Cabinet members had to have known the truth too. That house of cards was wobbling long before it collapsed – and the Thompson-Stuart government covered up and protected Leroy Parris for as long as they could. After all, the government politicians got their bizjet rides, the DLP got its funding and Thompson’s law firm got big contracts – paid for with policy holders’ funds.

Now the only “solution” that the Thompson/Stuart DLP Government can come up with is for taxpayers to “invest” more money. Well, I guess that’s better than riots in the streets.

As for Leroy Parris and Lawrence Duprey – they laughed all the way to the bank and they are laughing still. There are hundreds of millions of assets missing, just vanished into thin air at the end of fraudulent paper trails, but nobody will go to jail for this massive fraud and breach of the public trust. No big shot ever goes to jail in Barbados.

This Barbados Today article lays it all out…

Bisnath made the statements as he cross-examined Michael Carballo, the former group financial director of CL Financial, during the commission of enquiry into the collapse of CL Financial and the Hindu Credit Union at the Winsure Building, Richmond Street, Port of Spain, yesterday.

Bisnath said CLICO’s cash stream was also used to fund investments made by CL Financial.

“Is it true to say that from what we have seen CLICO was really used as a cash cow in the group?” Bisnath asked Carballo.

“Yes, because CLICO was really the one that had the cash flowing in it,” Carballo said.

“And that cash that was flowing happened to be policyholders’ money and Mr Duprey and CL were using CLICO policyholders’ monies without regard to the risk that it was putting those policyholders under,” Bisnath said.

Bisnath described Duprey as a “great investor of other people’s money”.

He said CLICO invested US$445 million of policyholders’ money in a Florida real estate project called Capri, while the investment was worth only US$200 million.

“We know in taking on risks he (Duprey) used policyholders’ money, not his personal money; and when you use OPM, other people’s money, you can have all kind of fancy dreams and you can make all kind of fancy investments because if you lose it, it is not your money you are losing,” Bisnath said.

“He (Duprey) could therefore have a bold and aggressive attitude toward business, and an insatiable risk appetite because it was not his money he was using,” Bisnath said.

Read the entire story at Barbados Today: Duprey paid $90 million a year

Further Reading

Trinidad Express: Duprey bagged $1.1b before bailout

11 Comments

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

Illegal moves, dirty tricks by Owen Arthur supporters defeat Mia Mottley for now

Mia Mottley withdraws from BLP Chairman race

“Yes, Mia is justifiably outraged at the abuse of democracy and the disregard for the BLP Constitution – but her outrage is selective and selfish. Where was her outrage when her BLP government habitually ignored the rule of law?”

This October 18th marks the first year since power-hungry opportunists ousted Mia Mottley as Leader of the Opposition. Owen Arthur and his wild boys thought they had driven a political stake through the enemy’s heart, but then four months ago Mottley announced she would run for the position of BLP Chairman.

That sent Owen Arthur’s gang crazy. Not to mention that an independent poll found the vast majority of BLP members wanted Mia Mottley as leader over Arthur. In a one person / one vote contest Owen Arthur would be given his walking papers. What was Arthur to do?

For Arthur and his wild boys, the decision was simple: they would just illegally change the rules before the upcoming BLP Conference.

It didn’t matter that the BLP Constitution prohibits the declaration of new rules until the membership ratifies the changes. It didn’t matter that none of the general membership knew about the changes until they were a done deal. Welcome to Barbados – where rules and laws are mere tools to be wielded or ignored by those in power.

Any Bajan knows that when rules or the law stands in the way of those who have power, they do what they want anyway. That is part of the reality on this island. Rule of Law is a stranger in this country and that is the truth.

Mia Mottley is no stranger to ignoring, bending or changing the rules

In her current circumstances Mia is crying victim and warning about the abuse of democracy. She is correct, of course, but how soon she has forgotten that when she was the Attorney General with the full power of a majority government, the BLP changed the Barbados Constitution at the drop of a hat with zero public discussion. Mottley chooses not to remember that her government expropriated private lands with wild abandon and often never paid for those lands. That’s called theft – but not when you are in power.

And when some of those expropriated lands ended up in the hands of government ministers or their family members and friends – Mottley didn’t see anything wrong with that at the time.

Yes, Mia is justifiably outraged at the abuse of democracy and the disregard for the BLP Constitution – but her outrage is selective and selfish. Where was her outrage when her BLP government habitually ignored the rule of law?

Press Release by Mia Mottley, MP

On May 22rd this year, I announced my intention to contest the post of Chairman of the Barbados Labour Party. I made it clear that I was running on a platform to secure for every member of our Party the right that all Members of Parliament enjoy – to participate and vote at our Annual Conference, our highest decision-making body.

In 1951, the Right Excellent Sir Grantley Adams fought for and won the right for every adult Barbadian to vote. On this 60th anniversary of that momentous victory for Barbadian democracy it is only fitting that his Party, our Party, should enhance our own internal democracy by ensuring that every member has the right to vote. Indeed, this is consistent with section 11 of the BLP Constitution, which states as follows:-

“The purpose of this Constitution is to provide for procedures and practices which are democratic and efficient to the end that all Barbados Labour Party members may participate meaningfully and effectively in the deliberations and activities of the party.”

Last Thursday, I received an email from the General Secretary and also a communication from the Secretary of my Constituency Branch regarding new Standing Orders for the Annual Party Conference issued by the National Council. Neither of the two communications indicated when the National Council ratified these Standing Orders.

While the National Council has the power to propose Standing Orders to the Annual Conference and any Special Conference, it does not have the power to ratify them in advance of the Conference. It is appalling that it has acted in this manner. In so doing it has reduced the rights of women and young people in the Party by forcing them to now choose if they want to be members of a Branch or the Women’s League or Young Socialists respectively. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Politicians and voters – a visual illustration


Because it’s Monday morning and we all need a smile with our coffee!

“… campaigns once depended on rousing oratory by stump speakers but now feature expensive rallies with musical acts and other entertainment; the political speakers are an annoyance that the audience must endure.”

… from a WikiLeaks US Embassy cable talking about political campaign funding in Barbados.

Our thanks to an old friend for sending us the video!

3 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Music, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

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

64 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

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

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

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

“Hello BFP folks…

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

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

The DLP Lied

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

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

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

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

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

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

DLP Strategy to make Integrity Legislation fail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 Comments

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

Finance Minister Chris Sinckler silent on CLICO’s political donations to DLP

Sinckler: “Bajans aren’t mature or intelligent enough to see raw or incomplete data. They might draw conclusions different from what the government wants.”

How else should voters interpret Mr. Sinckler’s recent statement that the 30-day judicial manager’s report on CLICO International Life Insurance Limited should be kept hidden? Mr. Sinckler wants the big-ups and elites to put everything together in a tidy little report that directs Bajans to whatever conclusion the elites want to sell us.

“Let’s get this straight, Mr. Sinckler: Bajans don’t trust you or your government to tell the truth about CLICO.”

The late Prime Minister Thompson was way too close to CLICO’s Leroy Parris. David Thompson was also CLICO’s lawyer when proper financial statements weren’t filed for ten years. And when it all hit the fan for CLICO and CL Financial, Thompson used the power of his Prime Minister’s office to deny judicial oversight. Not to mention the cushy job he gave to Leroy Parris at the CBC that allowed the government to control the news about this fraud.

“We know now that on May 15, 2005 while acting as CLICO’s lawyer, David Thompson signed a secret contract between CLICO and Leroy Parris’ private company that in effect deceived shareholders into believing that Parris was being paid less than he really was.”

…from the BFP article Leroy Parris’ defence of Prime Minister David Thompson rings hollow now

Friends forever: Finance Minister Sinckler & Leroy Parris chatting over champagne

Finally, the DLP received big money from CLICO in the form or political donations and who knows what else on the side, including executive jet use for free when the cost was tens of thousands of dollars or more per ride. The DLP was brought into power in good part through the big money of CLICO.

That was OUR MONEY that was given to the DLP. The money that policy holders and investors placed with CLICO in good faith and it was sucked out of the company into phony land purchases, mansions in Florida and who knows how much into YOUR POLITICAL POCKET MR. SINCKLER.

Answer the policy holders this Mr. Sinckler, or sit down and shut up:

“How much did the DLP Democratic Labour Party and the candidates receive from CLICO and associated companies and persons in the last 15 years?”

Until you answer that question Mr. Sinckler, just sit down and shut up. We’ve heard enough of your opinions on how this fraud should be investigated, thank you.

Signed,

A policy holder and a victim.

Further Reading

You should go to Barbados Today to read the story about Sinckler, but we’ll reprint the entire passage here because the Barbados news media has a habit of re-writing history and deleting stories, and that includes staff at Barbados Today who used to be at The Nation.

So read the story at Barbados Today, but if it’s gone, then read it here… Continue reading

11 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Freedom Of Information, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Andy Armstrong spills the beans about corruption and fraud

“Bravo Bravo, and again Bravo to Barbados Chamber of Commerce President”

by BFP reader “C7″

photo courtesy of The Bajan Reporter

The front page of last Wednesday’s Barbados Advocate stated BDS$566 million in fraud annually in Barbados. And on page 7 we saw a photo of Andy Armstrong in pensive mood, and repeating what William Layne said earlier: ‘you tend to get the most corruption and fraud where the public sector and the private sector intersect.’

You will notice, perhaps, the careful choice of the two words, “Public Sector”.

Well it was astounding to hear the president of the BCCI spill the beans – not that many of us were not already fully aware of the corruption.

We hope a lot more will be made of this brave Andyian submission. If will be interesting to see what the government block responds. Probably nothing will be heard and members of the press don’t have the courage to ask.

With no Integrity Legislation or Freedom of Information laws in Barbados, the corruption between the private sector and the government sector will continue. It must be horrendously bad for the President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce to mention it yet again.

Editor’s note: We ask our readers to head over to the Barbados Advocate to read their original article as it’s only fair. The link appears in our story above. Unfortunately the Barbados Advocate has a record of changing history by erasing or modifying their articles and news archives, so we have to print their entire article here to support our own article… Continue reading

9 Comments

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

A positive direction for Trinidad and Tobago

“Even when I consider the disastrous Reshmi-gate episode, that list adds up to substantial progress in the right direction. Democracy is a messy affair and coalition politics has particular challenges, so progress will be uneven, with some pauses along the way.”

Afra Raymond is cautiously encouraged by the People’s Partnership government.

Cautiously, of course…

Setting the Standard

by Afra Raymond

The PP government is establishing a ‘new normal’ insofar as ethics and acceptable standards of behaviour in public office are concerned. As with any real-time and complex situation, the signals are mixed, but from my point of view, the direction is a welcome one.

To me, the main positive signs were -

• Coup Enquiry – The July announcement of the Commission of Enquiry into the 1990 attempted Coup, now underway, was most welcome. It seems certain that we would still be waiting in vain, if either Manning or Panday were still in power.

• CL Financial bailout – Dookeran’s decision to review the payout to beneficiaries of the bailout was necessary and long-overdue. Dookeran has done his cause no favours by with-holding the accounts and seeming to suppress vital information, but the decision to revise the bailout terms was a sound one. On that occasion, he also took the steps of introducing relief for Hindu Credit Union depositors, which was a step in the direction of equity. Even those of us who did not support any bailout can concede that point.

• On October 1st, the Prime Minister resisted the temptation to use the PP’s Parliamentary majority to force through a new law to limit the legal rights of CLICO policyholders. The PM chose to set aside that legislative proposal and embark on an act of persuasion. That was a defining moment in our nation’s development of a democratic culture. The announcement of a Commission of Enquiry into the entire financial collapse (CL Financial and HCU) was another high point.

• Nizam Mohammed’s removal as Chairman of the Police Service Commission was overdue in my view, but not because of his ‘last-ditch/red-herring’ attempts to martyr himself. His primary and unpardonable offence, given his position, was his bold-faced abuse of power in that traffic police episode.

• Even Mary King’s removal from office earlier this week was a welcome sign despite the doubts over who knew what and when. That was a good move because it is the first time a Minister has been fired for acting in a manner which causes reasonable suspicion. Up until now in this country the rule followed by the various Ruling Parties has been the ‘wrong and strong’ one, joined-up with the ‘do as I say and not as I do’ one. To have moved away from those immoral practices is a big step in the right direction, despite the ragged edges.

Even when I consider the disastrous Reshmi-gate episode, that list adds up to substantial progress in the right direction. Democracy is a messy affair and coalition politics has particular challenges, so progress will be uneven, with some pauses along the way. But progress we must. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Corruption, Politics, Trinidad and Tobago

Bahamas Member of Parliament gets it wrong about Barbados election financing

Former Bahamas Attorney General probably believed the lies

Bahamas Member of Parliament Alfred Sears is holding up Barbados as an example in his campaign to outlaw secret political contributions.

“Mr. Sears, who was a guest on Love 97’s Sunday talk show, Jones & Company, said in many countries, like Barbados there is legislation against (secret political contributions).”

While we wish Mr. Sears all the success in the world in his quest to bring transparency, integrity and accountability to the political process in the Bahamas, we have to correct his mistaken notion that Barbados is a model to be followed.

  • Barbados has no election financing rules
  • No public disclosure requirements for political donations.
  • No Freedom of Information Act
  • No Integrity Legislation
  • No Conflicts of Interest rules.

Election Financing in Barbados: Anything goes

Barbados politicians are allowed to accept secret donations from any person or company, whether Barbadian or not. There is no limit as to the amount of money they can accept, and no restriction on politicians or their family members from receiving personal gifts or employment from companies that do business with the government or want to do business with the government.

click for large

As an example, if some political supporter wants to give $75,000 to a politician as a “campaign donation”, there is no legal requirement for the politician to reveal the donation publicly or even to place the donation into a designated bank account. ‘Matter a fact, our former Prime Minister Owen $ Arthur was caught out depositing a $75,000 “campaign donation” into his very own personal bank account. (cheque photo above)

Goin’ wid Owen would have gotten away with it except that then Opposition Leader David Thompson got up in Parliament and showed a copy of the cheque. A shamefaced Owen Arthur had to say “oops!” but no laws were broken. And that’s the way Barbados politicians want it!

Opposition MP Dr. William Duguid came right out and said that Barbados politicians would never pass integrity legislation or a Freedom of Information act and he was telling the truth.

Barbados politicians brag about Integrity Legislation and FOI “coming soon” but it never comes.

Bahamas MP Alfred Sears probably went to some conference where some lying Barbados politician told him that we have FOI, Integrity Legislation and Election Financing Laws. It’s happened before to another Caribbean politician as we’ve previously reported. (Clive can you dig up the story please, I’m off to work. M.)

Both the BLP and DLP have promised Integrity Legislation and FOI for decades but they lied. A few bills were proposed but always die before they pass into law. Then the government calls an election and says “We tried but those rotters in the opposition spoiled our efforts! Elect us again and we’ll finish it this time!”

Although Freedom of Information and Integrity Legislation are talked about, NOBODY TALKS ABOUT ELECTION FINANCING LAWS! Oh no… noooooooo way Barbados politicians will even talk about Election Financing limitations and disclosure rules. You mek sport!

So our best wishes to Bahamas Member of Parliament Alfred Sears, and he shouldn’t worry that the Barbados politicians fooled him. Those lying bastards have been fooling Bajans for four decades and we keep believing them – so you can hardly blame Mr. Sears for believing them too.

Further Reading

The Bahama Journal: Outlaw Secret Contributions says MP

2 Comments

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

A Barbados politician arrived in Heaven…

UPDATED: July 22, 2012

In honour of the Jersey politicians about to visit Barbados to consult with and take advice from Bajan politicians (Yeah. No kidding!), Barbados Free Press revisits this wonderful tale of a Bajan politician choosing between Heaven and Hell…

Original story first published August 30, 2011…

‘Integrity Legislation? That’s a good one!’ laughs the devil as he slaps his knee and pours the drinks…

While staggering down the side of the road one afternoon near Grape Hall, a well known Member of Parliament is tragically hit by a garbage truck and dies.

After a short stop in Bridgetown to pick up a cheap bottle of E.S.A.F. rum, his soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

‘Welcome to heaven,’ says St. Peter. ‘Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a BLP or DLP politician around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.’ Continue reading

18 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Freedom Of Information, Politics

Freedom of Information, Integrity Legislation “Died with David Thompson. It was his promise…”

“Integrity Legislation? Freedom of Information? All that died with David Thompson. It was his promise and his agenda. The economy must be the priority…”

… said at a DLP gathering as reported by NeverMind Kurt

DLP Strategy: Everything must stand aside for the economy

Nation Newspaper layoffs directly related to politics!

by Nevermind Kurt

The promised Integrity and Freedom of Information legislation is dead, dead, dead. The Democratic Labour Party’s only problem is how to delay the legislation until the next election without being seen to delay the legislation.

The answer is to elevate the economy to the number one priority and to convince Bajans that there is no time and no room right now to work on the promised Integrity Legislation and FOI. It’s all about the economy, you see. We’re in a crisis that is worldwide. “All hands on deck for the economy” is the strategy to delay FOI and Integrity Legislation until after the next election.

It almost sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Another strategy being talked about by DLP folks is to delay the FOI and Integrity Legislation until very close to the election, and then when the BLP Opposition says one word against it, call the election over the Integrity Legislation and FOI. Harley Henry and his friends are devious but no fools.

Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Whither the promised Integrity Legislation?

Or should that be “Wither the promised Integrity Legislation” ?

… from a reader who didn’t let us know if we could use their name

The Democratic Labour Party  in its 2008 Manifesto promised to “immediately introduce Integrity Legislation requiring a declaration of assets by public officials and a code of conduct for Ministers”. Indeed, the DLP made the absence of such legislation after thirteen years of governance by the Owen Arthur administration one of the major issues during the last general election campaign, as it sought to link some members of the Barbados Labour Party government with lack of transparency and accountability and with corrupt practices in public office.

The Prevention of Corruption Bill is however still to be  debated in Parliament after three years of DLP governance. Serious doubt now exists as to whether integrity legislation will indeed be enacted by this particular Parliament, considering the utterances by some Government Members of Parliament since the general election as to their individual willingness to declare their assets. Continue reading

27 Comments

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