Former Trinidad Tobago PM Basdeo Panday Jailed – Failed To Declare London Bank Account

The former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago has been sentenced to two years hard labour. Apparently, Basdeo Panday "forgot" about a 1.6 million dollar bank account he had in London.

From the CBC Caribbean News

Former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Basdeo Panday has been sentenced to two years hard labour for making false declarations to the Integrity Commission.

…The Court found him guilty on three counts of knowingly failing to declare a London bank account to the Integrity Commission…The court also ordered that the $1.6 million London bank account be seized and ordered that should he default in his payment of the fines, then he should serve a further three years in jail.

When Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur was contacted by the Barbados Free Press and asked to comment on the jailing, PM Arthur stated…

* "No problem, Marcus. Barbados doesn't have an Integrity Commission… Besides, 1.6 million is peanuts…and keep up the good work with the Barbados Free Press. I simply LOVE Shona's photographs." *

* Just in case somebody missed their coffee this morning, we didn't really talk with the PM – but it is true that Barbados does not have an Integrity Commission.

Further reading…

"Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur: His Secret Bank Accounts, Stock Portfolios"

"Proposed Barbados Anti-Corruption Law Absolves Government Family Members and Associates For Past Corruption." 

13 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Politics & Corruption

13 responses to “Former Trinidad Tobago PM Basdeo Panday Jailed – Failed To Declare London Bank Account

  1. ross

    So wait, Barbados does not have Integrity legislation, right? Does this mean that if the politicians in Barbados steal or accept millions in bribes, and are found out, they cannot be prosecuted in Barbados?

  2. BFP

    Actually Ross – your statement is closer to the truth than you realize.

    In order for conflict of interest types of charges to be prosecuted, there must first be a criminalization of the behaviour. Not only has Barbados not criminalized this behaviour, as reported in one of our past articles, a source has informed us that the Government plans to amnesty past behaviour if such new laws just have to be passed.

    Check out “Proposed Barbados Anti-Corruption Law Absolves Government Family Members and Associates For Past Corruption” ….

    https://barbadosfreepress.wordpress.com/2006/03/07/proposed-barbados-anti-corruption-law-absolves-government-family-members-and-associates-for-past-corruption/

  3. Rockstone

    I absolutely, agree with you Ross! I read somewhere that Barbados DOES N’T have an equivalent of the Integrity Commission in Trinidad AND WAS ABSOLUTELY, APPALLED! I simply, could n’t believe it! That in ‘progressive, forward thinking, successful’ Barbados, Barbadian politicians don’t have to declare their financial interests and investments!

    My god, if it’s true then the opportunity for misappropriation of funds must be enormous! THEY HAD BETTER SET UP SUCH A REGISTER, STRAIGHAWAY!

  4. John

    What, and spoil the fun?

    These fellows have had a ball and we have let them.

    We like it so.

    At least wait till after the World Cup!!

  5. ross

    So who is responsible for setting up the legislation then?

  6. Jane Goddard

    I wonder if Barbadians really like it the way it is? They can check out another option at http://www.transparency.org. Have a look at the Source Book. It will really make you start to think.

    There has been a TI Barbados “chapter in formation” for several years with little genuine interest expressed by the general public, churches, unions, businesses, most politicians, etc.

  7. Pat

    I am not surprised. I posted this on the Nation News Forum in March in response to a post by Johnw. So far he has not gotten back to me and now I know why.

    bajans
    07:21 PM
    26/03/2006
    *.*.159.167
    Re: Re: Re: election issues

    Johnw, thanks for your kind words. First, I have some questions I would like answered, and I hope you are in Barbados.

    There are allegations that a member of government who ‘could not feed a cat’ a few years ago, now has a bank account in Barbados with $45 million and an over seas account with $25 million. It is assumed that this person could not have made/saved this money, even if he invested all his government pay, in so short a time frame. Now my questions are these:

    l. who or what agency in Barbados carries out oversight of the government and its dealings, including spending and entering into contracts;

    2. are there conflict of interest regulations/guidelines governing both elected and appointed officers of government;

    3. (a) is there financial disclosure of all members of parliament and senior civil servants upon appointment; (b) are they required to place their assests in an arms length blind trust while serving the people of Barbados; (c) are they required to relinquish shares or other financial interests in companies that may be or have the potential of doing business with government;

    4. does Barbados have an Ethics Consellor, Commission or other body with teeth, that has the responsibility/authority of investigating real or perceived wrongdoing by government members and senior civil servants. If so, does this body have the legal authority to discipline/fine the guilty parties, including laying of criminal charges.

    If none of the foregoing exists at present, are any of the candidates in the next election including the PM and leader of the Opposition proposing such? Has any of the electorate, including editors of the two dailies ever written on such? Proposed such for the island?

    My reason for asking these questions is that it is alleged that lots of money is “back handed” in Barbados on construction contracts, land deals, etc. For instance it is furhter alleged that Holders (I think they mean the plantation land) was sold for virtually pennies to an entity and in the same year was flipped (resold) for many, many millions.

    If these are the current operations of government and its cohorts, then, any economic suggestions will be a waste of time. The man in the street will be striving to build up the island, while the ‘big-ups’ will be robbing it blind. In effect, robbing the poor man in the street who is doing his two cents worth.

    Lets hear something on these issues which I have raised. Take you time if you have to call around and do some research. Thanks in advance.
    bajans
    07:27 PM
    26/03/2006
    *.*.159.167
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Elections issues

    Bajanguy, please tell me you are joking. How do Barbadians intend to effect change if this is how they vote. Dont the parties present a manifesto to which the electorate hold them responsible. Or are the opposition party and the electorate both complacent? Are you suggesting that Bajans vote for personalities only, or am I misinterpreting your statements? Please explain.

    bajans
    07:41 PM
    26/03/2006
    *.*.159.167
    election issues

    Joynw, you asked when you started this post, what we think should be the major election issues. I think, from my perspective, based on what I have read in the papers and heard on the call-n programmes, that Barbados needs proper labour laws with minimum wage set out for various occupations. These should be reviewed annually and increases implemented in accordance with the inflation rate. No one in Barbados should have to work for $200 a week for five, ten or fifteen years with the cost of everything going up except their salaries. This type of thing is next to slavery.

    However, what bothers me most if the fact that several members of the largest union in Barbados, has for many years sat on the government benches and not one has ever brought in a bill to implement a minimum wage for workers, whom they would like to convince people they are there to help. I am speaking from Frank Walcott down to today’s union leader and his second in command.

    Why have the workers not spoken out, if their leaders intended to remain silent on the issue? Are they herded like sheep? How come issues like these are not raised on the call in programs, while endless hours are spent discussing Guyanese, the illegal garbage dumps and the bush around the island. I asked a poster to the Nation News forum under “Election Issues” whether Barbados had Conflict of Interest Guidelines and whether there was an Ethics Counsellor or Commission on the island. I also asked whether they had to financially disclose when elected to Parliament or appointed to a senior position in government. I told the party, I no longer live on the island, so to take some time and research and let me know. Nothing to date.

  8. Jane Goddard

    For the answers to all your questions and great reading check Transparency International TI, National Integrity Systems Questionnaire, Caribbean Composite Study 2004 – Barbados is on page 76. Can anybody scan this?

    I am a Barbadian with firsthand experience in the oppression and frustration Barbadians take as a way of life. Most of us see no other way and feel helpless and hopeless.

    Over many years, endless time consuming research and questions rendered some success but only convinced me that urgent attention needed to be paid to our integrity systems or lack of them.

    Exploring numerous International avenues on the computer brought Transparency International TI to my attention becuase they had numerous tried and tested guidelines for establishing these systems.

    TI literature explained the Freedom of Information Act, Integrity Legislation among other exciting and positive things.

    Anybody can contact TI http://www.transparency.org.

    Some years ago with the encouragement of the people closest to me I contacted TI. The people at TI for our area were very helpful and extended and invitation to come to a conference in Trinidad and the topic at that time was Political Party Financing.

    Richard Goddard went to Trinidad to see what TI was all about. We were surprised to find that Peter Wickham and Frank DaSilva were also present. Their presence had nothing to do with us or our interest.

    Richard met and invited 2 representatives from TI to Barbados to talk to a small group of interested friends. Folkard Woghlemuth from Berlin and Mary King from Trinidad visited Barbados and enlightened us as to what TI did.

    The company Transparency International Barbadso Inc. was formed. Hopefully this was the first step to establishing a chapter in Barbados. TI provided flyers which were sent out to numerous churches, the unions, BLP, DLP & NDP political parties, media and just about every entity you could imagine. There was little interest but much speculation. The PM and David Commissiong had a lot to say. TI headquarters responded to the accusations. Mr. Commissiong appears to have become better informed since that time.

    Efforts were rewarded when Barbados appeared for the first time in the TI Corruption Perception Index.

    More recently I have seen a Charter for Change coming from Sen. Dennis Lowe and Mr. Commissiong suggesting that Barbados needs integrity legislation. I am not aware of the steps being taken by the BLP administration in this regard.

    BUT will Barbadians demand transparency? I don’t think there is much indication of this right now. The numbers of those interested seem few.

  9. Comment Maker

    It is interesting on the transparency international corruption peception index that Barbados comes in at #24 just behind Spain while T’nT comes in at #59. Legislation aside what’s happening here?

  10. Jane Goddard

    This is a perception index. My feeling is that the Governments and peoples of countries on the CPI should want their respective countires to score as close to the top score of 10 as possible. Enacting legislation in an effort to achieve this would certainly say a lot.

  11. Jane Goddard

    Transparency International TI, National Integrity Systems Questionnaire, Caribbean Composite Study 2004 – Barbados is on page 76

    Click to access carib_compos_q.pdf

  12. John

    Pat

    There have also been allegations that a member of government divorced his wife and gave her among other things as settlement a $3Million house.

    The description of the individual also fit the the one you gave as one who could not feed a cat before coming into politics. It may be the same one.

    All these allegations and rumours would be put to bed if politicians were out in the open and declared their assets and each knew that Glendairy, Harrisons or Dodds was waiting to trim their waistline through a few years of good honest hard labour if they stepped out of line.

    It must be pretty awful to know you are completely mistrusted and be unable to respond. You would think politicians would encourage integrity legislation as a means of finding favour with the electorate and making a clear ststement to any rumour monger “watch what you say about me, my record is there for any court to see”.

    A declaration of assets would also give the hard working politician, and there have to be some, the opportunity to show that he/she is putting his/her money where his/her mouth is.

    A man or woman may go into politics and actually lose net worth in doing the things in which he/she believes. But guess what, his/her stock will soar with the people he/she is representing and it will not be wasted on the country. We get sometimes too tied up with money to appreciate the finer things in life.

    One example of such an occurrence should get the rest actually trying harder to serve their constituents and their country, and not just being a member of a party. They all are our servants.

    Some seem to suffer the same affliction people attribute to ordinary Bajan workers as being unable to understand the difference between service and servitude.

  13. BFP

    John John John

    You need be runnin for de politics!

    m’be a honest man. Who vote for john?

    Shona