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Daily Archives: May 5, 2007
BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Politicians Indicted For Taking/Arranging Bribes In VECO Scandal – Involves New Barbados Prison
“You’ll get your gas line, the governor gets his bill, and I’ll get my job in Barbados,” … Peter Kott, former Speaker of the House, as recorded during FBI Alaska bribery investigation. Kott was offered a position with VECO involving the new Barbados prison.
VECO Corporation Heavily Involved With Barbados Politicians, Government Projects
Breaking News: On Friday, May 4, 2007, American politicians and businessmen were indicted in a bribery scheme involving VECO Corporation, a company that is heavily involved with the Barbados government and various Barbados politicians and business people. VECO’s Barbados projects include the oil terminal and pipeline, and the building of the new prison.
At least one of the arrested Alaska politicians was secretly recorded by the FBI in conversations where he spoke about receiving a position with VECO’s Barbados prison operations. As there are hundreds of hours of police recordings, there is no doubt that further Barbados revelations will occur at the trial.
This Is A Big Story – And It Will Get Bigger
The FBI launched a series of co-ordinated raids in August of 2006 and carried away hundreds of boxes of evidence from various political and corporate offices in Alaska and Washington. (This was widely reported at the time as was the Barbados connection, but for some reason the Barbados media failed to carry the story. I wonder why?)
Alaska Report wrote of the raids at the time…
Should anyone be surprised that the super cozy relationship between the oil industry and Alaska’s Republican leadership has finally come to the point of a full-blown criminal investigation?
This is but one of the questions that Alaskans are asking in the wake of an FBI raid on the offices of six legislators which, as of this writing, is only hours old.
Here’s what we know at this point:
On Thursday, August 31st, (2006) FBI agents served simultaneous search warrants on the offices of six Alaska legislators: Bruce Weyrauch, John Cowdery, Pete Kott, Donny Olson, Vic Kohring and Senate President Ben Stevens. All but Olson are Republicans.
According to Kohring and legislative attorney Tam Cook, the search warrants named VECO, the oil services company that has a notorious history of stacking the political deck in Alaska.
Soon, friends . soon we will know more. In the meantime, for those of us who have been outraged and disgusted for years by the amount of control that VECO and the oil industry have had on Alaska politics, let us take some satisfaction that justice may finally be served for corrupt leaders who have sold out our state.
It’s about time.
… from Alaska Report Feds Raid Veco, GOP Legislators
Which Barbados Politicians Are Involved?
VECO is a huge corporation headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska. With close ties to the Bush Republicans and operations in Alaska, Washington State, Alberta & British Columbia – Canada, India, Russia, United Arab Emirates and Barbados, VECO is a powerhouse in the oil and natural resources industry. VECO also has large interests in construction, pipelines & terminals, power generation, manufacturing, biotechnology and military contracts industries.
VECO Corporation and it’s wholly owned subsidiary Commonwealth Construction were the primary contractors on the Barbados Terminal and Pipeline project, and the (then) “$120 Million” new Barbados jail.
The company has often been criticized for having a corporate culture of unethical behaviour, bribes and undermining democracy. (Obviously, the American Federal Bureau of Investigation would probably agree with that statement.)
If VECO Corporation has acted unethically on their home turf of Alaska, one has to wonder what they might be guilty of in a foreign country like Barbados.
Photo from the VECO website – Grig Cook, President of Commonwealth Construction (l); J. Patricia Alleyne, J.P.; Dr. Leonard Nurse, Chairman of Barbados National Terminal Company; and, The Honourable Anthony Wood, J.P, M.P., Barbados Minister of Energy and Public Works at the 2004 ground-breaking ceremony for the oil terminal.
A Responsible Barbados Media Would Follow This Story Carefully
We know from media articles that the FBI even has recordings of telephone conversations between VECO officials and the corrupt politicians – where VECO’s Barbados operations were a topic of conversation.
What else does the FBI have?
You can bet that the Prime Minister of Barbados and many of his gang aren’t going to get much sleep in the next little while as they wonder what will surface during the trials and investigations yet to come.
Barbados Free Press will continue to follow up on this important story – even if no one else in the Barbados media mentions it.
Former, Current Alaska Lawmakers Charged
By STEVE QUINN
The Associated Press
Saturday, May 5, 2007; 5:09 AM
JUNEAU, Alaska — For several thousand dollars and other promises, prosecutors say one current and two former Alaska state lawmakers threw their support behind a tax scheme and natural gas pipeline to benefit a company.
The three men, Rep. Victor Kohring of Wasilla, and former state Reps. Pete Kott of Eagle River and Bruce Weyhrauch of Juneau, were arrested Friday but deny wrongdoing. The three Republicans pleaded not guilty at their arraignments.
Kohring was charged with extortion, attempted extortion, bribery and conspiracy, according to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed Friday. Kott and Weyhrauch, each entered their pleas to four counts, including conspiracy to commit extortion, extortion, bribery and fraud. If convicted of all charges, each of the men could face up to 55 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Prosecutors allege the three were involved in a scheme that unfolded as lawmakers weighed a new petroleum profits tax structure and a new contract for a natural gas pipeline last year.
Kott, the former House speaker, explicitly said during a teleconference with company officials that he would support the pipeline and the company’s preferred version of the tax proposal if he was made warden of a prison the company was building in the Caribbean, according to the indictment.
… continue reading this article at the Washington Post (link here)
Our kudos to Barbados Underground and others who smelled a rat with VECO long before this story broke.
Firefighting News Reports Suspicious House Fire
Barbados firefighters responded to this house fire on May 1st. The circumstances surrounding the fire are unusual. The home’s owner, who was apparently at work some distance away, was on the scene shortly after most neighbors realized what was happening.
Secondly, her 2 children who were initially feared to be in the house, were apparently safe somewhere else in the neighborhood. It is alleged that one of the children, the 15 year old, reported that she wanted a light on to see in her room but instead of turning on a light, she lit a candle, and the rest is history… What is obvious is that the fire was started and propagated senselessly since the children apparently did little to stop it when it was smaller as they did not run to an immediate neighbor for help. Instead they ran to someone a little distance away and perhaps even called their mother at that time. Bear in mind that this account is only alleged.
The firemen took less than 5 minutes to arrive at the house from the time most people in the area were made aware of it and it took them well over an hour to fully control the blaze. The fire destroyed the house completely and today 3 people are now homeless.
Thankfully none of the adjacent homes were destroyed and most importantly no one was injured.
Written and photos by Anton Best (Original article at FireFightingNews.com)
Dear Barbados Free Press,
I would like the opportunity to reply to a letter you published this week.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have further questions (868) 793-6234
Port of Spain, May 04, 2007. Caribbean Airlines refers to Barbados Free Press letter re: Caribbean Airlines’ Very Strange Fare Schedule, written by Adrian Loveridge.
Caribbean Airlines reply to Barbados Free Press letter re: Caribbean Airlines’ Very Strange Fare Schedule, written by Adrian Loveridge.
In response to your letter referring to Caribbean Airlines as an airline that provides the warmth of the islands to those with lots of money, you would have found that this is not true had you verified our fares and compared them to those of our competitors. Our Marketing Department has researched and monitored airfares over the past week and has found Caribbean Airlines to be the cheapest carrier on the routes referred to in your letter.
Airline pricing is determined based on offer and demand and competitive activities as well as country established taxes. At Caribbean Airlines, we base our fares on how our inventory is performing; that’s why you pay more for air transport to some destinations in the peak periods: summer, Christmas, etc. Secondly we try to stay competitive, and normally follow within a certain bracket, what other airlines are doing. We consistently monitor their pricing, but we also keep an eye on increased capacity on certain routes, the quality of their customer service, and their operational performance.
It should also be noted that distance has very little to do with price. For example, Caribbean Airlines is currently offering fares to Toronto and New-York for USD199 one-way all taxes included. These two destinations supply examples of much greater distance than St-Maarten to Kingston and yet they’re cheaper according to the fares you quoted in your article.
How do we do it? We’ve almost doubled our frequencies on the New-York route and added an additional flight on Toronto . We’ve increased our inventory; our available seats as we say in the business. I hope this letter will be of interest to you and please be assured that Caribbean Airlines is committed to delivering “the warmth of the islands” at a very affordable price.
Barbados Free Press received a copy of the following article and other information from a previously-unknown source in Hamilton, Canada. The source states that the Hamilton police are looking favourably upon applications for employment from serving Caribbean police officers. This apparently has to do with increasing the number of minority police personnel in the organisation.
The employment section of the Hamilton police have been holding a series of information meetings with various minority groups in the community, and the meeting with the local Barbados Association is scheduled for Thursday, May 10, 2007.
Here is the article as received, but so far we have been unable to find the source article online…
On Thursday May 10, 7 to 9 p.m, at Church of the Resurrection, 435 Mohawk Rd. W, The Barbados Canadian and Friends (Hamilton) Association will host a Career Information for The Hamilton Police Services, as part of the association’s community out reach program.
The Barbados Canadian and Friends (Hamilton) Association is a non-profit organization that operates under the umbrella of the National Council of Barbadian Associations in Canada.
The focus of the organization is to provide a forum for Barbadians living in Hamilton and its environs to communicate, in particular the youth.
The Career Information Event being hosted in an effort to bring the community in touch with the Hamilton Police Services, with a view to explore career opportunities available in law enforcement and other non uniform positions. We believe the partnership between the two organizations can prove valuable to the West Indian community specifically the youth.
For further information contact: Executive Committee Member and Co-coordinator – Anne Miller at 905-388 – 6110 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hamilton Police website here
“All the police officers who have been widely known to engage in beatings and other abuse of prisoners are still serving members of the police force. No one has been dismissed for abusing his or her office. Presumably, they still have the confidence of the Commissioner. Could it be that police officers still function under the mistaken belief that a confession beaten out of a suspect is dependable, and the basis of a sound conviction.”
Anguillan blogger Don Mitchell speaks of a recent conversation with Anguilla Police Commissioner Keithley Benjamin
Can you imagine a high profile Bajan lawyer lawyer saying something like the above about the Royal Barbados Police Force?
Neither can we. Whatever problems Anguilla has with corruption, at least citizens are able to talk about the subject without threats of lawsuits from government ministers like our own Noel “I am not a millionaire” Lynch.
OH….. Noel didn’t deny that he is a millionaire, did he? Forgot about that.
Check out Corruption-free Anguilla