How Much Cash Did Corrupt VECO USA Executives Provide To Barbados Labour Party As “Campaign Donations” ?

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Attorney-General Says Veco Has Been “At All Times Entirely Above Board” With All Barbados Work

Barbados Attorney-General Dale Marshall made some very definitive statements yesterday about VECO’s prison contract – but he sounded suspiciously like a man with a fire hose trying to put out a cane field blaze before it gets out of control. As Barbados Free Press indicated when we broke the story in Barbados…

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…

… 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.

… from our story BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Politicians Indicted For Taking/Arranging Bribes In VECO Scandal – Involves New Barbados Prison

How unlike an experienced politician like Dale Marshall to not give himself any wiggle room at all. He says that everything VECO ever did for the Government of Barbados was “above board”. That is quite a conclusion considering that Mr. Marshall launched no investigation, asked for no assistance from the police and interviewed no witnesses.

The FBI sure didn’t tell Dale Marshall that everything in Barbados was “above board” !

Dale Marshall also says that VECO company officials “have assured me they never made any representation to any individual that they could or would be posted to Barbados to work as a prison warden or any post in the Government of Barbados,”

That is quite a statement – considering that the FBI made tape recordings of phone conversations where an American politician talked about exactly those assurances with VECO executives.

So where is Dale Marshall going with this? Aha! We can see it now…

The Case Is Closed As Far As Dale Marshall Is Concerned

Marshall and his government have to put out this fire quickly before it grows and the best way of doing that is to point out that the CEO of VECO has pleaded guilty and gone to jail. “See folks? It’s all over! Doesn’t involve Barbados. Nothing to see here… move along. Move along.”

Here’s what Dodging Dale said…

“The issues in relation to bribery and corruption are issues which are being dealt with by a United States court. The chief executive officer of the company [Bill J. Allen] has pleaded guilty to bribery charges and resigned his position.

“But I am satisfied that the company’s relationship with Barbados and the work they are doing for the Government of Barbados has at all times been entirely above board, and at no time is there any hint of a scandal in relation to the contracting of that company for the work on the prison or other work that they have previously done for the Barbados Government,”

… from The Nation News (link here

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Not So Fast, Mr. Attorney General!

The founder and CEO of VECO, Bill J. Allen, pleaded guilty to save his son from going to jail. The FBI has hundreds of hours of investigations and phone taps and Mr. Allen Sr. has pledged to cooperate with further inquiries. VECO gave millions in “campaign donations” to the Bush Republicans – and the Democrats are rising in power so it is a little premature to declare everything is over, don’t you think Mr. Marshall?

Answer These Questions Publicly, Dodging Dale…

1/ How much money did VECO give to the BLP or to party members “campaign donations” in the last 12 years?

2/ Did any of those “campaign donations” find their way into the personal bank accounts of any BLP members?

3/ What gifts were received from VECO by government members or their relatives?

4/ How many subcontractors at the jail project and the oil terminal project are related to or otherwise associated with members of the Barbados Government?

5/ Does or did VECO employ any political lobbyists in Barbados and are any of them related in any way to members of government?

6/ Does or did VECO employ any consultants in Barbados and are any of them related in any way to members of government?

Those questions will do for a start, Mr. Attorney General, but maybe some of our readers have additional questions.

This VECO bribery scandal isn’t over, Mr. Marshall. Not by a long shot…

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39 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Politics & Corruption

39 responses to “How Much Cash Did Corrupt VECO USA Executives Provide To Barbados Labour Party As “Campaign Donations” ?

  1. Anonymous

    Veco DID NOT want to be involved in the Jail Project. They did not initate the project. They were approached by greedy Gov’t Minister Mia. Veco was already involved in another local project and it is my believe that because Mia knew they take bribes an approach was made to them. This company has never built a prison in their life! No experience! But Mia was satisfied with their track record.

    Check and see what Mia got from the deal. Is Mia Mottley a citizen of the USA? How did she qualify? Do some investigative journalism?

  2. Anonymous

    This Barbados Labour Party really fancies itself, nuh?

    ‘We say we’re clean, therefore that makes us clean. Q.E.D.’

    And we’re supposed to believe it!
    After all.. “a man is as good as his word”.

    What old-fashioned CRAP is this??
    We all know full well we’re in the monetarily-avaricious 21st. Century,
    where Money is ALL,
    so what’s with the Victorian posturing, dude?

  3. Wishing in Vain

    You are correct when you state that they have never built a prison hence now that they are half way thru they have recently realised that they did not have a dorm as part of the planning a local company has since been called in to correct this mistake.
    Moreover I am very gald to see BFP giving this scandal the attention it deserves as many months ago when I brought it to this blog that locals were asked to build in a commission for the Bannisters, Nicholls and Owing’s into the costing of this project was mind boggling to me.
    My other question is where is the voice of the usually vocal C O Williams on this matter?
    As he knows all the scam that took place in the awarding of this contract and he and his group was pushed into the background in preference to VECO.
    The real players and the masterminds in this project are Mottley, Arthur, Nicholls and Bannister these have conspired to rob us the taxpayers of this island to the tune of in excess of $ 100 million yes over a $ 100 million not a small figure by any stretch of the imagination, and ended up giving it to a company who has never built a prison project in its life over and before giving it to a local group who sought the services of the crown agents of the UK to select and source a reputable builder of prisons who has built prisons all around the UK and knows what they are about in this department for over a $ 100 million dollars less in cost what does this appear like to the rest of you ? it certainly appears to be gross corruption on the gov’t part to me.
    Also they must have know that going the route of the local contractors would have been more difficult to steal there as the UK Crown Services were involved and that would have created more check and balances than this fly by night VECO operator who is already know to pay bribe money.

  4. Wishing in Vain

    The creditability of this group of politicians evaporated a long time ago our challenge is to successfully remove the tumor that is the BLP like in most removals of things like tumors the only successful operation is one that removes the entire tumor leaving nothing behind to infest or migrate.
    The Tumor exist in the form of Mottley, Lynch, Owing Clarke, Farley, the so called rev, The 2 Eastmonds, Woods, Symmonds, the Duguids, Marshalls, the Paynes in essences each and everyone of them has played a role in where we find ourselves at this time looking down the barrel, meanwhile they have made their bank accounts healthy at our expense, did they not realise that with this level of wholesale stealing the bank would run dry at some stage now we are seeing public workers crying out to be paid for services that they have rendered honestly and sincerely but they can not see their payment this is a sad day in the life of Barbados this is what corruption brings to our land!!!

  5. John

    Love the crap from Dale about Veco not giving the job of Warden to the US guy!!

    Pure unadulterated crap.

    This half wit House Speaker in the US could face jail in the US as a result of representations made to him by the same VECO.

    What sort of utter idiots does Dale feel he is dealing with here?

    Thanks to this fiasco, Lt. Col. Nurse will probably be a shoo in for the job, but not because of anything Veco says!!

  6. J. Payne

    Everytime a US company comes the place ends up in bachannal….

    When it was Exxon Mobile they didn’t clean up their site.

    When McDonalds wanted to come down, that was a next set ot noise.

    When Price Smart was coming down and offered the workers “free food” instead of an increased wage. That was trouble….

    When the Airport company did the Tent- membranes the first time and they got torn during the storm where the Concorde became uncovered that was yet again problems.

    Now dis.

    Becareful whenever you see US companies coming to Barbados because you’re soon going to hear some heavy quarrelling soon enough….

  7. Zulu

    Wishing in vain
    Please use punctuation marks where applicable. I like reading your posts, but they are becoming increasingly difficult to read without the appropiate commas, full stops, etc.
    Keep the vibes flowing.

  8. Rumplestilskin

    What IS mindboggling is for a project to turn from $100 million into $192 million by overruns.

    Huh? Huh? Overruns almost the full original budget again?

    It would almost be funny if it was not disgraceful, sad and a tremendous worry to the taxpayers who have to pay it all back.

    Did they not have a clause making Veco liable to overruns, or at least a clause making the contractor liable depending on contributory causation?

    And we are told that they are going to spend $500 million repainting, oh sorry, refurbishing the QEH.

    Whatcha. It will be close to $1 billion and basically repainting, because after one year we goin hear bout they dont have this equipment and that equipment and when the question about what the refurbishment was then the response going be alla kinda verbiage.

    Dem dont know how bad people wiating for elections you know.

    Pity there is not some kind of mechanism to prevent them signing any more contracts before the election come.

    But then, there comes a time to repay. Both for the taxpayer in finances and heartache and in a more indirect way for those who commit reckless, note I did not say negligent action.

    One case of an unfortunate decision is one thing. But constant mistakes after ignoring advice from others, not least the taxpayers themselves, with brazen and bold mothings to defend the major mistakes is another.

  9. Zulu

    Did I not hear at one time that the prison was on budget and on time?
    Was it only me or did others hear the same thing?

  10. White Rabbit

    Perhaps the prison will at least be on time to provide housing for the folks responsible for the corruption, graft, and over-runs. Oh wait, I forgot where I am, where no new incoming government ever investigates the former lest a bad precedent be set for the next succeeding change of government. Sorry, sorry, sorry, for that oversight.

  11. Straight talk

    Rumple
    The latest estimate is $294million and counting, i.e.over $1 million per week increase since the contract was signed.
    Nice work if you can get it.
    …or give it?

  12. Zulu

    With over-runs at a whopping $192M AND COUNTING, I wonder how the money is divided? Let’s see, there are 17 ministers and with Owen getting the most, and with others who are not ministers getting their cut, I can see each minister taking at $5M apiece. Not bad for 13 years’ work.

  13. Straight talk

    $294 million divided by a maximum 1250 prisoners = $ 235,200 per inmate.
    But hey, then we got rent the place, built on govt. land and pay this corrupt company rent for the next 25 years to run it.
    I’m sooo glad we have a first world economist organising this, ‘cos to me a layman these figures sound crazy.

  14. Rumplestilskin

    $294 million and counting? You have GOT to be kidding.

    Waht I thought was $192 million, which was bad enough.

    ???

    OMG!

  15. Rumplestilskin

    What are we doing, building a facility to beam them into space or something?

  16. Straight talk

    No, it’s just a facility to beam the beneficiaries into the Forbes Rich List.

  17. ecoanalyst

    This VECO issue may be deeper than you think. Did they not recently do the oil facility pipeline/storage for Barbados National Oil Co?

    Also was this project not the reason they got the jail project? They have no experience building jails, so why did they get the project? – was it “a good working relationship”? Check out that oil terminal project -if you can. Who was the Minister of Energy then? Was it not Wood who is now in Education?

    Was Mia Mottley the Attorney General when the VECO jail contract was signed? She is good at “contracts”. Did a good job at Edutech (400+M).

    Is it true that Bizzy Williams wanted the jail project and that he had an attractive proposal?

    Now I see in Saturday’s Nation back page under headline -“Base Line”, that Sen. Lynette Eastmond is saying govt will spend$85 million “for Barbados to develop world standards”.
    … a wanna ball!

    Another waste of taxpayers money, and another piggy pot for “consultants” and theives to feed on. Eastmond is great at repeating stuff she reads – a really comical character who takes herself very seriously. Now her piggy bank will be funded.

    Barbados should be focussing on roads and sidewalks, street lighting and transporatation. Govt is spending $35M for roads in St. Philip, but none for St Lucy or St. John and the other parishes with bad roads. Yet they can now talk about $85M for a questionable “standards project” – where are the priorities?

    Will the DLP attack this latest “BLP waste” project.

    BFP should also be headlining and attacking this $85 million boondoggle now. The Senator reads BFP and has contributed to it. Ask her the hard questions.

  18. Rumplestilskin

    The massive inappropriate spending at the moment is such that the Opposition leader should be jumping and shouting.

    Where are you, Sir?

    Further, if he does not realise that what he inherits is going to result in some hard decisions and thus he may become as unpopular as Sandi (Bajans won’t want to face the facts), he is in for a surprise.

    Hence why he should be highlighting the gross over-spending on non-productive sectors. He will then be able to say ‘I told you so, now look what we have to deal with’.

    He has got to learn to ‘manage’ the perceptions of the public as the BLP has learnt to do.

    Months ago we had a concern about the late signing of contracts before elections. Is this not what is currently happenening?

    John correctly highlighted the need for the water problem to be addressed, including desal plants.

    Saw the gross water shortage highlighted a few days ago in the press?

    It is obvious to anyone that our water resourcing is in a dire state and that we need more desal plants, as John noted. Yet instead our funds are being spent elsewhere, on neither productive sectors nor on social well-being sectors i.e. healthcare.

    The plance like it on autopilot, with the electronics gone wild carrying us off course and nobody in control checking the direction.

  19. Get In The Action

    Rumple

    It seems the opposition is also on autopilot or maybe they have hit snooze mode on their alarm once again.

    I do not understand how all of this can be happening and they remain so quiet. Are they waiting for the election bell to finally wake up and do their job. There are so many issues they should be screaming about, so many issues that should be before the Public Accounts Committee. Makes you wonder if they cannot manage to be an effective opposition how effective will they be managing the country.

  20. Rumplestilskin

    Agreed. The general populace needs to be more demanding of our representatives. None of this ‘show up at election time’, get your vote and ignore everthing after that, anymore.

    The populace needs to demand transparency and accountability. Apart from a change in attitude, this requires not only integrity legislation, but actual availability of financial reports and reports by the Auditor General, within reasonable timeframes, so that we may assess the position on public projects ourselves.

    This requirement needs to be legislated, with an ‘automatic kick-in mechanism’ of audit by an independent firm if the required reports are not provided on time by Government on time.

    Hard legislation, so that things cannot be delayed forever.

  21. Get In The Action

    As a campaign pledge, the DLP should insist on a forensic audit of all questionable projects with mandatory reporting back to the public within the first three months of office. No endless waste of time commission of inquiry. Bring in the independent auditors and report back the facts.

  22. Thistle

    I too, am frustrated by the abject silence of the Opposition. I know that they have a hard time getting their message across through the media because every single media house – print and electronic – is controlled by the BLP. Whilst BLP Ministers/Parliamentarians can do dixie on TV/Radio every single day and night, it is not so easy for the Opposition. However, surely they can find other ways of getting a message across, apart from public mass meetings. The Friday luncheons at DLP HQ are helpful, but how do we know if the comments of some Speakers aren’t deliberately cut out by CBC producers. Come on, David, speak up – LOUD. If you don’t you will be defeating your own purpose.

  23. Jerome Hinds

    Come on, David, speak up – LOUD. If you don’t you will be defeating your own purpose.

    ****************************************

    Yes Thistle…..and if the news editors deliberately EDIT Thompson’s salient points how would the public……get to hear them ?

    We need to get these BLP BASTARDS out of office….and if the next group coming in play the fool as well…….then out they go TOO…..!

    We the citizens of Barbados deserve BETTER…..!

  24. Get In The Action

    I agree that the media is obviously biased but they cannot ignore them if they keep trying. Get on the call-in programmes daily. The media have to cover their press conferences, start hitting home on the issues.

    A weekly radio address by Thompson and shadow ministers on critical issues cannot cost more than a couple hundred bucks in airtime.

    They can use new media like youtube and myspace as mediums to get the message out there especially to younger voters. Why can they not have a weekly youtube posting, linked to their website.

    Their silence is deafening. Do we even know who are the shadow ministers for each portfolio. Who shadows tourism, public works, trade? During CWC while the Tourism Minister’s back was against the wall they had so much material – where was the shadow minister for the DLP? They need to get their act together quickly and start proper communication with their constituents. A weak opposition is too dangerous.

  25. Adrain Loveridge

    BFP readers, when you get a chance, log on to
    http://www.commonwealth.ca

    search for Projects Controls System
    and read about their seemingly impressive
    IMP2 ACT Project Control Software.

    And you will read it how well the Project Manager can control costs.

    It however, does not seem to have worked terribly well with the Dodds Prison project.

    Perhaps BFP can do a link?

  26. Yardbroom

    An effective opposition close to a general election, has to be sure of its ground before it makes statements of any kind. The opposition at this moment has the election to win, but it is easy to throw away this opportunity by knee jerk reactions to every event. It needs a sureness of touch and a principled cohesive approach to events.

    There is no reason for the opposition to do anything silly, it should concentrate on the grass roots support, that is evidently there and build on that, also concentrate on the basics and get them right. It serves no purpose in going off at a tangent, with an immediate and often illinformed comment on every matter.

    The opposition has to be seen as responsible and ready for Government, not a rabble only able to shout at the drop of a hat for short term gains. A disciplined approach to events, based on a common strategy will win the election, not immediate meaningless soundbites.

  27. Get In The Action

    They are very disciplined in the sound of silence. Meanwhile we have pronouncements of more wasted government spending, cost over-runs and white elephant projects while the opposition focuses on the “grassroots”. I am sorry but I don’t consider responding to a $192 M cost over-run a knee jerk reaction.

  28. Citizen First

    To Minister L. Eastmond,

    To my astonishment I note that it is reported that the Government of Barbados is going to spend $85 MILLION to establish standards for goods and services to be sold in Barbados.

    Can you explain how such a figure is arrived at? The report which attributes the announcement to you, did not indicate to whom this money would be paid or what steps were involved in the establishment of these standards thereby allowing simple taxpayers a sense of how this figure of $85 million was arrived at.

  29. Yardbroom

    Get in the Action
    I was not specific in saying which issue would cause a knee jerk reaction and I do not recall mentioning the issue you alluded to. On issues of policy, meetings no doubt are held by the opposition with brain storming sessions. In these meetings salient issues of the day are discussed, and a common approach based on party policy formulated.

    Therefore I should imagine they have a disciplined approach, not making up policy on the hoof. I know it is frustrating when ones particular area of interest seems to be overlooked, but you cannot be all things to all men at the drop of a hat, that is not how elections are won, but they can be lost in that way.

  30. Yardbroom

    Get in the Action

    I was not specific in saying which issue would cause a knee jerk reaction, I do not recall mentioning the issue to which you have alluded.

    On issues of policy, I should imagine the opposition has brainstorming meetings at which salient isues of the day are discussed and a common approach, based on party policy is formulated. Hence a disciplined approach is adopted not one of making up policy on the hoof.

    I know it is frustrating when ones particular area of interest seems to be overlooked, but you cannot be all things to all men, at the drop of a hat.

    That is how elections are lost, they are rarely won that way.

  31. Zulu

    I am pretty much pissed at at the way the Barbados Labour Pirates think of spending OUR money. $85M for what Ms Eastmond.
    Are you not part of the on-going tiefing and do you expect to get your cut now?
    Yes, Ma’m, pls tell us how you arrived at the 85m. Convince us. Is this another loan? Who is funding this? We want facts, puleese!
    On another note, headlines today in Nation talks about 300 contractors cut from UDC. Some of those who are still there are poor contractors with the required connections.

  32. Zulu

    Comment seems to be taking forever to be moderated.

  33. Get In The Action

    Yardbroom

    A $192M over-run is not a simple pet peeve. This is close to 20% of the total government operating budget in a year. And more and more of these projects are being added on while the DLP are “brain-storming”.

    In the UK, Shadow Ministers are given the latitude to do their jobs. They are designated to shadow ministries and freely respond on government policy. This not only gives them the opportunity to acquire the ministerial expertize if they win the government, but with quick responses on issues of the day, it keeps the ruling ministers on their toes. Where is the DLP on this?

  34. Yardbroom

    Get In The Action

    You have made my point quite well, one cannot compare the UK system and conduct of Government with Barbados, they bear no relationship at all, regardless of the sums involved the main objective for the opposition should be, to be elected, for without office nothing can be achieved.

  35. Get In The Action

    I guess we’ll keep seeing more of the same inertia. Those brainstorming sessions are keeping them very busy.

  36. Nailer

    someone should investigate the specifications required for the construction of the new prison perimeter fence and what the American contractors are actually putting up. They are not up to the specs provided in the Bills of Quantity because of the costs involved

  37. Wishing in Vain

    Nailer anything that happens at this project would never surprise me this is wholesale corruption at its best trust me.
    Anything that can be quoted by locals ( and we have reputation of being more expensive ) at $ 130 million and can end up costing $ 300 million must have lots of steal in there.
    Yet the ministers not saying a word they all need to resign or be fired Mottley, Arthur Lynch, Walcott, Wood, Eastmond enmasse would work.

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