Daily Archives: June 6, 2007

Barbados Closely Watches The VECO Scandal

Hello Alaska – Hello VECO Employees – We See You Visiting Barbados Free Press

The continuing VECO scandal and ongoing FBI investigation is being watched closely by citizens of the Caribbean nation of Barbados where VECO and its subsidiaries are involved in government construction projects totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. The Attorney General of Barbados recently gave a press conference announcing that “any issues in relation to the United States has absolutely no connection to Barbados, or no connection at all to the construction of the prison”

Going even further in that interview, Barbados Attorney General Dale Marshall said “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.” (Nation News article here)

Barbados Government Attempts To Defuse Questions About Relations Between VECO & Government Officials

Many Bajan citizens and local bloggers took issue with the apparent attempt by the Barbados Government to put “closure” on a scandal that is directly connected with Barbados – contrary to the Attorney General’s statements. It is alleged that Peter Kott, one of the accused in the FBI investigation, was offered a position at the new Barbados prison that is presently under construction. That project is hundreds of millions of dollars over the originally announced cost and Barbados citizens are concerned that VECO’s bribery techniques were used to obtain the prison contract and their previous major Barbados project, an oil terminal.

Barbados has no Conflict of Interest laws or Integrity Legislation for elected or appointed government officials.

There is no Freedom of Information law that allows Barbados citizens or others to obtain information on government contracts. Recently there have been detailed allegations of corruption by government officials carried by that island’s independent web-based media, which the Barbados government ignores with increasing difficulty as an election is expected for the winter of 2007-2008.

Most recently a lawsuit was filed by a Canadian corporation against Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur, Chief Justice Simmons, Attorney General Dale Marshall and many other prominent Barbados politicians and corporations. The lawsuit apparently alleges corruption and behind the scenes dealings surrounding lands and government actions in Barbados. (see a BFP story list here)

While We Have The Attention Of VECO Employees…

The citizens of Barbados have a few questions to ask of you concerning the building of the new prison – which according to various news sources is over-budget somewhere in the $200 million dollar range.

Please refer to the comments section of this post.

Thanks!

A search of “VECO” on the Barbados Free Press website will reveal previous articles.

Advertisements

29 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Government In Damage Control Mode Over Police Roughing Up Journalists At Hospital

barbados-press-freedom.jpg_barbados-police-thugs-media.jpg

Attorney General Describes Roughing Up As “Confrontation Between The Police And The Press”

“Confrontation” ?

Barbados didn’t see much of a “confrontation”. Barbados saw respected journalists being roughed up by thug police who had zero respect for the Barbados news media.

Barbados saw a newspaper editor down on the ground outside the hospital and pieces of cameras on the ground as a smiling bully in uniform pushed a television journalist.

Journalists are not “ordinary citizens” when they are covering public events. A free media is a defender of citizens’ rights and freedoms and the police should realise this if they cared about our democracy at all.

If the police have a disagreement with professional journalists covering a story, then talk and discussion should be the approach. Even if it means getting a senior officer out of bed to provide some measured leadership at the scene. Even if it means erring on the side of caution about the public interest. Even if it means waiting until senior police talk with senior media the next day.

The Attorney General would have us believe that these professional journalists were “impeding emergency procedures” at the hospital.

Garbage. We don’t believe it, and from what we’ve heard the evidence doesn’t support such a charge in the least. Which is why the government is in damage control mode.

Attorney General Dale Marshall also stated that it would be wrong to see the situation “as any attack on the freedom of the Press”.

How wrong he is!

The police physical attack on the three journalists perfectly reflected the government’s policy and attitude towards a free Barbados news media. The government has long provided the example and leadership in this area. The police were merely following the government’s example.

Which is why Barbados is not looking at this situation as an isolated incident.

Story Links

June 7, 2007 – The Nation News: AG: Police, Media Clash Regrettable

June 2, 2007 – BFP: Sources: Barbados Police Commissioner Dottin To Get Fat Retirement Package In Exchange For Taking The Fall

May 29, 2007 – BFP: Barbados Advocate Sides With Police, Not Journalists. Defends Government. Poo-poos Calls For Freedom Of Information Legislation

May 27, 2007 – BFP: Royal Barbados Police Thug Force – “We Do What Our Political Masters Order Us To Do – To Hell With Democracy & Duty”

May 27, 2007 – BFP: Response By Nation News Publisher Vivian-Anne Gittens “Weak. Not Good Enough. Lacks Leadership. Cowardly”

May 27, 2007 – BFP: Barbados Reporters Visit Queen Elizabeth Hospital – Arrive In Zimbabwe Courtesy Of Royal Barbados Police Force

20 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Crime & Law, News Media, Politics & Corruption

Our Barbados Waterpark Trusted Source Was Correct… (Will Matthew Kerins Go Ballistic?)

barbados-dolphin-ocean-park.jpg

WATERPARK ANNOUNCED For Ocean Park Aquarium

Ocean Park Aquarium To Get “Swim With The Dolphins” Attraction

BFP Trusted Source: Developer Of Competing Caribbean Splash Waterpark Told To Wait “Until After The Election”

Our sources at Barbados Free Press are a mixed bag who range from anonymous folks we have never met to people we have known all our lives. Some sources are well meaning while others have undisclosed agendas – even to the point of trying to feed us false information to damage our credibility.

It’s a tough world out there as far as journalism is concerned, made tougher still by the fact that we at BFP are amateurs that the government would love to shut down.

When we publish a story based upon inside information, we try to provide our readers with some assessment of the credibility of the source. Sometimes we caution our readers that we don’t know where the information came from. Other times we describe a source as “trusted” or “previously reliable”. You can’t count upon us to be perfect or 100% accurate, but you can always rely upon us to be honest and straight up with our readers. When we make mistakes, they are honest mistakes and we will tell you so.

Of course, when we are 100% bang on with an insider story, we like to brag about it a bit. Can’t blame us for that!

Government Approves Ocean Park Aquarium For Dolphin Swim & Waterpark

Over six weeks ago on April 22, 2007 we told our readers that the Government of Barbados had given approval for Ocean Park Aquarium to build a “swim with the dolphins” attraction. Our story also related that Ocean Park Aquarium had applied to build a waterslide feature, but that this approval was “on hold” because of concerns within the government about how competing waterpark developer Matthew Kerins would react when Ocean Park received approvals but he did not.

We see in today’s Nation News that Ocean Park has announced their new “swim with the dolphins” project – but they have also announced the waterpark development. (see The Nation News $10m More In The Ocean)

What Does This Mean For Kerins’ Caribbean Splash Waterpark?

As we told our readers over six weeks ago in our story Source: Caribbean Splash Waterpark Developer Told “Wait Until After The Election”, the Government of Barbados has a bit of a sticky wicket in Caribbean Splash developer Matthew Kerins.

According to our source, Kerins feels betrayed that he has paid over US$2 million in “consulting fees” to various Barbados “consultants” and has yet to receive permission to build – especially after a “very pleasant” meeting in 2005 with Mr. Leonard Nurse and Prime Minister Owen Arthur wherein the Prime Minister confirmed Mr. Nurse’s advice to Kerins that the waterpark should be built on government-owned land at Graeme Hall.

There is a popular resistance against the waterpark at Graeme Hall and area locals have collected over 6,000 signatures on a petition against the development. Widespread negative publicity about the waterpark, plus a general backlash against large scale developments near the proposed Graeme Hall National Park has made open support for the waterpark political suicide for a government that is on the ropes with many constituents.

The government would like to tell Matthew Kerins to “blow salt”… but is worried about what Kerins might further say in public regarding that matter of his 2 million dollars in “consulting fees”. Mr. Kerins has already been too vocal about these fees for the government’s liking, so the government has told him to keep quiet and wait until after the coming election when the government would be in a much better position to give their blessing.

So far, that strategy has worked for the government – but now that Ocean Park has let the cat out of the bag regarding their project, will Matthew Kerins hold his tongue and his temper?

Will Matthew Kerins really get his approvals after the election… or will the government then tell him that he is a plucked chicken and out 2 million dollars?

At least if Matthew doesn’t get his waterpark, he will know that he has been plucked by the best in the business!

131 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business, Environment, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption

Lawsuit Update: Nelson Barbados Group Ltd Against Prime Minister Arthur, Chief Justice Simmons, David Shorey And Many Others

barbados-lawsuit-prime-minister-arthur.jpg

Thanks to our readers we can now report as follows:

We have been told that copies of the statement of claim are floating freely around Bridgetown and in fact Barbados Free Press has received three different copies from readers.

Our lawyer friend has given us advice that it is better to summarize what is in the claim than to publish it.

The claim is all about a conspiracy and we emphasize that these allegations have not been proved in court yet. As we read it, the government and business people have conspired over the last twenty years to strip the value away from landholding companies and pocket the profits for themselves. Complications arise because some of the involved business people have since become politicians and judges.

“The defendants are all claiming that they have never done business in Canada or the U.S. and therefore no court outside of Barbados is allowed to look into allegations of corruption here.”

This is one of the comments that we received from a reader. If this is truly what the defendants are each claiming, then this case is going to be most interesting when it reaches court. We can’t imagine that each and every defendant on the list has never had a business dealing in either the U.S. or Canada – but as we say folks… remember that this is only a lawsuit that is yet to be proven.

Previously Published BFP Stories On This Subject…

May 24, 2007 – Heard On The Streets Of Bridgetown, Barbados – Fact Or Only Rumours?

May 25, 2007 – WordPress.Com Reaches 1 Million Hosted Blogs – Our Post About Lawsuit Against Prime Minister Is #60 Most Popular Worldwide !!!!

May 28, 2007 – Update: Lawsuit Against The Prime Minister Of Barbados And Others

May 29, 2007 – Barbados Lawsuit Names Prime Minister Owen Arthur, Chief Justice Simmons And Many Prominent Citizens And Businesses

May 30, 2007 – Over 1 Million WordPress Blogs – Barbados Free Press Is #33 Most Popular !

May 31, 2007 – International Lawsuit Against Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur And Others – Update

June 4, 2007 – Barbados Free Press Receives Full Copy Of Lawsuit “Statement Of Claim” Against Prime Minister Arthur, Chief Justice Simmons and Others

18 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption