Daily Archives: August 15, 2007

Barbados Chief Justice David Simmons Wanted To Be…

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Barbados Deserves A Chief Justice Who Can Be SEEN To Be Pure

Today’s news that Grenada’s Prime Minister Keith Mitchell is being sued in the United States for allegedly corruptly accepting a one million dollar bribe (in Switzerland no less) made us once again consider that politics can be a rough and dirty game. Maybe Mitchell is guilty, maybe not. Maybe it is a setup for political purposes – or maybe Mitchell really did it. (See BFP’s Grenada PM Being Sued In New York For Corrupt Activities)

It almost doesn’t matter whether the allegation is true or not – the OFFICE of the Prime Minister of Grenada has been placed under a cloud. That’s just a part of the reality of politics and politicians. It can be a dirty game and sometimes that mud sticks.

Allegations, Lawsuits and Dirt Shouldn’t Have To Be Part Of Our Judicial System

Barbados Chief Justice David Simmons is being sued in Canada along with Prime Minister Arthur and other Bajan notables. The Statement of Claim in the case is a public document and the allegations are very disturbing. (See BFP’s Nelson Barbados Group Ltd Against Prime Minister Arthur, Chief Justice Simmons, David Shorey And Many Others)

We would love to come to the defense of Barbados’ Chief Justice and say “Nonsense, the Chief Justice has never been involved in politics or land development or land transactions for the government”, but we can’t say that because our current Chief Justice had 25 years of government and backroom-boys’ politics before he put on a Judge’s robes.

Only weeks before being appointed as Chief Justice, David Simmons was a Cabinet Minister under the current Prime Minister. For that reason alone we were disappointed that Mr. Simmons accepted the position of Chief Justice as we believed that his appointment lacked the important appearance of independence right from the start. Once again, this is not to say that David Simmons does not or did not have the knowledge or integrity necessary for the position – we objected because his background in the rough and tumble world of Barbados politics made him an unwise choice for the position of Chief Justice.

Now we have allegations surfacing from before David Simmons became our Chief Justice – and that is unfortunate to say the least. Whether the allegations are true or not, and even if they occurred long ago during his political backroom days, it still throws a bit of a cloud over the OFFICE of the Chief Justice. That’s a sad truth.

Every Bride Is A Virgin – Or So They Say!

They say that every bride instantly becomes a virgin again on her wedding day (at least Auntie Moses says so!) and I guess we all hoped that a similar process would happen when David Simmons became Chief Justice.

But just like a newly “re-virginated” bride can sometimes have old lovers walk embarrassingly back into her life, David Simmons has found that his new judicial robes can’t free him of decades of backroom deals, favours asked and favours granted – and the political, legal and economic strategies that he and his BLP Government Cabinet dreamed up and implemented.

Let’s hope that the allegations against David Simmons are eventually disproven, but Barbados should remember this lesson when it comes time to appoint a new Chief Justice.

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Chief Justice David Simmons Wanted To Be…

Attorney General David Simmons wanted to leave his first love: Politics, for a new love: the Office Of The Chief Justice Of Barbados.

But David knew that his relationship with Politics had forever tainted his reputation. How could his new love ever accept a man who had gone out with Politics?

If David was to win his new love, the Office Of The Chief Justice Of Barbados, he would have to become pure again – like he was before he met Politics.

His new love needed purity, so the rest of the family of Barbados could look upon the new Office Of The Chief Justice and say “We have a pure and uncorrupted Chief Justice. No one will ever challenge the integrity of the Office of our Chief Justice!”

So David thought and thought – and decided…

“I know!” said David. “I’ll walk away from Politics – to cleanse myself from my old love. After I have been away from Politics for even a few months, everyone will forget about my old love. Then, I shall put on new Judicial Robes and not be involved with Politics any longer. I shall become like new – cleansed and pure – as is fitting for my new love, Office Of The Chief Justice.

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David thought and thought and said, “YES! That’s it! I want to be pure. I want to be. I WILL be…

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Click on Justice Simmons’ new album cover to watch his favourite music video!

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

Grenada Prime Minister Being Sued In New York, USA For Corrupt Activities

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Million Dollar Corrupt Payment Alleged

It looks like Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur isn’t the only Caribbean Head Of State being sued in a foreign court. (See BFP’s Nelson Barbados Group Ltd Against Prime Minister Arthur, Chief Justice Simmons, David Shorey And Many Others)

I don’t know what the laws are in Grenada, but in Barbados the Prime Minister can take any amount of money from anyone as a “campaign donation”, then deposit it in his personal bank account – and there is no law against it and no law forcing him to account for the money.

Golly, I wonder if Owen Arthur has ever been to Switzerland?

Mitchell: USA Has No Jurisdiction Over Me

NEW YORK, USA, August 15, 2007 – The New York-based attorneys for Grenada Prime Minister, Keith Mitchell, and his wife Marietta, are calling for a June lawsuit filed against the first couple to be dismissed.

The Mitchells’ attorneys responded on August 10 to the lawsuit brought against Eric Reisteiner and the Mitchells by Charles Howland, of South Dartmouth, MA, which claims that the Prime Minister received US$1 million from Resteiner, a German businessman, in exchange for a diplomatic passport.

The lawsuit alleges that Resteiner defrauded him and 49 others out of more than US$30 million. Howland, in a copy of the lawsuit obtained by HBN, alleges that the exact amount of money he was scammed out of was US$2.5m and that US$1m of that was “delivered” by Resteiner to the Mitchells.

Resteiner is currently serving an 87 month prison sentence in Rhode Island for fraud.

He also alleges that they did “knowingly shared in the spoils of an enormous pattern of fraud perpetrated by Resteiner on the plaintiff”.

In their response, according to court papers obtained by HBN, the Mitchells contend that the lawsuit is “bogus” and that it should be thrown out because “the head of state immunity doctrine” prevents such action unless immunity has been waived by a Grenada or US statute.

The Mitchells attorneys also argue that the court has no jurisdiction over the Mitchells since they do not live in the USA even though they own property in New York. The responding action also seeks to have any action against Mrs Mitchell dismissed, asserting that she cannot be held liable for any alleged actions of her husband by mere association.

Attorney Jab Charles Johnson of the office of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, also claim that since the alleged bribe took place in Switzerland, then the New York court has no jurisdiction over the case.

The Mitchells are also urging a dismissal as well as any “other further relief” that the Court may deem appropriate.

Howland, who said he was a creditor of Resteiner, is demanding a jury trial and judgment for damages, all costs, including attorneyis fees and any additional “relief”.

The lawsuit is based on testimony from Timothy Bass, a former director of security for Resteiner who said he secretly videotaped the allegedly bribery in Switzerland.

Prime Minister Mitchell has consistently said that he has done nothing wrong. A one-man Commission of Inquiry, established in August 2004 to investigate the allegations was canned after Hurricane Ivan.

A hearing in the case is set for October 3rd in a Brooklyn Court before Chief Magistrate Steven M. Gold.

Read the original at Hardbeatnews.com or the mirror at Caribbean 360

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

Some Excellent Reading At “Notes From The Margin” Blog

Cliverton here.

I’ve been meaning to let our readers know about some of the excellent articles appearing of late at the Barbados based Notes From The Margin blog. A few suggestions…

Third Petro Caribe Summit

Writer Marginal asks “What’s the Catch?” and asks if the signatories are mortgaging their children’s future even more.

With Respect Sargeant Reid… We Disagree

The President of the Barbados Police Association is taken to task for his arrogant attitude and dismissal of band leaders’ concerns over security at Kadooment.

How Much Gas Does Trinidad Have?

A recent audit of Trinidad and Tobago’s gas reserves stunned many. Marginal gives his (or her) take and asks the billion dollar question…

The Cultural Oddity Of The Blue Box Cart Kadooment Band

Is the mostly-white Kadooment Band a sign of racial divide or proof that we’re all friends on this tiny island?

Barbados’ Sandy Lane Hotel Sued – Does Pennsylvania Law Apply?

Interesting issue, especially in light of the recent Canadian lawsuit launched against Prime Minister Arthur, Chief Justice Simmons and many other Bajan notables. (Also see BFP’s Nelson Barbados Group Ltd Against Prime Minister Arthur, Chief Justice Simmons, David Shorey And Many Others)

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Filed under Bajan Blogs & Chats, Barbados, Blogging, Business, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Environment

UPDATED: Tropical Storm Dean Expected To Become HURRICANE

“Some strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours and Dean could become a Hurricane tomorrow.”

Next Advisory At 5pm AST

Click on the track maps for direct links to the US National Hurricane Center and the Weather Underground.

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Statement as of 11:00 am AST on August 15, 2007

TROPICAL STORM DEAN ADVISORY NUMBER   9…RETRANSMITTED
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL   AL042007
1100 AM AST WED AUG 15 2007

…DEAN STRENGTHENS OVER THE CENTRAL ATLANTIC OCEAN…

INTERESTS IN THE LESSER ANTILLES SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF
DEAN.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA…PLEASE MONITOR
PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

AT 1100 AM AST…1500Z…THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM DEAN WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 12.4 NORTH…LONGITUDE 46.0 WEST OR ABOUT 1045
MILES…1685 KM…EAST OF THE LESSER ANTILLES.

DEAN IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 20 MPH…32 KM/HR…AND THIS
MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 60 MPH…95 KM/HR…WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.  SOME STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS AND
DEAN COULD BECOME A HURRICANE TOMORROW.

DEAN IS A RELATIVELY SMALL TROPICAL CYCLONE.  TROPICAL STORM FORCE
WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 50 MILES…85 KM FROM THE CENTER.

THE ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 997 MB…29.44 INCHES.

REPEATING THE 1100 AM AST POSITION…12.4 N…46.0 W.  MOVEMENT
TOWARD…WEST NEAR 20 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…60 MPH.
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…997 MB.

THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT
500 PM AST.

FORECASTER BLAKE

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Filed under Barbados, Environment

Would Nation News Editor Roy Morris Have Been Charged With Rape If Blogs Hadn’t Broken The Story?

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Did Blogs Prevent A Cover-Up… Or Is That Idea Absurd?

My friends, on Tuesday, August 14, 2007, veteran journalist Roy Morris was charged with rape by the Royal Barbados Police Force. He was released on bail after appearing in court.

This article is not about Roy’s guilt or innocence, or about the specifics of the criminal allegations. This article is about whether or not Bajan blogs impacted the decision of the police and the prosecutors to bring formal charges against a well known and influential journalist.

During the past four weeks everyone heard the rumours – whether from a friend at work, at the local rum shop, online at various Bajan blogs and chat sites or while on the ZR after school. Now, after four weeks of uncertainty and rumours Mr. Morris has been charged and he will face his accuser in court.

Would Mr. Morris have been charged at all if various Barbados blogs hadn’t carried the story?

Here are some of our thoughts at BFP, then we’d like to hear your opinions in the comments section.

First, what currently appears online in the Barbados media…

Editor Charged With Rape

Editor Roy Morris has appeared in court charged with rape.

District B Magistrate, Robert Simmons has released him on 10 thousand dollars bail with one surety.

Morris was made to surrender his passport and told to report to the District B Police Station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

He was represented by attorney-at-law Ralph Thorne and will return to court on November 1.

… from the CBC (link here)

Former Nation Editor Charged With Rape

FORMER Editor of the Nation Publishing Company, Roy Morris, was charged with one count of rape.

He was placed on $10 000 bail with one surety. Morris was required to surrender all travel documents and has to report to District B Police station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

He will return to court on November 1. Morris appeared before Magistrate Robert Simmons at the District B Magistrates Court.

… from The Barbados Advocate (link here)

UPDATED: Adding Nation News…

Journalist On Sex Charge

ROY MORRIS, managing editor of The Nation Publishing Company, appeared before the District “B” Boarded Hall Magistrates’ Court yesterday on a charge of rape.

Morris, of Warrens Park, St Thomas, was not required to plead to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old female.

There was no objection to bail and Magistrate Robert Simmons released him on a surety of $10 000, ordered him to turn in his passport, and to report to the nearest police station thrice weekly – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The matter was adjourned until November 1.

… from The Nation News (link here)

How The Story Broke…

On Monday, July 23, 2007, sources within the Nation News contacted Barbados Free Press and informed us that Associate Managing Editor Roy Morris had been asked for his resignation after an alleged sexual impropriety with a female several days earlier. We were also informed us that Mr. Morris was nowhere to be found and that the entire matter was being hushed up by both the Nation News and the Royal Barbados Police Force. We were told that Anne Gittens loaned her car to Morris to help him avoid the police during the first few days.

We were told that the management at The Nation News sent journalist Timothy Slinger to camp out on the doorstep of Police Commissioner Dottin to call in a favour for Roy Morris – to have the investigation sidetracked. It was thought that with the rough treatment Slinger received at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital he might be able to call in the favour from a contrite and sympathetic Commissioner of Police. (Slinger background here)

The Barbados Free Press published all of this and more in three stories…

July 23, 2007 – Roy Morris Told To Resign From The Nation News ! ?

July 26, 2007 – Roy Morris – Nation News Train Wreck Continues

July 29, 2007 – World Is Watching Barbados Political Scandals – Really! TWO Bajan Blogs Make WordPress “Top 100″ List Out Of 1.2 Million Blogs

One Source Says Barbados Free Press And Other Blogs Made A Difference

BFP reader and commenter “Mr. Know” has been an accurate source of information about the Morris case from the beginning. (It is also interesting that “Mr. Know” always uses an anonymous proxy IP when posting, so we at Barbados Free Press or anyone else couldn’t possibly discover his or her identity).

Yesterday when we were informed that Morris was about to be arrested and charged, we published our article – Source: Barbados Journalist Roy Morris At Oistins Police Station – Arrested, Charged In Sex Assault Case. In response, reader Passin Thru said…

“I am surprised that a big up like Morris was charged. Never happened before like this. Always hushed up and paid off.

Is the answer to why he was charged, BLOGGERS?”

Informed BFP Source “Mr. Know” answered…

“No it wasn’t the bloggers totally. If I tell you in detail my identity could be blown. Needless to say it was senior police who didn’t want the force to be accused of covering up the matter. That’s why it was sent to the DPP.”

So “Mr. Know” credits the blogs with at least some influence in the decision to charge Mr. Morris.

Another source contacted us and stated that the Director of Public Prosecutions had been sitting on the Morris arrest warrant hoping that the case would fade away, but in the end signed the arrest warrant after procrastinating for weeks.

We Are All Aware Of Similar Incidents That Have Been Hushed Up When Elites Were Involved

What do our readers think?

Would Roy Morris have been charged if blogs had not broken the story and asked pointed questions about the case?

IF Morris was charged because blogs made a cover-up impossible – that is as much of an indictment of the police and justice system as could ever be…

… but it would also be evidence of progress.

What do you think, folks?

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Blogging, Crime & Law, Freedom Of The Press, News Media