Daily Archives: October 7, 2007

Strange Timing Of A Hardwood Homes Story In The Nation News – And A Question For Minister Clyde Mascoll

On September 6, 2006, the Nation News proclaimed…

BARBADOS’ FIRST manufacturing plant, designed to mass produce houses for lower-income earners, should be up and running at Six Roads, St Philip, by year-end.

That was the word yesterday from Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Clyde Mascoll, during an interview after taking part in a panel discussion on poverty eradication the conference room of the National Insurance Scheme, Frank Walcott Building, Culloden Road, St Michael.

Mascoll said the $1 million project would see the importation of hardwood from Guyana and the subsequent pre-designing of the houses at the plant before eventually reaching the consumer…

… “We are now in the process of developing, along with the BIDC, a formal arrangement where the necessary financing would be accessed. There is already agreement in terms of financing the project,” he noted. (See the Nation News article Homes To Go)

But The Hardwood Company Hadn’t Even Been Registered Yet!

It is interesting that on September 6, 2006, Minister Mascoll says that “There is already agreement in terms of financing the project,”

Interesting because Hardwood Housing Factory Inc., the controversial company that is now at the center of corruption and non-performance allegations, wasn’t registered until November 2, 2006 – some two months after the financing agreement had been arranged. I wonder who or what entity that financing agreement was with? It certainly wasn’t with a company that didn’t exist until two months later!

clyde-mascoll-barbados.jpg Minister Clyde Mascoll

The BIG Question: Which Barbados Politicians Are Involved With The Guyanese Hardwood Exporters & Suppliers?

Thanks to the facts coming out of the VECO corruption scandal in Alaska, we know more about how corrupt politicians pocket money during government business deals. The FBI investigation and hours of secretly taped phone calls revealed the corrupt techniques commonly used by VECO with US and foreign politicians. Golly, I wonder if VECO was able to teach any of its tricks to Barbados politicians during the building of the oil terminal and the jail? (Shona says that it would be the Bajan politicians who were teaching VECO) 🙂

Applying the same corrupt techniques to the hardwood homes situation made me realize that a perfect source of kickbacks for Barbados politicians involved in approving this project and the 1 million dollar loan would be in Guyana with the hardwood suppliers.

Instead of the Barbados factory paying “X” for hardwood from Guyana, Minister Mascoll, his agents or other Barbados government members could ensure that the factory paid “X” plus 10% – with that extra 10% going to the offshore bank accounts of the Barbados government officials. To further obscure the kickbacks, the Guyanese hardwood supplier could “hire” corrupt politicians or their family members to “consult” on business matters totally unrelated to the hardwood contract. This is how VECO pays kickbacks to corrupt politicians, and it may be that the Guyanese hardwood supplier has done the same.

So we have a few simple questions for Minister Clyde Mascoll. He should be able to answer them off the top of his head, but we aren’t holding our breath…

Dear Minister Mascoll,

1/ Have you, any member of your family or anyone in Barbados received any payment, commission, consulting fee, gift or any benefit at all from any person or company in the supply chain of hardwood to Hardwood Housing Factory Inc.?

2/ Do you or any of your family members have bank accounts or assets outside of Barbados? Did any of the funds in those outside accounts or assets originate from persons or companies who have done business with the Government of Barbados at any time?

3/ Name all the persons and companies in the hardwood supply chain to Hardwood Housing Factory Inc.

All of the above information would normally be available to citizens of countries that have integrity legislation, conflict of interest regulations, disclosure laws and freedom of information requirements of government.

You know… DEMOCRATIC countries where dedicated and responsible government officials at least have standards and laws that they must adhere to.

Over to you, Minister Mascoll…

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

Don Mitchell CBE, QC Picks Up On The Barbados Government’s Suppression Of Free Speech

Corruption-free Anguilla is a blog authored by Don Mitchell CBE, QC. Lately Mr. Mitchell has been looking at the efforts of Anguillans as they prepare for independence and he often features articles about corruption in government service, social issues and the environment.

Today he has picked up on the government of Barbados claiming that Barbados Free Press and Barbados Underground are unpatriotic for exposing government corruption. (See BFP’s Government Says: Barbados Free Press, Barbados Underground Are Unpatriotic)

Have a read of Mr. Mitchell’s article Patriotism.

Al Gilkes In The Nation News “Daily Routine Includes Barbados Free Press, Barbados Underground”

In his latest column in The Nation News, Mr. Gilkes says that Bajan blogs like BFP, BU and Boyce Voice are part of his daily routine. Well, why not? Even the Prime Minister stops by a couple of times a week! 😉

You can read Mr. Gilkes column at the Nation News here.

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

Cowardly Voice Of Barbados Radio Promises To Never Again Ask How Politicians Become Overnight Millionaires

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Barbados Government Beats Media Into Submission

On October 2, 2007, Barbados Underground reported that Voice of Barbados Radio had just paid a politician off from a slush fund to settle a lawsuit. We speculated that it was the infamous Noel Lynch Brass Tacks walkout, and indeed it was. (Nation News: Minister Lynch Awarded $60,000)

As well as having the police physically beat journalists, the Barbados Government uses its control of the courts and cows the media in any way it can. Freedom and democracy be damned – the government has ripped any life and credibility out of the island’s newspapers and broadcasters.

On March 25, 2007, thousands of listeners of the Down To Brass Tacks radio show were stunned as Barbados Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch ran out of the studio after being asked on air to comment about his personal wealth and Integrity Legislation. The emailed question from a listener and comments by moderator David Ellis abruptly ended the Minister’s participation as he angrily ripped off his headphones, stood up and left the studio.

With no disclosure laws in Barbados, Minister Lynch does not have to reveal his assets or where he got them. With no conflict of interest or integrity legislation in Barbados, it is legal that Noel Lynch misused his office to become a millionaire while awarding lucrative government contracts to friends, relatives and associates. Even if he took kickbacks – it is all legal in Barbados. The government has crafted its laws in this manner.

And they sure aren’t going to have some lowly call-in radio show host asking the question in public that is on the tip of every citizen’s tongue: How is it that a politician with nothing can become a millionaire virtually overnight once elected?

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Government Owns The Courts Through An Old Friend – The Chief Justice Of Barbados

In any civilised country, the truth is always a defense, but not in Barbados with its oppressive libel laws. In any civilised country, a responsible media knows that it must fight for its right to report the truth. That’s tough to do sometimes and especially in our country where even the Chief Justice is a former Cabinet Minister of the same government. With no impartial and independent justice system, the Barbados media will always be fighting an uphill battle.

No Public Trial Will Be Held

But there will be no battle because Voice of Barbados Radio surrendered without a fight.

IF the spineless cowards at Voice Of Barbados Radio had forced the issue to trial, Noel Lynch could have been put on the spot with questions about the truth of the allegations on Brass Tacks that he became a millionaire while in government.

Voice of Barbados Radio took the easy way out, and now, thanks to their cowardness the Barbados media will never again ask a politician to account for their personal wealth gained while in office.

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Welcome to Zimbabwe West, Folks!

Your leaders drive Lexus, BMWs and Mercedes vehicles while they toss you the scraps of your tax dollars that they haven’t yet stolen. If you ask questions, you and your family will be sorry.

Touch on the photo of Noel Lynch (top photo) to hear the recording of the Brass Tacks show where he ran away from the truth.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption