Has Extensive Connections With Barbados Government and Elites
Trinidad & Tobago’s new Minister in the Ministry of Finance has been accused of fraud by his former Barbados-based employer.
According to the Trinidad and Tobago Express (link here), a civil lawsuit filed in Supreme Court in Barbados in 2004 says Mariano Browne “breached his fiduciary duty” by doing all kinds of nefarious activities including…
– Making unathorised payments to himself and others.
– Purchasing an unauthorised car for a “senior staffer” Cheryll Drakes using the bank’s funds. Apparently Browne liked Ms. Drakes a lot!
– Paying unauthorised and undocumented “bonuses” to himself and other staff.
– Removing and destroying a laptop computer with the bank’s business records on it. (Gotta get rid of that evidence, ya know!)
– Activities euphemistically called “accounting irregularities”.
Browne and his lawyer Alair Shepherd say its all a big misunderstanding. They say that Browne was hard done by during some business dealings with the bank.
Other companies and persons are mentioned in the lawsuit including…
– MB Investments Inc (Mariano Browne’s company)
– Bank owner at the time CLICO
– CL Financial
– Andre Monteil
– Bank of Butterfield
– PriceWaterhouseCoopers (a Canadian accounting firm)
– Fraudulent payments to law firm of Clarke, Gittens & Farmer
– Central Bank of Barbados
– Barbados Coast Guard relocation project
– New Barbados Judicial Center
– Government of Barbados, which provided a “letter of comfort” to Browne during some of the suspected fraudulent business dealings.
Lawsuit Was Hidden By The Barbados Court – Did Chief Justice Simmons Know?
Even though the public is only now learning of the lawsuit against Browne, we learned today that this lawsuit was actually filed in the Supreme Court of Barbados in 2004.
How is it that such a major lawsuit involving government projects and major financial institutions, businesses and law firms could remain secret for three years?
This would have taken the knowledge and co-operation of the Barbados Judicial system.
Dear readers, we at BFP are not lawyers, so maybe we’re wrong here – but it seems to us that keeping this lawsuit secret from the public and shareholders would have taken the participation and direction at the highest levels of government and the courts. Did Chief Justice Sir David Simmons know of this? If yes, what does that say about our courts? If he didn’t know about it, what else is going on in the Barbados courts that is secret?
We don’t expect any answers from Simmons and the government – for the Chief Justice and the Government are two arms of the same body.
Reprint of Trinidad & Tobago Express Article on next page…