The Best Kept Secret Scandal Of The BLP Government
ECCI – Another Cariscot In The Making
We have spent a lot of time and energy discussing the corruption exposed about Hardwood. There is yet another company justifying forensic investigation which deals with cotton – ECCI.
ECCI was incorporated about 3 years ago as a private sector company, but is now under the direct control of the Minister of Agriculture and his hatchet man/political sidekick – the Chief Agricultural Officer. This same Ministry has never grown a successful cotton crop at Graeme Hall and is light years behind in agricultural technology. They have failed miserably to take the Sea Island cotton industry forward in the last 20 years and their support to the cotton industry is basically worthless.
The Ginnery at Groves, St. George cost $4million of taxpayers’ money and never even went to tender. It was given to a party hack contractor with no relevant ginnery design expertise. The design is a catastrophe, the site choice was the worst (sloping with foundation problems), and the building has serious construction flaws which remain unresolved, yet the contractor was paid in full.
About a year and a half ago, there was a $4million buyout of ECCI with taxpayers’ money through the Enterprise Growth Fund Limited – shades of Hardwood! In addition to the $8million at risk at that point, how much more of the taxpayers’ money has been thrown into the bottomless pit? Are we up to the $10million CARSICOT cotton scandal figures yet?
ECCI is now a fully Government controlled and operated company, which is basically insolvent and totally dependent on a financial life support system from this BLP government.
Raw cotton lint sits in a Swiss warehouse, where it has resided for the last one and a half years. Is it true that ECCI has a pending joint venture with the owner of this Swiss company who has no apparel design/garment manufacturing or textile marketing experience?
What is the justification for excluding a reputable North American company with advanced high class design and marketing capability and fine finished end products from a possible joint venture with ECCI? Is it true that this company has managed to land a significant sales contract for Sea Island Cotton end products with Sandy Lane Hotel right under the noses of ECCI using ECCI’s own cotton?
The ECCI board of directors was subject to ethnic cleansing by the Minister of griculture and his political sidekick. All the white board members/shareholders were unceremoniously kicked off the board right after the $4million Government corporate takeover with taxpayers’ money. Other white senior staff members also suffered the same fate. SHADES OF MUGABE!
This company is controlled by a misfit Management Committee. Why is a land surveyor with strong links to the land shark cartel presiding as Chairman, together with the pompous political Ministry of Agriculture bureaucrat, another from the failing BAMC and yet another from a company of takeover fame? Why are these people with no proven competence running a company with the potential to make multi-million dollars in revenue of foreign exchange earnings for Barbados?
After an extensive corporate search by Price Waterhouse for a CEO, how exactly did ECCI end up with a non-selected Cable & Wireless dropout as CEO? What is his relevant background in agribusiness, the textile industry, apparel design/manufacturing, or the Sea Island Cotton industry for that matter? Apparently none. How did this same individual end up with a remuneration of $12,000 per month, which includes a brand new SUV, health insurance, entertainment, etc. This is a novice CEO who has nothing to bring to the table, while extracting money from a company which is basically bankrupt/insolvent.
Why did the ManagementCommittee never see fit to hire a full-time bookkeeper/accountant? Why pay an outside so-called “consultant” $75 an hour for basic bookkeeping, clerical and secretarial services? This person sometimes takes home $10,000 to $12,000 a month with inflated invoices for what should have been a couple hours a day. What is the true nature of the relationship between the Chairman and this consultant which makes her “untouchable”?
Is it true that the real agenda is to ensure that ECCI fails, so as to free up more land for golf courses, villas and condos to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the land shark cartel. Does the Chairman also represent the interests of this cartel through high level involvement in their various companies?
Can the BLP deny that the extent of financial exposure with taxpayers’ money is now in the region of $10million for ECCI, including the ginnery, with no definite income in sight, and worst of all, with no competent people in position to run it?
Should a potential multi million dollar business, dealing with cotton that is SUPPOSED to be the best cotton in the world, but whose quality has been allowed to degenerate through incompetence on the part of the technocrats at the Ministry of Agriculture, be allowed to continue to flounder in the wrong hands?
We have gone from HARDWOOD TO SOFTCOTTON. The picture is basically the same. Government interference and involvement in private industry, squandermania, corruption and gross incompetence – a tragic and reoccurring picture under the BLP administration.
A new DLP government must swiftly bring a halt to the operations of ECCI, institute a forensic audit of the Company and be prepared to apply corrective surgery (not at the QEH!), to restructure and restart this vital industry with the talented people now marginalized and victimized – another trademark of the BLP.