From Hardwood To Soft Cotton – An Expose Of The Disaster That Is The Barbados Sea Island Cotton Company

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.

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17 Comments

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

17 responses to “From Hardwood To Soft Cotton – An Expose Of The Disaster That Is The Barbados Sea Island Cotton Company

  1. Seekandfind

    I am asking all readers and contributors to this site to invite as much people to read the comments here before ELECTIONS. I dont think people have looked at the issues. Most bajans vote personality and family traditions.

    I heard someone said on Thursday… “We going wid Owen… We moving with Owen ….. We going wid Owen to help him move he things out of Ilaro Court…. We MOVING with OWEN back to 1st Ave West Terrace …. or who knows…… he may own a plantation now…. talk about acres of land.”

  2. i note with alarm the unfolding scandals that are rocking the current administration and wonder when bajans will wake up and admit that is the “tiefingnest” government we have ever had.
    i can only conclude that the hurried calling of the election attempts to sidestep the potential for harm these scandals have for the future survivalof beresford leopold phillips.
    i believe that that we are on par with the one time rulers of antigua who were caught shredding documents as the countdown showed their demise.
    i have three observations to make: the politics of inclusion was a studied attempt to remove the good work that a true opposition should engage in, and the recent analysis of this failed policy by pollster wickham makes instructive reading.i believe this policy was hatched in sandylane and later appropriated by osa but its execution bungled by a leader who really is ill-fitted for the job of keeping his own troops happy.
    secondly,former members of ruling or opposition parties who brave the vagaries of switching sides know that their fortunes depend solely on the success of the party they join. as “adventurers” in the cast of raleigh,columbus etc. they know their fortunes depend on the shelf life of their patrons. history in bim has shown that they fade from the political scene. i believe that all those who jumped the opposition ship could not stomach the lean years in the political wilderness and were tempted by the money/position/possible power that they thought they might have accrued with the switch.it will be left to the political electorate to cast them asunder.thirdly the public relations campaign of both parties has seen an unprecedented use of all media , with beresford scraping the barrel in its use of children to trumpet its cause.i hope that the opposition in its quest to return to office does not stoop to this. i wonder if the current rulers have anticipated the possible fallout from this? i have not seen any response to this tactic as yet but hope it will be condemned thoroughly by sensible people.
    i believe that many political fortunes will either be made or broken in this election, and it is up to the people to ensure that they are not divided at the end. after all we are barbadians first and we all have to live here even after the madness is over.i would advise the opposition to get its house in order beacuse they have raised the hackles of the ruling party and they will stop at nothing to discredit them. in the meantime i’ll be voting on election day.

  3. Maat

    “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.” ?

    Some have come to the conclusion that this has become the sole reason behind some of the outlandish decision coming from the top at the Ministry of Agriculture.

    The wholehearted push towards greenhouse gardening. (Greenhouses suit arid countries like Israel as the greenhouse increases humidity, something that can cause major problems in humid conditions like Barbados).

    The offering of lands to farmers (land for the landless) with minimal water supply capacity and then taking farmers to court when they find it difficult to repay small loans at the Rural Development.

    Another example of strange decisions is the investment in fuel cane, which is one of the most expensive methods of converting bio mass to energy. I find it hard to believe that these decisions, as with the decision to take Sea Island Cotton development along the route that it is on, are decisions made through poor judgment. The Ministry of Ag has some of the most academically qualified personnel in the Civil Service.

    The Minister and his chief need to be replaced as soon as possible, hopefully sometime after the 15th January 2008.

    Peace

  4. Cariscot

    I have been told that this company was made very successful through the investment and expertise of a Canadian and then seized by the government under the present then AG now Chief Justice only to be run into the ground with government incompetence and stealing.

    Can anyone shed some light on this story?

    It could be a real eye opener on how foreign investment is treated in Barbados.

  5. Remaining Focused

    Maat

    “The offering of lands to farmers (land for the landless) with minimal water supply capacity and then taking farmers to court when they find it difficult to repay small loans at the Rural Development.”
    ____________

    The Non-nationals are the one who are working these lands..

    Non-nationals are the one who get the permits to operate in our markets.

    Non-nationals are the majority who continue to set up “hops” in our streets and alleys even though some years ago we made a move to keep the streets clear of vending..

    I am not against the non-nationals for their practices but what is happening in the country is a lack of ENFORCEMENT of controls, policies and laws.

    WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR LITTLE BARBADOS? AH LOVE MA BAJANS….PLEASE WAKE UP MY FELLOW BAJANS …. TAKE BACK YOUR LAND … SEND A STRONG MESSAGE ON 15 JANUARY 2008.

  6. Adrian Loveridge

    I’m puzzled.

    Does ECCI have a website?

    http://www.caribbeancotton.com did have one which you cannot access any more.

  7. Remaining Focused

    Another observation………

    A big implant – Chinese set to take over Barbados…

    Chinese operating a local tour company here Barbados……… and we taxi operators paying nuff money for permits

    Chinese setting up more Chineses Restaurants…. and we people who want to setup a food stall to sell we cou-cou and fish have to go through so much red tape for funding and acquire all types of license to do operate

    Chinese building structures here….. and we Bajan have to show we qualifications nad experience before we can get a lil pick

    Chinese were working a large potion of the land for FREE near the Warrens complex while using we water for FREE grow chinese cabbage, etc. to sell back to the supermarkets and we people for CASH…. and remember we friend in St. Lucy wid de tomatoes…..he had to put up CASH to invest in he product and his product was sold for FREE.

    Chinese buying large potion of Property here quicker than we bajan can do so….. because we depend on Dept call NHC to put we on a waiting list….. remember what its called a “waiting list” ….. its a way to keep us hoping and praying that we would get a cheap spot while the price continues to increase out of financial threshold making it easier for the people with the CASH and financial resources to come BUY BARBADOS. BAJANS if you can pool your resources with you family and start buying too. The INDIANS are doing it why can’t we. WAKE UP BAJANS WAKE UP….NHC IS A FAILURE.

    CHINESE in the retail Sector…. Employing non-nationals…..Selling alot of cheap and low quality products……. of which the CHEMICAL make up have been questioned by large countries…. these products will end up in our landfill….REMEMBER OF LIMITED WATER RESOURCE AND AGRICULTURE LANDS……….yet we BAJANS pay nuff TAXES if we want to bring in a shirt to sell to earn income to FEED we families and seek a better life. Sometimes we are force to go out of the business we dreamt up and invest in to go back working for the WHITE MAN…….

    I am here crying to see what ma lil Ba’bados have come to…….its like ah lost a love one….

    VOTE!!!!

  8. Richard

    You all had me until the shades of mugabe thing. there goes some of my respect for this site. Pea Brains buying into the western media hype and propaganda.

    Let me guess, you all were “educated” at UWI ?

    short rant will explain more if you all need me too… making pancakes..

  9. Adrian Loveridge

    Found website eventually under http://www.bajanweb.com

    Not impressed.

    Exclusive Cottons of the Caribbean Inc,

    was registered with the CAIPO on 2004-02-04
    registered number 23311

    Perhaps somone could visit the CAIPO office, pay the $5 search fee and lets see their current ownership, shareholders and other interested parties.
    Is this another 90% owned Government company?

    Of course in a developed world, we could do all this online.

  10. Partial

    Is this the same Chief Agricultural officer who went all the way to China with a delegation and all they came back with, as he went on TV to state, was a brilliant idea to make leather goods out of dolphin skins!! Wuh loss, muh belly!

  11. CoolMan

    Check bbc website, South Africa Police Chief and HEAD of Interpol has been charged with corruption!

    Who guards the guardians? This thing ‘alleged’ corruption is worldwide.

  12. reality check

    “Chinese set to take over Barbados”

    Its against most industrialized countries laws to bribe an official in their own country and other countries.

    The Chinese understand that it is not so in third world countries.

    Since corruption is rife in China they understand perfectly what needs to be done to overcome rules that little people have to follow but that they now don’t. The grease has been paid.

  13. Good Moring bfp can you show us the votes counted in st Andrew box by box,i was looking for it in the paper but did not see any.

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  16. Superdocious

    Government has contradicted its manifesto by not introducing ITAL even after two years, by increasing cost of living by fuel increases, road tax and land tax increases, put even more money into the highway project, is now putting money behind a failing entity i.e. Clico, that now has to be addressed according to the IMF, who know more than us. The voters, even with the recent poll, are nervous and losing confidence.

    After the ill-conceived poll, which has inadvertently but firmly put the next election in the minds of voters, Mia Mottley and Owen Arthur are getting into high gear to push the Opposition as an viable alternative.

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