Daily Archives: February 1, 2008

VECO Executives To Name More Names: Corrupt Barbados Prison Builders Have Sentencing Postponed

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Will Prime Minister Thompson Ignore This Opportunity To Discover The Truth About Our New Prison?

United States Federal Prosecutors want to postpone the sentencing of two convicted VECO senior executives so they can continue assisting the FBI with their investigations into widespread bribery of politicians by VECO Corporation – the company that built the way-over-budget new Barbados jail and our oil terminal.

“Both former CEO Bill Allen and Rick Smith, a vice president, continue to cooperate with investigators.” (Alaska TV Station KTUU article here)

“VECO Corporation Bribed Politicians To Obtain Government Contracts – As A Standard Business Practice”

As Barbados Free Press has detailed in numerous past articles, the corrupt multi-billion dollar VECO Corporation regularly used bribery of politicians as a standard business practice in the United States and around the world.

A major FBI investigation collected thousands of hours of tape-recorded conversations, and hundreds of thousands of documents and business records concerning VECO’s activities – and it would be foolish to think that the word “Barbados” does not appear in those records or voice recordings.

Although the new Barbados jail and oil terminal were not the largest projects that VECO had going, the “sun and fun” location of Barbados made those projects very desirable. It was revealed publicly in one tape recorded conversation that a US politician even asked for a position at the Barbados jail project as part of his expected bribe!

Prime Minister Thompson Must Ask For The FBI Evidence And Launch An Independent Investigation Into VECO’s Dealings With Barbados

Mr. Prime Minister, when it comes to VECO Corporation’s deals with the previous Barbados government, there is too much smoke for there to be no fire.

If your government is to retain its credibility about promises to clean things up, you cannot ignore VECO or allow a cursory investigation.

Bring in some independent auditors, some independent and respected investigators – even request assistance from the FBI, Scotland Yard or the Canadian Mounties Police. Let these investigative professionals do their work and refuse to become involved in political control of the investigation.

LET THE PIECES FALL WHERE THEY MAY.

There may be DLP business friends involved in the VECO corruption as well as members and friends of the previous BLP government. No matter. Your government must be, and must be seen to be, serious about discovering the truth.

Mr. Prime Minister, no matter what you accomplish in the next four or five years – If you do not implement a serious investigation of VECO’s dealings with Barbados, it will be your government that is criticised for inaction when the whole truth becomes known.

And with the US laws about freedom of information, and VECO being a publicly-traded company – all those transcripts and business records about VECO and Barbados will eventually surface in public.

The only question is whether or not the Prime Minister and the DLP Government show strength and leadership in fighting corruption… or if it was all talk for the election.

Good luck, Sir. Our family prays for you and all our members of Parliament every day.

Selected BFP Articles About VECO

January 10, 2008 – How Owen Arthur and his Government Ministers Set Up The ABC-Flyover Project To Fill Their Secret Offshore Bank Accounts

August 25, 2007 – Barbados Jail Builder VECO Added As Defendant In Lawsuit Against Prime Minister Arthur and Chief Justice Simmons

June 19, 2007 – Barbados Attorney General Tells Some New And Old Whoppers About VECO Jail Project

May 30, 2007 – Who Did Barbados Prison Consulting?… VECO Paid Alaska Bribes Through “Consulting” Contracts With Politicians’ Relatives!!!!!

May 30, 2007 – FBI’s VECO Corruption Investigation Includes “Hundreds Of Hours Of Recordings, Thousands Of Documents” – How Many Mention Barbados?

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

The Role Of The Media In Exposing Corruption

Corruption Free Anguilla Looks At The Obvious

“I was very interested to read a recent speech by Victor Hart. He is the Chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute. He was addressing the 27th General Conference of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association. The meeting was held in Nassau from 23-26 January. The theme of the conference was Innovative Ways of Exposing Corruption – The Media and the People. Anyone wishing to read a copy of his speech, just email me.

He urged journalists to bring to their job more professionalism by proper checking of sources to ensure factual, legal and ethical content in their reports.

He asked them to show more balance in their reporting by eliminating all personal, political and other bias and challenged them to expand their areas of interest and to do more research.

He encouraged them to practise more investigative journalism.

Turning to the owners and managers of Media Houses, he urged them to give more support to their journalists by providing adequate resources and a work environment free from interference.

He asked them to reject the indolence of those reporters and editors who accept and publish ‘set pieces’ of news and press releases without searching to find the real stories behind the headlines.”

… read the entire article at Don Mitchell’s Corruption-Free Anguilla (link here)

When Was The Last Time That The Barbados Media Investigated and Exposed Corruption – And Named Names?

Help us out here folks. We’re trying think about the last time that we saw some original investigative reporting in the Barbados news media that actually broke a story of corruption on the island – and named names.

You know… genuine original investigative reporting with hidden cameras, witness interviews, paper trails and an attempt to confront the offender with all the evidence and get an explanation?

There MUST have been at least ONE TIME in the last 14 years, right?

Can anyone help us out? How about it all you guys and gals at the Nation News, CBC, Barbados Advocate, VOB… ?

Give us JUST ONE INCIDENT OF ORIGINAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING!

This shouldn’t be difficult at all… right?

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

Barbados Police Regularly Bust Tourists For Cocaine… But What About The Dealers?

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Brit TV Star Jeremy Edwards Arrested For Cocaine In Barbados

“Tourists are easy, but it takes real work to take down a dealer.”

… BFP’s Royal Barbados Police Force nameless friend.

So Many Reasons Why Police Ignore Serious Drug Dealers…

We were talking with our RBPF friend a few weeks ago about the growing violence on the island and like many folks, we expressed the opinion that much of it is associated with drugs and drug dealers. While our friend agreed with us he cautioned that we must not focus solely on drugs as a root cause of violence while forgetting the wider societal changes that are also impacting the general level of violence.

Drugs and drug dealers make for violence, said our friend, but they can’t be blamed for all the violence, nor for some of the conditions that cause our police force to be less effective than it could be.

Our friend’s opinion and the depth of his subsequent thoughts again made us realise that the vast majority of our police officers are decent, hard working people who have great insight into some of the ragged edges of our society. But they are also human – and if they can get away with doing less and reducing their personal workload and level of exposure to dangerous situations, many police officers will choose the easier route.

As our friend puts it, “If we called, we go. If we not called, why look for trouble?”

Lack Of Proper Leadership, Supervision And Accountability

Supervision is not the same as Leadership. Supervision is not the same as accountability.

We asked our friend straight out, “Why aren’t more big drug dealers arrested?” and his answer was surprising. I guess we expected some story about corruption, lack of resources or some such thing, but our friend simply said “Because it is easier and less dangerous to arrest tourists and little fish.”

He explained that tourists are easy to arrest because they are less wary of police and are usually relaxed and less aware of what is going on around them. They aren’t able to recognise out-of-uniform police officers, and are unlikely to be armed or to resist arrest. “They don’t know where to run” says our friend.

But tourists seldom know the person who they bought the drugs from so arresting a tourist is a “dead end”. There is little or no opportunity for the police to go “up the chain” as our friend called it.

What Is The Answer To A More Effective & Enthusiastic Police Force?

A lack of real leadership and accountability are big pieces of the problem, but so is a lack of societal status for police officers of which low salaries are a big indicator.

The attitude is, “They pretend to pay us, an we pretend to work.”

Strong words from a police officer who loves his job and on better days shows energy defending his organisation and his comrades.

TV Star Jeremy Edwards Says “Guilty” To Cocaine Possession

Should He Have Been Allowed To Remain On Barbados To Finish His Vacation…?

From The Sun Newspaper…

Holby’s Jeremy Busted For Coke

TV hunk Jeremy Edwards has been arrested after being caught with cocaine in an area notorious for dealers and hookers.

The former Holby City actor – once engaged to squeaky-clean singer Rachel Stevens, 29 – was held on holiday in Barbados on Saturday.

He spent the weekend in a dingy prison cell and was hauled before a judge in capital Bridgetown on Monday.

Jeremy, 36, was fined £250 and immediately released. He was warned he will go to jail if he is caught with drugs again.

The actor plans to go ahead with a celebration bash in the UK this weekend to mark his engagement to Lydia Metz, 23.

Pals have been invited to a lavish get-together in London’s West End.

Jeremy, who presents Cooking the Books on Five, was on holiday with his older brother Tim when he was arrested. He was spotted yesterday relaxing at his hotel swimming pool.

A police spokesman said : “Edwards was arrested after acting suspiciously on the street and was found with an amount of cocaine, but officers believed it was for personal use.

“He has been allowed to continue his holiday.”

… from The Sun article Holby’s Jeremy Busted For Coke

Should Drug Using Tourists Be Kicked Off The Island After Jail?

What message does it send to the world and our own people when convicted drug users are allowed to remain on Barbados and to return to the island for other vacations?

Our RBPF friend says that a double standard applies to tourists with the courts imposing more lenient sentences than upon citizens. As he put it, “Try getting back into America or the UK after being convicted for cocaine in those countries.”

Maybe our friend has a point. What do you think folks?

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Celebrities, Crime & Law, Traveling and Tourism