UPDATED August 24, 2010 – Was “No criminal investigation against Parris & Duprey” the price Barbados paid for David Thompson’s “free” business jet rides?
Knowing what we now know about the CL Financial and CLICO collapse, bailout and cover-up by the current Barbados government, we look back to David Thompson’s use of the CL Financial – Clico executive jet. When we wrote this article in February of 2008, we wondered what price Barbados citizens would pay for the “free” jet…
“Corporations and individuals do not loan biz jets to governments or government members out of the goodness of their hearts. When the details of such arrangements are kept secret from the citizens, there is opportunity for abuse and corruption.”
In light of what we now know about CLICO, the bailout, the PM’s refusal to place CLICO under judicial control, no criminal investigation against Parris or Duprey, Parris appointed to head the CBC and everything else – perhaps those things are part of the price that Bajans are paying for Thompson’s biz jet rides.
Ain’t nothin’ be free, my friends. Nothing.
Original Article as published February 21, 2008…
Photo: T&T PM Patrick Manning (back to camera) and Finance Minister Mariano Browne greet Prime Minister Thompson (courtesy of T&T Express)
The government of Trinidad & Tobago gave Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson a magnificent reception yesterday at Piarco International Airport – on such a scale that the local media reported that equivalent honours have not been given to any foreign leader since Nelson Mandela visited in 2004.
That is quite an impressive honour for our PM and Barbados. The reception cannot be seen in anything but a positive light.
But that is not the subject of our article today. Many readers have written emails to us and posted comments asking questions about the Prime Minister’s use of a private corporate jet for his recent visits to New York and Trinidad & Tobago.
Was The Corporate Jet Properly Paid For By Barbados… Or On Loan For A Future Favour To Leroy Parris Or Others?
Our sole concern is the origin of the jet: is it chartered from a service, owned by the Prime Minister personally, owned by a company that the Prime Minister has shares in or loaned from an individual or corporation? And who is paying for the crew, fuel and other expenses?
Here is the way we see this issue…
1/ Chartering a corporate jet can often make financial sense when groups of people have tight schedules and wish to use their traveling time for work – or wish to limit travel delays and so gain more working time. Finances aside, corporate jets and other private aircraft are often the only efficient method of traveling to cities and regions not serviced by airlines.
2/ For important state visits and especially initial state visits after the change in government, optics are important. A private jet was appropriate in this circumstance.
We can hardly have the Cabinet of Trinidad & Tobago lining up in the LIAT reception area waiting for our Government Ministers to claim their checked baggage. (As IF any of our government Ministers would trust LIAT with their overnight bag anyway!)
3/ The use of a corporate jet has a quantifiable cost even if the government pays for the fuel and crew. Jets are expensive even when sitting on the ground, but for every hour they fly there are additional depreciation, maintenance and insurance costs due to increased flight hours and landing cycles.
Corporate jets are convenient and provide status, but they are extremely expensive and that cost has to be paid. The only question is who is going to pay.
4/ There must be rules, standards and transparency about the use of corporate jets by members of our government. There must be rules, standards and transparency about government members receiving gifts and benefits from individuals and businesses.
5/ Corporations and individuals do not loan biz jets to governments or government members out of the goodness of their hearts. When the details of such arrangements are kept secret from the citizens, there is opportunity for abuse and corruption.
If David Thompson and the DLP are to retain the image of being ethical, transparent and accountable that they cultivated and promised during the election, they must now reveal to the citizens of Barbados…
1/ The owner of the corporate jet(s) used for the New York and Trinidad & Tobago trips.
2/ The overall costs of the trips no matter who is paying for them. Such costs are to include not only the fixed costs but also the flight hours costs including crewing, fuel, insurance, depreciation and maintenance.
3/ The details on who paid which costs.
Mr. Prime Minister, you said that you and your government were going to be transparent and accountable.
We are waiting for the details about your recent use of corporate aircraft.
“Trust us” is not good enough.
Updated: Who Is Mr. Duprey?
A BFP reader posted the following…
“THOMPSON – PARRIS et al ; ON PRIVATE JET TO BARBADOS.
After arriving at JFK at 2:00 AM on Monday morning in NYC, I was astonished to see our new PM and comrade Leroy Parris boarding a private jet to Barbados.
I have been told it is owned by a Mr Duprey.
WHO THE HELL IS THIS Mr Duprey ?”