UPDATED: Barbados PM David Thompson’s “Private Jet” – Chartered, Owned or Loaned?

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…

trinidad-barbados-relations-jet.jpg

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.

barbados_gulfstream_jet.jpg

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 ?”

85 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Freedom Of Information, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

85 responses to “UPDATED: Barbados PM David Thompson’s “Private Jet” – Chartered, Owned or Loaned?

  1. (6 for a 9)

    #
    Jerome Hinds
    February 21, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    To BFP personnel……now that the news have broken where are the congratulatory remarks ?

    Denis St. Elmo Kellman has been elevated to the ESTEEMED position of Ambassador to CARICOM !

    Kudos to Ambassador Kellman and His Most Honourable , PM , David John Howard Thompson for demonstrating ONCE again such……VISIONARY LEADERSHIP !

  2. Anonymous

    The Prime Minister went to New York for a DLP cocktail sip and was surrounded by BLP loyalists.

    The Consul Jessica Odle who made a speech about not working for the Bees but for Barbados. This is a woman who use the Consulate like a BLP constituency office like no other Consul has ever done before and they used to do it too. The UN Ambassador Christopher Hackett who only cares about stealing money and being in the newspaper and who give his total loyalty to Owen and the Bees but has suddenly become a Dee to keep his job.

    Linda Watson-Lorde the Community Affairs Officer who was given the job by Billie Miller even though she is not qualified and does not have a degree. She once said that noone should be working at the Consulate if they were not from the BLP, she went down for the big party conference and then went down again to campaign for Bostic and the Bees. She has suddenly become a DLP all of a sudden because she thinks she will lose her pick.

    How do people in the DLP who work so hard to get the party back in power feel seeing big time Bees who steal money and never did any work still keeping their jobs?

  3. Time will Tell

    Even though I am currently (unfairly) banned from BFP postings, I have taken the time to commend you on your unbiased approached to demanding accountability from this administration as was the case with the former.

    “Was The Corporate Jet Properly Paid For By Barbados… ”

    Having the ability to see our national interest through transparent eyes void of predilection, is indeed a watershed moment in the craftsmanship of our fate.

    Well done BFP

    Time will Tell…..

  4. Bimbro

    You’ve most impressively, ‘hit the nail on the head’ here again, BFP. Openness and transparency need to be the order of the day in Bim, since our recent experiences, and as you suggested, no ‘lent by a mate’ or any such other tripe, will suffice. I would n’t go overboard with the minutia of the costs – I don’t think we need to know the price of the used matches – but the other questions deserve an answer, i.e. who provided it, who paid for its use and how much, etc!!

    Well done again, BFP. Show these people the very, high standards which we now expect of Barbadian politics and politicians.

  5. Anonymous

    well
    i hope this really ushers in a new era of accountablity

  6. Jerome Hinds

    BFP,

    Lawrence Duprey…..the CL Financial mogul in Trinidad.

    Well I invited you to do some research on this matter.

    I am please to note so far that your investigations have led to no IMPROPRIETY on the part of PM David Thompson nor his government.

    It is noteworthy to recognise that PM Thompson in his private capacity was the attorney for CLICO (Barbados ) of which CL Financial is the parent company.

    *****************

    BFP says,

    Hello Jerome,

    There is a big difference between Thompson “was” and Thompson “is” the attorney for CLICO. It is our opinion FOR NOW that there is no impropriety if 1/ the Government of Barbados paid a reasonable rate for the use of the jet and 2/ there is complete transparency and accountability to the public regarding this use.

    We have a problem with our third concern…

    3/ There should be no compulsion or expectation or APPEARANCE that the Prime Minister is likely to give special treatment in exchange for the use of the bizjet.

    Thompson should be renting a business jet from a totally independent service and not some corporation that has extensive dealings with our government!

  7. Donald Duck, Esq

    Remember Thompson lambasted Arthur for taking money from the same CLICO and said that it was a conflict of interest to be the minister responsible for licensing financial insitutions and at the same time receiving favours. If the jet was paid for by CLICO (whose licence to operate as an insurance company must be issued by the Minister of Finance) is this not the same thing.

    It is now for a member of the BLP to lay a parlientary question on the cost to the Government of the use of the jet for the New York trip and Trinidad trips

    *****************

    BFP says,

    DDE has a valid point. In future, the government of Barbados must rent bizjets from a totally independent service and not a corporation that has an interest in courting favours from the government.

  8. Donald Duck, Esq

    As to Kellman’s position of Caricom ambassador, how can you have a MP being an ambassador. Did John Williams not have to resign from the Senate when he was made Caricom ambassador

  9. reality check

    this is not really suprising as Clico was a Thompson supporter when he was in the wilderness by himself for many years. A little celebration is in order but good question BFP.

    What will really be interesting is any back room or special deals without full transparency and accountability with Clico.

    Thompson has less than 60 days to bring in his rules on full disclosure of assets and legislation with respect to transparency, accoutability, whistle blowing protection etc.

    The real test is coming.

  10. Jerome Hinds

    BFP,

    That’s it !

    Your charge & investigation must go beyond mere appearances.

    You have to demonstrate to your readership on what grounds did PM Thompson have the use of the private jet .

    To Donald Duck Esq. Ambassador Kellman elevation is not disimiliar to the position previously held by Bree St. John.

    Bree remained in the House of Assembly !

    ***************

    BFP says,

    Jerome, maybe we’re slow today but we cannot clearly decipher what you mean by your comment…

    “That’s it !

    Your charge & investigation must go beyond mere appearances.

    You have to demonstrate to your readership on what grounds did PM Thompson have the use of the private jet .”

    Transparency is not about citizens having to amass evidence or grounds before the government is required to be open and accountable. Transparency requires that all that the government does is done in public and that records are available for examination by citizens unless there are good and demonstrable reasons for the government to keep information secret.

  11. Donald Duck, Esq

    Reality Check you should tkae note of the following comments made by Prime Minister Thompson in the Sunday Advocate of February 3, 2007 on the subject of his party’s 100 day programme.

    He said some of the initiatives merely “require initiation, not completion” He went on to add “ I think people ,misunderstand these things, so they think that if you say that you are going to, for example lay integrity legislation that it means you will pass it in a 100 days. It doesn’t mean that because it is not only the Members of Parliament who have a relevant role to play in that, it is the public, it’s the media, and I can’t circumscribe your 100 days, I can only circumscribe mine”

    He further added “And in relation to other areas of implementation, what we are aiming at, subject to the availability of resources, is the initiation of those items that fall under the 100 day programme so that we can therefore keep the faith from there”

    May I remind readers of the various DLP promises taken from their manifesto with relevant reference page numbers categorized between those the DLP promised immediate action and those which they promised to deal with within 100 days ( they did not say from when the 100 days commenced)

    IMMEDIATE ACTTION

    Labour rights legislation ( page 36)

    A new DLP government will move to immediately enact a comprehensive national Labour Rights legislative compendium which will include the following:

     A Full Employment Rights Act
     An Alternative Disputes Settlement and Arbitration Committee
     A Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act
     National minimum wages legislation
     Legislation fully recognizing Trade Unions.

    Approval of capital account transactions (page 25)

    Immediately review the current Central Bank procedures for approving capital account transactions with a view to simplifying and speeding up the approval (or denial) process for restricted transactions.

    Port charges (page 33)

    The DLP pledges to immediately re-examine the Port charges with a view to significantly reducing these to manufacturers as they consider them to be a burdensome cost. They say that tonnage dues are charged twice; – on raw materials when imported and again on finished products when being exported.

    Integrity legislation (page 48)

    Immediately introduce integrity legislation requiring

     a declaration of assets by public officials,
     a Code of Conduct for Ministers,
     a new Freedom of Information law,
     amendments to the Defamation laws and
     new constitutional provisions to rationalize the powers of the Prime Minister.

    Health issues (page 11)

    A new DLP Government will immediately embark on a health promotion campaign to sensitize the public to the dangers of unhealthy lifestyles

    ISSUES TO BE DEALT WITH IN FIRST 100 DAYS

    Don’t forget the DLP promises to do the following in the first 100 days

     Introduce the Agriculture Protection Act that will require a 2/3 majority of both houses of parliament for a change of use of land from agriculture.

     Remove VAT from building materials on houses valued up to $400,000.
     convene a National Consultation on Education

  12. Jerome Hinds

    BFP,

    ANOTHER QUESTION!

    Did Rhianna touch down at GAIA & alighted from the same private jet ?

  13. Donald Duck, Esq

    Jerome

    Bree was not Caricom ambassador

  14. Anonymous

    Did Kyffin lend his SuzukiCaribe GulfStream?

  15. ACAV8R

    Anonymous asked, “Did Kyffin lend his SuzukiCaribe GulfStream?”

    Anon, FYI, Sir Kyffin’s corporate jet is not a Gulfstream, but a Canadair Challenger 604.

  16. m316

    So whats Mariano Brown smiling at? The same man who gave Owen the 75K and BLP 700+K. He should be hiding his face in shame. I wonder what kinda favours were done to repay him for his largesse. Although most of Barbados allready owned by the trinis. Did anyone consider the amount of real estate that BS&T and their other companies(like SP Musson) own. Half of bridgetown and half of warrens will be in Trini hands, combine that with the West and South coast owned by British (mostly)and other foreign nationals. What is left for us?

  17. Anon

    Jerome

    Rhianna came on BA.

    Interesting discussion re the private jet, I was wondering about the private jet that the PM is jetting around in. Thought that the gov’t had acquired one. We really need to be kept informed about what governemnt is doing and why they are doing it, the DLP certainly should learn for the past administration. The PM left the island over the weekend for NY and we only read that he was there no statement from GIS regarding an acting PM. Come on please get your PR in order.

  18. Private Pirates

    this thread going to be very interesting… (will comment late on)

  19. reality check

    I can understand that the appearances of these favours are not good in a democracy.

    In the US and Canada, these jets can be chartered for $5,000 or so an hour and it would be good policy for the government to be seen ( for the government and the Corporation ) to be paying for the convenience of these flights even on a discounted basis.

    If the flight was relatively full I am not sure that Liat would then actually be any cheaper?

    ************

    BFP says,

    Hi RC,

    Yup… corporate jets are sometimes very cost effective – as well as just plain fitting for the initial visit of our Prime Minister to such a close nation. We have no problem with our senior representatives using bizjets or traveling first class for long haul airline flights.

    We do have a problem with a corporation providing a fifty-thousand dollar favour. We should pay our own way so our government can remain independent of such pressures. Nothin be free!

  20. WV

    Eff it was Owen Arthur on a private jet yall would LAMBASTE him. Now that DJ on one, it is “fitting”. He could have gone on Bwee. I travelled on Air Jamaica with the former PM Patterson of Jamaica and he was in first class and disembarked first. He lost no dignity through doing this. Shame on Thompson. He’s so power hungry and wanted to be PM for so long, he’s all into the pomp and pageantry at our expense!

    [since i did not want to be ‘anonymous’]

  21. Thistle

    Oh my! Mia busy enough on this blog and BU tonight! She must be smoke a spliff or two.

  22. reality check

    BFP—

    its 40 or so minutes travelling time to Trinidad
    or roughly an hour and a half back. Thats a maximum of about $10,000 US according to my math and a lot less than $50,000 US.

    Even discounted to $6,000,oo US the Barbados government should be seen to pay for the trip so as to meet all appearances and the owner of the corporate jet should be seen to billing for the jet for its shareholders.

    These are small details but important transparent ones especially if the private plane or any others are used in the future.

    *************

    BFP says,

    We were including the New York City trip as well… both ways don’t forget!

  23. gettin it off my chest....

    The PM shows up in a private jet owned by a foreign corporation, who used to be his major client when in private practice. A foreign corporation that is known to have donated major funding to his political campaign. A foreign corporation who’s local chairman the PM has appointed to head one of the most politically sensitive statutory boards, just the one that is the official government media house.

    Gee seems totally transparent to me….

    Barbados is now a subsidiary of CLICO. Bought and Paid For.

  24. gettin it off my chest....

    And by the way the same Lawrence Duprey was the source of funds that Basdeo Panday is being prosecuted for…..

    We don’t need to go to Alaska for VECO we got CSME!!!!

  25. Leviticus

    BFP,

    Are you aware that there is a private jet service in Barbados from which you can lease corporate jets including prvately owned ones that are put in a rental pool when not in use? My investigations – smple questions – tell me that the Trinidad PM offered to send a jet for Mr. Thompson and team so that they would arrive in time for the formalities but they leased a Barbadian jet from the Jet Centre for the same cost as the air fares on LIAT. No favours asked none given.

    Secondly, if Mr. Thompson is travelling in a private capacity to a private DLP function and not a government’s expense, what does that have to do with any of us? Is he entitled to travel on private business and/or on Simpson’s jet to a DLP function? Or is that a crime?

    I am just asking BFP.

    ***************

    BFP replies,

    First of all, it is very much the business of all citizens to know who is footing the bills for our Prime Minister and other ELECTED MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT. It is VERY MUCH our business to know who gives what gifts or benefits to our elected members.

    If you care to read the article you will see that we have no problem with the PM using executive jets when appropriate… but we think that Barbados should be footing the bill so our elected members can remain independent… without feeling obliged to give concessions to any person or corporation because they had the use of a jet.

    And YES… in most countries with effective integrity legislation it IS a crime for the Prime Minister to accept a gift or benefit (including air travel) without reporting it so the public and watchdogs can be assured that there is no conflict of interest.

    You really don’t get this integrity stuff, do you?

  26. Leviticus

    You mean only commercial airlines like American et al must make a living? What is the difference between a private jet and a commercial airline? As long as the cost is the same, wouldn’t you prefer a private jet?

    ************

    BFP says,

    Read the article before you shoot your mouth off please.

  27. Bimbro

    3/ There should be no compulsion or expectation or APPEARANCE that the Prime Minister is likely to give special treatment in exchange for the use of the bizjet.

    Thompson should be renting a business jet from a totally independent service and not some corporation that has extensive dealings with our government!

    ********************************

    Transparency is not about citizens having to amass evidence or grounds before the government is required to be open and accountable. Transparency requires that all that the government does is done in public and that records are available for examination by citizens unless there are good and demonstrable reasons for the government to keep information secret.

    *******************************
    Leviticus
    February 22, 2008 at 4:31 am
    You mean only commercial airlines like American et al must make a living? What is the difference between a private jet and a commercial airline? As long as the cost is the same, wouldn’t you prefer a private jet?

    ************

    BFP says,

    Read the article before you shoot your mouth off please.

    ****************************

    Some of the stringencies which BFP are having to reiterate here are really, elementary and some contributors should be ashamed of not appreciating!!

    Anyhow, you keep ‘knocing their heads together’ BFP. Everything which you’ve said, above, is vital for the proper and transparent functioning of a reputable democracy in the 21st century!!

  28. crossroads

    Mr Duprey is one of the top brass at Clico Insurance

  29. Bajanboy

    The real issue here is the fact that government feels that they do not have to explain anything to the people of Barbados. If they were forthcoming about the arrangements for the use of the jet, then this might not an issue at all. Then again, it might.

  30. yardfoul

    look i understand the concern about the jet and so an the implications of a favour like this. however let me say that for as long as i can remember we the public of Barbados know the connections of allan fiels and cow to the barbados labour party. we all know that they have enjoyed the rule of the blp. what i find interesting is leroy parris is black, has maybe 1/3 or less the assets of c.o. williams or fields and is raked over the coals for doing the same thing that they did……..and to help illustrate my point…how come the unions dont march infront sandy lane arent they involved in the dispute? i realise we always have different rules for different colour plays..it disgusts me…like we comfortable with certain ppl in certains roles..

    ***************

    BFP Says,

    Who said anything about colour? We have a new and supposedly transparent government who say they care about integrity… quite unlike the last bunch.

    IF Prime Minister Thompson intends to be straight and honest in his stewardship of this country, it is imperative that he look and act the part too. Taking favours from corporations violates every principle of independence and integrity.

    The DLP and PM Thompson have about three more days to be open about this or the damage will be done.

    Full Stop.

  31. anonlegal

    Duprey is the top man at CL financial. The parent company of the Clico group.

    He is pretty much responsible for many corporate take overs in trinidad and the rest of the region. I have heard that he is a savvy businessman (evident by how fast Clico has grown).

  32. Donald Duck, Esq

    It appears that wherever our PM goes, Leroy Parris is there. Check out the local press today and note the picture of Parris standing behind Thompson at the cultural presentation for Rihanna at the airport. Is there more to this relationship than what meets the eye?

  33. Diaspora-ite

    This discussion is all about optics and ethics. We are living in the year of our Lord 2008. How many heads of state do you know who travel by commercial airlines when on government business? Bush has a Boeing 747-400, Brown has a specially chartered BA 777 at his disposal as well as the RAF Queen’s Flight aircraft.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with Prime Minister Thompson travelling by executive jet, IF THE GOVERNMENT PAYS THE GOING CHARTER RATE FOR THE TRIP. Where things go off the rails is IF a businessman like Leroy Parris of CLICO provides an aircraft for the Prime Minister’s use. This is where the optics comes in. The Good Book admonishes us to “avoid the very appearance of evil.” It is wrong for the Government of Barbados to appear to be accepting favours from a corporate entity. This is why most countries maintain executive jets for use by their heads-of-state. Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, uses a CAF Airbus 310 on official business or a Challenger CL604 for smaller, shorter trips. The Canadian Armed forces then bills the Government of Canada for the use of their aircraft, at the going corporate charter rate.

    One way or another, the taxpayer pays. So give the Prime Minister a break on using executive jets but come down hard on him if the charges for such usage are not paid up front by the Government of Barbados, and he appears beholden to the Leroy Parrises and Lawrence Dupreys of the world.

    Another possibility is for Prime Minister Thompson to use the aircraft of the RSS [Regional Security Service], aircraft for which the gov’t of Barbados has already paid. But that aircraft is suitable only to short, inter-island hops.

  34. Diaspora-ite

    Just as an aside, I happen to know that our former Prime Minister, the Rt. Excellent Errol W. Barrow always flew commercial, and often was booked in Economy Class [when travelling ALONE]. I remember once travelling from Montreal to Barbados and seeing PM Barrow sitting alone in the departure lounge, no entourage, no hangers-on. Just this great, humble man who happened to be the Prime Minister of Barbados, holding an Air Canada Economy Class boarding pass in his hand.

    In fairness, those were the days prior to the widespread use of executive jets.

  35. Roger Rabbitt

    Diaspora-ite
    I am total agreement with you. Once I was returning from Miami and was quite surprised to see Mr. Barrow in the line awaiting to be checked by the customs officer.

    My first surprise was to see him seated in the economy class section of the plane. I was completely bowled over when he was waiting to be checked. My respect for him went even higher at that time.

    I later related what I saw to some of my friends some of whom thought I was lying until a woman who came to the office and confirmed that her husband (who was a customs officer at the time) informed us that that was Mr. Barrow’s way of traveling if he was not on business.
    I cannot see our present leaders doing things like that.

  36. rumboy

    The key words there are ‘ if he was not on business ‘. Don’t believe that our PM would take private trip on personal business / holiday.

  37. BFP

    Even if “not on business” there is still the issue of accepting a gift or benefit while holding the office of Prime Minister.

    We demand that our elected representatives remain untainted in appearance as well as actions.

  38. pocomanjam2

    1. Note that COWilliams et al did not forcefully acquire assets in this country. Neither did BS&T et al. It was us Barbadians who sold them as well as every foreign land owner the properties. So why do we lament this?

    2. DT as CEO of the country has to make the best economic decisons (in collaboration with his cabinet) to ensure future development in the country. So what if he used the private jet of CLICO? Does this make him less of a leader? If Leroy Parris lent him his car for one day, would it cause the same amount of controversy?

    3. I find that Barbadians are way too negative and extremely spoilt.

    **************

    BFP Says,

    Another old tymer who just doesn’t get the meaning and intent of integrity while in public office.

  39. Time will Tell

    pocomanjam2
    February 22, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    I find that Barbadians are way too negative and extremely spoilt.
    *********************************************
    BFP Says,

    Another old tymer who just doesn’t get the meaning and intent of integrity while in public office.

    **********************************************
    Time will Tell says; pocomanjam2 you must be suffering from “excessive smoke inhalation” to argue that “if true”, the use of a corporate jet owned by CLICO is a decision that will “ensure future development in the country” .

    Which rock did you crawl from under?

    I will be the FIRST to admit that an administration that ran on its ethical and moral attributes must be cognoscente of the very appearance of improprieties.

    Leroy Parris is and has always been a corporate whore.
    The strategic acquisition of many local companies by CLICO HOLDINGS including Rayside Construction, Sam Lord’s Castle are indeed potentially dangerous grounds for corruption. Barbados’s purse strings are influenced by this giant.

    Ask Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s new Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Mariano Browne.
    After all, Cyril Duprey and his nephew Lawrence Duprey didn’t become the powerhouses they are by playing it safe. They are known and notorious gamblers. (ask Neval Greenidge)

    NO ONE is better that them, they knows how to “Win friends and influence people” in Financing, Insurance, Investments, Real Estate and Government pension funds.

    Our new Prime Minister sic, must be very transparent and not appear to be gullible. Otherwise, we will be back in office in less that 5 years.

    On second though, keep up the good work David!

    Time will Tell

    ****************

    BFP says,

    Nice to see Time will Tell being so concerned about transparency, accountability and integrity!!!! Great to have you on board.

    But… why were you so silent for the last 14 years? 😉

  40. Time will Tell

    BFP says,

    Nice to see Time will Tell being so concerned about transparency, accountability and integrity!!!! Great to have you on board.

    But… why were you so silent for the last 14 years?

    **************************************************
    Great question!

    I am honestly convinced, that the past administration to which I must declare, I am a proud member, made many errors and became complacent.

    The complex of entitlement, created a faults sense of comfort and familiarity that I will never again take for granted. Like many Barbadians, I have had the honor of being a member of the League of Young Socialist, and hold a degree in Political Science and Economics. I understand the complexities of a developing society. That said, I am as red as they come.

    However, our nation has enjoyed 41 years of good governance throughout. We differ largely internally on our politics, but we rise collectively in pursuit of our shared interest.

    Anyone, who attempts to discredit the progressive foresight of the BLP or conservative ambitions of the DLP know’s not our politics.

    As concernedly stated by BFP, “transparency, accountability and integrity!!!!” must be the hallmark of our legacy.

    Globally, the consolidation of once competitive markets will be our greatest challenge.
    Academically, I am of the PERSONAL opinion that at this junction of our development, our current administration lack the experience, aptitude and proficiency to catapult our nation for the next 5 years.

    Thus the reasons for my silence. Plus the absence of BFP.

    This is and will always be a debatable topic that only TIME WILL TELL sic.

    ***********

    BFP says,

    Very good, TWT (hmmmm… your name doesn’t translate to an acronym very well) 😉

    The question we shall be writing on next week is “What do we do with those who unethically prospered from their public office in the last administration?”

    It is not a simple matter no matter what anyone says. There were some who made a personal fortune and others who remained silent but did not commit other sins themselves. There were some who probably broke no existing laws, but nonetheless abused the public trust. There are others who are probably shaking in their shoes to think about what might come out of the FBI VECO investigations and tape recordings.

    What shall we do with them?

  41. Time will Tell

    Nothing!

    Today’s politicians are far smarted than yesteryear’s. I am confident beyond a reasonable doubt, that baseless accusations are just that. BASELESS.

    As far as our democracy has come, never have we had a culture of gross exploitation as some would make
    believe. I admit, political favors and contracts are generally how it’s done. Nevertheless no one gets something for nothing in our country. BELIEVE ME.

    EVERY GOVERNMENT IN THE HISTORY OF BARBADOS has found themselves in need of funding to both carryout there message and further their political causes. All government ministers senior and junior are benefactors of such “donations”.

    Our current laws are both antiquated and obsolete as it relates to political fund raising.

    Just for a minute, pause and think about it!

    How in God’s world can you establish a political party in Barbados or anywhere else, and effectively propagate your message without money. How many Cocktail sips, Raffles, Dinners, Dances and Car washes can you hold? Exactly…….

    You need corporate sponsorships and donations.
    Not loans and favors.

    The BLP has traditionally been recipients of good corporate sponsors. Our style of management has generally been good to local businesses.

    Never confuse gratitude with dishonesty.

    Many have tried to buy their way into Barbadian politics, namely Trade Confirmers and BCCI (see Internationalization of Crime 2002, Charles Clifton Leacock, QC) None successfully. Even our own Sidney Burnett Alleyne have failed to influence our own PM Errol Barrow.

    Believe it our not. Barbadian politicians are reasonably honest.

    Wow! that hurts!

    Now, the bad news…….

    PM Thompson’s slip is showing.
    His center of influence are bad apples. Blatant characters who vocally flaunt their political clout in the face of Barbadians.
    This can ONLY lead to one thing……………….

    You said it…..

    I’m done. Now challenge that!

    **************

    BFP Says…

    So…. It was OK for a Cabinet Minister like Gline Clarke to vote to expropriate land for “public housing” and then end up building a home himself on the said expropriated land?

    That’s Ok by you?

  42. Time will Tell

    BFP Says…

    So…. It was OK for a Cabinet Minister like Gline Clarke to vote to expropriate land for “public housing” and then end up building a home himself on the said expropriated land?

    That’s Ok by you?

    *******************************************
    Not in the very lease.

    I am not propagating inaction, but laws that govern official behavior and knowledge of the same. The time has come for the declaration of all assets held by politicians and immediate family alike.

    Access to knowledge that is not yet public and or before the chamber or house, should automatically disqualify a member from acting on such…

    The public CANNOT be taken for granted. Whoever is in power. I advocate that any official who misuses his/her office for personal advancement or that of others, should be given a very long stay at our first national hotel, HMP.

    No Joke!

  43. Leviticus

    BFP, the private jet for the State visit to Trinidad WAS PAID FOR by the government at an amount similar to the cost of five airfares to Trinidad and back I am told. And the entire team that went to Trinidad traveled in it! So what is your point? Do you want to know how much it cost? I can ask that too if you want…

    But what is the issue if he goes to New York on a private jet for private reasons? Or anywhere else for that matter privately?

    I am told that David Thompson regularly travelled on this jet as an Attorney for Clico. Was that acceptable then?

    ***********************

    BFP Says,

    Once again, transparency, accountability and integrity standards demand that this information be freely and regularly made available from a recognised source – not just some government insider who says, “Hey Boss, those BFPers won’t leave us alone. Can I tell them this once so they will go away?”

    And yes, depending upon the arrangements between Mr. Parrish and the then-Leader of the Opposition, yes, if a gift or benefit was bestowed on either Mr. Thompson or the DLP, yes… it COULD have been unethical. Certainly under the new integrity legislation, it should be declarable.

    You guys really don’t get what’s happening on this island, do you?

    When you pulled down that integrity piece from the internet at the last moment I knew that it was done for political expediency and not because of a commitment to integrity on the part of the DLP.

  44. Laughing

    LOL. I was not going to say anything, but again BFP you have shown that your investigative skills number one…holler out hard.

    Did you do any form of investigation into the cost of airfares?

    Did you explore the possibility of economies of scale from using a business jet?

    Even if the plane is used by a major business, I doubt it is owned by that business. The cost of owning an FAA registered aircraft is horrendous, far past the fuel and the crew costs. The lease costs, including setting up an escrow account for when you hand the aircraft back to the woner etc.

    It is not unreasonable to expect that in the not too distant future we will see several private regional firms which currently lease such ‘bizjets’ will be making them accessible to others not directly involved in their business to defray the costs associated with the time when these aircraft are parked idly on tarmacs. If a business charges US $6,000 on a 18 seat jet, and we apply the regular LIAT/Caribbean Airlines fare there is a definite differential. But go further, the limited seating on these carriers hardly allow same day or next day return flights BGI/POS for a party travelling together. So what is the cost of convenience? Unless you are going to tell me the Trinidad governent controls the hotels so they could have gotten comp. rooms until flights were available. Then I would ask you “Would the Barbados government pay the extra perdiems to officials waiting on a flight?”

    Investigate BFP and stop looking like underused fire-fighters. You all want a drill? Investigate how much all these contracts and ‘deals’ we just had to break (in the last 40 days) will really cost. Blow that open and you can get you fire truck back.

    ************************

    BFP says,

    We talked about the “economy of scale” in the article although we didn’t use those words. Read it.

    The article is not primarily about whether the use of a bizjet is cheaper or appropriate – although we acknowledged both concepts. The article is about the public’s right to know the details and why we need some rules and standards around this place.

    You really should read all the article before hitting the keyboard.

  45. Laughing

    BTW BFP….. before you guys start asking why I was using the number 18. 18 is the seating capacity of the largest Gulfstream. When you charter a plane you pay for all the seats…..duh! All go with you. I believe the Challenger is 9-12. Either way you pay for all the seats one class. To balance against a regular airfare my thinking is you really should prorate the total cost to each seat and not just say 5 or 6 or 7 or however many people.

  46. Laughing

    But BFP if you acknowledge the concepts then are you saying that everytime government does something and you raise an issue they should jump and explain it?

    Is BFP now quasi auditor general?

    Take your own advice. If you acknowledge the concepts then you should also recognize as I pointed out there are far more pressing issues which you could raise in your capacity as quasi auditor general and beg answers for them.

    And I am not typing the next sentence…I am cutting and pasting yours and substituting…..’You really should read the whole response before hitting the keyboard.’

    **************

    BFP Says,

    Nope, you don’t get it. You think that integrity, accountability and transparency are all “nice to have” and that other things are “more pressing”.

    Integrity issues are foundational to how everything else is done. Integrity issues impact everything. The lack of integrity legislation and standards has probably cost Bajans a billion dollars or more in the last few years – not to mention a diminished quality of life and a mortgaged future for our children.

    You don’t get it.

  47. Laughing

    Don’t get me wrong BFP!

    We all need to know. But not about the smoke we need to know about the fire.

    Oh shoot I did the fire thing again….sorry!

  48. AV8R

    Chartering of private jets is a trend that is increasing in popularity worldwide at a fast rate. It makes perfect sense from a business standpoint. If you made a check on executive salaries, including that of Prime Minister Thompson, and reduced that to an hourly rate you would find that, operating on the principle that “time is money,” it is far more productive for the Prime Minister to use an executive jet, rather than LIAT, for a trip to Trinidad simply because of the time saved.

    But that is not what this discussion is all about. Diaspora-ite mentioned that this is all “about optics and ethics.” I agree! Unless the government of Barbados has paid the going hourly charter rate for the CLICO jet, the OPTICS of the Prime Minister being beholden to Messrs Duprey and Parris by using their jet for free is ALL WRONG. The ETHICS of the Government of Barbados accepting pecuniary favours from a corporate entity, which has a significant corporate presence in an ever-growing way in Barbados, are wrong.

    It should be quite easy to find out, if Barbados has the same Access-to-Information Act that Canada or the UK has, if CLICO did in fact bill the Barbados Government for the use of their jet. If they did? no problem! If they didn’t? then the Attorney-General should be called in and a lecture on business ethics and proper optics should be given to CLICO, and the Prime Minister.

    As Diaspora-ite has pointed out, I can’t see The Rt. Excellent Errol Walton Barrow doing something like this.

    ***************

    BFP Says,

    Barbados has no Freedom of Information act. The government does what it wants because citizens have no access to the knowledge that would facilitate accountability.

  49. Hants

    Integrity Legislation is coming and BFP you should keep a demand for a Freedom of Information Act in the public domain.

    The PM and his government will set their own time frames but citizens have a right to make government accountable.

    ********************

    BFP Says,

    Hi Hants,

    Actually, the current DLP government is way past due on various initiatives that they said would be done “immediately” upon them taking office.

    For a starter, we were told in writing during the election campaign that “The Ministerial Code takes effect immediately after a DLP government is elected.”

    Here we are some eight weeks after being told that and there is no “Ministerial Code” – which was to have included a declaration of assets by all Ministers.

  50. Laughing

    LOL. BFP you almost moved me to strong words. You guys keep missing my point.
    The charter of a private jet is a drop in the pan compared to other situations existing which if exposed would be more of an ‘eye opener’ to your readers.
    Each time I have contributed to this blog in the past 2 weeks I have been trying to make this same point. There are some issues hidden in plain sight which were not there before Jan 15, 2008, which are in existence now. You can do a ten minute search on the net and make a few calls if you know where to look and determine the nature of the buzjet transaction and the other frivolous issues you have raised. But the real fruit there for the picking you guys have systematically missed. So when I pull up this blog and see gossip I am disappointed.

    And yes I do mean issues created by the DLP governement since they have come to power.

    You guys clearer now?…Damn!!!

    **************

    BFP says,

    Please List the “issues hidden in plain sight which were not there before Jan 15, 2008, which are in existence now.”

  51. BFP

    BFP Says,

    Hi Hants,

    Actually, the current DLP government is way past due on various initiatives that they said would be done “immediately” upon them taking office.

    For a starter, we were told in writing during the election campaign that “The Ministerial Code takes effect immediately after a DLP government is elected.”

    Here we are some eight weeks after being told that and there is no “Ministerial Code” – which was to have included a declaration of assets by all Ministers.

  52. Donald Duck, Esq

    I was reminded last evening of some comments made by Prime Minister Thompson when he was leader of the opposition in early July 2007 on the subject of the take over of BS&T by Neal and Massey.

    “I am saying that the Democratic Labour Party is against the wholesale sell-off of BS & and T to non-Barbadian interests. ……If the election is called before the ink dries on the sale, it shall be halted by a DLP administration. We must help Barbadians to preserve what is theirs.”
    Was this only political rhetoric? As the DLP Government has not halted the sale can we really trust what Mr. Thompson says he will do in the future?

  53. Hants

    BFP…I was in Barbados for 2 days this week and enjoyed every minute. nuff said.

    I understand that you are anxious for “instant gratification” and I thought of begging you to give the DLP some slack but NO.

    Keep the pressure up BFP.

    If at the end of the day all you can say is the DLP took too long but we have Integrity legislation.

    If all you can say is they took too long but we have accountability and transparency.

    If all you can say is they took too long but thay don’t have any unexplained legitimate cost overruns.

    Then you and me will both be happy.

    I remain a DLP supporter and a BFP supporter.

    I accept it is our job to “keep them honest” and your job to demand short time frames for action.

    Respect.

  54. anonlegal

    Donald Duck Esq:

    I remember when PM Thompson made that statement and when i heard it I wondered to myself “what would he do to halt the sale?”

    From what I remember the securities commission regulates Takeovers and mergers. So when he stated that his administration would “halt the sale before the ink dries” I wondered whether he was suggesting that his administration would usurp the functions of the securities commission.

    It is possible that he was planning to revoke the appointment of the members of the commission in order to appoint members who would halt the sale but that would be a convoluted plan.

    My point is that when I heard the statement I figured that it was just talk to excite the voting public because it would have been difficult to stop BS&T’s plans.

  55. Donald Duck, Esq

    Any news on where the PM was last night and where he is this weekend???

  56. Anonymous

    a storm in a teapot that’s all

  57. Hants

    a little mischievous this morning.

    “I have to say this, Prime Minister Thompson is my Prime Minister as he is every Barbadian’s Prime Minister,” she said.

    “my political leanings [she was appointed by the previous Barbados Labour Party administration] has no bearing, one way or the other, on the work that I have sought to dispatch in the past and will continue to do…..”

    wha loss. politics eh? Class is class. Political class.

  58. Donald Duck, Esq

    A few issues

    *For all those persons accepting appointments to Boards please remember that the proposed integrity legislation will cover you as well.

    *Anybody knows anything about the new Chairman of the National Housing Corp

    *The Trinidad press should provide the full text of the presss conference held by Prime Minister Thompson in Trinidad last week

    * BFP You should create a separate column for bloggers to include items that they want dealt with in the first DLP budget

    **********************

    BFP Comments,

    Folks are always free to post their thoughts about most anything under “submissions”.

    Why don’t you pick a topic and write an article DDE? Send it to us via email and you will probably see it published. You might be very surprised to see what we will publish that is written by you.

    Marcus

  59. Donald Duck, Esq

    I note that BFP does not attract that many bloggers now that the dlp is in government. I would be interested to hear comments from other bloggers on this issue

  60. Leviticus

    Donald/Mia,

    Why is it relevant where he tonite or any other night? Where were you? In your jeep with all those girls as usual?

  61. Hants

    DDE says….”For all those persons accepting appointments to Boards please remember that the proposed integrity legislation will cover you as well.”

    Great. It means only people with nothing to hide will accept these posts.

    If you are willing to serve on these boards, some of which make decisions about spending taxpayers money you should have integrity.

  62. Donald Duck, Esq

    Hants

    There will be persons who have an enormous amount of intellect to contribute to some boards who will not want to undergo the public scrutiny of disclosing their assets. This reluctance will not be due to them wanting to hide anything that is inappropriate about how they acquired their wealth.

  63. young one

    well say DDE.

    bajans don’t want ppl in them business and bajans love to know ppl business. so how is this going to mix?

    on the subject of the private jet, that is what you get, all we hear is BLP was some of the biggest theives, yet nobody ain’t lock up or charge yet.
    DLP play with to win the elections. so why are we now keeping noise about this private jet deal?

    BFP you reported that the integrity legislation the DLP posted was taken down from some part of the internet, so does this move a shock to you?

    oh question? what ever happen to hardwood? de place shut down? de money pay back? anybody get charge for the wrong doing?

    old people and TC tell it best, know what ya got, don’t know what ya going to get. so take, it be happy and shut wanna traps, like good lil bajans.

  64. Troubled

    You think that owen and the rest never travel pun a private jet….wuhlaw….bajans really got short memories!

    ***********

    BFP says,

    Of course Owen traveled by private jet. The private jet is not the issue… who pays for it is.

  65. Hants

    DDE whether you like it or not,

    Integrity legislation is coming and if your “persons who have an enormous amount of intellect” choose not to be part of the political process, we will get by with people of lesser intellect who have nothing to hide and are willing to serve their country.

    Transparency,Integrity,Honesty.

    Words that appear to have been removed from the vocabulary of the previous Administration.

  66. Troubled

    ok….so why was the issue never raised when owen was the man in charge?….he got nuff rich friends that does play polo and live in the north

    *********************

    BFP says,

    We certainly did raise issues about lack of integrity and transparency concerning Owen. I don’t recall if jets were raised or not – but it doesn’t really matter, does it? Unless your argument is that we tolerated certain unethical behaviour with the Bees so we should do so with the Dees?

  67. Donald Duck, Esq

    Hants

    The following is an excerpt from a speech given by the former Prime Minister Owen Arthur at the last BLP conference in October 2007 and which deals with corruption. I have not at the end of the excerpt the web site for the UN convention on corruption for reference.

    “I had earlier indicated that there are certain matters concerning the arrangements which constitute part of the unfinished national agenda that we will hope and wish to bring to full fruition in fourth term.

    One concerns the promotion and the eradication of corruption in Barbados.

    This is a matter that has had a long history including systemic engagement by this administration.

    It is not a matter that should be treated as a gimmick or that should be addressed merely by the requirement that persons directly involved in the political arena should declare their income, assets, liabilities and changes in their financial conditions. It must be approached in a comprehensive manner to treat to all forms types of corruption, and draw from international best practice to root it out whenever it occurs.

    There is a Prevention of Corruption Act which came into force in Barbados in 1929 and which obviously bears evidence of that antiquity.

    In 1975 Tom Adams introduced a resolution to parliament calling upon the Government to introduce legislation to compel members of Parliament to disclose their assets. It was referred to a Select Committee on January 20th, 1976 from whence it did not emerge.

    In 1979, Adams introduced the Integrity in Public Life Act. It dies in the Senate.

    Throughout all of the tenure of office of the DLP administration there has never been any effort to deal with issues in respect of the prevention of corruption. And this has been so, despite promoting. For on October 20th, 1992, Henry Forde introduced a Resolution to Parliament indicating that the existing law was inadequate to deal with the regulating of integrity in public life, and called for a committee of parliament to formulate proposals for an Integrity Commission. It was not acted upon.

    In our time, we recognise that matters pertaining to corruption and integrity in Public life do not only concern the behaviours of elected officials, but is a wider societal phenomenon that can even have transnational dimensions. It must therefore be approached in holistic and comprehensive way.

    We recognise that knee jerk reactions should not be the way. Rather, we should help to develop and apply best practices that can have both domestic and international validity and application. It is in this context that this administration has been engaged.

    In December 2000, the UN General assembly decided to establish an ad hoc committee for the negotiation of an international legal instrument against corruption.

    This Committee met seven times and Barbados was represented on this committee by Louis Tull, who also served as the CARICOM regional negotiator.

    In December 2003, Mr.Tull represented Barbados at the high level political conference for the purpose of signing the United Nations Convention against corruption, which he did.

    All efforts have since then been directed towards using that UN convention as the basis for preparing new modern legislation in Barbados to fight corruption in all forms and at all levels.

    Since it goes way beyond fighting corruption by elected officials, a series of extensive consultations have been arranged to sensitise all stakeholders and to get it right.

    We had hopes that would by now be in the position to repeal the 1929 Act and replace it by this new modern and comprehensive legislation based on the UN Convention which Sir Louis signed on behalf of the Government and People of Barbados. In the event that it does not reach parliament in this term, it will be the first order of business of the new Labour Party administration in its fourth term.

    The people of Barbados will have a clear choice between accepting a legislative approach to dealing with corruption based on a UN convention negotiated and signed by Sir Louis and the approach by the DLP conceived and articulated by Hartley Henry, based on his experiences in Antigua and put in the mouth of David Thompson.”

    Click to access Convention-e.pdf

    *********************

    BFP Says…

    WHAT A JOKE!

    Yes, the BLP was in the forefront of implementing anti-corruption legislation… since 1976!!!!

    Donald Duck… you are hilarious today!

  68. Donald Duck, Esq

    BFP

    You need to know the facts. Why did the DLP then not do anything between 1976 and 1986 on the matter?

    ***********

    BFP Says,

    As we have said many times, DD… BOTH the DLP and the BLP did not want, and do not want (even to this day), integrity legislation because it will cramp their crooked style.

    You are sooooo in the past, DD. Who cares why the DLP and BLP crooks did not introduce integrity legislation during the past 32 years? We KNOW the reason why they didn’t! So do you.

    The challenge now is to make the DLP follow through on their promises and to bring what few genuinely honest folks there are left in the Opposition to support integrity legislation now.

    As an aside, you might want to have a word with your former BLP Attorney General and ask him why and how in a short 30 minute meeting he cleared VECO of any wrongdoing in building the prison and the oil terminal. The FBI investigations and charges have been ongoing for years.

    You BLPites are still crooks who fear what will be revealed of your immediate past activities when in government.

  69. Hants

    DDE 1976 and 1986 on the matter?

    Who cares? As BFP rightly points out, we want action today irregardless of what did or did not happen 20 or 30 years ago.

    Integrity,accountability,transparency.

    That is what we want from a DLP Government and that is what I as a DLP supporter want.

    BLP operatives are trying to do damage control and create diversions to avoid investigations into the last 14 years.

    BFP…doan ease up.

    An all out misinformation campaign by the likes of DDE will not work in the blogsphere

  70. Bun Dem

    A little birdie told me that Thompson and Parris flew to Miami on the weekend in the said aforementioned private jet to attend a wedding?

    Perhaps Leviticus can shed some light (and more excuses) on this.

    This like is a marriage made in the lush CLICO-owned cane fields in St. John.

  71. Hants

    After listening to Brasstacks today, I am sure that the PM will want to fly on a private jet.

    The CEO of LIAT was making excuses for the problems they are having.Downright scary.

    If Brasstacks is repeated tonight you all should listen and tell me if you would fly on a LIAT aircraft.

  72. Donald Duck, Esq

    Bun Dem

    You may have noted my earlier message querying where the PM was this weekend. Maybe you have answered it? Who will answer the one on about where the PM was on Friday night? Was he in the West or was he in the East??

  73. Jerome Hinds

    BFP,

    Here comes the……..Just Efficient Transport..a.k.a JET !

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article_news?id=161286620

  74. Jerome Hinds

    BFP,

    Another update on the…….Justifiably Efficient Transport…a.k.a JET !

    PM Bruce Golding of Jamaica sanctions the use of a JET !

    Joining PM Manning & PM Thompson !

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article_news?id=161291188

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  81. RRRicky

    In hindsight the DLP supporters’ comments from 2008 reflected the hope that Thompson and his government would be different. That was over two years ago. Today the DLP supporters are quiet about integrity and transparency because they know the DLP promise was a sham to get elected.

    BFP got it right in 2008 about the free jet rides. They came at a price and it isn’t Thompson or the DLP that is paying, it’s us.

  82. Donald Duck Esq,

    where are the revised clico life insurance accounts for 2008?

  83. Donald Duck Esq,

    Where is the prime minsiter. Surely with only 6 days left of his medical leave we should be told if he is returning to office on sept 1

  84. Politically Tired

    Donald Duck
    Still in the US? who knows, but someone needs to make a statement & either confirm or dispel the rumours.

  85. You could definitely see your skills within the work you write.
    The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe.

    All the time go after your heart.