Light Bulbs Scandal: Former Jamaican Government Minister Charged With Corruption and Money Laundering Breaches

kern-spencer-jamaica-light-bulbs.jpg

Former State Minister For Energy Kern Spencer Spent Two Nights In Jail

A September 2007 photo of former junior minister for energy, Kern Spencer, and Coleen Wright, during the official opening of the new parliament following the general elections. The two, along with Rodney Chin, who was named as the sole director of both Universal Management and Development Company and Caribbean Communications and Media Network, were arrested and charged Tuesday evening with several counts of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and corruption in connection with the Cuban light bulb scandal in which $267 million was spent to distribute four million energy-saving light bulbs that were donated to Jamaica by the Cuban Government.

… from the Jamaica Observer article Kern Offered Bail – Former Junior Minister, Two Co-accused Spend Another Night In Lock-up

Lesson For Barbados: Private Companies Are Used To Facilitate Government Corruption

Citizens of Barbados should pay close attention to this latest Jamaican government scandal because the techniques that were used to steal Jamaican tax dollars were regularly practiced by our own corrupt Barbados government officials.

With the previous BLP Government, contracts were regularly issued without an open bidding process to private companies owned by friends and relatives of government officials. This can be a simple as the government paying a certain supplier three times the normal price for shipment of copier paper (hey, nice Christmas bonus for a relative!) to the sophisticated scams practiced by VECO Corporation – the builders of our new way-over-budget jail.

Recent trials in Alaska revealed that VECO corruptly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in “consulting fees” to the relatives of US politicians who awarded government contracts to the company.

You would have to be totally stupid to think that VECO never gave any consulting fees out in relation Barbados projects like the new jail or the oil terminal.

Will The New DLP Government Let The Previous Administration Get Away With Keeping The Proceeds Of Their Corrupt Activities?

Doing nothing about the past BLP corruption is not an option if the new DLP Government wants to retain credibility with the voters.

Also see BFP’s How Corrupt Politicians Operate: Government Minister Awards A Contract To His Lover’s Company – Without Tender

19 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Energy, Environment, Jamaica, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

19 responses to “Light Bulbs Scandal: Former Jamaican Government Minister Charged With Corruption and Money Laundering Breaches

  1. Bimbro

    Will The New DLP Government Let The Previous Administration Get Away With Keeping The Proceeds Of Their Corrupt Activities?

    Doing nothing about the past BLP corruption is not an option if the new DLP Government wants to retain credibility with the voters.

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

    You’re absolutely right, again, BFP!!!! The new administration certainly, seem to be taking their time!! What are they waiting for!!!!

    Very nice, suits!! But what we want to see is ACTION!!!!

  2. Wishing in Vain

    I cannot agree more with you about the need for the new adminstration to confront and address this issue of the BLP corruption.

    I would suggest that someone or should I say some people should face charges in relation to these acts of obvious dishonesty, fraud and corruption it is only when people are taken before the courts for this rape of the public’s funds that the Barbadian public will see that this new gov’t is serious about dealing with corruption.

    Let us start by asking Hallam Nicholls what role he played in the VECO PRISON deal ?

    What role he played in the commissions paid on every gov’t vehicle brought into this island and so to commission on the COAST GUARD VESSELS ?

    What role did he play with the OIL STORAGE FACILITY that ended up at a cost of US $ 145 million when the real cost of what is on location is US $ 60 million?

    What role did he STEVEN HOBSON, BIZZY WILLIAMS, JOHNATHAN DANOS play in the fraud that is DANOS 3 S ROAD WORKS CONTRACT ?

    What role did he play in the arranging to import the 2,500 SLOT MACHINES into this island ?

    It is only when the ones like these are brought to justice that the Bajan public will be made happy.

  3. Thewhiterabbit

    Wishing for a change in transparency and wishing for prosecution of BLP transgressions is wishing in vain because the problem goes far back, way back, well before the recent BLP government, who did not, certainly, invent local corruption. Step carefully, Mr. Minister of Health, in examining the St. Joseph Hospital waste of taxpayers dollars or you may find yourself out of a job! To begin with, many, most, or possibly all of the “transgressions” were, and probably are, not illegal, according to local law. There is but one practical way forward. 1. Enact legislation necessary to ensure transparency, accountability, checks and balances, i.e. good government. 2. In the same legislation ensure that the laws will be enforced only from the date of enactment and not applied ex post facto. 3. Declare an amnesty for everything that happened prior to enactment of the law.

    While it may rankle and irritate to let the bad guys get away with it, one must remember that the party in power is itself not squeaky clean. To get the legislation passed ALL will have to be forgiven in one fell swoop for the sake of forward progress. The “reconciliation” in South Africa provides an extremely good model.

  4. permres

    The problem with Barbados is that being a small island we are like a big family, and whether the politicians are in the Government or in the Opposition then are all buddies together, so they are less likely to expose each other’s wickedness. The attornies are all in it as well, (that is why it takes so long to get cases settled) and generally Bajans are all bark but no bite.
    Someone needs to bring in outside independent investigators, how about it PEP?

  5. John

    A picture is worth a thousand words.

    Here is one which comes to mind to describe the individual, …….. short.

    Maybe the guy can talk sweet and is very highly educated in his field of endeavour but if I were presented by a political party with just a picture of him as a candidate to represent my constituency, I would want to hear a whole lot more before he could get my vote!!

    Perhaps hindsight informs this comment but he just looks like easy pickings for con men and women.

    My bet is that the whole party is at fault, not just this one man.

    His fault was that he was dumb enough to get involved in a totally ridiculous scam and worse of all, he got caught.

    Result, momentary embarrassment for the party who vouched for him as a candidate, but guess what, the party will endure and no doubt ensure that future candidates don’t get caught.

    Typical of politics in the Caribbean.

  6. Tell me Why

    I would suggest that someone or should I say some people should face charges in relation to these acts of obvious dishonesty, fraud and corruption it is only when people are taken before the courts for this rape of the public’s funds that the Barbadian public will see that this new gov’t is serious about dealing with corruption.
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Welcome back WIV to the blog, but alas, you came back with the same stick record. We all need to see the back of corruption by public officers and politicians who allegedly might have accepted gifts from sources who thought it would have been ok in the eyes of the public. I keep saying this behaviour will always be a part of our governance. I can firmly state that within a normal business, a purchasing officer might obtain $50,000.00 in materials from a business house and that company in turn present a gift to that officer. Would you say that is corruption, dishonesty or fraud?

    I am not covering up any improprieties by the previous government, but I must say that the reins of Government in the past accusers and partisan supporters who have the weapons to bring the guilty one to justice.

    So WIV, repetition of your electioneering political cut and paste tactics can be solved in a prudent and transparent way. We look forward for answers.

    On a lighter note. Did you agree to Hartley Henry’s reasoning regarding KB unprofessional behaviour during the Rihanna/Government presentation?

  7. John

    My bet is you will find that the Parties have one or more bad boys or girls who go out on a limb for themselves, …… and the party.

    Sometimes these bad boys or girls are dumb enough to get caught.

    If they have even a modicum of sense they will have the goods on other Party members who won’t go the lengths to which they would go but nonetheless, benefit from their actions.

    Better yet, they will also have the goods on members of the other party as well.

    This example in Jamaica seems to be a case where this guy was just plain dumb and didn’t take out any insurance.

    It is thus easy to throw him to the wolves, which is what he seems to deserve, and distance the Party from the man who the party vouched for as a fine upstanding citizen, worthy of Party membership.

    The Party retains it respectability, justice is seen to be done, … and all’s well with the world.

    … and therein lies the problem of integrity legislation!!!

    It is all about insurance!!

  8. John

    … my bet is that Panday has alot of insurance, and not from any of your common or ordinary insurance companies either, … and it didn’t cost him much, ……. just the use of his head!!

  9. John

    … ok, ok, he probably purchased some insurance from Clico and Sagicor too!!

  10. Bimbro

    Clive, when all the heavyweight arguing is said & done, I’ve only one further question to ask!!!!

    Is SHE married?!!!!

    Laadddddddddddddddddd!!! 🙂

    Clive, u know u, me & women!!!! 🙂

  11. John

    Bimbro

    Be careful what you wish for, you might get it!!

    Look what happened to the minister!!

  12. Bimbro

    John
    February 29, 2008 at 4:49 pm
    Bimbro

    Be careful what you wish for, you might get it!!

    Look what happened to the minister!!

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

    John, true!! Thanks for the reminder, bro!!!! I gun keep myself to myself from now on!!!!

    Laaaaaaaaaaddddddddddddddddddddd!!!! 🙂

    Mind u, in her case, I might be willing tuh tek a chance!!!! Could u blame me?!!!!

    Laaaaaaaadddddddddddddddd!!!! 🙂

  13. John

    A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.

    Guess that goes for a woman too.

    Got to watch myself.

    I am treading on thin ice here.

    Guess that is all I can tell you, watch yourself.

  14. Bimbro

    Guess that is all I can tell you, watch yourself.

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

    I would rather ‘watch’, er!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  15. Remember that old program Yes Mr. Minister that made mockery of authority and demonstrated the frivolity of politics. We all loved and laughed at the blundering of the Minister and the corrective measures his network of help manipulated. But sometime there is a more serious side to politics and one should be very pre-emptive of political corruption which plant roots in seemingly honorable men

    Well Mister Minister

    We heard and believed the corruption theory
    Expect you’ll expose them for any criminality
    Leaving it all behind would be a travesty too
    Liability must be exposed whatever you do
    May be you are bombarded by the immediacy parade
    In discrepancies and bad policies the others made
    So we know Mr. Minister there would be some delay
    The people however expect that criminals would pay
    Economical balancing is no piece of cake
    Righting the wrongs the squanders make
    My schooling tells me to cross my tees
    I learnt the hard way “I love lies” was one of these
    Now I get no ties but lies from my friend
    I didn’t cross my tee then and lies have no end
    So Mr. Minister tell us the truth
    Tell us when you are able to unveil the proof
    Essentially we want to see criminals locked away
    Remember Mr. Minister crime must never pay

    Another Acrostic Poem from
    The Bajan Poetry Society
    by Khaidji

  16. Bimbro

    In her case, I can understan why d minister stray!!!!

    Laaaaaaaaaaaadddddddddddddddddddd!!!! 🙂

  17. 2 Cents

    Congrats to Adrian Loveridge on his appoitment to the board of the BTA. It is unfortunate that he is not in the chair of this corrupt and wasteful entity. Personally, I think that the people have lost a true champion, as I cannot imagine that Mr. Loveridge will be able to continue to post on this site in the very probing and insightful manner in which he has for a very long time. Can you imagine a silent Adrian Loveridge during CWC 2007. He will be a voice in the wilderness on the BTA’s board. I must ask you Mr. Loveridge, how will you serve the BTA and the industry in light of your views which this entity clearly intends to perpetuate, e.g Best of Barbados etc.

    I must say that once again I am extremely disappointed in this Minister, it is clear that this industry will struggle with his leadership and judgement?

    Roseanne Myers??? Jeanninne Comma??? unequivocal lackies of Noel Lynch.

    Then he appoints the Franklyn boy, his friend and school-mate as Deputy at the BTI.
    When will the investigation into the operation of the BTA UK office commence??

  18. Bimbro

    Guess that is all I can tell you, watch yourself.

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

    Bajans does make me laugh!!!!

    Wha did dis one tink I wus gonna do!! Guh trew d computer screen, down d telephone wire, risk drowning in d Atlantic ocean, fine wherever it is in JA, dis chick lives, abduck she, drag she trew her computer screen, down d telphone wires, risk drowning in d atlantic, again n bring she into my home in order to get to know her?!!!!

    Lordddddddddddddddddddddddd!!!!

    If only, it were possible!!!!

    Laaaaaaaaaaddddddddddddddddddd!!!! 🙂

  19. John

    Bimbro

    Thanks for illustrating the point I was trying to make as well as you did.

    Sometimes the minister just can’t help himself, …. or herself.

    Here is more or less the same thing being said in the Gleaner.

    Thanks again.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Call to clamp down on corruption

    Date March 10, 2008
    Brief Call to clamp down on corruption
    KINGSTON – Former government minister Francis Tulloch says there are too many loopholes for corruption in the political system, and suggests that new entrants to representational politics should be provided with guideli

    KINGSTON – Former government minister Francis Tulloch says there are too many loopholes for corruption in the political system, and suggests that new entrants to representational politics should be provided with guidelines and a code of ethics.

    “I am not saying that young Kern Spencer is guilty of anything in the present light bulb situation, but as a young politician, I am sure he would have benefited in some way from a recommendation I made to the Joint Select Committee of Parliament in 1995,” Tulloch told The Sunday Gleaner, which sought his views on financing the cost of political representation.

    Tulloch, whose involvement in representational politics started in the 1972 Michael Manley regime, recently opened up his personal files, which paint an ugly picture of the ineptitude that has tainted and scarred the local political process.

    Disgusted by some of the unethical practices he saw in areas such as the awarding of contracts and the avenues it opened for possible corruption, Tulloch cited the minutes of a 1996 Joint Select Committee of Parliament, which was chaired by Dr Peter Phillips, to relate his attempt to have the situation fixed.

    In his recommendation, as it appeared in the document, Tulloch stated: “It is also quite clear to me from my own personal experience that politicians, especially those entering Parliament for the first time, should be given guidelines by which they should abide and a proper code of conduct to follow.”

    (Jamaica Gleaner)