Which “Oil Consultants” Received A Share Of The $2 Million Paid Out By Barbados?

“We spent about $2 million doing the marketing and promotion, producing literature and so on to send out to the companies, to attract them as well as in consultancy fees. We have made about BDS$8 million so far.” …former Minister Liz Thompson talking about the Oil Bidding Process in November 2007.

Where Did The “Consulting Fees” Go?

One of the methods used by crooked Barbados politicians to transfer public funds to their own bank accounts is to engage a series of “consultants” and “consulting companies” for government projects. Sometimes the “consultant” will later give a “gift” to the government official or politician who did the hiring. Sometimes the “consulting company” just happens to be owned by the spouse, son or uncle of the government official.

And here’s the best part, folks… there is no law against this unethical behaviour in Barbados!!!

That’s right… it is not illegal or against any government code for a Minister of Government or other government official to receive a “gift” from the same company they awarded a fat government contract to! We have no ITAL (Integrity, Transparency, Accountability Legislation).

Prime Minister David Thompson and the DLP promised to adopt a Ministerial Code right away, but they failed to do so mere weeks after making the ITAL promise that won them the election.

So where did YOUR $2 Million dollars get spent in the oil bidding process? Do any of the consulting firms have any association with any Barbados government official? Have any of the oil companies provided any “gifts” to any Barbados government official?

Don’t ask, folks. Under the DLP David Thompson Government, you have no right to know the details of how your tax dollars are being spent!

The Nation News Says Venezuela Oil Claim Story Wasn’t Important Enough To Print!

Do you need a chuckle this morning, friends?

Albert Brandford published a Nation News story Oil Block where he claims that the newspaper had the details of the new Venezuela claim to two blocks of Barbados offshore oil last Monday… and that he interviewed Minister Sinckler last Monday.

Seeing as how The Nation News didn’t publish the story until today, Thursday, I guess they just didn’t think it was important enough to do so!

Minister Sinckler claims he knew about the Venezuela story on Sunday – which was the day before Petroleumworld published it. Could have happened that way I guess, but the Nation News story sure seems to be going to a lot of trouble to get the point across that neither the government nor the media were asleep.

Mr. Brandford, methinks thou protesteth too vigorously!

Barbados Free Press first published our story Venezuela Claims Two Blocks Of Barbados Offshore Oil! on Monday June 16, 2008 at 5:13am (Bridgetown) and updated it with a photo at 8:10am (Bridgetown).

Gee… do you think that Albert Brandford read Barbados Free Press on Monday morning?

11 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Energy, Freedom Of The Press, Oil, Venezuela

11 responses to “Which “Oil Consultants” Received A Share Of The $2 Million Paid Out By Barbados?

  1. passin thru

    Good questions and a good story BFP. Why can’t I know how my tax dollars are spent? Why aren’t there rules against government fat cats giving themselves contracts?

  2. Albert Brandford

    BFP,
    Maybe I did read you on Monday morning. But people send me emails too, you know. Anyway, I’m not protesting!!!

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

    BFP says,

    Hi Albert,

    We probably even saw the same email, and it is interesting how small the world has become when a Latin American oil journal publishes an article about a potential Venezuela – Barbados oil dispute and an hour later the story appears on some nothing little blog like BFP.

    We were surprised that Minister Sinckler wasn’t appearing in the Barbados media on Monday about this, but I guess with the internet things move very quickly now. To cut the Minister a little leeway, he probably doesn’t stay glued to his PC the way many of us bloggers do.

    Anyway, good to see you dropping by and as much as we give and receive some pokes and elbows from each other, all of us have the feeling that the citizens of Barbados are benefiting from professional journalists like yourself who have embraced the internet.

    Maybe you and your colleagues are also in a better position to follow up on some of the issues we raise on the blogs. In this case, I wonder if we will ever know how many of the “consulting companies” hired in the last few years are related in any way to government officials. We also wonder if the current Thompson DLP administration will ever prohibit such conflicts of interest when there is so much money to be made from government contracts.

    Again, it is good to see you visiting BFP.

    Cheers!

    Cliverton

  3. 198.1

    BFP, you should read the Prevention of Corruption Act Cap 144, section 3.

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

    BFP says,

    We’ve read it thoroughly and it is a sham – which we will explain in an article we are working up.

    It is a joke designed to fool a populace that was then ignorant about ITAL.

  4. Time Will Tell

    Thank You Owen and Liz……….

    Now lets start drilling……

  5. 198.1

    Ok, BFP, I’ll hold you to your word.

  6. Barbados the Beautiful

    Wanna know what has been going on with oil negotiations.

    Wanna know whether anyone in our new government has any idea what deals have been made.

    Wanna kn0w when money was paid how much and who got it. That money belongs to the people of Barbados. We got a right to know.

  7. Thomas Gresham

    I am familiar with the oil and gas sector. The issue here is not the size of the pre-bid consulting bill – that is smaller than I would expect given the norms in this industry – but sufficient disclosure to allay fears that patronage has got in the way of the country getting value for money.

    When you start talking to major oil and gas firms, whose market capitalization is a multiple of our GDP, then you have to make sure you have the best legal consultants on your side in drawing up the bid process and contracts. The GDP of Barbados is around US$5.5bn. The combined market capitalization of Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP and Total is US$1000bn, or 20 times our GDP.

    I gather the previous and I think the current government used Latham and Watkins. Latham and Watkins is the world leader in oil and gas law and consulted on every one of the top ten largest oil and gas pipeline deals. I can assure you that if their legal bill was less than $2m they were giving us a hefty discount. Latham and Watkins cite the Barbados government as their client on energy matters on their website.

    The oil majors are not going to be easily distracted from much larger prospects unless we have prepared a dataroom with the best geophysical data which requires international consultants. That would have cost a tidy sum. Marketing and preparing thar would also have cost money. I suspect that Latham and Watkins oversaw all of this or consulted on it. I suspect Latham and Watkins or any international law firm would object to their fee rates and charges for one client being disclosed publicly – especially when they are giving discounts – so we need to think of some way in which commercial confidences can be maintained while providing sufficient disclosure to ensure the public feel secure that their money is being spent wisely.

    The solution is some stronger integrity and transparency rules on those who make major money decisions. This is one of the main reasons why we elected a new govenrment, it is with much disappointment on my part that we are still waiting.

  8. VAT fuh days,den!

    I ask the reader to recall the press release that was issued around the second or third week in the month of Jan. that followed the start-up of VAT,here in Barbados, whenever that was. Back in the late 90s sometime?

    The Press release said, in effect that the revenues realized in those first few weeks were giddying!
    “Revenue beyond our wildest dreams” if you will.

    Ah! I foolishly thought.
    here’s the economic remedy to all our social ills, I foolishly thought.
    NOW we’ll have the wherewithal to fix dis an dat, I thought.

    I was sooo naive.

    ………….

    Politicians soon started schemes like “Consultancies” and trucking firms, to relieve the Treasury of all that revenue beyond MY wildest dreams for this sad thiefin little country!

    Now it’s a nightmare,instead.

  9. Jose? WHY Jose?

    ‘Tis alleged that Mia had/has a trucking firm that picked up a lot of the slack for the Ministry of Public Worx or whatever it calls itself
    when their trucks (were allowed to) break down,no parts available,etc. work got to be completed,regardless, so the work was contracted out to private trucking firm owned conveniently by……..

  10. Game's over

    I was shocked and embarrassed by the existing blatant lack of accountability and transparency in the government. They should not be fooled into the delusion that these are just nice words formulated to win an election. Business as usual with the spoils to the victor.

    The world has changed and continues to change. Despite the self congratulatory nonsense, if Barbados is to respected and gain any meaningful level of private foreign capital investment, the lack of a transparent, accountable government will keep the nation mired in the grip of self serving, self dealing corrupt, ignorant, third world politicians while the country slides into reverse.

    No ordinary investor will put money in a place where 20% or more instantly evaporates (payoffs) without a competitive return unless it can be compensated for elsewhere and still find a way to return to the bottom line (maybe lower wages or other cost reductions). These practices described in your article are illegal in the developed world and that is the standard (greed and criminals notwithstanding) that Barbados must apply -transparent, accountable standards of governance- to itself or the economy will continue to be bypassed by real investment capital in favor of the inefficient foreign aid, world bank economic traps.

    There are trillions of dollars looking for a good home every day but few will venture to throw their clients money into the well worn snake pit of inefficient, corrupt governments because that list is already way too long. This model is so overdone. Throw the voters some symbolic crumbs while the meal is consumed elsewhere. The party continues for the lucky few while the many silently complain in despair. These guys need to be called out on this every day until they do the right thing. How many days since the 100 day promise has been unfulfilled? Put it out there every day. Shame can be a great motivator.

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