UPDATED – January 18, 2009
This article was first published on June 20, 2008. Since then, the following people have been charged with fraud…
(Are you kidding? Thompson and the DLP will never charge anyone with any corruption offense. The DLP don’t want to start that kind of war with the BLP because they are so busy feeding at the public trough themselves. Same old, same old ’bout hey!)
Has Mr. Barrow, the victim, had his house repaired in the seven months since this article was written?
“If Thompson and the DLP can’t put anyone in jail with the circumstances surrounding this case, they had better stop pretending that they intend to do a damn thing about corruption on this island.” … BFP’s George on a rant
Barbados Hurricane Disaster Money Fraud
It seems that when Hurricane Ivan went by here in 2004 the home of Theophilus Barrow was destroyed. Our illustrious government soon created a $4 million dollar emergency fund and money was paid out so that Mr. Barrow’s home would soon be rebuilt. Self-congratulations were spread all around with politicians bragging, civil servants strutting and “aren’t we all wonderful taking care of those who have trouble taking care of themselves” was the prevailing word.
FOUR YEARS LATER it finally comes out. The money that was paid out for Mr. Barrow’s new home is missing. He never got it, Ministry of Home Affairs have no clue, and Judy Thomas of the Central Emergency Relief Organisation doesn’t want to talk about it even now, four years later. Hmmmm…. I wonder why?
Thomas said: “I don’t think I need to shed any light in the media on that matter.”
No surprise here. What did we expect with a government regime that was corrupt from the top down? Public money, emergency money for a poor defenseless man, stolen in broad daylight and him left homeless.
Does the Government of Barbados pay for an entire house and never look at the finished product before handing out money? Who signed the inspection off? Who signed the cheque? Who was in charge? Was Director of Emergency Management Judy Thomas (red circles above) in charge? Who knew and kept quiet? Put them all in jail.
Five or six people and a few big-ups in jail for corruption would fundamentally change our society. People would actually start to believe that there was RULE OF LAW for all.
Somebody Stole That Money
That is fraud Mr. Thompson, pure and simple. It is disgusting. It is happening on your watch. Sure, we know that you can blame it all on the last bunch, the Barbados Larceny Party, but now YOU are in charge. YOU promised transparency, YOU promised a new regime of honesty and integrity. And here is your chance to show us that you mean it.
How about you cancel one of your jet set appointments in Toronto, New York, Miami and go and visit Mr. Barrow and get the construction started? While you are at it tell us who got the money and have everyone involved either charged or fired – preferably both. There are no innocent persons here. Those that handed out the money and did not follow up and institute checks and balances then they are complicit.
And then Mr. Thompson, when you are visiting Mr. Barrow – apologize to him. Then apologize to all other Bajans who are not able to help themselves and have continually been the victims of the scams, the larceny, the fraud and thefts perpetrated or allowed by the very people who are elected to lead and protect them.
Mr. Thompson it is time for you to pay attention to this problem of corruption that has infected our government and civil service, and the policing, legal and business communities. You promised to introduce integrity, transparency and accountability laws and standards within 100 days. Do it now and begin the process of ending the disgraceful abuses that hurt people like Mr. Barrow.
The Nation Newspaper is to be lauded for finally doing some investigative journalism. Given the shocking nature of the story Maria Bradshaw’s reporting was somewhat lightweight and about three years overdue – but, hey, it is a step in the right direction.
Money paid but no house built
Published on: 6/20/08.
This is what remains of the house which was damaged by Hurricane Ivan and where a new house was to be built.
by MARIA BRADSHAW
OFFICIALS in the Ministry of Home Affairs were blown away on finding an elderly man without his house which was to be rebuilt with Government disbursed funds after it was damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
WEEKEND NATION investigations revealed that 77-year-old Theophilus Barrow’s house at Mount Tenantry, St George, was among several to be rebuilt out of a $4 million emergency fund approved by the then Government.
But a few weeks ago, officials visited the spot after persistent complaints from him and a concerned member of the church he attends. They were shocked to find only the rubble of the original house on the spot where the man’s three-bedroom house was supposed to have been rebuilt.
Barrow’s daughter, Marquita Byer, who lives next door, recalled the visit.
“A woman look at my father’s old house and put she hand to she mouth and say: ‘Wuh loss! We give them the money to build the house and they tell us that the house done build and the man in it happy and comfortable’.”
When contacted, a source at the ministry confirmed officials were of the opinion “the project was completed”.
The source said that Judy Thomas, the director of Emergency Management Services, [formerly the Central Emergency Relief Organisation – CERO], was one of the officials who visited Barrow.
“We are still investigating to find out why it has not been done. We went into our database and we discovered that a payment was made for the house to be built.
“We referred the matter to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Works for further investigation and we are awaiting a report from him.”
The WEEKEND NATION telephoned the Permanent Secretary Lionel Nurse and building officer Ronald Arthur on several occasions, but up to press time there was no response from either.
When contacted, Thomas said: “I don’t think I need to shed any light in the media on that matter.”
Meanwhile, the elderly man who lives with one of his daughters at a house behind his spot, said it hurt him to pass every day and see only a rotten shell of his old house.
“Only last week two men in a car passed here and tell me I gine get the house soon, but they have been saying that for years.
“They push me all around and told me that they ain’t got no material to build the house. And two weeks ago they run up here and dig the well and mark out to build the house.”
He explained that after the hurricane blew off the roof, church members strapped it back down for him temporarily until his new house could be built. However, the house was so old that it collapsed shortly after.
His daughter said she also spoke to one of the women who visited her father.
“She told me that the house should have been built ever since and that somebody will get lock up for it.”
Original story at the Nation News (link here)