Crooked Barbados Lawyers Being Charged With Theft Mostly By Foreigners: Bajan Global Report

At Barbados Free Press, we’ve written extensively about crooked lawyers – but we never put “two plus two” together before we read the latest at Bajan Global Report.

According to our friend at BGR, it is mostly foreign nationals who are taking crooked Bajan lawyers to court.

What do you think, folks? Is this an indication that crooked Bajan lawyers target mostly foreigners – or that foreigners are more likely to be respected and protected by the police and courts than domestic victims?

Bajan Global Report: Non-Nationals Bringing Corrupt Lawyers To Court

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41 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

41 responses to “Crooked Barbados Lawyers Being Charged With Theft Mostly By Foreigners: Bajan Global Report

  1. Fool me once

    If you live here and complain against lawyer or politician you get a call then midnight visit maybe a vaginal search. Complaint resolved no harm done move on nothing to see here.

    Ask how many estate matters never finished except the lawyer taking things for hmself. Too many times this happening. According to the criminals there be no crime in BIM no corruption either.

  2. Hants

    Foreigners and Bajans living overseas are more likely to sue because it is what you do when you are defrauded.

    I hope that every one of you on this blog is learning from the demise of others.

    Hopefully the younger generation has learned that Lawyers can be respected but not reverred.

    They are working for you and are accountable to you.

    Criminals have to “suck up” to lawyers.

    We civilian Clients don’t.

    Respect should be earned and mutual.

  3. extreme makeover

    I see the Chief Fox in the Hen House, “Just like a Virgin” David Simmons is once again pontificating
    about the deliberate abuse of the legal system by lawyers to delay and delay at the cost of speedy legal resolutions and basic justice for all Barbadians.

    While this time, there appears to be an acceptance that the judges are part of the problem, this admission rings hollow.

    The Chief Justice has been talking about these issues for years and could have pulled in all judges every week to discuss files and move the process along. He hasn’t and this political spin is in fact just more promises and talk.

    Time to resign

    http://bararchive.bits.baseview.com/archive_detail.php?archiveFile=./pubfiles/bar/archive/2008/September/20/LocalNews/64980.xml&start=0&numPer=20&keyword=simmons&sectionSearch=&begindate=1%2F1%2F1994&enddate=12%2F31%2F2008&authorSearch=&IncludeStories=1&pubsection=&page=&IncludePages=1&IncludeImages=1&mode=allwords&archive_pubname=Daily+Nation%09%09%09

  4. J

    New Chief Justice coming soon.

  5. Licky Lickum

    Its just that the foreigners have the resources to pursue justice.

    When a lawyer got $1ooK of a foreigner’s savings tied up that is only a drop in their bucket but when that sum relates to a local it may be life savings.

    Hence the local cannot fall back on other savings to pursue the justice necessary.

  6. John

    I don’t think it is simply a matter of money which prevents locals from seeking an appropriate remedy.

    There is the time involved to see a matter to its logical conclusion and the perceived power of those involved in the profession to strike back.

    There also used to be the fear of somehow being seen to be stupid for getting ripped off and the preference some clients had not to be seen to be the one to rock the boat in such a small legal community.

    All Bajans used to hold the law and those associated with it in high regard.

    I remember the first time I met a giant in the legal profession whose name I had heard from boyhood. He was well advanced in years but I knew I was in the presence of a giant.

    In some cases in the past, lawyers who interfered with their clients’ funds and got found out left the country never to be seen or heard of again.

    Perhaps it is that the funds misapproiated are large enough to live well overseas

    …… or that those lawyers offending in the past had a “conscience” and didn’t want to hurt their families …….. yeah right!!

    I think it was to do with the giants we once were and the expectations we had of ourselves.

    More and more we watch as scandal after scandal rocks the legal profession, although I am not sure we know any longer what is a scandal.

    I think the expectations we have of ourselves and our “leaders” have fallen to such a level that we just shrug our shoulders, move on.

    I always remember Joan Benjamin’s name when I think of the utter rubbish that went on in the past government. There is simply no way it could have got by her without all hell breaking loose.

    There are no more giants in Barbados.

  7. Lady Anon

    Foreigners usually have no one else on the island to conduct business for them. They therefore hire a lawyer to make the land/house purchase…because you have to anyway.

    For some persons living overseas, the 100k represent their life savings as well and they will fight tooth and nail to get it back.

    Unfortunately, there is no bureau to indicate whether the lawyer they are contemplating is a reputable one or not. The Bar Association is a waste of time because they protect their own.

  8. Margaret Knight

    Sorry John, but I beg to differ. I have no problem with your last sentence, but when you claim that all hell would have broken loose from her over what went on with the last government, I have a BIG problem with that. Joan Benjamin and I fought (verbally) like cat and dog. We were like Don Camillo and the Priest (not sure which was which!). Joan Benjamin seldom – if ever – had a bad word for the BLP. But as far as she was concerned, the DLP could never do anything right. She saw the BLP as Conservatives and she claimed the DLP were communists. She hated Errol Barrow with a purple passion. The only thing she disliked about the BLP was the name of their youth arm – The Young Socialists. She wanted it changed to The Young Conservatives, but the BLP were too scared to do that! Mind you, she may have kicked up a bit of a fuss over the picture of Castro and Owen hugging up, I’ll grant you that.

    She took strong objection to a man in the audience referring to me as “Comrade Knight” at a lecture at the DLP Academy of Politics, and declared, “We will not have that word used in this island”. Then she grabbed her husband Ted by the arm and out they marched!

    No John, I do not think Joan Benjamin would have had any objections whatsoever to the disgraceful behaviour of the last government, simply because it was the BLP doing it.

  9. Margaret Knight

    BFP: When you rise and shine (midday?) and have your coffee, could you please instruct your spam filter to release my comment? Thanks

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

    BFP say

    george here. C & M no way they going to rise and shine before noon like they was last night. I released your comment.

  10. Matallie

    • Hants
    September 20, 2008 at 2:26 pm
    Foreigners and Bajans living overseas are more likely to sue because it is what you do when you are defrauded.
    • Lady Anon
    September 21, 2008 at 10:06 am
    Foreigners usually have no one else on the island to conduct business for them. They therefore hire a lawyer to make the land/house purchase…because you have to anyway.
    ————
    The two (extracts) above points merely highlight the plight bajan overseas nations are faced with when conducting business in Barbados. Sadly there is no other way so these “legal vultures” seize the opportunity to use foreigners as preys for their own aggrandisement.

    Comments about bajan unscrupulous lawyers are commonplace amongst bajan overseas nationals, so the exposure of these legal vultures is the only way forward.

  11. Da Tinker

    No, I tink de foreners have a higher standard den what we got about what is fair done by lawyers. We just accept it, because dey have always been dis way.

  12. Tony Hall

    I can speak as a Barbadian living overseas. When I am about to get involved in a transaction in Barbados I usually get referred to a lawyer. I am not saying that things cannot go bad. I was doing a real estate transaction and I was referrred to Nigel Jones. My dealings with him went so smoothly. He was upfront with me and very professional. I was amazed when he informed me that my business was complete.In fact he sent my documents to me before he was even paid.Again I was referred to him by my aunt and a friend.The thing about it is that up until this day I have never met him. I wish several lawyers could be like him hence we would have a better society and not some of the heartwrenching stories I have heard from some of my acquaintances here about their business dealings with some lawyers in Barbados.

  13. Margaret Knight

    Thanks, George. You’d better brew them some black coffee then!

  14. art

    Dear Ms. Knight

    Joan Benjamin, RIP. The deceased cannot defend themselves. Today I would like to please respond for her, but just this once, because I never kew the ouspoken lady, and disagreed with many of her letters in the papers.

    IANDOB (I am not a D or B), but I can see:

    and be it observed that today we (Joan and I) see in today’s Nation stating that Brandford is cleared of all liability re St. Joseph Hospital. In the same breath it is admitted the services and so on for his house were public, and not mentioning other location(s).
    If any D’s and B’s out there, how dat does smell?

    And be it proposed for all the B’s out there, in case you weren’t planning to already do so: that next government of B’s will do same thing as above re the prison and road contracts that we had fought together so hard to expose and discussed what we would do to stop widespread corruption.
    How this one smell?

    And see it promised (and broken) that present government did propose and break the covenant, with its own people, to bring all the ITAL and whistleblower legislation vis a vis 100 day promise pre-election.
    And that is a next smell to come forth in Barbados today and tomorrow’s predictions and future?

    Be it resolved to wake up and smell the coffee. How these things smell to all you all?

    Where is Yardbroom on his sense of righteousness today? Promoting the DLP cause on a racist blog against foreigners and homosexuals?
    Do we see a conflict? IANDOB!!!

    We (Joan and I) are only asking for ITAL from the government- we are not seeking to unseat it.
    If that were to happen would it not be because it unseated itself?

    And how will foreign investment view the fact that widespread known corruption is allowed here n our once fairly governed land?

  15. John

    Margaret Knight

    I think what happened in the last administration had more to do with greed than with party affiliation.

    Joan Benjamin may have been pro BLP but she was anti rubbish ….. and rubbish is rubbish irrespective of party.

    She would have let loose.

  16. John

    So, … the St. Joseph report is available to the Nation and the big point is that the President of the Senate has been cleared of any criminal wrong doing … associated with the now defunct St. Joseph Hospital.

    It is good to know that we have a President of the Senate, second in command to the GG, who has not been found guilty of any criminal wrong doing.

    We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief.

    Minor mention was made of what I would consider to be the major point and probably the reason the report was hushed up for so long.

    It actually had the temerity to call for a code of ethics for those in Public Office.

    …….. shades of ITAL.

    The former BLP Government didn’t get their man for criminal wrong doing but did get something it could not swallow.

    That to me is the big story. We all know that there are many Public Officers who act unethically and to actually have a Government being told to do something about it ………. man it must have been gall and wormwood for Owen and his crew.

    …. now we watch and hold our breath as we wait to see if this Government will get past the “… cleared of criminal wrong doing” into the “Code of Ethics” thing.

    That whole St. Joseph scene was pure rubbish for which we have been charged a premium and Joan Benjamin would have gone to town on it, …….. BLP or no BLP.

    … come to think of it, anybody could have or should have, …… even me!!

  17. Waterboy

    No criminal conviction but still a crook?

  18. eremy greaves

    Thanks a lot for encouraging me to take that step to resolve a very frustrating case which is unresolved after over 25 years of pursuit. I am still in possesion of title deeds for st. Peters bay project and will seek a hearing with the chief justice.

  19. Deng Xiaping

    Margaret Knight writes that Joan Benjamin hated Errol Barrow with a “purple passion”. I find this surprising. As a Jew, if there was one person she should have liked it should have been Barrow. Under Barrow, the only country at the U.N. who gave more unequivocal support for Israel than Barbados was the USA. Barrow even once suggested that he was part Jewish. Recognition of the Peoples Republic of China (i.e Communist China) also came under the BLP and at least up to Tom Adams time, the BLP was a member of the Socialist International. Of course recognition of Cuba and Castro came under Barrow!

    Ah the good ole days when leaders had character!

  20. Deng Xiaping

    George, be a good chap and retrieve my innocuous comment from the moderation bin. Tally ho.

    (Ah practising muh english…)

  21. Margaret Knight

    You could be right, John, she may have “let loose”, but I have my doubts. She was “anti-rubbish” if it bore the DLP stamp, but not if it bore the BLP stamp. I think everyone knew that! Why did she not “let loose” over other wrongdoings when Tom Adams was Prime Minister, then?

  22. Thomas Gresham

    One of the key ways in which countries around the world have reduced corruption is by reducing the patronage of public officials and improving disclosures.

    In India where corruption was rife they referred to these public officials as the “Licence Raj”. To do anything you needed a licence and the officials made you pay for it, or they gave the fruits of patronage to their friends. Ending the Licence Raj led to a renaissance of the Indian economy that is now growing at 8% to 10% per year from a Barbados-like 3% to 4%.

    I support public disclosures of assets for those who control the public purse, but another key thing would be to reduce the power of unscrutinised patronage from governments, civil servants, the Chief Justice etc, etc. It is therefore very worrying to me that while we have had nothing yet on disclosures and tighter conflict of interest rules, we have had an enourmous increase in the power of patronage of the government. Appointed constituency councils will be dolling out public money and what safeguards do we have that this is not to friends of the party? Who will chose the summer camps employees? In other countries, rent control schemes are also a haven of patronage. The governing party appears to feel that they are entitled after years of being left out and are deserving because of a moral superiority – but two wrongs do not make a right. BFP has consistently argued that both parties pursue a “my turn mentality” and having initially being skeptical and hoping that the current government was different on this issue (even if they may be misguided on the economics) but I fear that BFP were right all along. But my key point is that ITAL is not enough. We also need greater independent scrutiny of government expenditure and statistics.

  23. John

    Margaret Knight

    Maybe because she was pro BLP as you say but I seem to remember she was active in the paper and giving trouble right up to her death.

    … or, maybe Tom went out of his way to avoid a confrontation with her.

    The point I am making is that she, and others, made life difficult for the Government and kept it part way honest by speaking out and speaking their minds.

    The silence of the last couple of decades was partly due to the departure of giants, like her, from the scene,

    …. and silence denotes consent!!

    I never met the lady but I don’t think it was possible to imagine Joan Benjamin being silent.

    If any Government feels it can get away with robbery because there is no one to speak out, it will commit the crime!!

    If it fears someone speaking up it will hesitate. It may still commit the crime but it will give itself some thinking time …… and may not.

    After all, governments are made up of humans.

  24. Margaret Knight

    Deng Xiaping, Joan Benjamin called me on the phone many times, but it would not be prudent of me, given the fact that the lady is no longer with us, to reveal certain things she admitted to me, but trust me, she simply hated the Skipper and made no bones about it. Don’t get me wrong, she was a woman I greatly admired, because of her indomitable spirit and courage, so we just agreed to disagree. I don’t know if you are aware of it, but many politicians, who cuss each other out on the floor of the House, are good friends socially!

  25. ru4real

    Its just that the foreigners have the resources to pursue justice.

    When a lawyer got $1ooK of a foreigner’s savings tied up that is only a drop in their bucket but when that sum relates to a local it may be life savings.
    —————————————————
    Nice attitude
    Its OK if foreigners get ripped off they have plenty- that makes it all fine and dandy then.
    As says Lady Anon – it may be their life savings too not all ‘foreigners’ are rich.
    How about if the bajans who have worked long years in the UK get ripped off is that OK too after all they are rich returnees its just a drop in the bucket for them too?
    Or maybe they should just get ripped off by lawyers in the UK or whereever before they come here?

  26. Deng Xiaping

    Ms Knight
    I was not challenging your assertion re. Benjamin’s dislike of Barrow, just that given her experience during the War and Barrow’s stated support for Israel, one would have thought the feelings would be different.

    I know you worked closely with Mr Barrow so I am curious about your perspective about his support for Israel yet also supporting “progressive” movements like Cuba. Certainly shows independence.

    Yes I am aware that politicians away from the “platforms” can be more than friendly (sometimes closely related). May it always be so.

  27. Deng Xiaping

    Oh, the particular skill of Joan Benjamin, that I envied, was the ability to deliver an “essay of meaning” in no more than four to five short sentences. She would have been a master blogger!

  28. Crooks watcher

    An interesting development of late is the sudden increase in persons qualifying as lawyers in their old age. Men and women who retired or are close to retirement. Hal Gollop and Hilford Murrell are examples. They are a lot more in their late fifties and sixties scurrying to study and “practice” law. How come?

    I posit that law is seen as a relatively easy way to that final jackpot. Its not about serving people or the proverbial give back to the community. Its about that final push for the big payday. These “oldsters” bloat the already over subscribed lawyer roll forcing lawyers to bend rules to land the fat cheques.

    What do fellow bloggers think?

  29. John

    I became politically aware in the mid 70’s and I watched Tom Adams “destroy” Erroll Barrow in Parliament on TV and call into question the rubbish that was going on then.

    It was pure theatre, Tom was a good actor and I was impressionable.

    At that time I figured the DLP and Erroll Barrow were devils incarnate!!!!!!

    I voted for the first time in 1986 because I was out of the island in 1976 and 1981. I voted BLP because of what I saw in the 70’s.

    In 1991 I voted BLP again and in 1994. Then I watched as I saw the BLP come to power and do the same foolishness the DLP did but do it with more zeroes before the decimal point.

    I don’t think Barbados has experienced a worse period in its life than the past two decades, 1988-2008.

    In 1998 I nearly didn’t vote as I watched what I thought Barbados was all about disappear but I confess, … I voted BLP once again.

    Then it clicked.

    Neither one of them is any different.

    Since then I have voted against the incumbent party and will continue to do so in the hopes that they don’t have time to settle.

    It is pointless hating one and loving the other.

    They sure know how to look out for each other’s interest. Best to keep them off balance.

    Left to their own devices, both are capable of extreme corruption, …… but only if we let them.

    ….. now if only a serious Independent candidate would run in my constituency.

    A pity Hammie La took the easy way out.

    I think he is gone next time around because I don’t think he realised the opportunity that lay before him for the taking.

  30. John

    Crooks watcher

    Lord have mercy!!

    I believe you could very well have a point.

  31. reality check

    John—you would be a great independent!!!

    Do you have 29 like minded friends who are not afraid to throw their hats in the ring to cleam up the slime and conflicts?

    PS Can BFP do a summary of the St Josephs scandal and reason for the delay as well as the ridiculous findings? Who sat in judgment?

  32. Barbadian Abroad

    There is another reason why Barbadians pursue dishonest lawyers. It is because we are encouraged to do so by Bajans. For some reason they think that we will have more positive impact on the system, and will also not face possible reprisals.

    The last time I was home I was also warned not to let my back account go dormant for long periods. Why? Because a foreign address makes me a target for embezzlement, especially if the account is about to go to the Central Bank.

    And Land Tax is also more lenient on us because we often believe that our taxes are up to date, when, in fact, they are not paid. So only when we return will they be cleared up.

    Taken together, this might help explain why we fight more or have more affect on the system.

  33. The scout

    I see an attorney was found dead today. I hope it’s not a case of not standing the heat so getting out of the kitchen.

  34. Gillian Leapman

    Glad to think my Mother’s name is still mentioned.
    She certainly did not mince her words! It would be really interesting to have her input on all that is going on to-day, including here in the UK.

  35. Heather Thompson

    The trouble with a lot of bajans living abroad is that when they go back to barbados the show off element is really high, flashing the cash and pretending that they are so well off, when I visit barbados I let people know that I have worked and saved hard for my holiday and that I have also got a mortgage. I dont get involved in sending people things back from the uk (I take gifts for close family) because the day will come when my budget isn’t up to it and offence is taken, no the streets of london is not paved with gold, but the litter can be a bloody pain some times.

  36. Hants

    @Heather Thompson

    The trouble with a lot of bajans living abroad is that they love their family and friends and send home about a quarter billion dollars last year.

    They also visit and carry gifts for their friends and family and really enjoy the time spent in Barbados.

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  38. Gillian Leapman

    Love to communicate with John amd margaret Knight.

  39. Moreen alleyne

    I have just returned to barbados and need some one to help me.. The lawyers here are ripping me off to the point I am going bankrupt. I need help before its to late for me.

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