Monthly Archives: February 2009

Former Barbados Government Minister Liz Thompson Writes BFP – “I deny that I was involved in any way” with Arch Cot Collapse

The following comment which purports to be from former BLP Government Minister Liz Thompson was posted today on our previously published story Readers Say Barbados Arch Cot Cave-In Construction Was A C.O. Williams – Gregory Hazzard Project For Liz Thompson. We at BFP will save our comments until after the submission by (apparently) Liz Thompson – except to say that we had not received any submission before this one or we surely would have published it for fairness AND because its a great news story.

As Ms. Thompson requested, we will leave this post up as prominently and even more prominently than the original so everyone can read her response. We have also created an introduction and a link on the previous post to further prominently display the message from the former Government Minister.

One caution, we have not confirmed that this is Liz Thompson as it wasn’t sent from her email, it was posted as a comment. Take it away (apparently) Liz Thompson… Continue reading

61 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Corruption, Disaster, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Rihanna and Slumdog Millionaire Child Actor: Both Abused, Can’t Break Free Of Abusers

LAPD Launches Investigation Into Rihanna Photo Leak

Chris Brown "Sorry"

“Never ever go back to that man. Once a man hit you it be over. Doan be foolish.”

… BFP’s Auntie Moses gives some advice for Rihanna

Rihanna Back With Chris Brown

Before the very public incident last February 8th where it is alleged that Chris Brown battered Rihanna, there were rumours on a few occasions about Rihanna sporting bruises and then expensive gifts later on.

We hoped that we were not seeing the same pattern of abuse in their relationship that we’ve all seen at one time or another with some couples. When Rihanna’s bruised face appeared on the internet many of our readers commented with their advice and hope that Rihanna would not go back to her abuser.

Rihanna has done just that: run back to the arms of the bully who beat and bit her.

I don’t care if Rihanna started the whole thing. I don’t care if she slapped or hit Brown first. I don’t care if she was going hyper because Brown received a text message from another woman.

A man must not hit a woman. Period.

But like so many women who think that some violence in a relationship is “normal”, Rihanna has returned for more abuse. He’s “sorry”, she’s “sorry”…

… until the next time.

Slumdog Millionaire Child Actor Beaten By Father – Didn’t Want To Be Shown Off

Not A Movie Scene - Child Actor Beaten By Father

Not A Movie Scene - Child Actor Beaten By Father

As usual most of the BFP crowd watched the Oscars on the satellite. I don’t know why, but this one annual event has turned into a big get-together where the girls comment on the dresses and the guys mock the celebrities who have gone to the plastic surgery clinic a few more times than they should have. (Oh those lips! LOL)

This year the attention was focused upon the big winner Slumdog Millionaire that won eight Academy Awards including Best Picture. We knew nothing of the film before the Oscars, but as we watched the clips and saw the children from the slum who had been flown over from India we talked about what would happen to them now.

Now that the ceremony is over. Now that the awards have been won and the money is rolling in. Now that their major usefulness is over.

It didn’t take long. Poor little Azharuddin went back to his home in the Mumbai Dharavi slum – exhausted from Hollywood and the flight back to India. He didn’t want to be shown off to reporters so his father beat him, the photographers photographed it and got a better story than they had hoped for. In North America or maybe even Barbados, the child welfare authorities would have been around just as soon as they saw the photos, but in Mumbai people will merely say that the child is lucky he isn’t a real slave (of which there are tens of thousands in Mumbai alone).

As for Azharuddin, he will continue to live in the slum with his abusive father who has tuberculosis. Like Chris Brown, the father made an apology and an excuse of sorts, saying “I was very sorry I did what I did… I was confused and stressed by my son’s homecoming and I did not know myself for a minute. I love my boy and I am very happy to have him home.”

People Don’t Have To Stay In Abusive Relationships

Most of us can think of a few abusive relationships we’ve seen in our neighbourhoods or workplaces. Many of us have been there ourselves. I can only hope that the very public nature of the abuse we’ve seen will cause some folks to realise that people don’t have to stay in these relationships. They don’t have to take it. Think about that the next time that you see a similar pattern developing with a friend or in the family. That is the only good that can come out of what has been shown in public with Rihanna and little Azharuddin.

Further Reading

People Magazine: Rihanna and Chris Brown Are Back Together

The Sun: Scumdad Millionaire

26 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Celebrities, Ethics, Rihanna

Carlos Belgrave, Supervisor of Insurance and Pensions in Barbados, Called “Worst Regulator” By OffshoreAlert

barbados-insurance-belgrave-500

Prior to being appointed to his regulatory position, (Barbados Supervisor of Insurance) Carlos Belgrave was the General Manager of a local company that manufactures “flour, animal and poultry feeds”

… from OffshoreAlert’s 2006 “Worst Regulator” Award

IMF Says Barbados Insurance Sector Needs “Tighter Regulation” – No Kidding!

The chaos surrounding the Barbados financial and insurance company called CLICO is in full swing so the International Monetary Fund – IMF – feels obliged to tell us that our insurance industry needs “tighter regulation”. (Hey, thanks for the tip IMF! We’d have never known without you.) Next the IMF will be telling us to take a closer look at Sir Allen Stanford.

Perhaps if the IMF staff could have torn themselves away from their duck pate and champagne back in 2007 they would have seen that Carlos Belgrave, Barbados Supervisor of Insurance and Pensions, was named “Worst Regulator” by OffshoreAlert.

Apparently OffshoreAlert was most impressed by Belgrave’s staunch support of three Barbados insurance companies that faked their books and had owners previously convicted of fraud. Not to mention that Belgrave approved and licensed the companies when other countries had turned them down.

IMF Report Talks Of Potential For Bank Failure In Barbados?

Our friends over at Barbados Money Laundering Advisory have published an excellent article about the IMF and Offshore Alert reports AND they seem to think that the IMF report also talks about another potential failure of a Barbados bank. Scary times we are living in.

barbados-offshorealert

Hello KYC & OffshoreAlert!

KYC – Know Your Client – is an investigative organisation dedicated to exposing financial crime wherever it is found. OffshoreAlert! is one of its newsletters. The organisation is run by journalist David Marchant out of Miami, Florida. Marchant has an impressive track record and was even kicked out of Bermuda by the government of the day in retaliation for his work. Somehow, I don’t think that Mr. Marchant would be made too welcome by the Barbados government either!

We’ve made a decision to publish a part of Mr. Marchant’s work to illustrate to our readers just how capable and fearless he is. We also think that this little sample will convince many people of the value of subscribing to OffshoreAlert! and of attending their next conference in Miami Beach, Florida this April. (As a side-note to Mr. Marchant, if you have any problem with us publishing this excerpt, please email us. Thanks!)

Here’s what OffshoreAlert discovered in 2006 about Chris Belgrave – Barbados Supervisor of Insurance and Pensions…

OffshoreAlert Awards – Best & Worst of 2006

KYC News, Inc., January 7, 2007

Worst Regulator
Carlos Belgrave, Supervisor of Insurance and Pensions, in Barbados

OffshoreAlert had occasion to investigate three Barbados insurers in 2006, namely Strategy Insurance Limited, Reliant Insurance SCC and River Reinsurance Limited. The first two are part of a Canada-based group whose insiders have included three people convicted of fraud-related offenses, while the third, which has a business relationship with the Canada group, is partly-owned by two Bermuda-based businessmen who are currently under investigation for securities fraud in the United States and only sought an insurance license in Barbados after being turned down in Bermuda. If all that was not warning enough for Belgrave, Strategy Insurance Limited’s parent, which trades as a penny stock in the United States, disclosed that the insurer had been carrying 104 million of non-existent capital on its books for 11 months. The capital had once existed, according to the firm, but it was allegedly illegally transferred out of the company by unnamed shareholders, rendering the entire group insolvent.

Instead of pulling Reliant’s license and despite there being no change of control or management, Belgrave allowed Reliant to continue in business by approving replacement capital with a face value of $518 million that consisted of nothing more substantial than a loan note issued by a newly-formed Panama firm that was secured by “bearer peat certificates representing the right to obtain peat, a pre-coal state organic material used as energy or for horticultural use, from the Changuinola Peat Deposit of Northwestern Panama”.

When OffshoreAlert contacted Belgrave, he farcically claimed that he was legally prohibited from even having a general discussion about the Barbados Insurance Act, let commenting on individual companies. Belgrave declined to impart any information about his professional background and qualifications so we did our own research and found that, prior to being appointed to his regulatory position, Belgrave was the General Manager of a local company that manufactures “flour, animal and poultry feeds”, according to its promotional material. When we found out that Belgrave is currently the ‘Third Vice-President’ of the U.S.-based International Association of Insurance Fraud Agencies Inc., we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Further Reading

Barbados Money Laundering Advisory: Bajan Banks and Insurance Companies Inadequately Supervised

KYC News – Offshore Alert: Website Link

40 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments

People You Can Rely Upon: Pretty Ethiopian Orphans, Rich African Widows, CLICO Investment Bankers…

Jepter Ince has never said "Now is not the time to invest."

Jepter Ince has never said "Now is not the time to invest."

We’re All Going To Be Rich! Filthy Rich, I Tell You!

One never knows what little GEMS of financial information and advice will show up in your inbox each morning. Today all I have to do is to show a little faith in what these folks are telling me and I shall be rich, rich, rich!!!!

Email #1 – From A Beautiful Ethiopian Orphan..

My dear

I am miss florence naissm from Ethiopia , i am single and 26 year old girl. Immediately after going through your profile i made up my mind to contact you for friendship, marriage or long term relationship because you are my choice of trust. I must reveal to you that my daddy was the Financial controler to the Common Wealth North African Region who was killed with my mother. i am the only child. Before my daddy died he made me the beneficiary of his final WILL and i am the beneficiary of the sum of 4.5 Million USD$ in his Domicilary US Dollar account…

Email #2 – From A Rich Widow In Need Of Assistance…

Dearest One,

I am Mrs. Aisatou Mohammed; My late husband used to worked with Chevron/Texaco Cote D’Ivoire for twenty years before he died in 2005. My late husband deposited some money $7.5 million with a local bank here. And this money is still with the bank as the management just wrote me as the beneficiary to come forward to receive the money or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf if I can not come over due to my health situation…

Email #3 – Nation News Publishes Promises From Former CLICO Investment Banker Jepter Ince…

jepter-ince-barbados

For years Jepter Ince and others like him have been flogging Barbadians all kinds of “investment vehicles” – financial products like the CLICO Balanced Fund he launched in 2000 with his promise as Fund Manager that it was “designed to create economic wealth for individuals and families in the short, medium and long-term.

Mr. Ince even advised people to borrow to invest in his fund…

Yup, back in the year 2000 Mr. Ince and CLICO said we should all just step right up and borrow from Clico Mortgage & Finance Corporation to invest in the Clico Balanced Fund. Then the fund would invest “throughout the region”.

Hmmmmmm…. I guess Mr. Ince forgot to tell us that the Clico fund would be investing in companies owned by Clico and its affiliates.

If that all sounds a bit circular and house-of-cards-ish, well couldn’t we all see back in 2000 that everything was fine and under control? Silly people… step right and borrow the money from CLICO and we’ll invest it in the CLICO fund that will invest in the CLICO companies. Simple, yes?

Of course in Barbados we are all honest so there was no real oversight necessary. Never mind that now in 2009 everybody is saying that there should be better oversight in the financial and banking industries…

Now Mr. Ince is telling us “A recession can be a time for prudent financial investing…” and “now is the time to strategically invest, with the potential of great pay-offs…”

Really, Mr. Ince? Well, I guess that could be true if things are not going to get any worse. And if we had any faith left in your industry, or in the products you previously sold us.

Mr. Ince, why don’t you tell us what returns you’ve achieved for your clients since you created the CLICO Balanced Fund in 2000? How did all those folks do who borrowed money from you to invest in your fund so you could put that money back into Clico? Huh? How did they do?

And one more thing, Mr. Ince…

Was there any time in the past ten years when you told us “Now is NOT the time to invest…”

I’ve been looking all over and I can’t find one report of you saying such a thing. Why not?

Further Reading

The Nation: Jepter Ince – Now “good time” to invest

Stabroek News: Clico (Barbados) statutory fund in deficit – Mottley

Keltruth Blog: CLICO Quiz (You must take this delightful quiz!, Cliverton)

AND HERE’S A LITTLE SOMETHING WE REMEMBER TOO!

CLICO fund decline
(Wednesday, 15 February 2006)

The CLICO Balance Fund is looking to 2006 for an improved showing. Fund Manager, Jepter Ince, says there was a five percent decline, but he is optimistic this year’s performance will be better.

Speaking at a training seminar for over 70 agents at the Accra Beach Hotel, Mr. Ince anticipates a growth in the capital market and greater harmonisation in cross border trading. He says recent education programmes have also contributed to the fund’s viability.

One of the fund’s director’s, Tony Marshall suggests it’s never too late to invest in the fund.

27 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Ethics, Offshore Investments

Trinidad and Tobago Central Bank & CLICO Obtain Injunction Against CL Financial

A High Court judge has granted an ex-parte injunction to the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT) and the Colonial Life Insurance Company Limited (CLICO) preventing the embattled local conglomerate CL Financial from conducting any local or international business with its assets…

<snip>

CL Financial must also “disclose to the Inspector of Financial Institutions, or his designated officer, the identity, and location of all or any assets of CLICO in or out of the jurisdiction, and provide a sworn affidavit of the Chief Executive Officer, or Chairman of CCLICO within two working days of service of the order”.

The embattled company was also mandated to make, “forthwith, and full disclosure to the claimants of all or any information relevant to the existence of any interest held in any of the said assets in CLICO whether it be controlled by the Board of Directors, senior management, officers, servants, agents, subsidiaries, associated, related or affiliated companies”. ..

… read the full story at CBC: TT High Court Grants Injunction To Central Bank

How Much CLICO Assets & Cash Was Transferred To CL Financial Prior To The Injunction?

The most interesting aspects of this ex-parte injunction article are:

1/ The court issued the injunction without telling CL Financial that the court was considering the request.

2/ CLICO was asking for the injunction in concert with the Central Bank of T&T.

3/ CL Financial Group Finance Director Michael Carballo made statements that the company hadn’t dealt with or disposed of any assets “since the intervention by the Central Bank”… which makes us wonder about what mischief was done in the few weeks leading up to the day when the Central Bank intervened. CLICO’s participation in asking for the injunction is an indicator that some improper events probably took place before CL Financial’s dire straights became known.

Once again… the fact that this injunction was rushed through secretly without telling CL Financial is a huge indicator that something unusual was about to happen, or already did.

clico-barbadosThe phrase that best describes what is happening with CL Financial, CLICO and the rest of the world right now?

Feet of clay, my friends. Feet of clay.

31 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking

An Honest Man Slaughters USA’s Bailout King Neel Kashkari

Donald Manzullo - American Hero!

Donald Manzullo - American Hero! Rep. Manzullo grills Bailout Czar Neel on why a failed company that was bailed out with taxpayer dollars -- AIG -- was allowed to give a $3 million bonus to an executive.

“We can’t relate to you in your world. I don’t know where you come from or the people with whom you deal on a day-to-day basis – but when you sit there and cannot take a position as to whether or not a three million dollar bonus to a failed company and as to which the taxpayers have put 125 billion dollars in assets – perhaps you’re not the right person for the job. Perhaps you don’t understand the situation at all…”

…US Congressman Donald Manzullo kicks the ever-loving life out of US government bailout official Neel Kashkari

Neel Kashkari - Slimey, Evasive

Neel Kashkari - Slimy, Evasive

You MUST Watch This YouTube Video!

How can we get US Congressman Donald Manzullo elected to the Barbados legislature?

Nevermind that he is a Yankee. Nevermind that he is talking about the trillion dollar bailout of failed American corporations.

Think Leroy Parris. Think CLICO. Think Cinnimon 88. Think rich Bajan racing horse owners. Think about all the money being handed out by the Barbados Government under the leadership of Prime Minister David Thompson.

Then watch this video of an honest man questioning a slimy, evasive government official.

Watch the YouTube video. Then think Prime Minister David Thompson as Neel Kashkari.

Do it. Now.

YouTube: Rep. Manzullo Questions Bailout Czar Neel Kashkari

28 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Millions Of WordPress Blogs: Barbados Free Press…. #27 !!!

Barbados Free Press In Good Company With Other Top 100 WordPress Blogs!

Barbados Free Press In Good Company With Other Top 100 WordPress Blogs!

Unbelievable But True!

WordPress.com has millions of blogs online, including some of the biggest (CNN & Fox News are pretty big!)

Have a look at the February 21, 2009 statistics provided by WordPress.com HERE.

This is what they say…

Out of the millions of WordPress.com blogs online…

Top Blog Posts Of The Day – February 21, 2009

#1 CNN

#4 NFL.com Blog

#6 Fox News Forum Blog

#8 CNN Anderson Cooper 360 Blog

#11 People Magazine Celebrity Baby Blog

#12 CNN Jack Cafferty Blog

#16 People Magazine – Style Watch Blog

#25 Sony Playstation Lifestyle Blog

#26 Canada’s Macleans Magazine Blog

#27 BARBADOS FREE PRESS !!!

How Is It Possible That Barbados Free Press Was So Highly Viewed?

Yes, our coverage of Rihanna’s assault by Chris Brown had a whole lot to do with February 21, 2009 being our best day ever, but tens of thousands of blogs covered the same story.

Why does Barbados Free Press consistently appear in the WordPress Top 100 Blogs list?

Damned if we know. Perhaps it has something to do with our weekly Friday afternoon celebration of the Bajan rum an doing nothing on the beach?

Thanks to all our loyal readers and our new visitors who are interested in Rihanna’s home island of Barbados.

Yours truly,

BFP’s slightly tipsy editorial staff of Marcus, Shona, George, Cliverton, Robert and Auntie Moses

15 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Rihanna