How CLICO Ruined A Barbados Heritage Site: Sam Lord’s Castle

Click the photo to see a YouTube video

Click the above photo to see a YouTube video (Opens in a new window)

BREAKING: Sam Lord’s Castle burns to the ground, October 20, 2010

Barbados: The Demise of Sam Lords Castle

Five years ago CLICO Barbados said they would restore Sam Lords Castle as part of a major tourist development.  Surprise, surprise… as they did in the past and have done since about other things — CLICO lied.

You see folks, this is the way it works with these irresponsible corporate beggars…

First, they spot a piece of land that they want. If, like Sam Lords Castle, it is a heritage site in need of some work the corporation promises to restore the heritage site to its former splendor — all in exchange of course for permission to develop the land. Next comes the “the condition was worse than we thought” speech. After a few years of additional neglect, the heritage site becomes nothing more than a candidate for demolition. And if that doesn’t work, well, the Corporation just leaves the place unguarded and unlocked so the paros can look after business for them. When the place finally burns down the way is clear for the development they really wanted to build.

PM Thompson Says His Conflicts Of Interest Are None Of Your Business

PM Thompson Says His Conflicts Of Interest Are None Of Your Business

No Integrity Legislation, No Conflicts Of Interest Standards: David Thompson Lied To Get Your Vote

Don’t expect the government of Prime Minister David Thompson to hold CLICO to account.  You see, CLICO CEO Leroy Parris is a DLP financial supporter and Godfather to the Prime Minister’s youngest daughter. Oh yes friends, you can expect a whole lot of accountability from that combination.

Not to mention that David Thompson was CLICO’s lawyer when they didn’t file financial statements for 13 years! And were those financial statements up to date when the David Thompson government bailed out CLICO for tens of millions of dollars earlier this year? Not on your life — you can look at the original source documents at Keltruth blog here.

Oh how Barbados could shine, how our children’s future could be better, if only we had some rules against the type of corrupt conflicts of interest that each of our successive governments seems to thrive on. If we had politicians who were dedicated to preserving what is wonderful about Barbados instead of lining their own pockets and looking the other way when their friends need a favour, what a place this could be!

Have a good look at the legacy of CLICO Barbados — a company that has been given tens of millions of dollars in cash, concessions and guarantees by Prime Minister David Thompson. And yes, David Thompson is also Godfather to the son of Leroy Parris.

Anything for an old friend it seems, whether their financial statements are legally up-to-date or not…



Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Corruption, Ethics, History, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Real Estate, Tourism

81 responses to “How CLICO Ruined A Barbados Heritage Site: Sam Lord’s Castle

  1. Red Lake Lassie

    Barbados should take it back from Clico. Graeme Hall lands too for the bailout. No corporate beggars allowed.

  2. Bajangal

    That is heartbreaking.

    I have been inside Sam Lord’s Castle in its glory days and seen some of the rooms.

    It is hard to believe that anyone far less our esteemed PM would allow what has happened to take place.

    “Tourism is our Business”?????

    God heavens if the “time was not right” surely some type of security could have been put in place.

    Obviously there was no desire, will or intention to do so.

    SHAME on all those concerned.


    Come on guys this place was raped of every piece of antique furniture,among other treasured pieces like that wonderful massive dining room table and chairs, and all of the other old furniture and the other pieces that made up the history of Sam Lord’s Castle and I was directed to ask Mr Grant and Mr Edghill as to whereabouts of these collector items.

    It has fallen into a state of disrepair and neglect but let us really be honest and ask hose that know where they have stashed the belongings of Sam Lords Castle, can we start with Mr Grant and Edghill as a good starting point, maybe we will need to go no further in our search for these pices of Barbadian treasure.

  4. Lady Anon

    This is not CLICO’s doing. CLICO rescued this piece of property after Mr. Grant and Mr. Edhill purchased it, took all the antiques and treasured pieces and let it fall to ruin.

    When it was purchased by CLICO, it was EMPTY and falling to pieces. It was better to purchase it than to allow it to end up like Kings Beach.

  5. crossroads

    Bajans want to move/get rid of Nelson, you think they care about Sam Lords?

  6. Red Lake Lassie

    Lady Anon, this is hardly a “rescue” by Clico. You sure do spin the truth, don’t you? What is your agenda?

  7. Nostradamus

    “Sam Lord’s became a hotel in 1942, designed and developed by Victor Marson. He added the matching wings and laid out the gardens and fountains. Today it is part of a major Marriott luxury resort, but in 1942 it was ahead of its time. It pioneered, in Barbados, what has become a crucial metamorphosis of many historic houses in Europe into luxury hotels.”

    Page 68, Treasures of Barbados (1990) by Henry S Fraser on Sam Lord’s Castle.

    Imagine that in 1942 we were ahead of our time but thanks to the likes of the aforementioned “gentlemen” this is the juncture at which we now stand!

    Lady Anon, God help us if what CLICO did was a rescue. I would hate to see what neglect and destruction would be.

    Usually it is an invading army of foreigners that will rape and pillage but when your own countrymen are the perpetrators then you know you are in trouble.

    It makes it all the more laughable that Leroy can be quoted as saying in the Nation of June 08, 2008 that “By monthend CLICO Holdings Barbados should get full approval to start its $320 million project at Sam Lord’s Castle, St Philip. That includes a 250-room hotel, 200 condominiums and refurbishment of the historic Sam Lord’s Castle, around which the entire tourism project will be centred.”

  8. Nostradamus

    BFP your filter grabbed my post.

  9. Asiba-The Buffalo Soldier-'why should I wear a jacket and tie'

    I actually spent time at Sam Lords . I enjoyed every moment there and this for me is a not a good sight (site)

    I have always longed to go back and spent some quiet days but that seems far away now

    oh my gosh !
    looka deterioation


    Red Lake Lassie, But what she has said is the gospel truth, the place was raped and left to rot even from the days of Edghill and Grant they both know where the antiques are stashed.

    Clico merely bought an empty shell nothing more nothing less, I agree something needs to be done to stop the rot but really it is less than honest to put the blame at the feet of Clico for something they had no control in.

    Next time you See Edhill and Grant asked them where they moved and why they moved with our national treasures as they did, some may suggest that value of the antiques may be more worthy that the real estate today, ask Edghill and Grant where they have stashed the goodies of Sam Lord’s.

  11. Can We Trust BFP?

    Here we go again with yet another transparent attempt to paint Barbados in a bad light.

    Everyone with the exception of BFP and their cronies, know that the castle was in shambles long before it was bought by CLICO.

  12. Hants

    It makes a better story to blame Clico.

    It does bring an important topic to this forum.

    The conservation and protection of heritage buildings.

    How much are you taxpaying citizens will to assist the Government in preserving heritage buildings.

    Will you posters donate some money on a regular basis to the Barbados National Trust?

  13. John

    … and then there is Farley Hill and the suggestion from some that it be demolished.

  14. Anonymous

    Leroy Parris tells Owen Arthur “GIVE ME WHAT I WANT” NATION NEWSPAPER June 04, 2007

    “Villa Nova is under renovation. We are putting in 16 more rooms, and that is starting from next week, to move it up to 44. We are giving you what you ask for; give me what I want,” he told Prime Minister Owen Arthur with respect to the golf course.

  15. John

    Clico, Grant, Edghill … all players in a poker game.

    Who was the dealer?


    Truly there are things that BFP and BU can serve this country well on but as is the case here this is a very shallow and frail attempt to create a story.

    They are barking up the wrong tree on this attempt.

  17. Hants

    Forbes “With the industrial world already in outright recession and the emerging world navigating toward a hard landing (growth well below potential), expect global growth to be flat (around -0.5%) in 2009.

    This will be the worst global recession in decades as the fallout of the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression took a toll first on the U.S. and then–via a variety of channels–on the rest of the global economy.”

    And how does this affect Barbados?

    I will leave it to the trained economists to explain to us mere mortals..

  18. Anonymous

    Sorry, wrong link above.

    Leroy Parris tells Owen Arthur “GIVE ME WHAT I WANT” NATION NEWSPAPER June 04, 2007

    “Villa Nova is under renovation. We are putting in 16 more rooms, and that is starting from next week, to move it up to 44. We are giving you what you ask for; give me what I want,” he told Prime Minister Owen Arthur with respect to the golf course.

  19. Red Lake Lassie

    Then why didn’t CLICO or the government take steps to protect this heritage site from the elements and vandals?



  20. John

    I don’t believe in conspiracy theories and secret societies and world domination …. still, when history is there to suggest different ……… I wonder.

    Prefer to keep an open mind and not prejudge events.

    Hope the link works, otherwise google Rothschild and Waterloo.

  21. Elombe

    So should we leave the ruins or should we rebuild Farley Hill, John? Which one?

  22. Donald Duck, Esq

    Would it not be wise to open Villa nova and at least earn some foreign exchange before that goes to ruin!!!

  23. Nostradamus

    Nation June 17, 2007 –

    Heritage tourism – at last

    “Our salvation and passport to sustainable tourism in the face of global warming and global domination is heritage tourism and, if at all possible, the recognition of World Heritage status for Bridgetown and its Garrison. But with each demolition and scarification meted out, that hope recedes further!”

    Link to full article.

  24. Lady Anon

    My agenda is to tell the truth as I see it. Sam Lord’s Castle was bankrupt…it needed a financial rescue. At the time, everyone that mattered was grateful that CLICO stepped in and kept SLC in relatively local hands rather than selling out a prime historical spot to non-national investors.

    No agenda here…

  25. Nostradamus

    Lady Anon, isn’t it ironic that when this “prime historical spot” was owned by non-national investors (Marriott) it was maintained in pristine condition.

    According to you “At the time, everyone that mattered was grateful that CLICO stepped in and kept SLC in relatively local hands”.

    One wonders whether “everyone that mattered” are still so grateful. The rest of us aren’t. But then we probably “don’t matter”.

  26. Sing-a-song

    How does Italy maintain the very many ancient structures found there? It would be especially instructive how the old character of towns is maintained.

  27. MANJAK

    Re. Clico, Sam Lords,Farley Hill, Sing-a-Song and Italy

    I reside in Italy for part of the year and the response to Sing-a-Song query as to how that country maintains its ancient structures and heritage sites.
    It’s rather pretty simple really. Italian people are proud of their heritage of ancient buildings, their architecture, their foods, their wonderful design skills and the glorious art that surrounds them in their churches, galleries and cathredrals. Their history and deep respect and love of their culture is embedded into their DNA from the bambinos to the older folk.
    They would not so much as entertain the utterly asinine notion of razing to the ground a Farley Hill as a non religious person would wish to cut their right arm off because it offends them.
    Their monuments are culturally intrinsic and critical to them as to who they are as a people.They and their political representatives are agreed that their culture and history is to be respected, restored, preserved and enjoyed. It is to be kept for future generations, This comes at a cost of course but they are prepared to pay such.
    They are no cultural vulgarians the likes of the Al Gilks/Hamilton Lashley, Leroy Parris, David Thompson and their wukkup and ignorant court followers who sadly populate Barbados.

  28. Lady Anon

    I completely agree with you. I worked at SLC while under Marriott and it was a wonderful experience.

    We however cannot have it both ways…we cannot want to decry foreign investmen (Buy Bajan…100% Bajan….Bajans first) and then boo hoo when the Bajan investment falls through and falls to pieces.

    I am sure there was some measure of pride to learn that Grant and Edgehill had purchased SLC…but not anymore.

    The issue was quite the same with Eastry House…only it was in much worse condition.

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  30. yatinkiteasy

    Would love to see what the inside of the Empire Theatre looks like.What about it vidimages?

  31. Lady Anon

    Would love to see what the inside of the Empire Theatre looks like.What about it vidimages?

    Ha! Good one!

  32. Pat

    Amen to that!

    Jamaicans are now raising money to restore the historic Titchfield Hill, with all its old wooden and stone mansions. Not so Barbados. Tear it down, so we can pack more people in and make more money. Idiots.

  33. The Scout

    It is O.K to talk about restoring Farley Hill house but I’m sure most of you who are saying so has not seen it recently. Since the earth tremor in Barbados the walls have cracked worse and it is falling apart rapidly. The little enclosure that was erected around it will not prevent persons from being seriously injuried or even killed if the whole thing collapse. Frankly speaking, it is an accident about to happen. The very vibrations from loud speakers could trigger a collapse. It is a pity that the building was allowed to get to this stage but the sensible thing to do now, is to knock it down. Even the little cafe and gift shop at the back had to be abandoned because of the danger the building poses. I think it should be demolished and rebuilt in the same design.

  34. Sing-a-song

    Build it back? Why?

    Given the perilous state of the ruins, it should be completely demolished. However, I think no building should replace it. Farley Hill should be a zone of peace. Find some other place to hold the shows.

  35. Nostradamus

    “It is a pity that the building was allowed to get to this stage but the sensible thing to do now, is to knock it down.”

    Scout, perhaps Government used the same strategy as CLICO. Carry out no maintenance, let it fall apart and then the only practical option is to demolish.

  36. The Scout

    After the fire at the Farley Hill house, there was a lotta long talk about refurbishing it at the time and use is as a hertitage site, that would have been good. For the filming of the movie “Island in the sun” a lot of temporary and cosmetic work was done on the house but since that successive governments paid scant respect to the building. Now the only thing to do is demolish the building. I am not advocating using the site as a fete spot, it should be a hertitage spot with a museum and a quality restuarant and even caberet shows and kiosks where locals can display their gifts as tourists and local browse through the beautiful gardens. I am against massive fete crowds there on a regular basis. If a fete is allowed, it should be held on the western section with the stage in the carpark, facing west

  37. Victor E. Stewart

    I am very pleased to see that some people in Barbados are finally waking up to the rape of Sam Lord’s Castle. I can speak with particular authority on the subject because my father, George Stewart, was the person who bought Sam Lord’s Castle in the mid-1950s and built it up into a premier luxury hotel that we sold to the Marriotts in the early 1970s. I still maintain a house in Castle Close, just outside the walls of the Castle. and visit Barbados regularly.

    I can verify every painting and piece of furniture that was in Sam Lord’s Castle at the time of its sale to the Marriotts, because absent a few pieces of furniture, everything in the Castle came from my parents’ homes in the United States or in England, or was purchased by my family at auction for the Castle. The original furniture from Sam Lord’s day consisted of: his four-poster bed and steps, his dining room table (not the chairs), one or two sideboards and some very rare papier-mache framed mirrors, most of which we found packed in the attic (and which bore the packing strap marks every after). There may have been one or two other items that I am not remembering at the moment. I have been taking pictures of the interior of Sam Lord’s Castle since I was a small boy, and somewhere I have extensive pictures of every item of furniture and every painting from the ground floor and first floor bedrooms.

    The looting of the Castle began in a small way after the Marriotts took over. One of the terms of sale that my father insisted upon was that the contents of the Castle were to remain there in perpetuity in trust for the people of Barbados. Obviously Marriotts did not pay much attention to that, as several paintings and other items disappeared from the Castle over the years, and I know of at least one item that showed up at an art dealer’s in Hawaii, where it had followed the transfer of a Marriott executive. The National Trust was nowhere to be found, and never made any effort that I know of to protect any of my family’s legacy to Barbados at any time from the Marriotts period onwards.

    While the Marriotts engaged in light pillaging, the Grants looted the place entirely and allowed it to fall into ruins. There are many stories in St. Philip of trucks arriving in the middle of the night after the hotel was bankrupt and shut down to carry off everything in the Castle, including the beautiful railings on the main stair case, whose loss can be seen on the video. There are also many stories that much of the contents of Sam Lord’s remains hidden in various Grant bolt holes on the island.

    I have seen with my own eyes what is portrayed in the video, and it is entirely accurate and I applaud the makers for performing a public service for the people of Barbados. My heart breaks thinking of how the Castle was when I was growing up, and all the memories that my family and our friends made there through the years. I am only glad that my parents are not alive to see the travesty that has occurred.

    A few further points regarding CLICO. While I know that they do not have the best reputation with old properties on the island, they really have a chance to redeem themselves with Sam Lord’s Castle. If they have done anything reprehensible or stupid so far, it is in not repairing the Castle’s roof and preventing any further water and termite damage. By not doing so since they acquired ownership, CLICO has exacerbated the destruction many times over to the Castle’s plaster ceilings and wooden floors. They have also allowed hundreds of bats to take up residence (also shown in the video), and these bats have befouled the interior in a most lamentable manner. Regardless of when (or if) CLICO begins their construction at the site, they should be required to take the proper measures now to stabilize the Castle’s condition and prevent further destruction.

    If the people of Barbados are willing to make the effort to reverse this dismal situation, I would be most happy to assist. If property stolen from the Castle is found, I can most probably identify it for the authorities through photographs and old guides to the Castle treasures that we produced for visitors years ago. If the Grants and others think that they are safe because no one would know or be able to prove what was once in the Castle, they are sorely mistaken. If help is needed in restoring the plaster ceilings, I have photographs somewhere of every part of what once was there.

    Once again, thank you to the makers of that video. I hope it wakes up the conscience of the people of Barbados. You do not need a global economic turnaround to reclaim your heritage. You just need the will to do it.

  38. Green Monkey

    Thanks for that informative and enlightening post Victor. In a way it is really is a slap in the face to your parents that in spite of the efforts they took to protect the castle and its contents for posterity to ensure it would be there for future generations of Bajans and visitors to appreciate no one in any official capacity appears to give a rat’s rear end that the property was looted and just left to fall into ruin. However, Barbados being Barbados, I cannot confess to being surprised.

  39. I. G. Norance

    In this financial climate where will you find investors willing to pony up $320 MILLION to construct villas which are not selling and hotel rooms for people who are not travelling. Let all de persons who talking pony up for a heritage tax or donate to a Barbadian Heritage restoration Fund and do more that just yap.

  40. H.E.Ritage

    When a self proclaimed “good corporate citizen” such as CLICO buys a “listed building” one would expect that they would act responsibly and at a minimum ensure that the said building is at least maintained and protected and not allowed to become derelict. That’s what would have made them a “good corporate citizen”

    When they bought it in 2005 they knew they had a responsibility to preserve it .The big maguffy himself said that the “castle” would be preserved. See report form the NATION NEWSPAPER – January 28, 2006
    “CLICO Holdings chairman Leroy Parris said then that Sam Lord’s would be redeveloped. During the construction phase, he said, most of the hotel rooms would be knocked down, but the “castle” would be preserved because of its historical value.”

    Regrettably they never redeveloped anything but instead presided over the destruction seen in the video. Is that a “good corporate citizen”?

  41. Sargeant

    Is it a coincidence that this story is in the Nation so soon after the dilapidated condition of the “Castle” was hilighted in the blogs? The story says that Donald Trump was interested in the site all I would say is “Please Lord No No No !!!”.

  42. Pingback: » What Happened to the (CLICO Parent) CL Financial Website? Keltruth Corp.: News Blog of Keltruth Corp. - Miami, Florida, USA.

  43. Nostradamus

    Hotel ‘Safe’ But Still Sorry
    Reprinted from
    [Thursday, July 31, 2003]

    The near $3 million in debt, for which the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) had sought to reclaim by scheduling a sale of furniture and equipment owned by Sam Lord’s Castle Resort, represents just a fraction of the hotel’s indebtedness.

    Documents filed by chartered accountant Richard Lynch with the Supervisor of Insolvency this week on behalf of Grant Hotels Inc., the holding company for the Castle, revealed that the company owed more than 300 creditors $41.367 million.

    The filing by Sam Lord’s effectively curtailed the auction sale by the Chief Marshal of the Supreme Court on behalf of the NIS, and the possible foreclosure by the Barbados National Bank (BNB) to protect its interest in the sprawling St Philip property that was once operated by the Marriott Corporation of the United States.

    Other major creditors listed on the document filed included: the Commissioner of Inland Revenue – $1.487 million; Comptroller of Customs – $1.1 million; Marriott Corporation – $21.3 million; Caribbean Financial Services Corporation (CFSC) – $2.1 million; and BNB – $10.137 million.

    Additionally, the company also owes World Publications – $23 974; Tropical Laundries – $35 095; Trident Wines – $24 932; Sleep Rite (B’dos) – $62 809; Stokes & Bynoe – $28 950; R.L. Seale – $68 494; Price Waterhouse Coopers – $65 000; Hotel Food Supplies $206 296; Cable & Wireless – $102 766; Barbados Water Authority – $74 036; Barbados Light & Power – $76 050; Barbados Business Machines – $63 000; and Barbados Beach Club – $46 324.

    The “Notice of Intention to Make a Proposal” under Section 16 of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, identified Grant Hotels Inc. as an insolvent company and appointed Lynch as trustee.

    After much speculation last week that lawyers for Grant Hotels and the NIS might battle in court to stall any attempt to continue the auction, attorney for the NIS Patterson Cheltenham, QC, wrote Anthony Audain, lawyer for the hotel, saying he was satisfied the action taken mandated a statutory stay of proceedings.

    “I will advise my client accordingly. However, I expect your client to comply with the very specific timetable set out in the act. Do not expect any concessions from me,” Cheltenham said.

  44. Donald Duck, Esq

    Readers should note the following provision of section 39(2) of the insurance act of Barbados

    “Every company shall publish
    (a) the balance sheets referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b); and
    (b) the profit and loss account referred to in paragraph (c),of subsection (1) annually in the Official Gazette and in a daily newspaper
    within 4 months of the end of the financial year.”

    It is now may 2 and have we seen anything!

  45. Actress

    The Empire Theatre is simply a disgrace… (they built a bank in what used to be the back entrance for sets, equipmenet, actors, etc.) and, along with Queen’s Park Theatre, now as defunct and rotten, just goes to show how much Barbados knows or cares about Theatre. Oh well, why bother… no one’s listening…

  46. tek-a-view

    The Sam Lords debacle is amazing and disgraceful. I have seen on Facebook that the PM is certainly aware of the situation as he has been sent the YouTube video clip. So we will see whether anything is done. Not holding your breath are you?
    I also wonder if we are going to see some of the fringe lunatics who want Farley Hill demolished because it reminds us of our colonial past to come out and say that SL must be demolished too. If they do not say that then I wonder why not, seems the same idea to me. Just shows there will aiways be those who walk among us.

  47. Jason

    tek a view, don’t forget that letting Sam Lord’s run down so it has to be demolished was the Clico plan.

  48. Barbadians who have lived under colonial mentality do not know much about preserving their heritage especially if it is related to past slavemasters.

    Sam Lords was associated with slavery. My foreparents came from that name. All they know is what was passed on to them. All the Lords in St Phillip. What do they have to show about heritage but a name passed on from their slavemasters?
    This goes for all the so-called ‘great’ houses in Barbados, and the bajans carrying the names of these previous owners..

    These ‘developers’ know that we do not know anything about creativity and that we do not like to be associated with slavery. So they know that we Barbadians do not have the will to pursue the wrongdoers, especially those who tell us that they will build more hotels so that our blacks can do the ‘ servile ‘work. It is sad but true. We do not have the stamina like the Jamaicans. They would never allow their history to go to riun in the manner described in the videos shown about Sams Lord ‘Castle’.

    Nine years ago when I visited the great house, the large framed painting at the entrance was gone! and my heart felt heavy, becuseI realized that it was stolen, and nothing was done about it!!

    Thanks friend for letting the world and me know that someone cares.

  49. Tom T

    I spent 5 or 6 days at Sam Lord’s in about 1970. We had a very immemorable stay. It was so lovely and remember the drive in the taxi to the resort.

    Makes me so sad that it has been left to be plundered. Maybe those pirate tales are true even in these days.

  50. Eric

    The misses and I honeymooned at Sam Lord’s in 1978 and liked it so much we went back in 1980, 1990 and 1999. Each experience was less enjoyable than the previous. The last was just bad. The pool was cloudy. The drinks were weak. You couldn’t get clean towels. There was a whiff of sewage in the air from septic tanks not pumped out. It could be a national treasure and a big moneymaker, but it sounds like your politicians are no better than those we have in the states.

  51. Thank you for this. I visited the site in July and took pictures; your article here inspired me to post what I found. Dead mice, debris, overgrown weeds – it was horrible.

    I’m calling the article “Leroy Parris and CLICO: The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything”

  52. Miss Ting

    If tourism development for this site is considered desirable I wish to suggest a pirate theme resort with a restored Castle as the centrepiece. Perhaps Captain Jack Sparrow would oblige and open the finished product.

  53. J. Payne

    “Jason” > tek a view, don’t forget that letting Sam Lord’s run down so it has to be demolished was the Clico plan.

    Me: My mind did tell-me-so to you know? It seem too odd that the grounds got buyout by Colonial Life in T&T and all the while they keep saying all the time “We plan to work with what is there, and we’re going to open something better.” Now years later nothing has opened. I knew Sam Lord’s was in trouble from the time they announced that sale and were selling off a whole lot of furniture.

  54. Lisa

    How utterly, utterly awful! I got married at Sam Lord’s Castle in October of 1980. Kansas City was playing Philadelphia in the World Series. Each day when the “new check-ins” arrived at Sam Lord’s, we were all clamoring for information on how the game the night before went — this was YEARS before internet and we wouldn’t get the paper until later in the day. There was a bond between the guests. My fiance/husband and I rented motor scooters and explored the Island. Kay (concierge at Sam Lord’s) assisted us in the intricacies of getting married in Barbados (even lining us up with an attorney for an affadavit when my fiance forget to bring divorce papers from his first marriage — ooppss !). At that time you needed to buy a $5.00 postage stamp from the Post Office — sounds a bit like a hunting stamp?!? The staff was efficient, kind and thorough. The grounds were gorgeous (especially considering they had a HUGE hit from a hurricane three weeks before) — you could tell there had been bad weather though as the windmill was “listing” a bit. Someone does need to step in and take control of the situation. I don’t profess to understand all of the politics, business decisions and views that have caused things to run amuck. AND I believe that this gem —- this wonderful shining beacon that so encompasses the joy, pride and history of Barbados — CAN be saved. All it takes is for those who are involved to “check their egos at the door” and — figure out where to go from here. Please, please, PLEASE try?

  55. First and Second honeymoon

    If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I never would have believed in August of 1975 (our honeymoon week) that my husband of 32 years and I would return to Sam Lord’s in March of 2006 and have found the Castle in such ruin. It was like walking the grounds of a ghost town. All of the laughter, joy and wonderful memories of staff and people we met in that magical time seemed like a far distant dream. Seems the committment to the heritage of Barbados, is profoundly a very low priority by the powers that be. It was devestating to see how such a fantastic, beautiful place so full of life and history could be allowed to be so neglected and destroyed.

    It had always been our dream to go back to Barbados and stay at Sam Lord’s castle. As we celebrated our 31st anniversary in Barbados, time had not been kind to our remembered first stay at Sam Lord’s Castle and the surrounding grounds. The memories of both trips will not fade away.
    Please continue to advocate for your historical places. It is so important to future generations. You have precious treasures….don’t allow them to become “once long ago” memories.

  56. Misery


    Well I am not going to go deep into the political battle about Sam’s Lords Castle at all because ,really, does anyone out there care enough to do anything about it!!!!!NO!!

    I have a place at Castle Close now and have been going back and forth to Sam Lord’s Castle since I was 15 years old since 1983 and I remember every detail on how it use to look.

    Every year we go back and sneak in and wander around the property and every year it just breaks my heart more and more.

    I am disgusted that they would let it go to such waste and ruins!!!!!! The lack of care in this once beautiful property is outrageous and they should all be asshamed!!!! Clico rescued this property MY ASS!!!! Open your eyes Lady Anon!!!! When was the last time you stepped foot there??? Maybe it’s about time you do so you can how very heart breaking it is!!!!

  57. dawn blease

    i am so upset i got marrid in sams lords castle 10 years ago and allways said i wanted to go back and to see what they have done to the place upsets me so much. It a disgrace and should not be done.

  58. David G. Brooks

    My wife and I had our honeymoon there 15 years ago and its hard to think it has come to this.

    However, from the time Clico stepped into Barbados and gobbled up the seriously ailing Barbados Foundry Group of Companies and then a few years later did the same for Plantations Holdings Ltd., and all the companies and plantations it owned, leaving shareholders with their share certificates still hand (to this day), not honouring any of the employees pension plans, etc., I have had nothing to do with Clico other than have utter contempt for them and am really not surprised of the eventual outcome.

    My only concern that it took so long for it to happen, when Allan Stanford in Antigua only last a few years by comparison.

  59. Lisa

    Does anyone have any idea how much it would cost to purchase the property at this point?

  60. castra

    This story is so heartbreaking. I am from the UK & have many happy memories of vacations at Sam Lords Castle & its wonderful staff from over 10 years ago when my children were still young. What has happened to this wonderful property is a crime. Those responsible for the pillage & dis-repair of Sam Lords castle should be brought to justice. Judging by the conflicts of interest mentioned in the initial report, this action sounds unlikely at present.

    Multi National Banks, corporations & *some* government ministers are the scum of this Earth we live on. Hopefully one day they will get their ‘comeuppance’.

    I wish those campaigning for the restoration of Sam Lords Castle the very best of luck.

  61. Pingback: Sam Lord’s Castle burns to the ground thanks to Barbados DLP, BLP, CLICO, Leroy Parris « Barbados Free Press

  62. Anonymous

    You do NOT want to see the inside of the Empire Cinema.
    The entire roof collapsed inward YEARS ago
    and there are now saplings growing inside there where we used to sit as kids.

  63. Anonymous

    Old buildings with load-bearing walls remain OK
    as far as structural integrity goes
    -as long as the roof is in good shape to keep out moisture
    and thus the termites that follow the moisture!

    If/when the roof is gone, that’s the beginning of the end of the structural integrity of load-bearing walls
    which were assembled way back then
    with what would laughably be considered “mortar” today!

    Unless we are willing to cough up MILLIONS to restore what’s left of both Farley Hill and Sam Lord’s Ruins
    we can forget it. — Tear it down.

    Farley Hill ruins are rubble waiting to dis-assemble.

    Sam Lord’s walls will be next, given a few decent rainy seasons and an earthquake or two to help the erosional process along!

    I hear much idealism being spouted,
    as if we have tons of money to do these things.
    We don’t!

    Both Farley Hill and Sam Lord’s are gone!
    Deal with the loss. There is no coming back.

    Sam Lord will bring in the bulldozers,
    demolish the ruin and start fresh
    -when the global economy recovers in 5-10 years time
    when Someone Rich from Outside feels like doing so.

    Don’t lose any more sleep over what is done and finished.

  64. Politically Tired

    I overheard a conversation in the Bank this morning saying items were removed from Sam Lords two weeks ago. Rumour/truth who knows.

  65. Victor E. Stewart

    As a member of the family that owned Sam Lord’s Castle in its glory days before we sold the hotel to the Marriotts, I can say unequivocally that this is a complete and utter disgrace. Now, at best, the Castle can become a burned out shell, much like Farley Hill, where visitors to the grounds can only speculate as to what former grandeur once existed therein. I well remember as a small boy roaming around inside that wonderful mansion before it too was burned to the ground “under mysterious circumstances.”

    From a cynical point of view, I will observe that since everything possible had already been stolen out of the Castle, including the very balustrade going up the staircase to the first floor bedrooms, few if any of the precious heirlooms belonging to the Castle were destroyed by this fire. Perhaps those that have stolen all of the valuables out of the Castle in past years will now think that they are safe, and will try to claim that such items were destroyed by the fire, but luckily there are sufficient intrepid photographers who have photographed the interiors of the Castle in the last few years who have the necessary evidence that everything of value was long gone before the ravages of this fire.

    Perhaps now, if the government of Barbados has any sense of remorse over the mishandling of this priceless and unique national treasure, it will finally launch an investigation into where all of the stolen paintings, furniture and other items belonging to Sam Lord’s Castle and thus rightfully to the people of Barbados might now be secreted on the island. I will be happy to bear witness to the fact that when my family sold the Castle to the Marriott’s, it was with the strict condition that the contents of the Castle, including the paintings, furniture, Sam Lord’s bed and dining table and many other valuables were never to leave the Castle, and were to remain in perpetuity there in trust for the people of Barbados. Pehaps in some small way now the government of Barbados might attempt to redeem my father’s legacy and recover some of those valuables, many of which I believe are still on the island hidden away in private homes.

    With great sorrow on this mournful day, I extend my sincere condolences to the people of Barbados on the tragic loss of part of their heritage.

    Victor Edwin Stewart
    Castle Close
    St. Philip

  66. Anonymous

    So…who’s this property insured with?

  67. Anonymous

    Ummmm…if I legally buy the castle and its contents
    -surely all furnishings are..
    mine to dispose of as I please?

    Could you clarify WHO these “stolen” artifacts belong to
    that you so plan to recover (for what purpose?)..

    For posterity’s sake, I’m glad the furniture and other good bits are elsewhere
    or they too would have been consumed by last night’s fire.
    I’m happy to know that someone somewhere has them in safe keeping!

  68. Victor E. Stewart

    In reply to “Anonymous”:

    When you convey property, you can attach conditions. My family spent many years and much wealth in restoring Sam Lord’s Castle and enhancing it by filling it with Regency period paintings and furniture, much of it from our own homes. We did this to create a showcase for the people of Barbados, and when the time came for my father to sell the Castle, he wanted to make sure that what we had created would remain as a gift to the people of Barbados. Marriotts bought the Castle from my family with that condition clearly understood, and had the Barbados government been able to protect national heritage items entrusted to it, the Barbados National Trust, among other groups, should have made sure that the contents of Sam Lord’s Castle remained there.

    What I would like to see happen now is that the many valuable artifacts that were wrongfully taken from the Castle be restored and put under the protection of the Barbados National Trust or some such similar organization until such time as a suitable place can be found for such artifacts to be put on exhibit for the benefit of the people of Barbados.

    One further point should be made. The last hotel operation run at Sam Lord’s Castle went badly bankrupt, leaving hundreds of creditors all over the island. At the time of that operation’s insolvency, there were still many valuable objects in the Castle. There is no way that any of those items should have “disappeared” from the Castle in the middle of the night until those proceedings were resolved. Perhaps you can connect the dots for yourself…

  69. Geographer

    Thanks for the clarification.
    And although I agree with your somewhat idealistic notions
    however that was Then,in the 1950s/60s Colonial Barbados we all fondly remember
    – and this is Now in today’s 2010 Barbados,
    where a lotta stuff now goes down outside of law and legal agreements!!

    It’s a far cry today from what you remember
    and what we’d all like to still obtain,today.
    Barbados can be now described as
    an island some 1500 miles off the West coast of Africa
    rather than an island 4,000 miles SW of England.

    Sounds like local law enforcement willpower generally is to blame.

    Marriotts started the raid, Grant and Edghill finished it

  70. yatinkiteasy

    Lots of crooks out there!

  71. Anomynuss

    Perhaps it is time that the countries affected by the greed and malice of CLICO’s Jet-Setter “Silver Spoon” Lawrence Duprey seek his extradition on the grounds of wilful destruction, fraud and theft. So far as I can see, Duprey bought many companies and properties, weaseled his way into others, and made such promises and assurances worthy of the true Ponzi-schemer that he is without any intention of following through.

    Many more thousands of eastern Caribbean people have been financially affected, if not ruined, by this man’s total lack of integrity, morals or ethics than were so affected by that other Ponzi criminal RAS Allen Stanford based in Antigua.

    By the way, the man who says his family name was taken from Sam Lord, you should be informed that in fact Sam Lord’s real name was Sam Lord HALL… “Sam Lord” was what he was called in the Press after the song came out, and was not his actual name.

  72. Allen Churchwell

    Does anyone know of a chap named Iain Jones that managed and invested in Villa Nova around 2oo2 03 or 04. I have lost a considerable amount of $$ in his broken agreements and could use any information on him.

  73. DANIEL

    I spent one GLORIUS week at Marriott’s Sam Lord’s Castle Resort in 1995. It was a truly FANTASTIC ROMANTIC time that my wife and I spent there with a MUZAK group. I always wanted to go back as it was such a MAGICAL MYSTICAL place to us, but it looks like I won’t be doing that now, eh? TOO BAD, because I love SLC!!

  74. Pingback: Victor Stewart on Sam Lord’s Castle and how CLICO pillaged our island | Barbados Free Press

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  76. Descendant

    I can not believe you call a old slave master’s house, a national treasure of Barbados.
    That house was filled with sow and despair and with the blood and tears of slaves tolling every day to make a thieving family happy.
    I am a direct descendant of a slave woman who was in enslaved at Sam Lord’s castle her name was “Phoebe Lord” I do not think she would be crying in her grave to see the house of hell burnt down.
    I would say this, if Sam castle was going to be restored, please turn it into a museum and not a hotel.
    Let visitors who visit the castle have their imagination run wild with all the historical events which took a president in running a home like this. Build slave quarters on the grounds and show chattels and chains, be truthful to the times.

  77. TAT

    WOW! What a BEAUTIFUL response. God save you, Lady!
    Was in the Castle for a week in 1968. Beautiful then.

  78. Bajan Blab

    Why the CLICO big men still out and about, including de Trini, is that they are only front men for the real players, the real people who run Trinbados.

    Yes, the Freemasons in that too, powerful people. Why else you think nothing has been done, it is so obvious, amazing people have not realised that!

  79. Very nice article. I definitely love this site.


  80. This is eerily like the story of corrupt American contractors in the BBC’s version of David Hale’s “Worricker – Turks & Caicos”. The businessmen responsible for rampant overcharging to build overseas prisons and black sites, want to get out before they are caught, so they buy up property on T&C to build hotels that nobody needs and that will benefit no island people. Though that was fiction, the actions of CLICO seem quite plausible.

    This sort of bait and switch of property is actually a global business model that involves lying, money-laundering, connections to powerful politicians and business owners. No doubt, it involves even worse crimes. But it has nothing to do with conservation or improving a country’s economy!

    I stayed at Sam Lord’s years ago and remember it quite fondly. It’s tragic to see it as it is now and even worse to think that it will be left to ruin or be covered by a bunch of hideous condos or hotels!