Monthly Archives: June 2009

Barbados Supervisor Of Insurance Announces $2,500 Voluntary Fine For Infractions… That Should Stop Multi-Million Dollar Insurance Frauds Like CLICO!

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

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

Carlos Belgrave, Former Chicken Feed Manager, Sets The Standard For Barbados Insurance Industry

The recent collapse of the CLICO insurance company exposed the fact that successive Barbados governments have allowed insurance companies and offshore corporations to pretty much do as they please so long as those political campaign donations, kickbacks and business jet rides keep rolling in.

But now that the world’s attention has come to focus upon our failings, Barbados decided to make some noises so investors and other governments will believe we’ve taken effective measures to supervise our offshore insurance industry. The key here is that we haven’t taken any new steps… we just make noises and promises so others will be taken in and believe that things have changed in Barbados.

The sham press conference by Barbados Supervisor of Insurance was all about repairing investor confidence after the CLICO debacle – not about real change to protect investors & policy holders

To kick things off, our Supervisor of Insurance held a press conference (Nation News article) announcing that the General Insurance Association of Barbados (GIAB) members have agreed to some voluntary standards that may be enforced by a $2,500 fine. It is hoped that maybe, sometime in the future, these voluntary standards might possibly become law in Barbados. Maybe. If. Sometime.

Judging by the accounts in the local news rags, the revelations at the press conference were shocking – but true to form the Barbados media spun an outrageous admission of incompetence, guilt and amateurism into a positive story. In truth, the Barbados Supervisor of Insurance admitted that Barbados lacks effective standards in law respecting the financial health, financial management and financial strength of insurance companies. (Barbados Advocate coverage of press conference here)

CLICO investors and policy holders probably thought we had such standards as laws – but they thought wrong.

But hey, we’re going to put those laws in place. Someday, maybe, if… but for now the Barbados insurance companies promise to volunteer to maintain those standards or risk having to pay (again voluntarily) a whopping BDS$2,500 (US$1,250) fine. Wow! That should prevent another CLICO-type collapse, don’t you think?

Our lack of rules, laws or effective oversight is what allowed a healthy insurance company like CLICO Barbados to “invest” in huge loans to parent company CL Financial and other Clico companies – loans that were secured by way-overvalued swampland in Florida. Loans secured by deals where executives of CLICO-associated companies took secret commissions and kickbacks for engineering the over-payment for swampland!

See our articles about the CLICO fraud…

CL Financial, CLICO Fraud Report: Dummy Company, Phantom “Consultancy” Payments, Vanishing Money Transfers From Company To Company

EXCLUSIVE REPORT BY BARBADOS FREE PRESS: CL Financial Group Collapse – Insiders Took Bribes To Have Company Purchase Land For More Than Market Value!

A US$3 Million Florida Mansion Belonging To CL Financial Director - Thanks For The Bailout, Prime Minister Thompson!

One of many: A US$3 Million Florida mansion belonging to CL Financial Director - Thanks for the bailout, Prime Minister Thompson!

Meanwhile, the Directors of CL Financial were purchasing millions of dollars of prime, upscale Florida waterfront mansions for their own enjoyment and profit.

That is the legacy of two successive Barbados governments and our Supervisor of Insurance, Carlos Belgrave.

Now Belgrave says he wants to make a law requiring minimum capital standards for insurance companies. Hopefully Belgrave no longer accepts “bearer peat certificates” as security for capital! Such standards saw Belgrave named in 2006 as the “worst regulator” by Offshore Alert.

The CLICO Chicken Came Home To Roost

A Chicken Named CLICO

A Chicken Named CLICO

In the case of CLICO, the Barbados insurance company was allowed to operate for years without sufficient cash reserves – and no one thought it dangerous when a otherwise healthy CLICO loaned all kinds of money to its parent company to purchase swampland in Florida at a price that greatly exceeded the real value of the land!

Not to be outdone by the previous BLP Government for looking after friends and concealing the truth from the public, current Prime Minister David Thompson has pledged millions of your tax dollars to assist collapsed CLICO. Oh… did you know that the Prime Minister and CLICO CEO Leroy Parris are godfathers to each other’s child? Did you know that CLICO contributed to the DLP election campaign and that David Thompson borrowed CLICO’s business jet?

All a coincidence I’m sure as the Prime Minister works diligently to socialize Clico’s losses with our tax dollars.

You know the drill for the Prime Minister’s friends: Profits are private, but losses are paid for with your public tax dollars!

Barbados Supervisor Of Insurance Carlos Belgrave Approved US$ Half A Billion Insurance Assets That Were “Bearer Peat Certificates” !

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”…

… quoted from Offshore Alert in the BFP Article: Carlos Belgrave, Supervisor of Insurance and Pensions in Barbados, Called “Worst Regulator” By OffshoreAlert

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Ethics, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Government Steals 2/3 Of Parkland For Developer Friends – Graeme Hall Environmental Disaster Continues

After being elected in January, 2008 one of the first acts of the David Thompson DLP Government was to change the law protecting 265 acres of parkland at Graeme Hall to allow developer friends to profit from these public lands. To make this happen, David Thompson and the DLP Members of Parliament had to set aside laws that had protected the land from development since 1988. When the government was finished, 2/3 of the parkland (175 acres) was gone.

We have just received some satellite maps and a press release from the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary that we publish here. Click on the image for a larger view…

Barbados Environment Disaster

Graeme Hall Parkland Loss Map Released

[Bridgetown, BARBADOS]   A land use map depicting the planned loss of parkland at Graeme Hall has been released this week by the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary.

Titled “Parkland Loss Planned at Graeme Hall,” the new map (www.graemehall.com/press/papers/ThenNowMap1.pdf ) illustrates the Government’s plan to allow residential and commercial development on government-owned Graeme Hall land.

Contrary to the original 1988 National Physical Development Plan (PDP), the new 2003 PDP recommends that parkland at  Graeme Hall be limited to the flood-prone Graeme Hall Swamp, and that all dry land be developed.

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary officials are critical of the land use change, saying that urban development of Graeme Hall would be akin to developing Central Park in New York, and that wetland buffers and recreational opportunities would be permanently destroyed.  Sanctuary officials also cited recommendations from the Urban Land Use Institute quality-of-life recommendation of 25.5 acres of parklands for every 1000 people.

The move to convert the Graeme Hall parklands began after the Sanctuary was acquired by Peter Allard in the 1990’s.   Allard, a retired Canadian attorney and investor, purchased the Sanctuary lands after due diligence examination showed that the 1988 PDP designated the approximately 240-acre green space at Graeme Hall as an environmental, recreational and agricultural buffer for the wetland, and as a green corridor between Oistins and Greater Bridgetown urban areas.

Parliament ratified the land use change in early 2008 despite a petition signed by 6,000 Barbadians to preserve the 240-acre Graeme Hall area as a National Park.

Located at www.graemehall.com/press/papers/ThenNowMap1.pdf, the new map derives its information from Map 20 of the 1988 PDP, and Maps 4 and 6 of the 2003 PDP.  These maps can be located in the “Map” section of www.graemehall.com/reference.htm.

Graeme Hall contains some of the highest concentrations of biodiversity in Barbados and is the last major urban green space over 200 acres available as a regional park on the South Coast.

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Disaster, Environment, Nature, Offshore Investments, Tourism, Traveling and Tourism, Wildlife

Guyana Deportees Report Thefts Of Money, Property In Wake Of Barbados Immigration & Police Raids

“When I got to my room,  the door was off, all my clothes thrown on the floor, my suitcase ravaged and all my documents and money gone. I could not believe it. I had recently bought  a Dreambox, a dvd player,  and I had $1 300 Bajan saved and it’s all gone.”

… An illegal immigrant tells of thefts during Immigration Raids in The Nation article Lucky Escape

Free-For-All As Landlords And Others Profit From Deportations

barbados-steal-moneyTwo days ago Barbados Free Press asked what our Barbados Immigration and Police were doing to secure and protect the valuables and personal property of persons arrested in the recent immigration raids. (See BFP’s Barbados Continues Immigration Raids, Deportations Of Guyanese…)

Now we know: Barbados Government officials are in fact doing nothing to protect or secure deportees’ valuables. It is a free-for-all with neighbours, landlords and passersby grabbing the “abandoned” property and money of arrested persons. Our authorities are doing nothing except dragging persons away from their rooms and homes.

What a National Shame for Barbados

So far there are no reports of government officials ending up with deportees’ property, but where there is no system used to properly seize, protect and catalogue the property of arrested persons – it is only a matter of time until the abuses start if they haven’t already.

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Damon Corrie Remembers A Kinder Time In Barbados-Guyana Relations

“When the English speaking Caribbean countries were colonies of Britain – there was actually more freedom of inter-regional movement and migration than there is today”

An interesting observation and a typically good article from Damon Corrie at the Bajan Reporter.

As usual, you may not agree with everything Damon says – but he will make you think and question that which needs to be questioned.

The Bajan Reporter: Ordinary Barbadians migh suffer the consequences of the new Deportation policy – by Multi-Caribbean D.G. Corrie

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Michael Jackson Dead – Cardiac Arrest, Not Breathing at 12:21pm Los Angeles Time. CNN: “Jackson Dead”

michael-jackson-heart attack

UPDATE: 6:25pm Barbados Time: TMZ Confirms Death, Further Details

UPDATE: Michael Jackson Reported Dead by www.x17online.com

UPDATE: TMZ.com says Michael was DOA

“Not Breathing When Paramedics Arrived”

“Really Bad Shape – Family Being Called In”

Michael Jackson Rushed To UCLA Medical Center - From x17online.com

Michael Jackson Rushed To UCLA Medical Center - From x17online.com

Yes, we know he went weird, but Michael Jackson’s Thriller is still one of our favourites and we remember him as he was – not as he became.

It looks like he had a heart attack in Los Angeles.

TMZ: Michael Jackson Cardiac Arrest

LA Times: Michael Jackson Rushed to Hospital

Michael Jackson Dead In LA

Above from TMZ.com

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Filed under Barbados, Celebrities, Music

Barbados Continues Immigration Raids, Deportations Of Guyanese – Media Report Of $100 Per Head Reward For Deported Guyanese

“Now I have lost everything, a whole house full of appliances, clothes and so much more. I miss work because I could afford to do so much, now to come back home and just leave that, it’s hard…”

… Guyanese deported from Barbados speaks to Stabroek News: Deportee from Barbados has lost hope in her homeland

Barbados Immigration Paying $100 A Head Reward For Information?

Barbados Immigration authorities are offering BDS$100 per head reward for information leading to the deportation of illegal Guyanese on the island – this according to Stabroek News of Guyana. News reports also say that the Guyanese government is documenting the treatment of deportees by Bajan authorities through interviews, media reports and follow-up visits by the Guyanese Consul in Barbados.

Who Ends Up With The Deportee’s Larger Possessions?

Where are the deportees' autos?

Where are the deportees' autos?

One of the articles we read tells the story of an illegal Guyanese woman whose home was raided in the middle of the night by Barbados authorities. She, her family and friends were packed off in custody with no time to secure her larger possessions which included major appliances such as a fridge and cooker.

Who ends up with the deportee’s major possessions? What happened to the tens thousands of dollars of autos, clothes, appliances and tools that were owned by the Guyanese who have already been deported from Barbados?

Deportees’ possessions – Spoils of the hunt for Barbados Immigration Officials?

Who ends up with deportees' large possessions?

Who ends up with deportees' large possessions?

What have Barbados authorities been doing to protect the deportees’ possessions? Have any Immigration authorities been seen with new stoves lately?

The question is not as flippant as it might seem because if it turns out that Bajan Immigration authorities have ignored the issue of deportee’s property (or worse), it will reflect very badly upon our country.

Yes, we at Barbados Free Press believe that Barbados has the right and the duty to control immigration and to take steps to remove persons who are in the country illegally – HOWEVER – we must not forget that, illegal or not, these folks are just ordinary people who deserve to be treated with dignity, respect and even kindness by Bajan authorities. Anything less will make Barbados a brutal nation in the eyes of the world.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Ethics, Guyana, Human Rights, Immigration, Politics

Barbados Law Library In Ruin Due To Water Damage: “Preventative Maintenance” An Unknown Concept To Successive Barbados Governments

“There are two types of people in the world: Those who change their engine oil regularly, and those who ignore maintenance until the engine is already headed for ruin. We Bajans are usually of the second type…”

Shouldn’t The Chief Law Librarian Be Fired For Failure To Preserve Irreplaceable Books & Documents?

Barbados Law BooksAccording to the Bajan news media “environmental problems” are responsible for ruining a “substantial” amount of the books and other documents in the law library of the Supreme Court.

Typical Barbados news story: “environmental problems” are responsible for this massive loss. God forbid we would ever hold a real person responsible for anything.

No, it wasn’t the people in charge of the law library who are responsible for failing to note the deterioration and protect the thousands of books and documents – many of them irreplaceable. No, it wasn’t Chief Justice who is responsible – even though according to his own statement in the Barbados Advocate he has known for at least four years of the deterioration and did nothing to stop it. No, it wasn’t former Attorneys General Mia Mottley or Dale Marshall who are responsible for this loss. It wasn’t 15 years of a BLP government that spent hundreds of millions on cricket and consulting payments while neglecting everything from schools, to police stations to the law library.

According to Attorney General Freundel Stuart, nobody in the current or former governments ever thought to train ANY of our law librarians in book preservation or about the dangers of dampness, mould and fungus to our almost 300 year-old law archives. It is like the whole problem just happened last week without any warning.

Books are damaged by water and dampness? Well, who could have known!

So you see? No person is responsible… it was “environmental problems”.

And the solution to the “environmental problems”?  The usual: borrow or beg for more money from the Inter-American Development Bank.

“Just put it on the tab, waiter… the next generation will pay for my spilled drinks.”

Court library compromised

read the full article at: The Barbados Advocate 6/23/2009

By Shawn Cumberbatch

ENVIRONMENTAL problems, including mould and fungus, have cost Barbados’ highest domestic court a “substantial” amount of its library material.

Chief Justice (CJ) Sir David Simmons disclosed yesterday that authorities were now looking to secure funding from the Inter-American Development Bank, as part of its Justice Improvement Programme with the island, to significantly restore the large volume of legal books and other important reading material housed in the 278-year-old Supreme Court library.

Both Sir David and Attorney-General Freundel Stuart voiced concern about the impact these environment-related issues could have, with Stuart saying most Caribbean governments had devoted larger budgets to libraries, but had not paid enough attention to training law librarians in book preservation.

The officials were speaking yesterday at the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, during the official opening of the Caribbean Association of Law Libraries 24th Annual General Meeting and seminar.

The CJ noted that over the last few years Barbados had suffered the fate of most libraries, which “face the problem of contamination of the environment by mould, fungus and other deleterious substances”. Continue reading

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