Tens of Millions Missing In Audit Of Barbados ABC Highway – But No Person Will Be Held Accountable

Updated July 18, 2010

Here’s an article about the ABC Highway scandal that we first published in July 2009. It’s a year later and has anyone been charged? Any lawsuits launched to recover our stolen/wasted tax dollars?

You mek sport!

My friends, read it again and weep for your country. We predicted (and we were correct) that no one would be held accountable and that nothing would happen because there is only one political party on this island. DLP = BLP = DLP = BLP.

We were wrong about one thing though: the Auditor General did post his report on the internet and it revealed that 3S, the US firm that obtained the contract, submitted a proposal to the Owen Arthur government a week before the tender was announced (start hysterical laughter here).

It doesn’t matter though… the money is gone and no one will be charged or otherwise held accountable.

Original article published July 29, 2009…

Welcome to Barbados, folks!

In the past few days we have learned once again that this is truly a country for the “entrepreneurial” politician.

You see – it doesn’t matter how many tens of millions of dollars are missing at the end of a major project, no one ever goes to jail. There is always the speech in Parliament – duly reported in the papers of course – castigating the previous government for all manner of “recklessness and wastage… bordering on corruption” – but no jail.

The Auditor General prepared a “SPECIAL” report that will never be posted on the AG’s website or revealed in full to the public. The Prime Minister has made a few speeches and his Ministers have clucked their tongues. “No tender was issued” they say…. but there will be no person held accountable. No person will be sued. No person will lose their job.

Why will this matter of the missing twenty or thirty million dollars be allowed to fade away into oblivion?

Two reasons, actually…

1/ Prime Minister Thompson and the DLP have a gentlemen’s agreement with the BLP that no members of the previous BLP Arthur/Mottley government will be prosecuted for wrongdoing. No one from the previous government has been prosecuted for any wrongdoing – nor will they ever be.

2/ Barbados lacks the laws and the codified standards necessary to prosecute public officials for common acts of corruption. Barbados government officials – elected and appointed – are legally allowed to receive gifts from persons and companies doing business with the government. In short, it is not illegal for an elected or appointed government official to receive any size gift from a government contractor or for a government official to award a contract to a company owned by a spouse or even by themselves.

Prime Minister Thompson promised to establish integrity legislation and conflicts of interest rules by April of 2008. He lied, so he can hardly hold the BLP thieves to account when his government ministers are happy to continue operating under the same rules that allowed the BLP to steal millions.

Barbados taxpayers will pick up the bill as usual.

So enjoy these newspaper articles about people who will never go to jail. The articles are the sum total of anything like punishment that the BLP Ministers will ever see…

Clarke: 3S not handpicked by me

PM Disappointed in Former Minister

ABC Highway bill at $165 million, says PM

Highway project of “confusion”

Lashley: ABC work cause for suspicion

Sinckler to BLP: Accept the blame

26 Comments

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

26 responses to “Tens of Millions Missing In Audit Of Barbados ABC Highway – But No Person Will Be Held Accountable

  1. David Brooks

    … and the Commission of Inquiry regarding the St. Joseph Hospital debacle only just get let out …

    … and would expect the otherwise. Oh, please.

  2. David Brooks

    oh, typos …

    … and would YOU expect the otherwise. Oh, please.

  3. Jason

    Time for a new party. I’d vote for a dead cat at this point in time and my vote would be well spent because at least I would have denied the vote to either of the two corrupt parties.

  4. paul sealy

    They are all Lodge members and they have their judge and lawyer friends(don’t forget the chief justice who was once a political hack)..only poor people and nobodies get jail time in Barbados….a time coming that Bajans will take back Barbados from the likes of these scumbags,keep exposing the trash BFP.

  5. paul sealy

    Note to the DLP..all those young people that voted for your party because they thought you would bring change will be staying home on the next election day and the young voters of that time won’t give a f*#k about none of the new candidates..watch and see..both political parties are on their last legs.

  6. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Barbados: Corruption Legislation Needed

  7. prolife

    So both parties are robber barons. There will never be any accountability. As I mentioned before on a previous post, we live in a one party state thinking we have a democracy and we don’t even realize it. When we come to accept this, perhaps our mind set and attitudes about where we should really be directing our interests would be clearer.

  8. ComeHere

    Barbados is nothing more than a Banana Republic, and will never be the democracy it pretends to be to the world. From GEMS, to St Joseph, to Gline Clarke and Noel Lynch, to the laughable cost overrun on the highway, this country is a joke. Mini buses kill, endanger children’s lives, and are modern day Yellow terrorists. Drug running motorbikes traveling at I-dare-the-police-to-stop me speed shatter the peace, while gun toting thugs battle for day camp turf. Public service departments are an oxymoron. Back room deals are the norm in WE xenophobic country. Sadly, once the tourists stop coming—and believe me, it has already begun— BIM will become an enclave of the sequestered rich. And there is a simple solution to the over-priced food: LOWER THE GOV’T DUTIES !!!!!!!

  9. art

    Noting the loan for the highway is
    higher
    than the amount under the previous regime, which was published verbatum (approximately) in the papers during the budget debate this week, we can now ask:

    Does this include finishing works, is the resurfacing of the highway in Christ Church part of this? What does/did/will it in future involve ongoing?
    Who knew the scope?
    Who is running it?
    What tenders went out for these actions?
    What is this money paying for? Who is being paid?
    Where can this information be obtained?
    How much more?

    So parliamentary reps rightly IMO faulting Mr. Clarke as a hypocrite and a liar are similar in every way, and the whole debate appears to be an obfuscation and poppet show to deceive us- to shift focus.

    We’re back at square one, and this isn’t what we were promised when the current custodians took our votes and made a contract with we the electorate.

    It isn’t fair.
    We were promised 100 days and transparency.

    One sees some quite acute similarities developing in this administration’s rejection of its charges the people regarding the expenditure of our cash, same as the behaviour of the previous regime.
    How many people read these things?

    When will the newspapers report in this way, as some are vociferously requesting?

    If the “neo-corruption” at Barbados Government inc. does start this way, where does it go in 14 more years? Or will it become a subsidiary of someone else due to selfish mismanagement? That’s my angle. Don’t want to see the island go down, don’t care who disagrees. We should all look at this.

  10. Red Lake Lassie

    I agree, Jason. A dead cat or a dead fish or both would be acceptable candidates. Anyone but a D or a B would be acceptable.

  11. WELCOME TO BARBADOS INDEED!

    We all know that 10 million dollars just doesn’t up and take a walk…

    In my business, I have to account for even “petty” cash – so don’t feed me the B.S about millions earmarked for a public works project suddenly disappearing down some hole in the ground without even a proper investigation, accountability or redress.

    Somebody is having a laugh at our expense!!!

    My belief is that the general populace in Barbados is still living in the proverbial lap of comfort and ease and because real “HARD TIMES” haven’t fully hit like a “Category 5 Hurricane” – there is still that myopic complacency on the part of the masses including those who deem themselves as part of the “so-called intelligentsia”…

    My belief is that when the “Grand Canyon” which exist between the “haves” and the “havenots” is so jaw-droppingly obvious; when food becomes hard to buy in the quantities we have been accustomed to; and when we can no longer fuel our SUV’s and the insatiable lifestyles we have come to demand – then will the wheels of the apple carts suddenly lose traction and the whole thing comes crashing down around our ears, turning lock, stock and barrel upside down…

    What politicians refuse to acknowledge is that there is a cauldron – a melting pot of unrest simmering below the terma ferma of Bajan society… All that will be needed to ignite the larva flow is “one” sudden cataclysmic eruption created by social upheaval and I shudder to imagine the repercussions…

    We see this kind of social seismology amongst our African brothers and their governments but (heck) that is a far world and a far cry away from us (right?)…

    WRONG!!!

    Give it some time –

    Remember that wise ole’ Bajan proverb – “wah ain’t meet ya’ ain’t pass ya'”…

  12. Anonymous

    There are a lot of bright people in this country who care very little about the plight of the masses. Their objectives are to do well financially ( some are even prepared to be corrupt), get a nice house, nice car, and get their children to big-up schools and universities.

    Many of them even go to church but turn a blind eye to the stealing and unfairness that go on before their very eyes.

    One day the 15% or 20 % of the have-nots will take it all away from them. A economy may survive with adequate reserves, but a society cannot survive for long with 20 % unemployment and high prices.

    Something serious must be done to bring the unemployment rate down or at the very least to stop it from rising.

    The bright people in our society must come up with ideas that that work quickly. Time is running out!

  13. Anonymous

    It does seem as if there are many in the public service who get promoted because of their lodge connections. In many cases the persons being favoured do not even pretend to work. They do absolutely nothing but can find influential persons willing to support and promote them.

    The system will collapse within 10 years because of the weight of senior persons who have no expertise.

    Please do not mix up expertise with having a degree.A degree only says that you are capable of acquiring expertise.

    Some persons get a degree and then concentrate on their lessons from the lodge and some master or grandmaster takes care of promotions for them.

    The problems of the economy and society do not occupy such persons minds. The idea is to get power for you and your friends and abuse and manipulate those who are not members of lodges

  14. A Mottley Group

    DLP Column: Liz is bare talk

    8/1/2009

    Can you imagine Senator Liz Thompson finding the voice to speak about the Democratic Labour Party’s performance in Housing? This is the former Minister of Housing whose husband was awarded the contract for changing a NHC unit roof at Kensington Lodge under her stewardship, and had oversight for the now famous Golden Shower in Silver Sands.

    The former administration has a record located in failed housing ventures such as Coverley, Bulkeley Meadows, and Deans town while undertaking large scale commercial projects such as the Warrens Complex and NHC Complex. They failed to put in place the framework to facilitate their programmes such as sale of Terrace Units, Primary Homes and the Tenantry Lots Programme.

    These housing concepts remained as ideas since all housing projects under her tenure were a total failure. Let us not forget the ten houses built in St. Philip since 1994, which were never conveyed in the three terms the Barbados Labour Party served. It was the incoming Democratic Labour Party’s Minister of Housing, Michael Lashley, who made wrongs things right for those new homeowners.

    Minister Lashley has earned a reputation for having ‘a hands-on’ approach to addressing the issue of housing. He has demonstrated without a doubt that the House Every Last Person [H.E.L.P] initiative is not a political ploy. The HELP initiative is not an idea, but is in the process of delivering to those hopeful homeowners.

    Minister Lashley has overseen the construction of 51 houses at Greens, 31 in Marchfield, 44 in Workmans, 40 in Fourhill. We are in the process of erecting 64 houses in Constant, 18 houses in French Village, 50 pilot project homes in Coverley, and we are returning to the construction of 20 rental units at Stuart’s Lodge. The Minister has already identified the almost 500 lots for first-time homeowners through his visionary leadership. Our $5 lot programme is not to be identified with the support given under the Tenantries Free Hold Purchase Act. We are selling outright to first time owners. We have acknowledged what the market has done to the price of land and intervened to ensure that a segment of our society can afford a house spot.

    The Government’s agenda is driven by a desire to strengthen the social safety net. We will not waiver in our ideas about what Barbadians deserve. It can be no coincidence that Prime Minister David Thompson had to respond to a criticism, from the Barbados Labour Party, which implied that as locals we should not have access to beach-front land for housing. Our attempt to acquire land at Sam Lord’s Castle for low to middle income housing must be viewed as yet another stage in our HELP initiative.

    We are still waiting for the view of the Opposition Senator on that particular matter. We are suggesting for the historical records, that the former Minister of Housing, having now found her calling, apologise to all the potential homeowners that she gave hope to and never delivered. She took thousands of Barbadians into her confidence and betrayed that confidence by not delivering on the promises. We are suggesting, as a matter of principle, that she comes to the public and admits that she was a failure as Housing Minister and repents of her political transgressions.

    Minister Lashley has done more in 18 months that his three predecessors did in 14 years. On this occasion we salute the staff and the Minister for continuing to Chart Pathways to Progress.

  15. “Anonymous” makes a stinging comment here:

    “It does seem as if there are many in the public service who get promoted because of their lodge connections. Some persons get a degree and then concentrate on their lessons from the lodge and some master or grandmaster takes care of promotions for them.”

    I have often asked myself and others, why is it that out of all the countries in the Caribbean, Barbados would be chosen to be “one” where a massive MASONIC TEMPLE* is planted smack dab in the “middle” of our paradise island?

    I am still awaiting an answer!!!

    I pick no bone with anybody in or out of Barbados over this issue where I stand in my belief structure over this matter.

    LET ME MAKE IT ABUNDANTLY CLEAR ONE MORE TIME FOR ALL THOSE WHO ARE IN ANY DOUBT –

    “WE HAVE PLANTED IN OUR MIDST A “SYNAGOGUE TO SATAN”…

    The heart of our nation has been ripped out and “sold down the river again to the DEVIL”…

    My Masonic brothers are truly and sadly deceived – poor, pitiful buggers!!!

    All these bastards who claim to be “Lodge” members with their stupid, asinine handshakes, phony jackass rituals and their idiotic verbal dribbling garbed in a supposed veil of secrecy and anonymity, (forgive anonymous) while exercising their energies in a fiendish cultic practice that makes the JESUITS* look like overgrown schoolboys in the playground.

    Yes “Anonymous” – you’re absolutely right!!!

    Many are dancing with the “DEVIL” to gain favor in jobs, secular society and within the top echelons of Bajan society.

    My prayer is that a bolt of lightning will destroy this pagan shrine built for the glory of Lucifer (SATAN) that fallen angel or that a Category 5 Hurricane will one day level it to the ground as I know Mr. Brookes et al did a fine job of constructing it to withstand pretty much anything nature could throw at it…

    But as my God destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah with fire and He sacked the cities of Rome by using the Vandals and Ostrogoths (the Barbarian hordes) while the great Empire of Babylon and the Tower of Babel thought themselves impervious to attack or destruction – a similar fate overtook them too very suddenly. So I am confident in the veracity and the veridicality of the historical record!!!

    It is becoming increasingly clearer why JESUS* The CHRIST* (may You live forever in my heart) grabbed a whip as He overturned tables, freed the tools of the trade and beats those “good-for- nuttin” moneychangers and those other evil bastards out of the Temple.

    JESUS* recognized that it had become the “SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN”… For men cared more about their MONEY & trade (MAMMON) than they cared about others and about GOD who gave them all they had…

    Let’s face it folks – the time for upsetting the “apple cart” must surely be over – “It Is Time” to overturn the whole “bloody” corrupt system which have chained, locked and shackled our people for far too long – financially, mentally and spiritually.

    It’s time for “BUSA” to truly break the chains which still hold us all captive!!!

  16. Anonymous

    The idea is to get certification (sometimes from very lowly rated universities and faculties), and make good friends.

    Developing expertise in relevant disciplines for the public sector is not important.

    Lodge, church, political connections will get you far, but in the meantime the problems of the society and the economy remain.

    It seems to me that for most persons looking to “get ahead” the emphasis has been on friendship.

    It is who you know not what you know that counts in our society.

  17. Beautiful thoughts Bruv… The kinda’ questions we need answered!!!

  18. Couldn’t have said it better myself…. TOUCHE!!!

  19. Give it to us one more time please!

    “Or will it become a subsidiary of someone else due to selfish mismanagement?”

    This country has already been sold off to Trinidad and will soon become run by the IMF again. Barbadian taxpayers will pay but absolutely not one politician.

    Barbadians really like to be bent over with promises, obfuscation and outright lies.

  20. reality check

    good start Minister Lashley

    at least someone is talking about what they actually did albeit in very general terms.

    Nevertheless, the fundamentals promised by your party almost 2 years ago are still noticeably absent.

    Without ITAL FOI , Ministerial Code and all things promised, your efforts as a principled government with full accountability is merely a fairy tale for the gullible electorate.

  21. Pingback: USA Today Picks Up On Barbados Free Press Corruption Article – Hit Meter Goes Wild! « Barbados Free Press

  22. Johnny Postle

    Gaw Blimah, Jason I agree with you but I do not think bajans are going to do anything about the situation. For one, we are too darn gone passive and sorry to say, easily bribe. Why you think the politicians have been getting away with murder all these years. Even members of the civil service are part of the scheme and are part of the lodge.

    I too ain’t planning to vote for none of them because they don’t do one shyte for me but give me a lot of talk and try to see how best there can keep me them. Any other political party that is form outside the current corruptors will get my vote, even if it is Gear box or ninja man.

  23. Nevermind Kurt

    Thompy and the DLP lied about BLP accountability for past misdeeds. neva happen

    at the election Thompy said Goin’ wid Owen has offshore bank accounts. After election nothin done all go quiet.

    fools we were

  24. Distant Voice

    Sounds like people getting upset.
    I dont know what proportion of the Barbados public reads the free press, but it sounds to me that the time is right for a new and different political party. It ought to be a better alternative than voting for a dead cat!!

    Ya cant vote nothing at all….that would create a serious problem.

    Oh yes, isn’t it about time that white folks get involved…..I get the impression they feel immune to what is going on. Granted they hold power through industry and commerce and land (less land than before however) but I am sure they would not want to see this country go to ruin. Running away would not be a solution, they have responsibility, they were born in Barbados, they are Bajans too.

    The new political party needs to have white representation and give off the message that Barbados is fully represented and racially integrated. This message will be increasingly important for the tourist and all foreign investors who spend money in Barbados.

    I believe that by far the majority of Bajans know and understand this.
    The time is right because we are in the slow times,

  25. yatinkiteasy

    I wonder why Barbados is THE only Country in the OAS that has not ratified the IACAC..(International Convention Against Corruption.) This was originally put in place since 1996 .Some very interesting reading at the links listed below. Is our Government afraid that its public officials will be exposed for receiving bribes, or what.? I dont understand the reluctance to ratify this agreement which is designed to help root out corruption.

    http://www.u4.no/themes/conventions/oasconvention.cfm
    http://www.transparency.org/regional_pages/americas/conventions/oas

  26. yatinkiteasy

    Here is a summary of The InterAmerican Convention against Corruption.
    Sounds like this just what we need.(and needed)Note it has 33 State Parties. Barbados is the 34th member state that HAS NOT ratified the convention.

    “The Inter-American Convention against Corruption (IACAC) is the first international judicial instrument dedicated to fighting corruption. The Convention obliges States Parties to implement a series of measures related to their judicial systems and public policies. These measures aim to promote the development of the necessary mechanisms to prevent, detect, prosecute, and eradicate corruption as well as to promote, facilitate, and regulate cooperation between State Parties on these matters.

    The Convention comprises 28 Articles and has 33 State Parties as of November 2009. Its structure consists of two parts: one dedicated to preventing corruption and the other to repressing certain corrupt practices.

    The preventive measures, which comprise Article III of the Convention, oblige states to consider measures applicable to their own institutional systems aimed at creating, maintaining, and strengthening:

    Standards of conduct for the correct, honorable, and proper fulfillment of public functions; also, to prevent conflicts of interest and mandate the proper conservation and use of public resources.
    Measures and systems that urge public officials to report acts of corruption of which they are aware.
    Mechanisms to enforce these standards of conduct.
    Instruction to government personnel regarding their responsibilities and the ethical rules governing their activities.
    Systems for registering the income, assets, and liabilities of public officials.
    Systems of government hiring and procurement of goods and services that assure the openness, equity, and efficiency of such systems.
    Adequate systems for the collection and control of government revenue.
    Laws that deny favorable tax treatment for any individual or corporation for expenditures made in violation of the anti-corruption laws of the States Parties.
    Systems for protecting public servants and private citizens who, in good faith, report acts of corruption.
    Oversight bodies.
    Measures that deter the bribery of domestic and foreign government officials, such as internal controls and registries in the private sector.
    Mechanisms to encourage participation by civil society and nongovernmental organizations in efforts to prevent corruption.
    The study of further anti-corruption preventive measures related to equitable compensation in public service.
    To deal with the repression of corrupt practices, the States Parties criminalized a series of practices that signatories are obliged to incorporate into their own judicial systems in order to repress corruption through prosecution. These practices are:

    active bribery
    passive briber
    transnational bribery
    illicit enrichment
    the improper use of classified or confidential information
    the improper use of state property
    using influence on public authorities for illicit personal gain
    the diversion of property or assets
    At the same time, the IACAC contemplated a series of agreements concerning mutual legal assistance and cooperation, regulating aspects relevant to extradition, banking secrecy, measures for tracing and confiscating property and assets, and the establishment of central authorities for mutual legal assistance and cooperation on legal matters.”

    Has BFP done a story on the several autos that recently left Bridgetown Port without customs duty and vat having been paid? These stories are reported in the press, and no more is ever heard of it. This is a very small country…where are the cars that came out of the port this way? Who is driving them? Were they licensed and Insured?

    No investigative reporting.