When there is a lack of will to punish wrongdoers, the world pays attention

UPDATED: June 10, 2010

Friends, we’d like to mention once again that we are well into the third year of DLP Government and not a single person has been charged with any corruption-based crime. Therefore, it’s not going to happen.

We told you that the two major parties had an agreement in place. We were correct.

Here’s an article from last year that might make you think about the song and dance you’ve been accepting from the DLP…


For almost two years now, David Thompson and his DLP comrades have been declaring that they will hold people “accountable” for wrong-doing.

The list of wrongdoings is long, and for the mostpart the main culprits are known. When we think of Hardwood Holdings, the Barbados Tourism Authority, Hotels and Resorts, Dodds prison, the dozens of major contracts let without tender and – most infamously – former Prime Minister Owen Arthur depositing into his personal bank account a (cough, cough) “campaign cheque” that was “accidentally” made out to him personally… Well, just how many instances of wrongdoing and law breaking do you want?

But as Barbadians have come to realise, not a single person will be charged by the government of Prime Minister David Thompson.

Not a single lawsuit will be launched to recover public monies that ended up in the accounts of members of the former BLP government and their supporters.

The world pays attention to this kind of nonsense, and that is the point of an article by Harry Russell in The Nation.

We’ll repeat the article here in full because the Bajan newspapers have a habit of purging everything from the internet every so often and especially when a new government comes in.

That said, we urge you to go to The Nation to read the article online at Wild Coot – CLICO Babel

Wild Coot – CLICO babel

Published on: 9/21/2009.


THE FALL of the two giants has been for the Caribbean a most devastating shock. Coming as it does on the heel of a worldwide collapse or because of a worldwide collapse it has exposed the economies of the region  to the fundamental weaknesses of their one- or two-column economies. Very soon all of these countries will be in the hands of the IMF.

While it may be argued that Sir Allen Stanford’s fall affected mostly clients from the South American continent and from Antigua, the collapse of CLICO was like a tsunami affecting almost all countries in the Caribbean region.

There is an even more calamitous development that is in the making which might harm innocent bystanders. The involvement of Leroy King in the Stanford saga carries major implication.

Leroy King, God bless his soul, was the head of the Financial Services Regulatory Commission. He is now accused of taking bribes from Sir Allen, of lying to the American investigators and of hiding incriminating documents. This is all well and good but the American authorities have taken the view that the supervisory authorities there cannot be trusted.

They feel that the important function of compliance has been compromised. Therefore they are advising their American banks to be wary of banks in Antigua. Offshore banks in Antigua have a big problem now. A correspondent banking account in the United States is essentialfor business. Can this problem apply to domestic banks and other institutions also?

Antigua is already affected by United States oppositionto their Internet gambling. Many companies pulled up roots and moved to Costa Rica a few years ago. Hundreds of jobs were lost with a consequent loss in government revenue. Antigua is now seeking help from the IMF.

Offshore banks in Antigua may very well reassesstheir position and seek quarters elsewhere. Countries rely on the integrity of the supervisory authorities for cross border supervision since offshore banks’ performance spans many countries at the same time.

The matter does not rest there. Integrity is a fragile element. Other Caribbean entities need to be careful, lest the lack of confidence spills over. The United States is a key player in financial activities and since 9/11 and the passing of the Patriot Act demands for strict compliance and confidence have been essential.

According to the chairman of the United States House Financial Service Commission, “if a country’s own rules are considered more lax, their banks won’t be allowedby the Federal Reserve to access the US system”.

The image which Barbados believes to have been scrupulously cultivating because of its double taxation policies and its recent dogfight to preserve its “white” status must be uncompromisingly maintained. These double taxation treaties sit well in an age when more and more countries are prepared to keep open books, refusing to shield tax evasion or money laundering practitioners any more.

Our institutions must be sedulously purged, if necessary, of any element that smacks of not walking the straight line. This not only goes for the overseeing of our offshore banks, but for the image we cultivate in other areas.

For example, it must not be seen that, for thirty pieces of silver, a beach can be converted into an exclusive, or a window to the sea closed to the public. There is no difference; all is selling the family silver for a morsel of cou-cou.

The incident of commissions of enquiry being set upto uncover wrongdoings; the accusation of corruption by Government and quasi-Government officers and nobody eventually brought to justice; the Auditor General uncovering wrongdoings apparently to no avail – all add up a conjuring not of the acceptable kind.

My friends tell me that that cannot happen here, that we are assessed differently. But if we feel that we are holier than the next country, think again!

We must consider the IMF’s concern about CLICO as a shot across our bow that we need to heed, althoughthe pronouncements of the IMF should not be made in a public forum.


Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Freedom Of Information

6 responses to “When there is a lack of will to punish wrongdoers, the world pays attention

  1. John

    The limitation point may arise ….

    … depending on the wrongdoing!!

  2. Mobutu

    Harry Russell is trying to leverage the fallout from the Stanford scandal to press for integrity initiatives in Barbados. Good for him, but his argument is weak: Antigua may be in danger but Barbados is not. And Antigua is only in danger because of Bernie Madoff. The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission knew or strongly suspected that Allen Stanford was a crook, but did nothing for years until it was humiliated by the Madoff scandal and needed to produce some scalps for the U.S. Congress.

    In fact, the kind of “forgiveness” we offer to top politicians and bureaucrats in Barbados is exactly how Washington DC operates. That is why no Bush Administration officials are being prosecuted for breaking the law in the War on Terror.

  3. Izzmee

    Clico was a pack of cards that was waiting for high wind to shake it.
    Stanford was different, he was bad from the beginning. He was always running on borrowed time and funny money. Many people knew about Stanford’s tricks from early on and he should never have been allowed to get the control that he did but that is the danger with money, it buys power and influence, for a while.
    I used to smile at the folk hanging around him during the Stanford T20s and singing his praises because he paid the piper. I just hoped they got their money and put it away safely, not with his banks as some silly ones did. Easy come, easy go.

  4. Donald Duck, Esq

    Why is the Government silent on the failure of CLICO Life and Clico mortgage to release their financials to the public for 2008 which they are obligated to do so under law? They should have been released since the end of april 2009.

  5. Straight talk

    Do we ever see the IMF report on USA finances, we’d come up like Switzerland compared with their crazy financial manoeuverings.

    I’m waiting to hear Stanford’s court testimony, to bring out the CIA’s South American links, if he dare.

    I don’t believe it would have been possible to oprate his scam for so long without big up protection, not little Antigua.

    Perhaps our own Sir Courtney Blackman could explain why he, as an experienced Central Banker, was unable to identify the fraud going on under his direct supervision.

    More in the mortar than the pestle.

    Allan Stanford outlived his usefulness and suffered the fate of all patsys when their shelf life expires.

  6. bajanbat

    Wrong doing? Remember the St Joseph Hospital lark, white goods by the container full, etc etc. Nuffin ever happen there either except nuff good money spent paying for a “hearing”.
    Anyone who had a brain knew about Stanford and his scam, it just took a while and lots of money lost for it to break. Stanford actually began to believe he was important! Big mistake.
    Integrity legislation in Barbados, when pigs fly …. I believe the late Tom Adams said his ministers would disclose their assets, then he informed us that he meant they would disclose their assets to him, not the public!
    Clico financials may be embarrassing, hence the delay.