Over three years ago businessman Al Barrack won at 34 million dollar judgement against the National Housing Corporation.
Of course he wasn’t paid, and the amount owed to him including interest is now over 62 million dollars.
Barrack is almost ruined. A friend loaned him life-savings money for the court action that Barrack won – but Barrack hasn’t been able to pay him back. The friend’s wife is long gone and Barrack is reduced to standing on the street in front of the new NHC that he built telling the newspapers that he’s going to make the NHC understand that “the law is for everybody.”
The NHC is ignoring Barrack. So is the government. The real message that the silence delivers is that the NHC and the government know they can still out-lawyer, out-spend and out-wait Al Barrack until he has a breakdown, heart attack, up and dies or does something foolish because any man would be half crazy by now.
Not that Al Barrack is half crazy. He’s not yet gone ’round the bend and the NHC and the government don’t understand that because they have been trying their best.
The case has been going on since 2002. He won in 2006, but it didn’t matter because both the NHC and the government have made it clear that it will be a cold day in hell before Barbados and the NHC obey the order of the court and pay what is owed to Al Barrack.
That is just how things are done ’bout hey by the elites who control the government and the courts. Separation of powers in Barbados? Rule of Law?
Ya mek sport, my son!
Al Barrack was unlucky enough to have to sue a Barbados government corporation, and it doesn’t matter that he won in the courts – because around here the courts and the law are only obeyed by the ruling class when it is convenient for them to do so.
When it is not convenient to obey the law (like when the courts say they owe a victim $64 million dollars)… well, then the NHC, the Barbados government and the ruling elites say “De courts can stick it where the sun doan shine.”
Good luck, Mr. Barrack. We hope we will be proven wrong and that the government and the NHC will cut you a cheque tomorrow.
But we’re not betting on it.
Further Reading (Nation News)
by CAROL-ANN TUDOR
CONTRACTOR AL BARRACK has declared himself owner of the National Housing Corporation (NHC).
“I own the NHC,” he said angrily yesterday at a Press conference a stone’s throw away from the Government office complex in Warrens, St Michael, the source of a bitter dispute over payment.
Barrack, who won a $34.4 million plus interest judgement against the NHC in 2006, pledged to take over the NHC’s assets to recover the debt which has now accrued to $62 321 268.
“I am going to take their things. That building over there [pointing to the nearby Warrens office complex which sparked the dispute between him and the NHC], and everything NHC has.
“I intend to take every damn thing. I can take their lands, the buildings in Country Road [NHC headquarters], their vehicles, their furniture! I own the NHC right now! I am up to my throat with them. They must understand that the law is for everybody,” the contractor stressed.
The sum owed, the largest settlement in local history, was determined by the lone arbitrator in the matter, former Chief Justice Sir Denys Williams, who awarded Barrack at the time $34 409 518, plus interest, and a further eight per cent per annum interest added every month until the award is paid.
The case began in July 2002 and included about 140 sitting days over four years. About three months after the arbitration hearings were closed, he was awarded the sum in a written judgement.
He said, his family, those whom he had borrowed money from and those who had worked for him, had suffered tremendous hardship since the ordeal began a decade ago when he had to leave the unfinished Warrens office building project.
Giving an example, he said: “A friend of mine lent me $2 million at five per cent interest – his life savings. He is now at a point where his wife has left him because his wife was always against him lending me the money.
“I owe him . . . his life savings, just like they owe me my life savings and I am screaming at the top of my voice and no one wants to hear me; they are not interested to hear me.
“I called the Minister (of State in the Ministry) of Finance [Darcy Boyce] and he said he knew nothing about it and that he had to hear from the Prime Minister.
“What do they think it is? It’s not a murder case. . . . We all agreed to go to an arbitrator; he ruled, then they wanted to go to court and we did.
“The trial judge [Justice Jacqueline Cornelius] ruled. Now we go to this again and the judge told them to pay me. Oh gosh man! What now? What more do they want now?” he lamented.
The head of Barrack Construction said though he did not have to, he reluctantly offered the NHC a proposal to either pay all his money in full or at least
60 per cent by December 15; another 20 per cent 90 days later and the last 20 per cent in the following 90 days.
Yesterday, two days had gone since the deadline and he said he had heard nothing.
Barrack said it was not a matter of if he would take action, but when: “I am waiting on my lawyers to say when.”
The veteran engineer who worked on the Central Bank building, Arawak Cement Plant, the sea and airports and other structures across the island, said he felt “bitter” over the manner he has been treated throughout the entire process.
Barrack told the media there would never have been overruns on the project if his advice had been heeded from the very beginning. He said engineers brought in to analyse it when the case was in arbitration, demonstrated this.
When contacted yesterday afternoon, NHC chairman Marilyn Rice-Bowen, who was out of the island, said she could offer no comment since she
did not know what had transpired at the Press conference.
Acting general manager Garvey Alleyne offered a “No comment”; while Minister of Housing Michael Lashley said he would return a call, but up to Press time
had not done so.