Al Barrack gets it wrong again – it’s not racism, it’s business as usual

It’s not about Justice denied because of race: it’s about no rule of law in Barbados and… revenge

Poor Al Barrack dressed up in whiteface yesterday to illustrate his belief that the 100% black government of Barbados is not paying a court ordered judgment to him because he is black. Barrack says if he were white, the government would pay up.

Maybe he’s saying that ordinary folks are nothing to our government, that if he were white he would be respected. (Ahhhh… but if Al Barrack was white, would he have been awarded the government contract in the first place? Was he merely the right sucker in the right place at the right time, or, was it all a big accident that could have happened to anyone?)

We at BFP don’t believe it’s about race. We think it’s about business as usual in Barbados: when political elites from either the DLP or the BLP form a government, they do whatever the hell they want – the rule of law and the courts be damned. It’s always been that way. The party in power uses the law when convenient, and ignores it when the law is inconvenient.

It has always been that way.

Before we talk about how revenge factors into the Al Barrack story, let’s quickly review how Barrack arrived where he is in the first place…

– Back in 1999 or thereabouts, the BLP Arthur/Mottley government awarded Al Barrack’s construction company a $36 million dollar contract to build the National Housing Corporation’s Warrens, St. Michael office complex.

– During construction, it was discovered that the building was sitting atop a massive cave network. That blew the budget and turned a 90 week construction schedule into a ten year disaster.

– At a certain point, the BLP government tossed Al Barrack from the project for alleged non-performance and hired another company to finish the building with what turned out to be almost a $100 million dollar cost overrun.

– Al Barrack sued the government, went to arbitration and in 2006 was awarded a $62 million dollar judgment against the Government of Barbados.

– The BLP government didn’t pay, and when the DLP were elected in January of 2008, they didn’t pay either. Tongue in cheek we’ll say that the Thompson government offered to pay a lesser sum to Barrack at the equivalent of a dollar a day for the rest of his life. Remember, that’s tongue in cheek but it isn’t too far off how Al Barrack viewed the offer and he refused.

– Since then Mr. Barrack has been reduced to giving interviews to the papers and writing letters to the editor. Now he’s at the lowest he has ever been: dressing in costume holding up a sign and alleging racism as the reason for non-payment. He’s out of money, out of ideas and a beaten man. Made sport of in the corridors of power and in the rum shops. A joke in whiteface on the front page of the newspapers.

All because a government construction contract went bad FOR THE GOVERNMENT because of an unknown cave under the project.

Welcome to the wonderful world of doing business with the Government of Barbados, Mr. Barrack. Like a male praying mantis seeking a little love, it’s thrilling but often ends badly for the little guy.

Rumours of Revenge

Unsaid in the oldstream media reporting is the fact that the BLP government awarded the contract to Al Barrack without public tender. That’s right, folks: there was no public tender called for National Housing Corporation’s Warrens, St. Michael office complex.

As we said in our September 14, 2006 article covering the largest arbitrator’s award in our history to Al Barrack…

“What do you expect when Government habitually hands out contracts worth tens of millions of dollars over dinner and martinis, with never a public tender issued?”

… from BFP EXCLUSIVE – Another Barbados Scandal: No Tenders Issued For One Hundred Million Dollar Government Office Building!

And that brings us to the whispered reasons that the DLP government is determined to squeeze the hell out of Al Barrack and doesn’t care if it disobeys the court order or not…

That the BLP government awarded the contract to Al Barrack without tender is part of the reason that the DLP will not pay up.

As BFP reader and DLP insider “Vezlo” commented on BFP back in 2006

“There is much, much more to this. David Thompson revealed in the House in a Budget reply that the mobilisation fee on this project was the highest – percentage wise – in the history of public projects.

It was paid just before the 1999 election. We all know where a large chunk of it went!”

How much did Al Barrack contribute to the BLP from his construction advances?

Al Barrack was awarded a $36 million dollar contract without tender. Shortly before the 1999 election, he was awarded the highest percentage start fee in the history of public projects – if our sources are accurate.

How much of that start fee was immediately transferred to the BLP or to the personal accounts of BLP leaders for “campaign donations”??? How much of that start fee was transferred to offshore bank accounts of “consultants” who were recommended by the BLP government officials?

Tell your fellow citizens that, Mr. Barrack. It probably won’t get you your money because the DLP government is determined not to pay a BLP contractor and supporter – but your fellow citizens deserve the truth.

Rule of Law must be respected

The courts have said that Barbados owes Al Barrack sixty some million dollars. We don’t like it, but he should be paid. Whether Al Barrack was awarded a government contract without tender, whether he subsequently “donated” big bucks to the BLP is all very interesting – but he probably violated no laws because the political elites never established laws against this corruption.

Same old, same old ’bout this island home.

Further Reading

The Nation: Barrack goes “white” to get millions owed

… and at BFP

January 31, 2010: No Strange Move by Mia Mottley: Hartley Henry’s latest column smells of cow dung

December 24, 2009: Al Barrack: the man who knows too much?

December 18, 2009: Al Barrack is wrong: Justice and the Law are not for everyone in Barbados

September 14, 2006: BFP EXCLUSIVE – Another Barbados Scandal: No Tenders Issued For One Hundred Million Dollar Government Office Building!

September 10, 2006: Arbitration Decision – Barbados Citizens Pay Extra $50 Million For Government Folly


Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Culture & Race Issues, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Race

26 responses to “Al Barrack gets it wrong again – it’s not racism, it’s business as usual

  1. The Way It Is

    So BFP ~ if you were advising Al Barrack – what would you suggest he do ?

  2. BFP

    Hi The Way it is…

    We haven’t a clue as to what he should do. It’s all bad.

    Well, we have one idea for him, but no guarantees…

    He’s at the lowest he can be, dressing like a clown in an attempt to get another newspaper article. Does he think that will do anything?

    If he wants to pressure the government, the so-called news media is not the way. He would be much better off to print up a cogent summary of what happened to him, maybe put up a website too, and to stand at two places with signs and handing out his printed flyers…

    1. Outside the airport to target arriving tourists and investors.

    2. Outside the offices of Barbados Investment where foreign investors come for meetings.

    The key to changing Barbados is not to agitate within our island, it is to go international with your message.

    The governments of Barbados (DLP BLP) don’t care about internal agitation or pressure. That, they can handle.

    It’s the international pressure that drives them round the bend.

    Al Barrack needs to package his story and his message to say “Attention International Investors… read my story before you consider investing in Barbados”

    That’s our advice to Mr. Barrack.

  3. The Way It Is

    Sounds like a good way to go…. hope he reads this column….

  4. pigs at the trough

    Bang on!

    Its not about black or white but green, graft and get even!

  5. John

    I am pretty sure I remember the BS&T Motors building having a problem with a Cave too during construction.

    Warrens has got to be riddled with caves.

    To the east is Waterford Bottom, a large collapsed cave and to the west is Cave Hill, so called I suspect not because of family ties.

    I guess no proper sub surface study was done until the contractor butt up on the cave.

    That is probably why the other monstrosities in Warrens took so long to get off the ground, alot of studying went on after Government’s problems.

    It would be interesting to compare the square foot building costs of those new ones with the Government building.

    So, will Al Barrack get his money?

    The answer may simply be that the Treasury floor is bare cement.

    This really is one example of Government getting caught red handed by nature.

    Greenland is another.

    That was $50 million at last count.

  6. Greg

    Good article. And your commentators are right on as well. It’s disappointing when people play the race card; they think it’s the one Ace that no-one can ever refute. Come on; how many years ago did that end? And how come only black people try to play it?

  7. island shopper

    well dne Mr Al Barrack… of course bfp wuld say its not because of race… guess why??, its because the white man has been brought to the attention fo the media and how better t get rid of it than throw the blame else where… its truee the whites always get through faster

  8. rasta man

    As a layman I would like to know how $34 million got to $66 million in 6 years .? Even at 8% interest which is the going rate for judgements it should not be more than $54 million
    And that is compounded interest!!!!

  9. gg

    Please find the man behind Mr Barrack? What is he thinking?

  10. .42

    Al Barrack is at the lowest he has ever been. Another way of looking at it is that Barbados is at the lowest it has ever been. Barbados is broke. It cannot afford to pay a legally ordered judgment in a court case where Barbados lost fair and square.

    That is the meaning of this story as I see it. Barbados is flat broke.

  11. Army & Navy

    How much will the GOB have to pay for awarding a contract for a marina at the Pierhead and then refusing to honor the contract? I understand $50M Barbados dollars.

  12. British Bajan

    well done Mr Al Barrack!! wait and watch how fast u get through now!

  13. Bajan Abroad

    BFP, I agree whole heartedly with your advice to go international with the corruption in Barbados. It is not enough for Bajans to passively agitate for reform by waiting until their friends and family return for a vacation to persuade them to lodge complaints at various government agencies.

    To perform a public service and assist the fight for a civil society, one which respects the rule of law, Bajans should:

    3. Treat these articles/stories like a message on the back of a postcard – everyone reads them – and use the internet to forward them to their family, friends, colleagues and business contacts overseas (that is what I did when I saw it)

    4. Use media outlets like craigslist and Facebook to re-post articles/stories strategically in countries/cities that do business with Barbados

    Any other suggestions?

  14. Tippy

    Bang on Island Hopper. I am gutted by amount of money Barrack is to get from taxpayers. Barrack is a clown who took bad advice. Thompson offered him a great deal with $45million up front and the rest in installments. This non Bajan lotto joker refused. BFP supports that crap because of colour. In a perverted way Barrack is right about the role colour plays in Barbados. BFP will always take position against majority in Bim. We know who the minority are.

  15. highly suspicious

    Was Barrack REALLY offered $45 million and the rest in installments or was it more pretend negotiations with nothing put in writing?

    Maybe Barrack could let us know how serious the government offer was and produce some correspondence.

    Prove everyone wrong Tippy.

  16. Tippy

    Barrack is quoted saying he should have accepted Thompson’s $45 million after the offer was not taken up. I have no sympathy for Barrack. I am pissed that whoever contracted this foreigner hum bug for a project out of his league is getting away scot free. The highly suspicious ones are BLP ministers it was their administration who hired the sickening little man. Now he is a millstone around the neck of hard working, loyal Barbadians.

  17. Heading West

    Here comes Bfp to the “rescue” again.How long are you going to try to deny the “atrocities” against the small man because of his colour.Barrack ain’t lying if it did a white man he would have gotten through ever since!Guess the more ya think things change bout here the more they remain the same.

  18. Johnny Postle

    My sentiments Tippy. He was offered part of his money and would have been paid the rest over a period of time. The jack ass choose to refuse and now blaming his blues on a government reeling under financial pressure. He is worse than a clown Tippy; he is the stuff shit for brains is made of. Now he playing the race card. Barrack you ain’t no JADA and you should cast the blame squarely were it belongs: at the feet of those who hired you. Chuuuuuuuupse

  19. The Watcher

    This man is un-reasonable in these economic times asking for a lump sum like that one. Even the World Bank and other major landing institutions don’t demand sums of this nature. Is he some sort of extortionist?
    I guess he wants to dessimate this economy so that it looks like the one he hails from.
    Be careful Al!
    You’re not home and we won’t let you lay waste to our land like yours has been laid waste too.
    You’ve put up, now shut up!

  20. time to weigh in Al Barrack

    okay Al

    looks like you may have been quite unreasonable in demanding all your money at once.

    Whats your version of the truth?

  21. John

    I was noticing the structure of the buildings at Warrens.

    The most recent ones are built on a small foot print and rise several floors.

    Government’s building rises several floors but is spread over a far larger footprint.

    The larger the footprint of the building the higher the likelihood of meeting a cave on a building site.

    Whereas, the smaller the footprint, coupled with knowledge of where the caves are, the less likely to hit a cave.

    However, the caves are all indicative of water flow and Warrens is awfully close to the main water supply wells at Codrington and Belle.

    Hope the folks at Town Planning studied the possible impact of sewarge on our water supply.

    Is the proximity of the new skyscraper to the watercourse by the Baobab tree (leading directly to the Belle) related to caves on the lot?

    There are rules about building in a water course.

    Wonder how they would apply here?

  22. BarbadosFirst

    The $19.1 million in outstanding and unpaid taxes the Government wrote off for the Barbados Turf Club INSTEAD of collecting would have helped to pay off Barack for work he did on that Warrens Building. Add to that the $10 million lifeline given to CLICO and that is hald the amount owed to Barack. It doesnt seem as if there is any hurry to pay this debt and each day it continues to grow. Funny thing is, you know how has to pay this rising cost – we as Barbadian taxpayers as well as all those who benefit from services provided by the Government.

  23. de hood

    Don’t forget the 40million that Thompie allocated to finish Sandi’s mausoleum at Sherbourne!

  24. 7

    .42 is absolutely correct!

    Barbados is broke and simply cannot afford to pay the money.

    Perhaps we should go the old route and pay him Bds.$500,000 per shot
    maybe twice a year (if that)
    -make an effort to service the debt and keep him quiet that way.

    But to write him, or anyone a cheque for one big lump one time?
    Man, not even Trinidad in such a position these days, LOL!

    Come to think of it, Owen cud write him a cheque for Bds. $20,000,00 -easy so!
    that should keep Barack quiet for a few years well, while we ketch back ourselves.

  25. Pingback: Barbados Court does government’s will: Tells Al Barrack he’s screwed | Barbados Free Press

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