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?”
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.
The Nation: Barrack goes “white” to get millions owed
… and at BFP
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