What happened to the duty-free Cricket World Cup BMWs?

Sweetheart deals and no public auctions to dispose of government BMWs

A few weeks ago The Nation published the above photo of former Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur apparently about to enter a BMW 4×4. Nice wheels, Owen!

As you will recall, the Arthur/Mottley BLP Government allowed an unknown (read ‘secret’) number of new BMW autos to be imported duty free into Barbados for the Cricket World Cup. After Barbados Free Press raised a fuss and questioned who would end up owning them for cheap, the public was told that no big-wigs would end up with the duty-free autos after CWC.

Now understand this: we’re not making any allegations here because we don’t know any facts and we have no method of discovering the truth.

David Thompson and the DLP promised Freedom of Information legislation within the first 100 days in power – but that promise wasn’t convenient once the DLP formed a government. So… we have no way of formally requesting information as to where those duty free Cricket World Cup BMW autos ended up.

Hey… Owen Arthur is a wealthy man. If Owen Arthur can donate US$150,000 dollars in after-tax income to a cricket charity, he can sure afford to buy a couple of BMW autos. Or a dozen.

But we’d really like to know where those duty-free BMW autos ended up. I sure don’t see any parked up near Grape Hall!

So how about it, Owen? Is your BMW one of the CWC duty free models? And where did the other duty free autos end up?

Hey… We’re just asking!

Further Reading

May 11, 2007, Mr. Prime Minister – Why Are You ONLY NOW So Concerned About Conflicts Of Interest With Duty-Free Autos?

May 2, 2007, Who Will Get The Duty-Free BMW Autos? Barbados Government Contract Conditions Exposed As Sham

January 8, 2007, Who Will End Up With These Barbados Cricket World Cup BMW Autos? Pick Me! Pick Me!

October 26, 2006,. Luxury Auto Dealership Opens At Barbados Courts!


Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Cricket, Freedom Of Information, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

13 responses to “What happened to the duty-free Cricket World Cup BMWs?

  1. rasta man

    Check out Mr Rowe at Trimart .Maybe he got one too.

  2. He he he he! I’m shocked! (sarcasm)

  3. dingdong

    I thought they were sold to Taxi men who then were told that these cars weren’t made for taxi work when they staged protest in front of the dealer? Can anyone clarify?

  4. Barbados First

    A lot of the BMW cars brought in for world cup 2007 were sold off as taxis and as private vehicles in Barbados. Look around the roads and you will see them. Business men, retirees own them. I would have thought the focus would have been on those high end Jaguar vehicles that were seen shortly after the January 2008 elections that had to be returned after the loud outcry by the Barbadian public. How can one go from not being able to make your rent payments to your landlord and driving a Suzuki to a Jaguar in a matter of days after winning an election…hmmmm

  5. Green Monkey

    Just as a matter of interest, even the Canadians aren’t satisfied their own conflict of interests legislation does the job as advertised. Apparently politicians always seem to find a way to exploit (or create) loopholes for themselves and their yardfowls.

    The Conflict of Interest Act is toothless and leads to conflict of ethics at the PMO

    Nigel Wright’s position in the PMO, as Stephen Harper’s new chief of staff, is only possible because of huge loophole in ethics rules.

    How is it that a senior executive, formerly one of the managing directors of private equity fund Onex, who stills own shares in this huge conglomerate corporation, could serve as chief-of-staff in the Prime Minister’s Office and take part in policy decisions on many issues that affect the corporation?

    Simple. A loophole in the federal government’s ethics law, the Conflict of Interest Act, allows Cabinet ministers, their staff, appointees and senior government officials to take part in any decision, even if they or their family members or friends have a personal financial interest in the decision, as long as the decision applies generally to a broad group of people or organizations.

    This loophole was added to the ethics law by Paul Martin in his first days as prime minister in Dec. 2003. Before making this change, the law prohibited cabinet ministers and the other senior officials from being in an apparent conflict of interest (a rule that many have violated all the way back to 1986 when the rules were first enacted).

    However, first Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, followed by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and his lapdog ethics counsellor, Howard Wilson, had all ignored the “apparent conflict” standard and allowed several officials to take part in general application decisions even when they had a financial interest in the decision.


    The Harper Conservatives promised in their 2006 election platform to “Close the loopholes that allow ministers to vote on matters connected with their business interests”. They broke that promise, and they also put a measure in the Conflict of Interest Act that prevents the public from filing complaints with the ethics commissioner that the commissioner is required to investigate (since then, only MPs and senators can force an investigation).

    In summer 2007, the Conservatives hand-picked their own ethics commissioner, Mary Dawson, and also changed the law to prohibit anyone from challenging commissioner Dawson’s rulings in court for errors of fact or law. As a result, she has all the powers and immunity of an actual ethics czar.

    Unfortunately, Dawson has continued the tradition of her predecessors, so far letting more than 20 Conservative Cabinet ministers and MPs off the hook for questionable reasons even though they were involved in questionable activities, likely in part because none of her rulings can be challenged in court.

    More at:

  6. John

    Could you show a photo of one of the many taxi drivers using these cars? There are also private citizens with them.I see the innuendo here,and of course you know in Barbados how quickly implications are translated into truth.

  7. marvinbareback

    I bought one of the cars and had to sign a document declaring that I was not part of government or had a family member at a certain level of government. People think that these cars were duty free but they are totally wrong…..if you bought the same car in the UK or the US…you would have paid about 75,000 USD for a 530d, here they reduced the duty and the final price was about 130,000 USD instead of what would have been an unaffordable 190,000 USD so no bargain but enough that the cars did sell, but there were still some there a year after the sales began.

  8. BFP

    Thanks very much, Marvin!

  9. 182


    This is so shameful, to now appear to back off like some wounded puppy with you tail between you legs!

    Please end all of this speculation and get your proof before coming to print.

  10. BFP

    hello 182

    How typical of your lot to rage against a citizen making inquires for information that should be available under the FOI that your lot refuses to implement.

    Now, where is your proof that all is ok and there was no abuse? An anonymous comment on a blog? LOL

    And what about that $75,000 ‘campaign donation’ that Arthur deposited to his personal bank account? Was that the action of an honest man?

  11. 24

    As far as I know, Mr. Arthur gave an explanation on the floor of parliament that all campaign funds received from CLICO were distributed for the candidates use.

    You have described me as “your lot” but while “you lot” are carping incessantly about that $75,000, i can’t hear a single word about the multi-millions of CLICO funds that went to Thompson and the DLP! If Parris gave Owen $75,000.oo, how much money do you really think he gave Thompson and the DEMS?

    Why do you think Thompson and the DLP gave CLICO TEN MILLION DOLLARS, and are now poised to give them another THREE HUNDRED MILLION IN BAIL OUT FUNDS!

    If that happens, the poor Barbadian taxpayers will be paying for someone else’s thievery, while the poor BARP Pensioners cringing.

    And you talking to me about honest?

  12. BFP

    Hi 24,

    First, in reply to your statement “while “you lot” are carping incessantly about that $75,000, i can’t hear a single word about the multi-millions of CLICO funds that went to Thompson and the DLP! ”

    Please search “clico” in our search bar at the top, look at the dozens of our articles alleging improprieties including funding between Clico, Parris and Thompson. Then come back an give us a little apology about that statement, ok?

    Second, Mr. Arthur did a little tap dance that obfuscated the cheque issue but didn’t explain or prove it. Certainly no banking records were brought to show where and when the funds went. The best part of all is that the funds were not moved or “remembered” by Owen until Thompy waved the cheque around at a DLP rally.

  13. Obfuscate . Ah doan know what dat big word mean, but ah do know dis. At first Owen Arthur said it was to help in the smaller constituencies,then another cheque with the same date appeared ,but was endorsed to the party. That one gave lie,not levity Mr.24 or is it 182? to Owen Arthur’s song and dance. Oh by the way how do you explain the profuse sweating that night in parliament? Like the lights in there suddenly got hot .