UPDATED: October 24, 2011
Corrupt Barbados politicians breath sigh of relief as last VECO accused is sentenced in Alaska.
Nothing was too good for any politician who could award multi-million dollar government contracts to VECO of Alaska. The corrupt company gave cash, renovated homes, bought cars, trips and condos for politicians as their standard method of operation.
That is just how VECO operated worldwide: they obtained government contracts by bribing politicians, but Barbados politicians would have you believe that none of that went on here. No Sir!
And what did the Government of Barbados do when Barbados Free Press broke the story to the Barbados public that VECO executives and politicians were being arrested?
Well… good old Attorney General Dale Marshall announced that he would have a meeting with VECO executives to get the truth of the story… to see if any improper payments were made by VECO to Barbados government officials and politicians.
Yup… Attorney General Dale Marshall met with those VECO executives for a half an hour one morning and then held a press conference to announce that everything was on the up and up because the VECO executives said it was.
This is the same VECO that the Owen Arthur/Mia Mottley BLP government of Barbados hired without open competitive bidding to build our oil terminal and our new prison. VECO had never built a prison before, but by god, they were given the contract as a gift by then Attorney General Mia Mottley and Prime Minister Owen Arthur.
How much did VECO give to BLP politicians?
One source says that Mia Mottley received over $100,000 in undeclared “campaign contributions” from VECO Corporation that she fed into her constituency office. This is only what the folks in the office saw and is probably a fraction of the total. After all, if VECO received a billion dollars in government contracts, you can bet that they paid out more than a lousy $100 grand.
Our same source says that Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s constituency office also received big money from VECO, but on the amount they are unsure. Would Arthur have accepted less than his Attorney General that he barely tolerated?
As far as the DLP government goes, they never requested any evidence from the FBI even though all the VECO accounts were available and tape recordings showed that payments and favours in Barbados were discussed. Throwing rocks in glass houses and all that.
So it’s all over now. The Corrupt Bastards Club of Barbados walked free from what could have been a very sticky VECO wicket indeed.
Congratulations boys and girls… with no Integrity Legislation, no Freedom of Information laws we citizens of Barbados will never know the details.
But we still can see the truth.
Further Reading that should Outrage Bajans
November 17, 2008 – The FBI VECO Documents that Mottley and Thompson don’t want Bajans to see.
August 20, 2008: VECO’s “Corrupt Bastards Club” has a Barbados Chapter
August 15, 2008: Why Won’t Prime Minister Thompson Investigate VECO’s Corrupt Acts In Barbados?
Original Article: March 4, 2011…
Government conceals the true costs of Dodds Prison for a reason
Finance Minister Chris Sinckler revealed in yesterday’s Nation that we pay $30 million dollars for Dodds Prison every January, but he didn’t say how much we pay during the other months, how much we’ve paid so far, or how long the payments continue.
We aren’t told how much VECO provided to Barbados politicians in “campaign donations”
Mr. Sinckler doesn’t tell us how much of a premium we paid for the “financing” of the prison versus how much it would have been to pay for the prison outright, or to have borrowed the money from other sources rather than through the BOLT method that was chosen. We aren’t told what the expected operating, refurbishment and depreciation costs are over the life of the prison. We aren’t provided with different models based upon varying scenarios of the prison’s life expectancy.
We aren’t told how much VECO provided to Barbados politicians in “campaign donations”, and we aren’t told how many “fact finding” trips by Barbados politicians were paid for by VECO. We aren’t provided with a list of every company, contractor or supplier who received payment from VECO associated with the prison.
And we sure aren’t told who the ultimate beneficiaries of the construction, operation and financing are because undoubtedly some of the elected and appointed government officials had a piece of the action then, and probably still do.
VECO’s culture of corruption
Dodds Prison was built by the infamous VECO company: a huge Alaska based oil services operation that habitually used bribery and corruption to obtain government contracts. VECO was liberal with its political support everywhere and was happy to provide “political donations” to politicians in any country who could say “YES!” to issue government contracts to VECO.
VECO was also expert at hiring “consultants” to assist with their projects by providing advice and, well, “consulting”. Sometimes the consultant meetings were held in different countries than where the projects were happening, so the “consultants” were paid in these different countries: countries like Switzerland and Dubai. By strange coincidence, many of the “consultants” VECO hired were often relatives of the very politicians who said YES! to issuing the government contracts to VECO.
VECO loved politicians like Owen Arthur and his gang who said YES! to giving VECO the contract for the Oil Terminal and Dodds Prison.
Consultants, Offshore Suppliers & Middlemen
Barbadians will never know how much was paid to “consultants” and middlemen in Miami and elsewhere whose only function was to mark up the price of building materials by five or ten percent before shipping them to Barbados. If Barbados really cared, it could have audited a few expensive specialty items that went into Dodds like the stainless steel prison toilets and sink fixtures to see how much we paid for each against the manufacturer’s standard prices – but that would have spoiled everything.
On May 7, 2007, VECO CEO Bill Allen and VP Rick Smith pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Anchorage to charges of extortion and bribery in the USA. In Barbados the BLP Attorney General Dale Marshall had a 20 minute meeting with company officials in Barbados and then announced to the press that everything was okay in Barbados because, well, we’re honest here and so were the VECO employees who handled Dodds Prison and the Oil Terminal.
See? No problem here because we had a 20 minute meeting where everybody swore on a stack ‘o bibles that everything be okay in Bim.
Got that? After the revelations of endemic corruption by VECO as a standard operating practice, that was the extent of the public inquiry into a billion dollars worth of business that VECO and Barbados did together over the years.
Our BLP and DLP governments never requested the files and wiretaps that the FBI collected during their investigation. We know from the US news stories at the time that many of the FBI investigations mentioned and concerned VECO’s operations in Barbados.
David Thompson and the DLP promised to “get to the bottom” of all kinds of corrupt activities in Barbados, but they never touched VECO or anything else other than by some political posturing. That’s because everybody had a piece of the VECO pie at the time the Oil Terminal and Dodds were built and nobody is going to throw stones in that glass house.
Bajans were also promised a Freedom of Information act so we could get to the bottom of things ourselves, but we all know what happened to that: the DLP and Thompson lied.
So go ahead, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler; tell us all about Dodds Prison. Never mind throwing us little bits and pieces for political purposes.
Why can’t Bajans know the whole story, Minister Sinckler? Do tell us!
Here is the story from The Nation. Please read it at their website but we reprint the entire source article here because The Nation has a habit of removing articles to change history, and we don’t want to lose our source materials…
BARBADOS’ FOREIGN RESERVES declined by $60 million in January despite the record number of tourist arrivals, Opposition spokesman on finance and economic affairs, Clyde Mascoll, said yesterday.
He told the DAILY NATION this performance was not a good sign and required some explanation from Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler.
Last night Sinckler responded saying that Mascoll was being “neither intellectually nor practically genuine on the matter”.
“Mr Mascoll must know it was the former administration that entered into an agreement to make a $30 million payment for the Dodds Prisons at the end of every January.
“In addition there are debt payment commitments that Government has around this time of year which when taken together account for more than 90 per cent of the reserves of which he speaks,” the Minister of Finance said.
Mascoll had said that according to the Barbados Tourism Authority, 52 685 visitors came here in January – an 8.7 per cent increase over January 2010 – mainly due to a $6 million hike in advertising and increased airlift.
“The poor performance of the foreign reserves in January reinforces my original comment that the sale of the National Insurance shares in the Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) had more to do with the foreign reserves than with concerns about the needs of the country’s public sector pensioners in the future,” Mascoll said.
Mascoll had charged: “It is also now very evident that the growth of tourist arrivals in January was not matched by commensurate growth in spending by the tourists. Further, there was significant discounting of room rates during the country’s high season.”
The economist and former Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance in the Owen Arthur Administration, said the major contribution of the increased arrivals to the tourism sector might come in the value added, that is, economic growth.
“However, the contribution to growth depends on the performance of the United Kingdom market from where we get longer staying tourists,” he added.
Sinckler said Mascoll was “misleading the public” by suggesting that tourism receipts from visitors arriving in January and early February could show up during the same period.
“There is a time lag between the time a tourist arrives and spends and for the calculations to show up in the system.
“While it is true that tourist spend is down, to give the impression that the increased arrivals for January will account for nothing is pure politicking.”
According to Sinckler, Mascoll was “retaining some strage pleasure out of his desire to prove that the Barbados economy is going to collapse”.
He said for Mascoll to create the impression that “there is some urgent crisis in the foreign reserves of Barbados is not only unwarranted but irresponsible”.
The minister told the DAILY NATION the country’s reserves “remained comparatively stable providing 20 weeks of import cover which is above international standards”.