Monthly Archives: August 2011

CL Financial & CLICO Fraud – Colman Commission lawyers edge further towards a cover-up

“The CL Financial Agents, many of whom masqueraded as ‘Investment Advisors’, appealed to people to close-off their other accounts and sell other investments so as to put as many eggs into that one basket as possible. “

The Colman Commission – Cloudy Concessions

by Afra Raymond

The Colman Commission held its first session of Hearings in the last week of June, so we were able to have moving reports from witnesses who had lost-out from various investments with the Hindu Credit Union (HCU).

I read those transcripts and it was painful to see the shape of this problem.  The most striking aspect for me was that the various attorneys seemed to have struck a compromise as to the parts of that evidence which would form part of the public record.

The main concession was that those witnesses did not have to state the amount of their investments for the record.  The reasoning seems to have been a stated fear of crime, but it is my view that this concession will compromise the effectiveness of the Colman Commission.  Given that the Commission is scheduled to resume its Hearings on 19th September, it seems timely to put these matters forward now.

To begin with, the two Golden Rules of investment are –

  • The Risk and Reward paradigm – Risk and Reward have an inescapable relationship – i.e. the greater the Risk, the greater the Reward and vice versa.
  • Investments need to be spread out so as to avoid undue concentration of risk – in colloquial terms, you should not put all your eggs into one basket, or bet all your money on one horse.

From these time-honoured ‘Golden Rules’, we derived the ‘Prudential Criteria’ which guide how financial institutions balance risk and reward.

Yet, despite the ‘Golden Rules’ the CL Financial and Hindu Credit Union chiefs were able to devise products which tempted tens of thousands of people to abandon those basic safeguards and invest in their products.  People who were normally sensible were tempted to abandon good sense and break both ‘Golden Rules’.  That is the measure of this tragedy. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados

Elizabeth Drive, Pine Gardens Crime Alert: Is Erdiston College doing their part?

Barbados Police working hard. Police Inspector Griffith came to the call while off-duty.

With the dramatic and recent increase in crime many folks around the island are banding together and doing what they can to look out for each other and their neighbouring properties. BFP receives quite a few email crime alerts and we’re very interested in following the trends. While we don’t usually publish the individual alerts because they concern localized happenings, this one is noteworthy because it is obvious the police are working hard and keenly interested in a pair of thugs spotted around Elizabeth Drive.

A big thank you to Inspector Griffith who attended a call while off-duty. We at BFP have long been critical of certain aspects of our police force and senior management, but we’ve also said from day one that successive governments have criminally under-funded the police to the point where the organisation is ineffective.

Give praise where praise is due though: Thanks to Inspector Griffith and the other officers who responded to the calls, and are doing their best to find these two dangerous thugs.

Erdiston College not doing what they should?

There is also a reference in the email that Erdiston College is contributing to the problem because they no longer shut their pedestrian back-gate at sunset. Well Erdiston College? Any truth to that?

Here’s the email crime alert from the Elizabeth Drive Pine Gardens Resident Association…

Dear Elizabeth Drive Residents

Please see the below email from our fellow neighbour. Am trying to obtain more information as to the descriptions of these individuals. Please continue to share any pertinent information and to be vigilant.

Many thanks,

Caroline Steinbok, Neighbourhood Liaison – Elizabeth Drive Pine Gardens Resident Association

The Original email

Don’t know if you heard but we’ve had another incident today adding to the ongoing saga of criminals in the area. This info needs to go to all Pine Gardens residents as it is not restricted to Elizabeth Dr.

Here is a brief rundown of what I know so far. I don’t  know if anyone can add to it.

1-There was the robbery of the construction worker in Elizabeth Dr at around 9.am by two men. I am told that after the event, the men ran off North up Eliz. Dr.

2- On the day following or the next day two men were observed from Eliz. Dr. in a tree in the back of the Leacock property looking into the two properties at the northern end of Eliz. Dr. They ran off when the realized that they had been seen.

3- On the following day Thursday (< >10.am) they were again seen, from a distance of about 5 ft, in the Leacock property holding on to the fence of the Atkinson property and looking into the Preece property…one was wearing a mask.

The police were called and they came promptly. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Police

A tribute to assassinated Environmentalists

“She’s Alive” is a must-watch video

In Barbados we’ve seen for ourselves what happens when corrupt politicians and their developer friends want to turn public lands into private profits: they just do it. If laws stand in their way, they change the laws. Look at what happened to the Graeme Hall Wetlands and two National Parks.

If citizens stand in their way, activists are marginalized by whatever means the government thinks it can get away with. Sometimes that means using tax audits and agriculture inspections to communicate the government’s displeasure to an environmental activist. A tax audit or threats to shut down their business usually shuts people up. If the activist has a lighter shade of skin then a Minister of Government can declare on television that the opponent should be ignored because they are “Caucasian”, “rich and white” or “white plantocracy”. Sometimes three cane fields mysteriously burn three weekends in a row. Just ask “Caucasian Male” environmental activist Richard Goddard about all that.

If some of the land the government and their developer friends want is privately held, the government expropriates the land and very often doesn’t pay the owner. Then the land is transferred to “private concerns” for development. By strange coincidence, sometimes a Government Minister ends up living on the expropriated and never paid for land. Just ask Gline Clarke.

I don’t think we’ve had any Bajan activists murdered or beaten over environmental concerns, but there have been threats, incidents, break-ins and arson over environmental, political and social activism. Just ask Adrian Loveridge, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner and a host of other folks on this island.

The video “She’s Alive” is not only stunning and beautiful, it reminds us that standing up for a just cause can be dangerous when evil and powerful persons want their profits and don’t care about anything else.

Partial List of Assassinated Environmentalists

Chico Mendes – 1988
Ken Sarowiwa (Saro-Wiwa) – 1995
Dian Fossy – 1985
Joan Root – 2006
P.D. Majhi – 2007
Amit Jethwa – 2010

(Thanks to an old friend for suggesting this powerful video.)

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Human Rights

Barbados Tourism Authority’s Austin Husbands: Keep quiet about bad beaches, environmental damage.

UPDATED March 27, 2013

The tourist numbers are tanking – they have been tanking for a long time. Global financial problems are taking a toll, it’s true, but our numbers are especially bad and worse than most in the Caribbean.

Many folks think that a little more advertising will take care of things. That might get us a few more tourists, but that won’t cure the foundational problems that we have with our tourism product.

This article from our own Nevermind Kurt tells it fuh truth! We drove the old tourism economy taxi right into the ground without changing the oil or performing normal maintenance. We just made money with that old taxi until it could go no longer and we didn’t save for a new one. So here we are trying to make our living driving an old rust bucket of a taxi while everyone around us has a shiny new taxi. No contest where the customer will take their money!

Here’s our original article…

“We cannot continue with the Barbados Tourism Authority’s current philosophy of advertising instead of ensuring product quality. We have to change the road we’re on, or there will be nothing left for our children.” …BFP staffer Nevermind Kurt

“Maybe BTA should advertise some derelict properties as well. LOL Sometimes I wonder if we do not realize the damage we do to our island’s reputation Maybe frustration sets in but Barbados must come first CZMU and other agencies have a mandate, but quite often MONEY just is not there. ”

BTA Deputy Director Austin Husbands chides Mullins Bay Blog for posting an expose of destroyed beaches and empty hotels: You probably will not see this in the glossy Barbados tourism literature

Memo to the BTA: Deceiving tourists doesn’t help Barbados in the long run

by Nevermind Kurt (with Marcus)

When I first read Austin Husbands’ astonishing comment on the St. Peter, Barbados Facebook group, I became angry and started to write a slashing rant aimed squarely at the BTA’s Deputy Director. Then I sat back and thought about the tremendous pressures that our tourism industry and every Bajan is facing at this moment. I also thought that Mr. Husbands believes that he and our tourism industry are trapped by circumstance into carrying on with more of the same: concentrating on promotion rather than on product quality. (ie: “We need the tourist money NOW… no time for foundational changes. Advertise MORE!”)

I’m no longer angry at Mr. Husbands. I think he’s wrong in his approach, but I understand where he’s coming from. I understand his generation’s current desperation and exasperation that while the BTA spends tens of millions of dollars advertising and promoting a Perfect Image of Barbados, concerned Bajans and disgruntled visitors are posting photos of the truth online. Has Mr. Husbands ever read TripAdvisor or Carnival Cruise Lines forums? He should… every day.

“We ordinary Bajans and many of our Barbados regulars have a fundamental disagreement with the Mr. Husbands, the BTA and our political leadership about where our tourism industry is taking our country.”

Ordinary Bajans believe that there is no real plan, that it’s all happening willy nilly and that the long term good of Barbados is being shunted aside for short term profits and personal gain at the expense of our children’s future. Irreparable damage is being done – socially and environmentally – yet the vast majority of our tourism “leaders” can only see the next financial quarter. I understand that, but I’m also saying it’s time to get off the road we’re on. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

How can our new Chief Justice succeed without proper funding?

Politicians would rather spend money on frivolities than foundational infrastructure

by BFP reader RRRicky (with Marcus)

Our newly-appointed Chief Justice, Marston Gibson, gave an interview in the Antigua Observer where he laid out his plans to implement the new civil procedure laws that were passed in Barbados in 2008.

Good Luck to Chief Justice Gibson. He’s going to need lots of luck because luck is all he has: there is no money for the staffing and operational improvements he wants to make. We have a brand new court building (with a leaky roof) that we’ll be paying out forever (and we aren’t allowed to know who we’re paying or how much) but we don’t have court reporters, administrative assistants or legal researchers to empower the Judges and the Justice system.

How tragic: a beautiful building financed on the never-never – but no budget for sufficient people, computers and equipment to make the system work as it should. Nice building though!

Another difference is that referees do not have the same legal support structure as judges. They do not have law clerks or secretaries and, therefore, must do their own legal research when drafting opinions, Gibson said.

To that end, he said, he will be able to relate to judges in Barbados, who also do not have clerks and secretaries to help them.

“One of the big-ticket items for me is to try to give some thought to how I can get them some assistance, so that they can concentrate on judging and have some assistance with their research and their writing,” Gibson said.

Barbados Chief Justice Mastron Gibson in the Antigua Observer

Our Justice System is foundational to our society, so why don’t politicians fund it properly?

Think of the Justice System as necessary societal infrastructure: just like sewers, water, power, policing, health care, roads etc.. Barbados governments prefer to spend money on big flashy projects or small give-aways traded for votes: not on necessary infrastructure. A cricket showplace is sexy and a great photo opportunity – sewerage treatment plants are not vote-getter sexy.

Barbados governments don’t mind giving away millions for weed-eaters and lawn care equipment in a failed effort to make entrepreneurs out of block layabouts, but to provide funding to put sufficient telephones and court reporting equipment in the new court building? Never!

Seldom do our governments put adequate money into basic infrastructure like sewers, sidewalks, water distribution, policing, hospital or justice until things get so bad that they are falling apart. Consider the library. Think of the state of our health care facilities.

Chief Justice Simmons had conflicting loyalties… and the BLP usually came first

The last Chief Justice was an integral part of the politics and the political decisions that devoted spending to frills, not to the foundations of our society. Sir David Simmons left us with a shiny new building and a broken, understaffed court system where cases often drag on for over a decade and sometimes two! He and his BLP left us with a court system where accused persons spend years in jail waiting for trials that never happen. Sir David kept his silence about that because it was his own BLP comrades who were to blame.

Marston Gibson is different. I believe he will work with what he is given, but if it isn’t enough, his loyalty will be to Barbados and making our Justice System the best it can be. Chief Justice Gibson has already shown that he speaks his mind without concern for the political elites.

I like that. It gives me hope that we finally have a Chief Justice whose first loyalty is to the people, not to his old political comrades.

You watch: if the politicians don’t provide an adequate budget to allow Barbados to have the justice system it deserves, we’re going to hear about it right from the Chief Justice. There will be no whitewashing or looking the other way with this man.

I like that a lot.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

Do you remember these British High Commissioners to Barbados?

We probably identified the wrong UK Diplomat “David Roberts” in our recent post Former UK Diplomat “Barbados badly needs plumbers but is turning out third rate lawyers by the dozen…”

Thanks to the efforts of BFP reader Elizabeth, we can now tell you that the “David Roberts” in our story might be Sir David A. Roberts, K.B.E., C.M.G., who served as the UK High Commissioner to Barbados from 1971 to 1973.

Elizabeth also sent us a complete list of British High Commissioners to Barbados since our independence, so we’ll reprint it here, along with the link to the entire list of British Ambassadors from 1880 to 2010.

Thanks Elizabeth, you’re a charm!

BRITISH AMBASSADORS 1880-2010 (PDF)

BRITISH AMBASSADORS AND HIGH COMMISSIONERS: 1880-2010
Introduction

These lists have been compiled from the information contained in the annual Foreign Office List(later renamed the Diplomatic Service List).

This invaluable source ceased publication however in 2006. In addition, latterly the annual editions only provided complete lists of the names of Ambassadors for the previous twenty years or so.

BARBADOS(from 1966):

John S. Bennett, C.B.E., C.V.O.: 1966-1970
Sir David A. Roberts, K.B.E., C.M.G.: 1971-1973
Charles S. Roberts, C.M.G.: 1973-1978
James S. Arthur, C.M.G.: 1978-1982
Viscount Dunrossil, C.M.G.: 1982-1983
Sir Giles L. Bullard, K.C.V.O., C.M.G.: 1983-1986
Kevin F.X. Burns, C.M.G.: 1986-1990
Emrys T. Davies, C.M.G.: 1990-1994
Richard Thomas, C.M.G.: 1994-1998
Gordon M. Baker: 1998-2001
C. John B. White: 2001-2005
Duncan J.R. Taylor, C.B.E.: 2005-2009
Paul Brummell: 2010-

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Filed under Barbados, History

WE TOLD YOU SO: Anti-Corruption legislation buried in dark hole

During the 2007 election campaign, the Democratic Labour Party promised to introduce Integrity Legislation and a Freedom of Information Act within 100 days of taking office. They put that in writing in Pathways to Progress, in press handouts and in newsletters and emails.

The DLP also promised to introduce a Ministerial Code of Conduct immediately upon taking office. They put that in writing too.

“Hello BFP folks…

The Ministerial Code takes effect immediately after a DLP government is elected. The Freedom of Information Act and Integrity legislation will be dealt with in the first 100 days in office…

Best regards
Reudon Eversley
Communications Director
DLP General Election Campaign 2008″

The DLP Lied

David Thompson lied about it. Freundel Stuart lied about it. Every DLP candidate lied about it.

You can say that the electorate was naive or ready to believe the DLP lies about Integrity Legislation because after 14 years of BLP corruption we were desperate. You can say the electorate was ready to be deceived, but it doesn’t matter.

We believed the DLP. We truly did. We had faith in the DLP candidates as people. We elected the DLP candidates and leadership because we believed their promises. We believed IN the DLP candidates as people of their word.

The DLP promises about what we called “ITAL” – Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation – were a big part of why Bajans elected a DLP government. That much was admitted at the time in the news media and in comments from foreign observers.

It has been over four years since those promises were made, and three years and seven months since the DLP Government took office and immediately broke their first promise by not implementing a Ministerial Code of Conduct on the first day.

Now we read in The Nation “The Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) wants Government to move quickly to redraft the Prevention of Corruption Bill, 2010 and get it back on the front burner” within six months.

DLP Strategy to make Integrity Legislation fail

We at Barbados Free Press earlier said that the inclusion of the private sector in the proposed Integrity Legislation was a DLP strategy to cause the legislation to fail, so they could blame it on the private sector. We said back in October, 2009…

A DLP insider reveals how David Thompson and his gang intend to sabotage Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information laws by expanding the promised laws to include private citizens and corporations.

This, of course, will throw a spanner into the works of any legislation. After if fails to pass due to public outcry, Thompson and his fellow piggies at the public trough will say, “Well, we tried our best.”

…from the BFP post Prime Minister Thompson’s new strategy for avoiding Integrity Legislation, FOI: “Private sector must be included in this legislation”

We also said that the DLP would delay the Integrity Legislation until just before the next election, so they could blame the BLP opposition for shooting it down or delaying it. That way the DLP would get to use Integrity Legislation for two election campaigns in a row while retaining all the benefits of not having the legislation in place while they are in government. A neat trick if they can pull it off.

It looks like we were correct. That’s unfortunate because we would rather have been proven wrong.

Member of Parliament William Duguid “No Barbados politicians will vote for Integrity Legislation”

It’s also unfortunate that the only politician who told the truth about the Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information was the Barbados Labour Party’s William Duguid, who was quoted on another blog saying that Integrity Legislation will never happen because no politicians of any party will ever vote for it. Duguid is moving to Canada so it doesn’t matter to him anymore if he speaks the truth.

Welcome to Barbados folks! Same old, same old ’bout hey. Continue reading

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