Daily Archives: November 16, 2011

Barbados Free Press – Our 4,500th post

For the record…

Afra Raymond’s latest contribution below is our 4,500th post since we first cracked open a cold Banks beer, fired up the cranky old DELL and launched Barbados Free Press in January of 2006.

This coming January will make it six years, and in that time we’ve welcomed well over ten million visitors from all over the world – including from an Antarctic research station and a pipeline construction site in Siberia! There are some very cold Bajan brothers out there who are really “Over and Away”.

BFP’s Best Day for Traffic – 44,087 Visitors

Our best day for traffic so far was on February 20, 2009 when 44,087 people visited Barbados Free Press in one day. (!!!) We’ve had many 20,000+ days when the mainstream media latches onto something on the blog but the events of February 20, 2009 almost doubled the next best day.

What was the big deal? It was a combination of CNN, Google, BBC and YAHOO! News latching onto a post that was originally published November 5, 2007 Was Rihanna Asked To Leave Her Cousin’s Wedding… Or Like Cher, Is Media Overdoing The Story?

Almost a year and a half later in February 2009 we brought the article back to the top for a day and updated it to talk about saving the Graeme Hall wetlands. Somehow the wider news media picked up on it and for the next month the post and the linked Graeme Hall posts went crazy with 442,381 people reading about the Rihanna cousin’s wedding and the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and mangroves.

442,381 visitors to this little blog in the short month of February. Outstanding! even if we say so ourselves.

What we said was…

We’re in a battle here to save the last natural area on the south of our island. The Government and their land developer friends want to turn the Graeme Hall wetlands into a row of highrise condos, golf course and water park. Please help raise awareness around the world.

… and provided some links to our Graeme Hall stories. Somehow that touched off a visitor frenzy. We’ve tried to duplicate what happened with other articles but the next best we’ve done produced 242,661 visitors in March of last year.

A Question for our Readers…

We think we do okay traffic-wise for a bunch of drunks and fools here at BFP – without using Facebook, Twitter and other things that some blogs do.

I’d like to see us use those and similar tools to try and expand our visitor base, but Clive has all these rules about limiting our personal exposure on the internet and he’s violently opposed to Facebook because (says Clive) he doesn’t trust it.

Can we have a second opinion from any of our readers: Can BFP expand to Twitter and Facebook without worrying about privacy and security?



Filed under Barbados

Big problems with CL Financial bailout, Colman Commission obstruction

CL Financial bailout – The Truth about the Truth

by Afra Raymond

Continuing from last week’s critique of the revised bailout and its implications, I have further concerns as to the process by which the legislation was passed.

I am aware that the Members of Parliament were given a briefing on this matter, so that they would be better informed on this complex matter.  That briefing was conducted personally by the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank, together with their advisers and certain CLICO officials.

The briefing provided background information on these areas –

  • The status of the various outstanding audited accounts;
  • A ‘profile’ of the monies owed in terms of amounts owed to certain classes of policyholders.  I am told that quite a small number of these claimants held a large proportion of the monies being claimed;
  • The various lawsuits/judgments against the Central Bank;
  • The rationale given for extinguishing the right to sue the Central Bank in this matter was that public rights and stability were being given preference over the exercise of private rights.

I am also told that the Members of Parliament were not given copies of the presentations, which seems to have effectively limited them to gaining certain impressions or the limited notes they would have been able to take during the briefing.

That account of events, given to me by more than one Parliamentarian, seems to suggest that the very rationale of the exercise, said to be the elevation of public rights over private ones, could have been subverted.

The reality is that, despite the extensive debate on the matter, this is the position –

  • Accounts – There has still been no proper, clear statement on the status of these CL Financial and CLICO accounts, which is unsatisfactory.  An emerging view is that this is a calculated silence, since the companies are insolvent, which would make the Directors liable for the criminal offence of ‘trading while insolvent’.  That is a considerable issue, which could only be overcome by the State issuing a guarantee to the group’s creditors, which would have exposed the Treasury to the full extent of the huge claims.  The silence is a shabby ‘third way’, which gives a further insight into why the bailout remains untenable to so many of us.
  • There is no publicly-available profile of the monies owed in terms of amounts owed to certain classes of policyholders.  That is a major omission and one can only wonder why the information is being effectively suppressed.  In addition, there were statements that the claims of Credit Unions and Trade Unions will be fully-paid, which seems to be a favourable treatment in comparison to the individual claimants.
  • In respect of the lawsuits and judgments, I do not see how the block on lawsuits against the Central Bank can stop claims in foreign Courts.
  • The rationale of public rights being preferred over private rights is a solid one in a matter of this type, but upon reflection one is left with a different impression.  How can public rights be said to prevail in a situation where the public is denied the essential parts of the picture?

The Parliament benefits from briefings on complex and important matters, but it is unacceptable that those briefings should be somehow shrouded in secrecy.  The Minister of Finance and Governor of the Central Bank need to publish their full Parliamentary briefing, without delay, to remove any lingering doubts.  Good governance, transparency and accountability demand no less.

Florida: Just one of the Duprey family mansions

Non-payment of taxes by top CL Financial executives Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Trinidad and Tobago