Barbados Free Press editor’s message: Folks, we received several copies of the following unsigned message. Each came through anonymous emailing services out of Germany, The Netherlands and possibly Russia. The message is anonymous and might or might not be containing wrong information or out and out lies. We have no way of confirming any of it: but as our readers will see there are certain informations that ring true and that we’ve heard elsewhere.
We’re going to print it and see whether our readers can make some sense of it. Now remember, folks: the people who are mentioned in this anonymous letter volunteered to be in public positions of trust and therefore are prepared to take some public vetting once in a while. Most people everywhere are hard-working and honest, so remember that as we discuss this letter and try to determine how much fire is under this smoke…
On the Ides of March – BPWCCUL has 14 days to respond!!!
The last blog posted regarding BPWCCUL has resulted in the wrongful dismissal of several workers including a very hard-working and honest Finance Manager, the continued harassment of an equally honest and sincere Internal Auditor and a professional and competent IT Manager. It has also triggered the running of two Directors who I’m glad to see the back of and the resignation of the Chairman of the Supervisory Committee. We only hope the Financial Services Commission is taking note.
As a pre-cursor to the Annual General Meeting it is essential to fully ventilate the issues and therefore we shall be posting on a regular basis to try to make sure that what has happened at CLICO does not happen here. In this situation more than fifty-thousand Barbadians would be affected.
This first post is a friendly game of 20 questions but if the Board is not forthright with members then it will be escalated with severely damaging information. Nothing short of the stepping down of the BPWCCUL President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Director Marilyn Mapp, Director Keiva Cadogan, the CEO, CAPITA’s Chairman, Deputy Chairman and CEO will avert this course of action.
These issues have not been raised officially with the Supervisory Committee because that has proven to be 100% ineffective and impotent. Remember, money talks and once Supervisory Committee members are offered trips to attend meetings across the Globe, they forget their duty and chase after a Board position.
So the 20 questions:
1. Who is the individual or firm that was paid nearly half a million dollars in fees to provide services during the Credit Union’s acquisition of CLICO Mortgage and Finance Corporation? Why was there no contract and no Board approval or knowledge of the transaction and what is the relationship between this individual and the CAPITA CEO? Was this relationship declared to the Board in accordance with the Act? Was this the single-largest fee during the acquisition? Is it true that neither the legal fees nor the due diligence attracted fees this high? What services could have cost so much? And were there any BPWCCUL Directors who benefitted financially from this transaction?
2. What is the special relationship between Bay and Wellington and BPWCCUL? Who are its Directors and beneficial owners? Is the provision of corporate event management services tendered in a way that allows other members with similar firms the opportunity to submit a competitive bid? What is the value of these services provided to the Credit Union? Is it really over $740K? Can these services be provided more competitively elsewhere? Who are the Directors who benefit financially from such contracts? What is the annual total of corporate gifts made by Bay and Wellington to BPWCCUL Directors and Management?
3. Is Director Marilyn Mapp a resident of Barbados? What percentage of Board meetings has she attended? Of these she “attended” was she physically present? Do the rules of the Credit Union allow for Directors to attend meetings using electronic methods? If not, why is the Secretary and President signing Board Minutes which say Mrs. Mapp is present when they are fully aware that under the existing Corporate Governance framework there is no provision for electronic meetings? Are other Directors aware of this aspect of the Society’s by-laws? If they are, are they equally aware of the implications of falsifying Board Minutes?
4. Who is the “Parris – wannabee” within the Credit Union structure? Is it true that this “Parris-wannabee” sits on 5 boards related to BPWCCUL? How much money has been spent on travel by this “Parris-wannabee”? As CEO? As Credit Union Director? As Director of Capita? As Director of Legacy Foundation? As Director of BPWCCUL’s Holding Company? As Director of the Barbados Cooperative Credit Union League? As Director of Cooperators Insurance? Is it true that Mr Parris-Wannabee only travels First Class and ensures he travels a minimum of 200 thousand frequent flyer miles annually? Why do some Directors travel exclusively First Class and others Economy? What is the policy? How many Corporate credit Cards does Mr. Parris Wannabee have assigned to him?
5. Who is the individual who, not being a Director or Manager was issued one of the Society’s Corporate Credit Cards which was used in a far-away land?
6. What is the special relationship between Tree House Media and Directors of BPWCCUL? Was this interest declared in the awarding of the various contracts? Is it true that these contracts for various (PR) services were in excess of $400 thousand over the period? Were these services put out to competitive bid? Who are the beneficial owners of Tree House Media? Are BPWCCUL Directors present or past associated with this company? Were there breaches of the Procurement policy?
7. When will the CAPITA CEO compensate the credit Union for the use of the Credit Union’s CEO vehicle for more than 36 months? During the period is it true that the current CEO was unemployed? Is it true that during the period he received over $150 thousand in per diems for travel that was not approved by the Credit Union Board? Another $50 thousand that was approved and that he benefitted another $100k in free fuel, lunches, and dinner meetings unrelated to Credit Union business?
8. When will the CEO of the Credit Union compensate the Credit Union for allowing the vehicle assigned to her to be used by the current CAPITA CEO and incurring additional expenses to the credit union by employing a separate driver and vehicle? How much fuel was wrongfully charged to the Credit union during the period?
9. How is it that the current President of BPWCCUL travels on Credit Union business without such travel being approved by the Board? Are there other members of the Credit Union who, not being Directors nor Managers are allowed to travel on Credit Union business? What is the role of the CEO in this? On what authority does she process such transactions? Why are extracts of the requisite Board Minutes not required to authenticate such decisions? Is this part of the reason the Board agreed to terminate the services of the Finance Manager?
10. What is the relationship between the CEO’s of CAPITA and BPWCCUL? Between the CAPITA CEO and the BPWCCUL Marketing Officer? Between the CAPITA CEO and other BPWCCUL Staffers? Is the nature of these relationships declared to Directors? Are Directors aware that a person by the name of Pearson was asked to leave the Board because he had a relationship (husband) with a worker?
11. What influence was exerted by the BPWCCUL President to ensure that a blood relative would qualify for a loan? Was this relationship declared? And did The President utilise the Extra-ordinary Credit Committee to approve this loan according to the By-laws? Or was this loan simply approved as though no relationship existed? What role did the CEO play in this? How many aspects of the Credit Union’s policies were breached?
12. Why was the Credit Union Board summoned on three occasions to appear before the Financial Services Commission? What were the issues? Have these issues been addressed? What was the FSC’s position on the frauds that had been perpetrated against the Credit Union? Does the current board treat the FSC with the same disrespect that it treated the Registrar of Cooperatives? Have issues raised by the registrar been addressed? The Credit Card issues? Has the current CEO ever been appraised by the Board?
13. What is the relationship between the person formerly known as Edward Corbin and BPWCCUL? Has this contract been approved by the Board? Are fees approved by the Board? Are Directors aware of the existence of these contracts? Is it true that he has already worked out that the IT Manager, Internal Auditor, Finance Manager, Call Centre Manager, Collections officer and one position of Branch Manager will have to be terminated in aligning the staff to strategy? Was he associated as a hatchet-man for the BPWCCUL Board in the past? Is it also true that the CAPITA CEO writes papers for the BPWCCUL Board, signed by Mr. Corbin? Is it also true that this former Edward has been paid over $400 thousand over the last couple years?
14. Does the Board review each Director’s portfolio to ensure there are no inherent conflicts of interest? Is the Board comfortable with a regulator sitting as part of the Board? Was that regulator comfortable being hauled before another regulator? Were her bosses enthusiastic about their colleague, having to explain issues before the FSC? Will persons working for the FSC be allowed to sit on the Boards of Banks?
15. How was the CAPITA CEO selected? Was the position advertised? When? In which newspapers? Who were the other applicants? What were the specifications for the job? What independent firm was asked to provide these job specifications? Did CAPITA’s Board do all that reasonable persons would have done to ensure they got the best person for the job? What is the Corporate Governance Ethos that guides this company? Is it simply operating on the same principles that CLICO operated under? Is it a contracted position? How often are CEO appraisals planned? What is the political connection?
16. In the selection of the CAPITA Board were the best persons selected? Was the primary purpose of selecting the Board to do with how fast a specific new CEO could be appointed? Did that guide the election of the Board of BPWCCUL?
17. What are the current levels of related-party transactions between CAPITA and BPWCCUL? It is clear that this was one of the major CLICO issues, so what are the policies of the two entities to ensure that the level of such transactions are reasonable? Have there been breaches of either entity’s investment policies and if so when? And by how much? Was this a factor in the parting between the Finance Manager and the Credit union? Was the Finance Manager concerned about the concentration of Credit Union Deposits with CAPITA?
18. What is the nature of the relationship between CIBC First Caribbean and Directors or Past Directors of BPWCCUL?
19. Why does the Internal Auditor have to use lawyers during certain meetings at BPWCCUL? What are the specific areas of discrepancy which have been turning up, not being dealt with by Management but causing all the hype at Board Meetings? Is it true that The Marketing Officer is the most frequent flyer of the organization? How does that fit in with its strategy? How often has the Marketing Officer – soon to be Chief marketing Officer, travelled with the CAPITA CEO as a percentage of all travel? Is it not true that 100% of her travel has involved the CAPITA CEO? What was the nature of their Corporate business?
20. Did members authorize the establishment of “Legacy Foundation”? How does the BPWCCUL Board justify the Board appointments? How will this ebtity report to members and account for any money allocated to it? Who have been appointed auditors? What specific skills are brought to bear by the Directors: Dr. Reece (Credit Union Secretary), Paul Maxwell (frequent-flying CAPITA CEO and soon-to-be BPWCCUL CEO) and Tracia Pounder(frequent-flying soon-to-be Chief Marketing Officer)? What is the level of travel associated with this non-profit company? What is its budget? Why are there Trustees and a Board of Directors? What are the fees these Directors are paying themselves? What is this entire thing costing BPWCCUL? Can BPWCCUL contribute anymore to reinforcing inter-locking Directorships? Can we expect that Bay and Wellington will provide all the event planning, marketing, PR and branding services to this entity too?
The 21st question:
21. Are any of the issues raised in the last blog incorrect?? Why is the Board so concerned about “information leaks”? Are the Directors aware that if your hands are clean you have no problem when someone wants to inspect them? That whistle blowers only have an audience when wrong-doing is perceived as having been done?