Barbadian businessman says his home was the real target
Four British tourists just learned what most Bajans already know: litigation, especially against government, is dangerous business in Barbados.
The Brits rented a holiday home not knowing that it was next door to the family home of David Weekes: a Barbadian international businessman who has become a very inconvenient thorn in the side of both the Barbados and CARICOM governments.
“David Weekes told this newspaper he was certain his home was the target of what he suggested was a fire bomb. Weekes explained that since his house was the only one in the area which was normally occupied, the assailants or assailant could have aimed their wrath at the next door home because the lights in it were on.”
… from the Barbados Today article Fire bombed
At 2am on Tuesday April 3, 2012, an unknown person (or maybe more than one) firebombed the Brits’ holiday rental home with two exploding incendiary devices. Fortunately, no one was injured – but next time it could be different.
Why do we say “next time” people could be injured? Because there will be a next time, if not in the Weekes case then in some other legal battle. Barbados has a long history of incidents like this related to legal and other disputes. This is certainly not the first arson or similar attack associated with a Barbados court battle and it is unlikely to be the last considering our island’s recent history. We’ll get to that history in a minute, but for now let’s look at the litigation involving Mr. Weekes and the Barbados and CARICOM governments…
“Law Courts of Barbados seems unwilling or incapable of adjudicating my CARICOM civil suit”
… David Weekes, Barbados business owner and inventor
David Weekes is the inventor of a software and hardware visa solution that he claims Caricom stole from his company and used to issue visas during Cricket World Cup. Mr. Weeks claims that he showed the system to Caricom in 2003, and that Caricom used the software and system without his authorization in 2007. Weekes filed a lawsuit in 2007.
Adding credibility to Mr. Weekes’ case is that in October 2006 – just before Cricket World Cup – some Barbados Government people accidentally left a black folder at the Hilton Hotel, Bridgetown. When the staff saw the papers had Mr. Weekes’ name on them, they contacted him. Aha! According to Mr. Weekes, the Barbados Government papers showed that “confidentiality surrounding certain trade secrets Weekes had divulged to CARICOM representatives during many months of meetings had been compromised. Another company got the contract he was expecting.” (see Patrick Hoyos’ column at The Nation: David vs legal Goliath)
‘Normal’ in Barbados lawsuits: Delay the court case. Attack all the family. Steal the home.
David Weekes says powerful, connected lawyers of Carrington & Sealy were able to ‘rush’ their litigation through the Barbados court while stalling Weekes’ litigation.
Now throw in another layer: Weekes borrowed money to patent the visa software, and he put his home up as collateral – with the Barbados Central Bank guaranteeing the loan. Now Mr. Weekes is about to lose his home…
As Mr. Weekes explained it in a recent letter to Barbados Attorney General Brathwaite (and copied to all the news media and blogs – full letter later in our post)…
“(My home) is advertised to be auctioned by none other than (CARICOM lawyers) Carrington and Sealy on April 18th.
The travesty and injustice of this situation can be couched in one salient fact. The same CARICOM lawyers of Carrington & Sealy whom, like you, I have beseeched for the documentation at caption i.e. the Instruments of Ratification, from 2007 until now, are the same parties who have been able to rush concomitant litigation through the Barbados courts and get a judgment against David Weekes and IBIS Latin America Corp – two of the plaintiffs in CARICOM’s litigation!
This Carrington and Sealy, while stalling our substantive CARICOM case, aided by the fact that the Law Courts of Barbados seems unwilling or incapable of adjudicating my CARICOM civil suit, have simultaneously been able to put my company in court and get a civil judgment, against me, in a personal capacity, not my company, for default on a Central Bank backed Guarantee.
This is the same security my company used to finance the commercialization of the technology that I purport that CARICOM purloined!”
… Business person David Weekes in a letter to Barbados Attorney General Brathwaite
For 5 years CARICOM & Barbados Government refuses to provide Copies of Ratification
It gets even worse, folks. The Barbados Government and CARICOM have a real interest in not providing Mr. Weekes with access to government records that will assist his lawsuit… so Prime Minister Stuart and Attorney General Brathwaite put Mr. Weekes on ‘ignore’. He can ask and demand all he wants, but CARICOM and the Barbados Government want him destroyed, so they will not provide the records he needs to pursue his case.
The message of firebombs delivered at 2am
We don’t expect that the police will do anything substantial to find the culprits who arsoned what they thought was the Weekes family home: the police are pre-disposed to look the other way when the victim is suing the government. If you need some examples of this normal police blindness, neglect and complicity, just read on.
The Weekes case is yet another real lesson to international investors who might be considering Barbados as an investment or business location. If the deal goes wrong and you go to court, you will soon discover that litigation in Barbados carries risks that aren’t part of the court process in New York or London – like firebombs at your family home.
Barbados is a wonderful country with good, friendly and loving people – but we have some serious problems with rule of law, less than independent courts, disappearing government files and court cases that take up to 20 years to reach trial. Throw in the usual threats, arson and intimidation against persons who stand up to the small cartel that runs this place and you’ll see that business, investments, oversight and legal recourse in ‘Little England’ aren’t exactly as advertised to prospective foreign investors.
Barbados Free Press has been highlighting this problem for over seven years in hopes of driving change, but this latest arson (yet again!) against a family home shows that when it comes to doing business with and in Barbados… investors and business people had better be prepared for big trouble if it goes wrong – because law suits in Barbados are dangerous business. Continue reading