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.
A bit of Island History…
When you’re growing up, Bim seems so big – but soon you learn how small this place is both in physical size and in how connected everything is to the few cartels that exercise power. When the interests of these cartels are threatened, there is no limit on how vicious and lawless they can become. My fellow Bajans might recoil in horror that I am saying this aloud, but they won’t dispute the truth of it.
For the law is merely a tool to be used by those in power as a weapon or a threat – or ignored or sidestepped when convenient. That’s why then Prime Minister Owen Arthur appointed his Attorney General and drinking buddy as Chief Justice! When he did that the separation between the government and the court vanished. It can truly be said that under Chief Justice SIR David Simmons, the Barbados Labour Party was the court, and the court was the Barbados Labour Party.
In truly free countries a change in the Constitution or founding documents is approached with extreme caution, and with lengthy due process and respect for history, citizens and a realization that when you mess with the foundation sometimes the whole house suffers. One changes a house foundation with the utmost of care and caution.
In Barbados our elected representatives of the day change the Constitution on a Wednesday afternoon with a week’s notice and zero public discussion. That says everything about how our political elites view themselves, the people and the laws. (It is quite possible that with the cartels’ disdain for the law and due process that Barbados never legally ratified the CARICOM documents that Mr. Weekes is seeking – and that is the reason that CARICOM and the Barbados government are ignoring him.)
The end result of this elitist arrogance is that when the ordinary person takes the government or the cartels to court, or otherwise threatens them with the truth… very very bad things can happen. Family members lose their jobs. Businesses and homes arsoned. Government Health Inspectors suddenly decide that your farm or restaurant is a hazard when last week it was inspected with no faults. Human feces is smeared on the door handle of your business. ‘Stray shots’ hit your home, (quite by accident you know). Your child is yanked out of class and interrogated…
…or maybe the police search your vagina looking for documents that prove rent fraud.
Man, the police can’t even solve the assassination of retired Barbados Immigration Chief and former Assistant Superintendent of Police Kenrick Hutson who was gunned down in front of his home on Friday December 28, 2007 while his wife and daughter were inside. What did Hutson know? Who did his knowledge put at risk?
The memory of Kenrick Hutson and how he was assassinated four years ago is long gone from the Barbados news media.
This isn’t the Barbados of the Daily Mail travel section, you know. Not by a long shot.
Further reading that will make your hair stand on end…
February 11, 2007: Lawsuit Alleges CARICOM Stole Cricket Visa Technology From Bajan Inventor
February 10, 2007: CARICOM visa regime stumped by lawsuit?
Other incidents of arson, threats etc. connected with anti-government disputes and litigation…
“We were not surprised by the lack of (police) response, especially after repeated death and rape threats against myself and wife and suspected arson attacks were never satisfactorily investigated, despite overwhelming evidence of the source.”
…Barbados hotelier and British foreign investor Adrian Loveridge talks about Barbados Police and crime in Selective Denial, Cover-up by Barbados Commissioner of Police
“In the early hours Tuesday, December 19, 2006 – a few days before Christmas – officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force descended like a gang of wild thugs upon the sleeping family of Mrs. Ronja Juman.
Her offense was not having paid back-rent to her landlord – who happens to be Charles Leacock, Queens Counsel, and the Director of Public Prosecutions for the sovereign nation of Barbados. One of the most powerful men on the island, Mr. Leacock arranged to have officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force collect his back rent from Mrs. Juman – in particular a corrupt police officer named Sgt. Paul Vaughan…
…When Sgt. Vaughan and his police officers entered Ronja Juman’s home, terrorised her sleeping family and dragged her off half-naked to the police station for a vaginal search and interrogation over Mr. Leacock’s unpaid rent, they used a blank, pre-signed search warrant – a highly illegal act.”