“It is a wonder that you are continuing to write these articles Mr. Raymond. Have you received any pressure to stop? If only our Bajan journalists had your integrity and courage.”
Barbados Free Press reader WSD comments on Afra Raymond’s article CL Financial bailout “a major failure on any scale”
In response to a reader’s concern for his safety, journalist Afra Raymond replies:
I am going to continue on my course, this is an epic crisis, being the single largest episode of corruption in our region’s history, so it is essential that the few of us keep on informing the public and agitating for Economic and Social Justice in this matter.
I am independent enough to maintain these efforts – no one is ever absolutely independent in our small societies – and it is a painful reflection in this, our 50th year of T&T’s Independence, that our leading institutions, academies and thinkers have remained resolutely silent in the face of this tidal wave of ‘commesse’ and ‘bobol’. It does make me wonder what was the ultimate purpose of all the sacrifice of our foreparents who struggled for liberation from colonialism, education and self-determination. What was that all for?
It is a disturbing measure of the depth of the corruption in all the western democracies that so few of the main players in this global meltdown have actually been imprisoned, but that is an issue for another column in this series.
My rallying call is –
SILENCE IS THE ENEMY OF PROGRESS!
Thanks for your support
“The region’s largest privately-held group of companies is now under State control, in a situation of huge insolvency, with no proper accounts and no declarations being filed by the Directors…
This development is a serious peril to our Treasury. It must be a matter of the gravest possible concern to all right-thinking people that our fundamental Integrity safeguards appear to have been circumvented or ignored in a matter of this size and consequence.”
A call to order
by Afra Raymond
The CL Financial bailout continues to be a major failure on any scale, both in the causes of the fiasco and especially the manner in which it has been handled. This is my update on what has been the progress in this campaign.
First… A Reality Check
The equation for our reality check is –
Expenditure of Public Money
Minus – Transparency
Minus – Accountability
Equals = CORRUPTION
In May 2009, I wrote that the Directors and Officers of the CL Financial group should be required to file declarations under the provisions of the Integrity in Public Life Act (IPLA). According to the IPLA, the Schedule detailing those persons is at page 31 – one of the classes of person required to file declarations to the Integrity Commission is –
“Members of the Boards of all Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises including those bodies in which the State has a controlling interest.”
I have put the last part of the sentence in italics to emphasize the deliberate choice of language by the legislators. The drafting of legislation is a painstaking exercise of strategy, debate and sometimes compromise…my point being that the inclusion of that last phrase must mean that the legislators intended to go beyond merely saying ‘Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises’, which would be the obvious, to specify that the IPLA must also apply in situations where the State has a controlling interest.
The CL Financial Shareholders Agreement (the Agreement), of 12 June 2009, which I obtained by using the Freedom of Information Act, specifies at clause 3.1 that the Board of Directors of CLF shall consist of seven Directors, four of which shall be nominated by the Government. The government has been exercising its rights under this clause, so it is clear that the State’s controlling interest in the CL Financial group is effective. Continue reading