BDO quits as Harlequin Property auditors – says Harlequin directors failed to provide information to BDO

“We have not been given significant information by the directors to enable us to ascertain whether or not appropriate progress has been made.”

… statement by BDO Accountants upon resigning as Harlequin Property’s auditors.

Harlequin Property Duck

Harlequin Property walks like duck

What’s that saying about a shoe fits? Or is pig with lipstick? Or if it walks like a duck with shoes and lipstick?

I kind of forget, but I’ll bet there are many old sayings that apply right now – like fools and money…

Harlequin Property auditor quits

Harlequin Property, the UK-based overseas property sales agent that is at the centre of a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation, has lost its second auditor in under three years.

Accountants BDO has filed a public resignation at Companies House saying it can no longer act as auditor for Harlequin Property, according to the Brentwood Weekly News.

The firm is being investigated by the fraud office and Essex Police following complaints from investors over delays. It has sold more than 6,000 off-plan holiday properties across six Caribbean resorts, taking in more than £300m, but so far built around 300.

Harlequin denies any wrongdoing.

Auditors independently verify the accounts of a limited company based on information supplied by the firm. BDO audited its last accounts up to March 2011, but issued a disclaimer saying it had not seen enough evidence to ensure they were accurate.

Its resignation letter said: “We have not been given significant information by the directors to enable us to ascertain whether or not appropriate progress has been made.”

It added in light of the lack of communication, which it said was needed for an effective audit, it “had resigned as auditor”.

Harlequin’s previous auditor Wilkins Kennedy resigned in summer 2010 saying information had come to light which made it inappropriate to stay in office.

Continue reading this IFAonline article: Harlequin Property auditor quits


Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Offshore Investments

98 responses to “BDO quits as Harlequin Property auditors – says Harlequin directors failed to provide information to BDO

  1. Adrian Loveridge

    ‘forensic review’

    ‘all investors’ money was accounted for’

    James Baker
    Baker Clarke Partnership

  2. 233

    Let’s see Carter Ruck and Ames sue their way out of that one….

  3. I am a securities law litigator in the United States, and there is no bigger red flag in my practice than the resignation of a firm’s auditors for such reasons.

  4. 211

    We will be all saved by the one man band of Baker Clarke….. Essex accountants….all our money is safe Yipee 😉

  5. Mr Blue

    Yep, We know where the money went, Dave pocketed a third of it, the IFA took another third, and the rest went to the caribbean. Everything’s accounted for. ‘Forensic’ audit over.

  6. St George's Dragon

    Two things – did you see the comment elsewhere to the effect that James Baker who carried out the “forensic audit” is a co-director of the part-time Finance Director of Harlequin? If that is true – and I do not know if it is – it calls into question the independence and reliability of the audit. Perhaps Mr Baker would like to come on here and set the record straight.
    Secondly, what was the instruction to James Baker? Reporting that “all investors money is accounted for” means little when that could cover situations, for example, where the trail shows that the investor’s money went to buy property outside the UK for the Ames family. Accounted for, sure, but was it used for the purpose for which the investors gave it?

  7. donkeyowner

    Thieves rely on bamboozling their victims with claims of “give us fair play” and “its all wrong, we’ll sue” while stealing more at the same time…Harlequin case in point.

  8. BBaywatch

    Final nail in the coffin of ‘funding sources’? I cannot see how any serious investor would go near this now, not with that track record. The imminent collapse of HP has been prematurely predicted several times, but like a vampire they rose again to feed on others money. This time there are no more victims or transfusions available.

  9. North Point v. 2.0 ?

    Wife and I took a drive out to the Merricks development.
    While on the bumpy road to nowhere in the driest of God-forsaken territories, she remarked… “This is looking like it’ll turn out to be another North Point Surf Resort.”

  10. yatinkiteasy

    @ Adrian…don`t know if you saw this…it was posted on another thread..

    Baker Clarke:
    “….business incorporated in England & Wales on 24th May 2010. Their business activity is recorded as Accounting And Auditing Activities. The Baker Clarke Partnership Limited is run by 2 current members. 2 shareholders own the total shares within the company. It is not part of a group. The latest Annual Accounts submitted to Companies House for the year up to 31/05/2011 reported ‘cash at bank’ of £624, ‘liabilities’ worth £173,066, ‘net worth’ of £270 and ‘assets’ worth £173,336.”
    Looks like a cracking hot bunch to me!


    New information about our action against Harlequin Property.
    We have organised 3 meetings next month in London to help the investors with Harlequin. The QC, a top UK lawyer (with a track record in Civil Fraud) as well as a top insolvency practitioner will be present at the meeting to give individual advice and guidance to each client’s case. The initial meeting is free of charge and if you decide to stay with us the cost will be kept to a minimum. If you can’t attend our meeting we can still represent you.

    Contact us:
    Tel: 0191 386 2487

  12. JB

    BDO recommended in their management letter the appointment of a forensic accountant to review historical balances up to 1st April 2009 for HMSSE in the UK. Baker Clarke was chosen for this review process for 2 reasons. Firstly that a member of the firm was a former employee of HMSSE and thus familiar with the accounting systems and secondly that we were a small firm with a lower charge cost than larger firms. This review process ( not an audit ) was concluded in November and the fact that it was complete advised to Harlequin. In completion of this task it became apparent what funds had been taken by way of deposits and members of the Harlequin staff advised how these funds had been applied,
    It is wrong to conclude that Baker Clarke was conducting an audit and it is likewise wrong to conclude that any member of Baker Clarke staff were performing the role of Part Time Finance Director.
    Baker Clarke will answer any sensible question Directed to our office relating to these matters so far as we are able and where such questions would involve a breach of confidentiality to Harlequin will seek their permission to respond accordingly.

  13. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @BBaywatch, can you go and trollon your own web site now. Still no answer to your Panorama comment yet. You are just discredited.

  14. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @CPC worldwide AKA Elizabeth Crozier. Can you please stop using these threads as an advertising tool for your ambalance chasing activities. You have posted on every thread on here. Go away!

  15. Annon angry!

    Thank you for your explanation. Am I right in this summary…. You went through the HMSSE records of financial transactions prior to 1-4-2009 establishing what had been collected in the way of deposits. You then were told by Harlequin staff where this money had gone. I assume that the exact nature of where the money went isn’t of interest to you, only that there is some record of where it went? If a large part of the money had been transferred to a Caribbean company (that has no accounts) would that have been a sufficient explanation ? I also assume you would not have needed to check what happened to any money that was transferred to one of the sister companies as you were only dealing with HMSSE records ?
    I can fully understand that it was not your job to verify that deposits were being spent in a way that an investor would find appropriate, only that there was a record of where it went.

  16. JB

    @anon, Whilst your summary of events is fair as our task was to check the quantum of historical balances I have seen overseas accounts and also information provided by Harlequin staff of expenditure on land purchase costs, development expenditure and investor finance payments. There is of course also the sums paid to HMSSE itself from which IFA payments were made. We also conducted our review beyond 1st April 2009. I have not audited the figures provided but I have seen the analysis provided to me by Harlequin staff members.
    I am presently overseas but any questions relating to this task that we performed that are addressed to the firm I shall try to answer as best I am able during the early part of next week. If such answers would breach the duty of confidentiality to Harlequin I will advise accordingly and seek the permission of Harlequin to respond accordingly.

  17. @JB Can you please tell me if the following statement is in your opinion a “True” statement,
    There is no legal requirement in the Caribbean for ring fencing, however because all the sites are owned across the Harlequin group all the sites are worth more than the clients deposits that we hold which is the investors protection.( I have always been concerned that the resrts were not ring fenced as I was originally led to believe and so if something did go wrong not that I am implying anything would would everyones money be refunded)


  18. JB

    @Erica. I am no expert on valuations but I would very much doubt that statement given the level of commission paid from deposits and resort construction levels at the moment.
    It would perhaps help everyone if harlequin published this information on values and deposits taken to date. I am travelling and only aware of this site very recently. I am tonight in Czech Republic and will be back in the UK Monday. I will ask Harlequin about this next week. I will not be in wifi range much In the next few days but will check in again Monday.

  19. Anon73

    Erica, I do have extensive experience in valuations in the Caribbean, and that statement is entirely inaccurate. Any surveyor or appraiser will say the same – it would not be hard to hire a company to provide a valuation for each property if you want a real independent valuation.

  20. Anonymous55

    @jb. Are you the actual accountant auditor who carried out a review of the accounts? Please be specific and state that you are and that the info you are given is true and accurate. Pls be aware that ip addresses can be traced. Pls let us all know whether you are the actual accountant or just a spokesperson/someone else using jb . Thank you

  21. St George's Dragon

    I would like to thank JB (assume James Baker) for speaking up.
    The problem with any exercise like the one carried out by Baker Clarke is that it is possible for the client to frame the appointment very precisely.
    It looks as though Baker Clarke has done what they were appointed to do and reviewed the historical balances up to 2009, but that Harlequin has overstating their review as being a “forensic audit”.
    You swim with piranhas at your peril.

  22. JB

    @anon yes my firm did this review. It seems many people have unanswered questions. It’s late tonight here and I travel tomorrow out of wifi range. You have my firms details. You can call me in my office Monday to substantiate if you wish. I will answer what questions I can. As said before those I can not but have the answers to I shall ask harlequin for permission to respond. Please feel free to validate what you need regarding IP address.

  23. 138

    I.e. Any answers will have to be approved by harlequin so I doubt we’ll learn much.

  24. Followers of the Harlequin saga must realize that the chances of learning the truth of what actually has happened through any internet postings are slim to none, especially with the threat of large-scale and very costly litigation hanging over everyone involved. No one is going to come clean and make a confession on line, if there are indeed confessions that should be made. Accounting is particularly an area where the devil is in the details, and what has been posted so far would hardly be dispositive about any of the critical facts in this case. I would think that the most useful function that this blog site could collectively provide is a very accurate view as to what exactly has been done and not done at each of these Harlequin construction sites through a series of recent photographs and other such reconnaissance information. I am sure that local contractors could also be approached to learn if anyone has actually been hired to perform any construction work. This kind of local detective work might actually advance the cause of knowledge instead of engaging in further speculation about the nature of certain documents or account statements whose meaning will not become clear until trial.

  25. @JB, Thanyou for helping me understand a area I am totally unfamiliar with when you do get chance could /would you please answer the questions below for me,
    Total amount of money spent on land and construction?
    Total commissions paid?
    Total deposits taken?
    Have you seen the intercompany loan agreement mentioned in the 2011 accounts?
    What verification work did you do to make sure the money was properly accounted for?
    What role does Ms Chalmers play? Mrs Ames said in court that she was H’s part-time FD.
    Does H have adequate funding to complete what it has sold?
    How did you calculate the money due to H referred to in the Echo article?
    Does H have the financing in place to honour its commitments to provide completion monies?
    Are returns being paid to any BB investors?
    Is BB profitable? If not, and if returns are being paid, where is the money coming from to fund those returns?
    I know there are quite a few questions but I would really apreciate your help with this and I am assuming other people would like you to clarify some/all of these questions also

  26. J chalmers

    Eric’s.I was shocked to see what I presume is me on your list of people who might be involved with any of this.I am J Chalmers and when I first posted on here had no idea people used made up names.I am just interested because I have stayed with a friend on St Vincent and became interested in Buccament Bay resort when I suggested this friend apply for a job and was told” no way because the staff don’t get paid on time”.I found this hard to believe because of the way BB was being advertised here ,so I did some research and that’s how I became interested.You may like to know I received a brochure from Dial A Flight yesterday offering a 40% discount on a seven night all inclusive ,all food and drinks plus free air transfers which I assume is the flight from Barbados,and free massage for two.all this for just under £2000 or $4000 EC.This is in a one bedroom Garden Villa.I am no mathematician but I did work in the hotel industry and I can’t see much profit from that for BB.Of course they quote the PC academy Liverpool soccarschool Espa spa 2 swimming pools PADI diving school kids club and 9 restaurants and bars as well as the white sand beach.Sounds like a bargain but I would point out that St Vincent won’t benefit because there will be no need for anyone to leave the resort.I am who I say I am and will be quite happy to give my email or telephone number to anyone who doesn’t believe me.

  27. J chalmers

    Sorry spelt your name wrong and would seem from reading your post again that it was not me you are questioning but there was another Ms Chalmers involved with Harlequin so I can retire from here and just follow with interest.

  28. 167

    @ Erica and if you got that information, what would you do with it? would you understand it? infantile – get back to your own blog – why are you so aggressive?

  29. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @Erica, quite a comprehensive list of questions from a “housewife” how would you know what was implied in court? Come on who gave you the list to ask on here? Especially as you have asked a question you should know the answer to I.e. investor returns.

  30. 183

    Wow! How spectacularly offensive! Are housewives not capable of having big, clever thoughts all of their own?

  31. Guys I now have a BRILLIANT FINANCIAL ADVISOR!!!! and they have helped me what is wrong with that??
    They are only questions so what is YOUR problem with the answers?
    I haven’t asked any of YOU for them have I??

  32. 167

    @Erica its daft asking for information you don’t know what to do with, just for the hell of it- how does that help anyone? what will you do with it?

  33. I will pass it on to my advisor as they think these questions and their answers will be relevant to the action I might undertake,
    I am in no way trying to ask questions for the sake of it what would be the point in that?

  34. 183

    They all seem like pretty reasonable questions to me.

  35. Anon - reasons unknown

    Ignore their stupid questions and provocation, Erica. They’re making themselves out to be malicious, spiteful and stupid; and ensuring that more confused investors will come your way for help.

    Remember – there are only a tiny minority of disgruntled Harlequin supporters, the rest of us respect you and support you.

  36. 183

    Just to be clear; when I said at 9.27 “they all seem like reasonable questions to me,” I was talking about the questions that you were asking Erica — apologies if that wasn’t clear! I think you’re very entitled to ask them, and can’t understand in any way why anyone would be rattled by that.

  37. 42

    has anyone noticed Harlequin staff are jumping ship , they are obviously more clever than we gave them credit for. Either that or they know something new that we don’t or maybe ames hasn’t paid them either

  38. Fatchett does not represent me.

    Right to all the people jumping to Erica’s defence, ask yourselves these questions.
    1)how would Erica know what was being said in the court case unless she was being primed by someone there? Legal representative?
    2)Erica knows and has recognised that I am being paid a rental income but askes the question again. Again I would suggest the question has been posed by a 3rd person.
    Erica herself says ” these are questions in an area I am totally unfamiliar with” yet they seem to be very probing questions for someone wanting an understanding. Why not just get your ” brilliant financial advisor” to ask the questions? And to Anonoymous 7.59 yes they are, when they are their own questions!

  39. 183

    I don’t understand what the problem is — we live in an interconnected society, all of our questions are to a certain extent a product of this. If an individual is in dialogue with specialists in a field, that may inform their position or perspective — but that’s just life. Basically, so what? It doesn’t affect he relevance of the questions, it’s just a strange ad hominem attack.

    Your reductive and pejorative insinuation about the limits of what a “housewife” should be capable of remains fairly repulsive.

    Here’s a question for you; how do you feel about receiving a rental income when so many people aren’t even having their contractual interest payments paid?

  40. St George's Dragon

    Assuming Harlequin gets through its current temporary cashflow problem (note that this is irony), Mr Ames might like to add to the Merricks development by purchasing the site next door which is advertised here:
    The 70 acre site in the aerial photo looks like the current Harlequin Merricks site. The 54 acres for sale next door has an asking price of BDS$28 million which equates to about BDS$12/square foot.
    I don’t think it is possible to put much credence on Harlequin’s statement “all the sites are worth more than the clients deposits that we hold which is the investors protection.” Investor’s money is said to be £300 million; Merricks land value in a forced sale £10 million? Let’s hope the other sites across the Caribbean are very, very valuable.

  41. @FDNRM

    You sound a bit worried/defensive your not my old IFA are you? do you work for Tailor-made?

    I only have your word for it that you are getting a “True rental return” as I cannot for the life of my “little housewife” brain work out how this can be worked out when different travel agents are selling the same room at different rates with different freebies ( including all-inclusive dining,free trips,free massages,weddings,cheap holidays for Harlequin employees/ airline exec celebs ect ect)
    Margret Thatcher for all her sins was only a “housewife” remember.
    I hate to think of some people getting “paid a return” and other people losing their homes don’t you?

    You see this is one of my problems there is no clarity and openness,we should ALL be treated the same and were not are we?
    Why have you not published on here your “special” little letter?
    You are on here constantly attacking me because You know fundamentally the business You and Harlequin are conducting is wrong.(morally and maybe legally) but who knows
    You know it! Harlequin know it! and everyone else knows it don’t they!

    Why dont You tell everyone when they dont get the mortgage money that as your getting a return you will help them out as you are such an amazingly great person!…………. No I thought not!!

    There has been many things said on here about my family and I that I have been hurt and upset over and I question myself over Harlequin constantly(maybe they are right and I am wrong who knows)(usually at daft oclock) but the truth is the truth and you and everyone else attacking me does not change that one iota does it. We invested our money in hotel rooms and there is no hotel rooms is there but there is a couple of old hotels and aeroplanes and lots of possible loans to family members that WE never agreed to invest in.
    So if this “housewife” bothers YOU so much ignore her posts as I truly dont want the answers from you I want them from someone who is qualified to give me the facts and the truth and that is not you is it?

  42. @St george

    My Dad (who was the most amazing man in the world) who left me the money we invested in Harlequin always said something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it! We bought a piece of land in Bulgaria (2002/3) wait for it overlooking a soon to be built Gary Player golf course and paid less than 10 grand for it, in 2006/7 we were offered 150 grand for it (we should of snatched their hand off) last year global recession we were offered 20 grand for it! and that is with the brilliant golf course up and running My Dad was so right wasnt he something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it!

  43. Been had

    @Erica, Ignore that Dimwit Fdnrm, as i said in another post, his ‘proof’ shown to RL means nothing. The Harlequin mob all own apartments he is defending them to the last stand because he works for them,

  44. 167

    Erica turn the record over, your rambling no one reads when you go on and on and on….
    Are you showing off your finances now? why?

  45. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @Erica/Been Had, so the proof I showed to RL, which I was paid £100 for was fake was it? If you both think that then there is no hope for you both. Why should I publish it on here? And also Erica it seems you are quite an experienced property speculator arnt you. As has been posted before, you should only speculate what you can afford to lose.
    @183, am I supposed to feel guilty about receiving my payments? I think not. Why should I?
    So Erica, how did you know what was said at the court case?
    It seems that some people on here just ignore the questions they don’t like to answer, I.e. BBaywatch.

  46. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @Erica, unfortunately you seem to have selective memory issues. You think I should donate my rental return to people who are not getting their mortgage paid. If you recall I said that this rental return is my only source of income. So perhaps you could organise a whip round on my behalf so I dont lose my house? No I thought not!!
    @183, so my comment was repulsive. Perhaps I should have called her a f***ing twat? would that have been ok?

  47. Short Legs

    In your position I would be the same as you are.
    However, whether you disagree with 95% of the people on here you must admit its going wrong at HP- have you took advice about your investment when it all goes horribly wrong? I am not winding you up….. wont you be stuffed like the rest of us?

  48. 180

    FDNRM _ Have you joined the Harlequin Investors Board?

  49. @FDNRM. I did not notice that you had said this was your only money coming in and if it stops that is going to be horrendous for you 😦
    Last weekend I felt awful that we live here and all of us had a lovely Easter and people who worked for Harlequin in the Caribbean did not have enough food and wish we could of done something 😦
    But the truth is none of this is our fault and calling each other names does not change this situation does it

  50. 113

    I think that’s it over and done with, Harlequin have just sacked most of the staff at head office

  51. Short Legs

    The ones that are just wage slaves I do feel sorry for, but the sales scum got what they deserve – I hope they lose the lot.

  52. 210

    TailorMade have been trimming down their numbers two – anyone want a office in Warrington near the M6…… 🙂

  53. Beggars Belief

    @anonymous 4.43pm

    Do you have any evidence for saying most staff have been sacked? Who is left and how many? What are the next steps?

  54. Anonymous55

    Well Matthew chapman Has resigned according to guardian and other line newspapers. But the BBc are hoping to still air the panoram programme.

  55. perplexed

    @Anon55…..Such a shame. The collateral and innocent damage is
    now beginning to happen if indeed this is the “beginning of the end”.

  56. 100

    I am aware that some prominent hoteliers are unofficially sniffing around BB thinking it will be up for grabs at some point – either as an operating contract or purchase. Not sure if it is possible given the intricacies of title and so on, or would be practical, but at least shows that in essense it is being viewed as worth looking at, so investors have some value perhaps.

    I think I saw someone ask if a deal could be done to take on all the sites and try to make them work. the business as it is is one that is burdened with too many liabilities in the form of unbuilt but contracted units, with very little security to raise finance, it is a dead duck, and has just been the living/walking dead for a few years now. Needs total restructuring, a reset of expectations and business plan, and change of senior management driving this. Perhaps an investor group can enforce that change, hopefully so. I also think someone said that 10 cents in the dollar is possibly all investors get – I think as things stand, that would be a good result for them sorry to say. There has been lots of advice about how to get their money out via legal channels, hope everyone has taken advice and spoken to a lawyer and is clear about their options and acts. Nothing is magically going to happen to improve the situation – soon to be heading into low season so BB and Blu will be cashflow negative (if they were not already), financing is simply implausible, the development company is completely undercapitalised and Ames does not have the necessary funds to prop the business up, or perhaps he has paid himself enough in commissions to make a difference, but perhaps does not want to invest that money. There is no way to dress the situation up, it is terminal. But, BB is going nowhere, that will be there for years to come, in what format will be the interesting to see.

  57. 100

    There is precedent of Panorama cancelling shows late in the day as lawyers for the investigated party file injunctions and so on, but they tend to get aired eventually. Of course, allegations of bribery are unusual so that may make this a different situation. In my view, it is not really going to change the situation at Harlequin one way or the other as it has reached the end of the road already, but it could have a personal impact on those behind Harlequin if the content is hard and has enough back-up.

  58. perplexed

    My memory is not what it used to be and I just did a quick google search on
    Jamaica,Jamaica Resort. I know that it went belly-up sometime in the nineties and that subsequently the Issa family ran it as a SanSouci/SuperClubs. Maybe there is some sort
    of analogy there for the future of Buccament Bay. Google was no help
    but I also think that the Jamaican government was the actual owner.

  59. John Smith

    Panorama will air at the end of the month. It was a nice trap Sean Ghent organized but just a short term reprieve for Harlequin.
    @100 No prominent Hoteliers are sniffling around BB. The money for such an investment is just not out there at the moment and the legal implications are a nightmare. Also, the operating cost for such a property in St. Vincent are ridiculous (air lift, white sand beach, restaurant layout, etc) therefore nobody will touch it for a couple of years. If hotels in Barbados close down who wants to try a big project like this in St. Vincent?

  60. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @John Smith. If Panorama is going to air at the end of the month, why has Chapman resigned as reported by Anon 55?

  61. 100

    I have spoken to two hoteliers who have visited recently to check it out on the down low. Sniffing does not mean eating. Of course the air lift is not good (although the Grenadine islands seem to manage) and there are other infrastructure challenges. It would not even be considered by any investor/hotelier to build the place out as it was planned as that was an unworkable hotel concept in that location. Even as it is now, it may be too much. If the hotel contract was given, or the land picked up for next to nothing, then it might become a consideration. I might add that my associates are staying away, but deemed it worth looking at, because where there is a collapsing company often comes opportunity. When you take these opportunities, the entity from whom you take them has to ensure zero legal liabilities, and as you say it might not be possible (as I pointed out in my post) I have viewed dozens of hotels in the last few years around the islands. The money is out there for the right opportunity, but this one would have to be a giveaway to entice an operator. I doubt anyone would put serious money in, but they may partner up as the operator with the investors/ownership of the place. We shall see, it will not be an easy proposition. It would certainly be a shame to see it empty and derelict.

    Perplexed, correct, such a move would not be without precedent.

  62. BBaywatch

    The airlift issue is a bit of a myth, it doesn’t affect the entire Mustique Companies operation or the other islands within SVG who are reporting better than average tourist number over the last two years. It has become a convenient excuse for HP to delay opening of restaurants and other facilities and to complete construction of the rest of the accommodation units. As has been pointed out by 100 and others this always was an unworkable hotel concept in that location (BB that is).

  63. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @BFP can you put the latest e mail from HP regarding the meetings at Manchester and Basildon. I don’t know how to do it. How would I send the link to you if you want to put it up here?

  64. 67

    FDNRM – get on the harlequin blog!!!

  65. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @BBaywatch, why is it unworkable? How is it more unworkable than other hotels?

  66. John Smith

    @100 You have some valid points and again, it all comes down to how much trouble will be associated with the closure of BB and the demise of Harlequin.
    The airlift is a problem because all the hotels just mentioned (Grenadines, Mustique etc.) are much smaller in number of rooms. BB needs volume.
    Also, it was never designed as an All Inclusive but as a hotel with exquisite restaurants that guests need to pay for. Now you have an EP structure in an All Inclusive concept which translates into higher operating costs.
    @FDNRM If a journalist violates company rules and gets disciplined it does not mean that the report is wrong. BBC will let things calm down and it will show end of April. It is also time to see reality and stop defending Harlequin. The man had no clue from the beginning and was throwing money away just as long as it made him look good. The concept was flawed from the get go and quite frankly, it is really more than silly watching these posts trying to defend HP. Either these people have absolutely no knowledge or are HP employees.

  67. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @John Smith, re Panorama. As the police are involved now I don’t see how the program can go out while a police investigation is ongoing.

  68. St George's Dragon

    @ FDNRM
    You are confusing a police investigation with court action.
    Public discussion of a court case used to be difficult as when charges had been made the matter was “sub-judice” and it could be contempt of court to say anything about it.
    Wikipedia sums up the present position: “In English law, the term (sub-judice) was correctly used to describe material which would prejudice court proceedings by publication before 1981. Sub judice is now irrelevant to journalists because of the introduction of the Contempt of Court Act 1981. Under Section 2 of the Act, a substantial risk of serious prejudice can only be created by a media report when proceedings are active. Proceedings become active when there’s an arrest, oral charge, issue of a warrant, or a summons.”
    So Panorama can show whatever it likes, thankfully..

  69. 100

    @John Smith, you are surely in the business as the comment about the set-up being for EP rather than AI is a very astute and relevant point. That is the problem when you keep changing your plans, as Ames did, if he ever really had a plan. Agree entirely with other comments, although we can also say that the other resorts, such as Canouan Resort, Cotton House and Bequia as a destination all have air strips that get a lot of private traffic, as they tend to appeal to the more affluent traveller. Most of guests in Canouan come either on the Canouan jet or other private charters, and similar for Cotton House and they come from Barbados or St Lucia where there are daily flights from the UK. Much of the business in Bequia comes from boating/yachting enthusiasts and also gets a fair amount of private flights. So, one could also then argue these resorts have smaller volume to fill and more arrival routes for their guests.

  70. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @St George’s Dragon, I’m certainly not an expert on law. Police action is not a public discussion so I don’t follow your point. How could the program be deemed as credible if a police investigation is taking place. Who knows what other information could have been obtained through bribery? Surely the program has to be seen as “clean” before it can go out.

  71. @FDNRM I am guessing that the “work” undertook by Mr Chapman will be cut from the program.We all have to remember sadly there are casualties everywhere concerning Harlequin

  72. BBaywatch

    @100 might I make a small correction regarding airlift to the other islands of SVG? Although Bequia does have a lot of yachting visitors the majority arrive either by SVG Air Alliance shared charter (which operates effectively as a scheduled airline and cannot be considered private traffic) or by LIAT to St Vincent and then by ferry to Bequia. In this way Bequia is able to cater for visitors of all economic groups and has developed a tourism industry of considerable size. The number of beds available on Bequia greatly exceeds the number currently available at Buccament Bay so it would be misleading to say the the lack of an international airport on St Vincent is holding back tourism in the region. I would agree that the diversity of the types of accommodation does not require the standard hotel pattern of a deposit of a fixed quantity of guests 2/3 times a week.

    The delay in construction of the airport at Argyle has been a convenient fig leaf to cover the failings in the HP operation.

  73. Beggars Belief

    Someone claimed yesterday that most of the staff at Basidlon had been sacked but did not come back to substantiate the claim.

    Does anyone know if this is true?

  74. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @Beggars belief. Book yourself in for the presentations at Basildon and see for yourself if its true. I dont know but I’m going to Manchester.
    @Erica, See you at Manchester presentation? It would be nice to shake hands.

  75. algarvec

    This is a private message for 100 – I have some experience in this area having been involved in projects in Algarve, Gambia and Grenada and was interested to note your comment “the money is out there” because since Kaupthing went down and Deutsche Bank pulled out of lending in this region it’s been almost impossible to attract development funding, let alone equity for an acquisition. If you have access to equity and development funding I have access to a viable project on 10 acres with 200m of prime beachfront on an established beach with adjacent hotels. I want to do it properly – land owned outright, fully consented, investor deposits held in solicitors account in the UK, proper QS signed off stage payments on construction etc. (probably not an established resort operator though as the licenses are a nightmare – I have a unique route to cover that off). If you can genuinely deliver finance can you please let me know; don’t panic if I don’t respond immediately as I have a substantial work load and travel a lot. algarvec

  76. @FDNRM I have got a invite so will be attending with Husband whos SIPP is invested and we shall have a drink together?

  77. Just a thought how would we recognise each other? Mind you some of the comments on here I should be easy to spot!

  78. I have not had my invite feeling left out
    😦 I shall email them after all I am still an ‘investor’

  79. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @Erica, perhaps you could carry an ironing board.:))

  80. 100

    @BBwatch, fair point. What I wanted to say between the lines is something about product. Bequia is a stunning spot, a true gem and merits SVG air laying on shared charters because the demand is there, it is the centre for all yachties passing through the area, and has a charm that is spcial. I dont think BB where it is and how it is will see charters being laid on to go to St Vincent from St Lucia or Barbados in teh volume required because of competition. With respect to the resort and St Vincent, if you want a larger hotel on a beach, then there are plenty of options in St Lucia and Barbados where the UK flights go directly without having to take another flight – not enough volume currently will then charter on to BB. They do to Bequia and other places because Bequia is a product that is not offered in St Lucia or Barbados.

    Algarveec, is your product in Grenada? There is more money out there for distressed assets than greenfield sites. Greefield sites I agree is hard to get financing for, unless you have an existing operation and the bank or financing institution can see a clear track record – that is of course putting it in a tiny nutshell, not perhaps the forum for going into detail about the financing options. Funding your own presales marketing campaign, then having a healthy sales campaign with presales deposits escrowed, then a bank should still lend once you hit a certain number of committed sales. They just would require a higher % of presales than before. The business model of funding resort development entirely through real estate sales is no longer a wise one though – many failed because they were undercapitalised, relying so much on property sales. When the sales stopped, it was game over. If you were planning on funding resorts through fractionals and SIPPs, Harlequin are in the process of closing that door for everyone.

  81. algarvec

    Hi 100, you are spot on location wise and yes, greenfield sites are very difficult to fund, they are not for risk averse investors and by that I mean the development site buyer, not individual unit buyers. I also agree that there’s little chance of securing enough (or even any in this market) sales through the old standard open market route. Institutional development funding is non existent. Fractional I don’t like. Our medium sized London based property company has also been told to forget the last six months work on SIPP funding thanks to our friends in Basildon
    However, there is one strong market which I have access to for individual unit sales and the project has a very different slant to it than the usual run of the mill offerings and has legs if, and only if, all the threads can be pulled together.
    So – do you have access to any investor(s) who would consider an investment in a greenfield site (with outline consent) to participate in what should be a self funding project, so no need for a development loan.
    Every stage prior to 99% of the site being acquired will be subject – to the right purchase price, to the consent being granted, to the operator agreeing that this will be their only resort etc etc.
    BTW we have access to a successful (yes, really) active Caribbean resort developer who will consult, we’re not going to fly blind.

  82. Short Legs

    do I have to SHOUT AT YOU – you do it to other for not answering questions?
    Have you taken legal advice, because even you must know HP is dead, think Monty Python parrot scene….. 🙂

  83. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @Short legs. Wrong. I shout a people who get their facts wrong and quote inaccurate information. However, in answer to your information, no I have not taken legal advice. The only discussion I had was with Mr Fatchett, some people who will deny the meeting ever took place, who implied the best course of money retreival was through the IFAs, not HP. If HP is dead then why is the HP roadshow taking place later in April?

  84. John Smith

    @BBwatch It is not the amount of beds that is the question here but the volume coming in on any one day. If you have 60 rooms checking out and a similar number checking in you need seats on planes at a commercially viable rate. The new Argyle airport will not solve the problem unless demand for St. Vincent and The Grenadines increases and stabilizes. With the lack of larger resorts international carriers will not fly to St. Vincent as seat will remain empty.
    Algarvec, be careful with the so called “successful, active Caribbean resort developer” There are only a handful that really know the business, the other ones are great Marketing people that actually lack the 360 degree knowledge.
    Oh, and FDnRm, sorry, but you have lost all credibility with your posts as you defend HP like a blind folded Casanova in a donkey shed. Never an objective, critical word…??
    I wonder who really pays your “rent”?

  85. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @John Smith, I thought was quite informative and well said, until your silly comment at the end. What do you mean by “rent”. Not some homophonic comment I trust?

  86. St George's Dragon

    1. Having the same sound.
    2. Having or characterized by a single melodic line with accompaniment.
    FDNRM probably meant homophobic.
    What he posts is definitely homophonic.

  87. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @St Georges Dragon, bloody spell check!

  88. BBaywatch

    @ John Smith

    @BBwatch It is not the amount of beds that is the question here but the volume coming in on any one day. If you have 60 rooms checking out and a similar number checking in you need seats on planes at a commercially viable rate. The new Argyle airport will not solve the problem unless demand for St. Vincent and The Grenadines increases and stabilizes. With the lack of larger resorts international carriers will not fly to St. Vincent as seat will remain empty.

    I’d mildly disagree with some of your assumptions, demand for St Vincent and the Grenadines is increasing year on year – plenty of evidence of that – however I would agree that demand for a large AI resort hotel is almost entirely absent. There are many more than 60 rooms checking in and out on the same day in SVG (many travelling through ET Joshua) – just not all from one hotel. So there is existing capability for dealing with the volume of guests, but you are absolutely right that this does not fit with the way AI hotels work.

    To take this further we would have to get into the whole ethical/sustainable v traditional mass tourism debate and I doubt that would interest many of the readers here.

    With your assertion re international carriers servicing the new airport your are perilously close to suggesting that de Comrade has no clothes 😉

  89. JB

    @Erica. The questions you raise seem fair and sensible to me. I have spoken to Harlequin and they advise that they are holding investor meetings in a couple of weeks time to update investors on a variety of issues and that investors can table questions in advance that will be dealt with on the day. I will ask for thier authority that if after those meetings your specific questions are not answered fully that I may respond to you directly. Please feel free to contact me at my office if you wish.

  90. Short Legs

    The meetings will just be BS and hot aim. Napoleon bog brush blue eyes will say how ‘we’ are all out to damage peoples investment, and its not his fault.
    Finance will be close(again) and of course the court case – followed by how great Harlequin is and he has done what he said he would…….. but that will take about 3 hours 🙂

  91. Fatchett does not represent me.

    @Short legs, Well here is your chance to stand up and tell him that isnt it. Which meeting are you going to? The fact he is answering his critics by holding these meetings shows guts to me. Especially as according to some HP is doomed and DA could be living in SVG with his £5m. Suggest we wait and see the info that comes out at the meeting.

  92. 113

    Has anyone tried to call Harlequin recently? after several attempts I eventually got through . I asked the reason why it was so hard to get through to the sales guy who answered the phone . He informed me that they had got rid of 15 staff and that they will no longer be making any finance payments going forward.
    Has anyone got any idea how I go along the legal route to get my money back ?

  93. If you have invested in Harlequin property and have used an independent financial agent, we can start a new case where we can make an independent insurance claim to get back the money you have lost.
    Contact us at CPC Worldwide now for information:
    Tel:0191 386 2487

  94. Red Button Girl

    What really irks me about CPC is they are not solicitors, maybe you would like to comment about how much the solicitors fees are inflated to cover your fee? what use you when you can deal direct?

    CPC Europe – bit International company 😉

  95. Short Legs


    Are you a law firm or not? or just a ambulance chasing firm for proper solicitors?

  96. Fatchett does not represent me.

    Ambulance chasers!