More Questions for former Harlequin associate David Campion

David Campion Harlequin Barbados 2

With the collapse of so many large scale, foreign-owned projects in Barbados in the last few years, Bajans are understandably cynical about any new projects. And when a former Harlequin employee sets up shop, some folks naturally want to ask how much they knew about Harlequin and when they knew it.

Back on June 22, 2013 BFP published an article that asked tough questions of David Campion and his Argo Development Studio. We received no word from Mr. Campion then or since.

Now another reader asks more questions that seem most reasonable to us and are what ordinary Bajans want to know about Mr. Campion and all developers – especially from over and away.

If Mr. Campion desires to comment or reply, we will print his unedited response right here and give him full coverage. We and all Barbadians would like to hear his side of the story.

Regarding David Campion, some questions …

by BFP reader Just give me a straight answer

After the Harlequin fiasco:

  • Is David Campion living and working in Barbados based on documentation as an ongoing employee of the non-operating Harlequin (of Merricks) fame?
  • If not, has he legal status in Barbados?
  • Has he applied for or is he in possession of a work permit?
  • Is Argo (his “company”) actually registered as a company?
  • Is Argo VAT registered?
  • What are his professional qualifications?
  • Regarding the claims of Argo’s expertise made on the Argo website, does he have a core building industry professional qualification? such as Surveyor or Engineer?
  • Is there any other person here working for him (the site claims 4 directly employed persons) who is professionally qualified and is registered and have they paid their yearly fees?
  • If Mr. Campion is properly qualified, is he a member of one of the professional organisations here in Barbados?
  • If he has a professional qualification, is he on the governments register of qualified professional persons …and has he paid the statutory fee for 2013/2014?
  • Has Argo direct or indirect ownership in “Tourism Consultants International”, who with Argo have recently been appointed by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry – BCCI – to carry out surveys of Bridgetown businesses as part of their “Revitalization of Bridgetown Initiative”?
  • If he is in the process of submitting Town and Country Planning applications to the Town Planning Department, and is he aware that certain qualifications have to be proven (for submitting proposals of more than domestic or residential size) before the Town Planning Department will accept the application?

BFP thanks The Nation for the source photo. Used with permission!

53 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Economy

53 responses to “More Questions for former Harlequin associate David Campion

  1. Chris David

    I would ere on the side of caution and have nothing to do with anyone who worked for Harelquin unless they took a lie detector test and lodged a considerable guarantee with a body that can be trusted. Obviously not a body that’s has a name starting with H then x

  2. Anonymous

    Could be that some of the missing Merricks/HHotel building materials
    might be finding their way to Petite Nevis where rumor has it that a
    rather grand villa is to be built. Who knows?

  3. Anonymous

    I think its Bequia that Campion is building Ames’s villa.

  4. St George's Dragon

    Is it true that Campion is working for Jada on the rebuilding of Jane’s Harbour just north of Sandy Lane Hotel?

  5. Due Diligence

    Off topic; BUT

    Does anyone have any information about the status of the PURE Beach Resort and Spa project, that has all the signs of being the second coming of Merricks/Harlequin?

    Promoters are still flogging it via website/social media sites, including via issue.com.

    See latest blurb, that is really just a regurgitation of stuff they have been posting for 5 or 6 years at:

  6. Chris David

    Are Ames and co still peddling then? Does anyone have proof?

  7. Anonymous

    What happened to the pure “bull-crap” -” we are going green, environmental
    friendly”, that Campion was espousing a few months ago on BFP.
    Something ain’t adding up.

  8. John Taylor

    David Campion has laundered money for David Ames through his company Argo in Barbados.

    As a result Mr. Campion is being looked at very closely by the authorities on both sides of the pond.

    Should Mr. Campion find himself falling foul of the authorities in the US, he will find that his liberty may well be curtailed for a considerable period of time.

    What Mr. Campion fails to understand is that when Mr. Ames is finally arrested (of this there can be no doubt, trust or no trust), this will not be the end of the matter. Mr. Campion is best warned to start saving for some very good criminal lawyers.

    The arrogance of the Ames family is emulated by those who have benefited financially from this fraud. Make no mistake, Mr. Campion has been an instrumental player in the fraudulent activity of the Ames family.

    One of the problems for Mr. Campion, was the manner in which he succeeded in demonstrating to Mr. Ames that Mr. Andy Smith of Procure It Direct had stolen or overcharged Mr. Ames for services his company had provided.

    Mr. Smith had become Mr. Ames’s right hand man so to speak and Mr. Campion along with Mr. Andy Newman a former employee of Mr. Smith’s decided that this relationship between Mr. Ames and Mr. Smith needed to be terminated. So they presented Mr. Ames with apparent evidence of fraud on the part of Mr. Smith.

    Mr. Campion was also responsible for the failed engineering of the Hotel Blu in Barbados which caused that project to morph from a refurbishment to a complete rebuild.

    Mr. Campion has been retained by Mr. Ames to construct a personal villa in Bequia for Mr. and Mrs. Ames. The funding for this is being routed through a company in St. Lucia owned by an associate of Mr. Ames’s, Ms. Soroya Skeet. Ms. Skeet also happens to be the GM of the Harlequin hotel in St. Lucia despite having little or no previous experience in the hospitality sector.

    Mr. Campion has in the past travelled to the UK to actively promote the Harlequin product.

    Mr. Campion is of the belief that prosecutions for fraud in the Caribbean can not and will not happen given the lack of resources and capabilities by the local criminal investigative authorities. He like Mr. Ames are content that they are too important to the islands of St. Vincent and Barbados to be brought to account for their actions.

    Alas for Mr. Campion events about to unfold over the coming weeks may lead Mr. Campion to have some very sleepless nights.

  9. Anonymous

    Dave Campion worked as construction director on Buccama Bay. He did not earn the respect of the workers there. He basically treated the workers like shit. There is no other word to describe it.

    Now that Ames has laundered money through his company Argo, he struts around Barbados like the arrogant pompus prick that he really is.

    Has anyone ever wondered why Campion chose to set up an architectural firm in Barbados during probably the worst economic times to hit the nation.

    Argo being his first business. Nice offices, flashy website etc. All takes money, money he is laundering for Ames. It will be most interesting to see if Campion files accounts for Argo.

    And how come he obtained a work permit to do so when local firms with the skills and competency to equal or indeed better the services provided by Argo are struggling for work.

    Ironically he was also involved in a fraud against Ames. When ICE Group were thrown offsite, Campion along with Shauna Qwamie and a few others increased the payments for most employees of ICE Group. When Ames took on the ICE Group employees he thought he was paying them the same as ICE Group did. But in reality he was paying up to 60% more.

    Sadly the workers never got to reap any benefit from their pay rises as Ames reneged on a deal to pay them for their efforts. Not because he discovered the fraud. Instead because Ames is a compulsive liar and surrounds himself with characters who are as repulsive as he is, Campion included.

    Ames himself would need to be careful of Campion. Campion has no compulsion about turning on anyone if the price is right.

    Campion himself has been confiding in a few “friends” about his lucrative on going bread and butter earner with Ames.

  10. Floppy sock

    Fat Paddy with his lies, boring boring. You know fatso that the villa you refer to is simply not true.

    Go and get Erica to cook your sock.

  11. Anonymous

    Funny how the Harlequin supporters come running to the defence of Campion.

    Sure its all lies. Tick tock tick tock, soon time will tell.

  12. Anonymous

    Campion was the Managing Director of the HD Studios. They closed owing millions to the BDS government and suppliers.

    As Managing Director of HD studios, can Campion state to creditors if and when they might expect to receive their cash?

    Is Argo just a Phoenix Operation?

    Campion has many questions to answer.

  13. Blue Peg on the line

    Campion a Mason?

  14. Blue Pots in the garden

    ”Ames is a compulsive liar and surrounds himself with characters who are as repulsive as he is, Campion included.”

    If the sock fits Paddy!!

  15. Anonymous

    Lol the Irish builder sure rattles Ames’s cage ha ha.

    Wonder what he has on Ames. Must be something explosive. Well guess we will find out in due course.

    This thread is about Campion and his money laundering exploits. Yeah yeah course Campion is not building a villa for Ames. If you say so it must be true.

    Tick tock guys tick tock.

  16. Anonymous

    Hythe House , Welches appears to be the brain-center for many
    a suspicious operation. The clue is the graffiti on the men’s room
    wall.

  17. Anonymous

    If this were an American big-city police drama on TV and I were the
    DA (District Attorney) I would call Mr Campion in and offer him
    immunity from prosecution if he turned “states witness” and blabbed
    everything he knew about Harlequin. After all he is but a bit player
    in the capo-di-capi schemes of Mr Big – aka Dave Ames. Then deport
    him. After all letting him go by the Bajan authorities doesn’t change
    what the UK authorities might have up their sleeves. Seems like a
    fair trade to me.

  18. Anonymous

    Campion is already in deep shit. He just has no idea the shit he is in. He will eventually loose everything.

  19. Anonymous

    Reported earlier today by the HD home office that Ames will be traveling
    for the next week. Hmmmmm…wonder if there are any clandestine
    meetings arranged with Mr Campion? If so, it should raise quite a
    few questions in Barbados. Just exactly what did happen to all the
    “disappeared” duty-free construction materials !

  20. Anonymous

    Someone was told by the HD home office this AM that Ames will
    be traveling for the next few days. Wonder if he will tete-a-tete with
    Campion. If true it would raise a lot of questions. Especially just what
    did happen to all the construction materials (these were finish items
    i.e. travertine, swimming pool finishes, sanitary ware, plumbing) that have
    disappeared from construction sites on Bds. It seems as if the
    appropriate authorities on Bds are not too concerned. Sometimes
    life in the Horse Latitudes can get confusing.

  21. de tief

    De tief Campion meet de tief Ames.

  22. Leaky Leaky mole in the bunker

    He already met him, two days ago.

  23. Anonymous

    Surely the Bajan authorities need to ask Mr Campion a few questions !!

  24. The Truth Telle

    John Taylor, What you say about Andy Newman and Dave Campion turning Andy Smith in is true. But on one fact your wrong, From what I Heard Andy Newman turned him in without the help of anyone. This was direct to me from Horses mouth (Andy Smith) If it was lies why hasn’t Andy Smith done anything about it? The reason is because he was wrong and he knows he is wrong. He will claim it cost him millions, but the true fact is Andy Smith made millions.

    I believe Andy Newman saw all the invoices and was invoicing HQ on the back of Andy Smith say so. Double invoicing was done on the BB project I know for sure, Dave Campion would Sign something off to be paid and Andy Smith would double invoice to get paid for same work HQ already paid for, or Andy smith would leave for instant KMI (Mark) do all the work and then invoice it from Procure it Direct with 20% profit margin on top.

    Yours

    The Truth knower about Andy Smith (Man his Word) .

  25. Anonymous

    TTT – If what you are saying is true, it only makes Ames appear
    dumber than he already has. What a pack of thieves – all of them !

  26. The Truth Telle

    I wouldn’t call Ames dull at all, Andy Smith is who I would call dull. People like him are the thieves, he supposed to run a reputable company, Has anyone ever check out Procure it Direct? Look at the projects they claim to have done or worked on. How many of them are true projects?

    He didn’t get away with what he was trying to do. That is procure items on an agreed fix price, but no greed got the better of him and he had to add x on and invoice from Procure it Direct. He got caught so Ames isn’t dumb, if he had paid him then he would be dumb.

    Everyone seems to blame Ames, How can he keep watch on everyone he employs? He employs these people to do a job and trust them to do the job. But people have tried to take advantage and when caught it always seems to turn back on Ames and be his fault.

    TTT

  27. Anonymous

    When you have a developer with a proclivity to sue any and everyone
    for the slightest reason, if what you are saying is true, certainly DA
    would be in court right now. DA is an idiot starting at the onset
    with Ridgeview. I find it strange that both KMI and PID resigned
    within hours of each other. I also find it strange to have someone
    defending Ames at this late hour.

  28. Ttt

    What a load of rubbish, pid didn’t resign they where told to leave once it was confirmed what had been happening. I’m sure Andy smith be telling everyone how wonderful pid is when clearly it isn’t. It’s not about defending Ames at all, it’s about getting the truth across to those who decide to make up rubbish. I don’t know much about Ames and HQ but I know a bit about pid and Hq.

  29. Anonymous

    You can bet the same thing happened with agents OTT commissions.

  30. Anonymous

    Ttt – I’m doing this on memory and don’t have the time to go back though months of entries on BFP however wan’t there a comment months ago
    by “GingerGirl” that Ames/Smith/Campion had been seen together at the
    Barbados Hilton (circa Mar/Apr)? Wasn’t also a young local (Baseldon)
    lawyer hired by Ames who mysteriously flew to Prague (PID Hq) and
    then to Dubai and hasn’t been mentioned since late summer? I like
    my conspiracy theories and maybe in the end they will all be dashed- but
    we do agree 100% that the “truth” being revealed is what it is all about.

  31. Chris David

    If Ames is so good tell me where the £4million plus in “dividends” he took from a company (Harlequin) that was not making real profits- now is? That is not his money- its property buyers money. Where is it?

  32. Golden (S) Mile

    £5 million properties in Dubai, owned by HMSSE but in the Ames family names. Look at the IP’s report.

  33. Golden (S) Mile

    Ingham bought one from Ames, but sent the money to Dan Ames account.

  34. Chris David

    Sorry to sound thick- IP’s? or PID? Who are they? I can manage the account but these other bodies / reports remain a mystery to me. Where are the SFO?

  35. Anonymous

    PID = Procure-it-Direct

  36. Anonymous

    KM = Krauss-Manning

  37. Anonymous

    Ttt = Some sort of maverick lone wolf…

  38. Hoodwinked

    Masonic involvement again?

  39. Chris David

    And IP’s address

  40. Anonymous

    Mark = Mark Brackenbury

  41. Anonymous

    IP = (on this one I give up…it could be so many things).

  42. Bonzo

    IP – Insolvency Practitioner.

  43. Chris David

    I didn’t know the report was out- I’ll try and get it. And SFO?

  44. Bonzo

    SFO – The UK’s Serious Fraud Office – see http://www.sfo.gov.uk/our-work/our-cases/case-progress/harlequin-property.aspx

    My guess is that, post Kaupthing, they want to make sure any arrests etc. are bullet proof. The last thing they want is Ames or Harlequin suing them for millions in damages.

    Once they have built their case, they will move. But it might take years.

  45. Anonymous

    Those who are being foreclosed on don’t have years….

  46. Bonzo

    So what? The money has gone. Any criminal prosecution won’t change that.

  47. Anonymous

    Bonzo – At least they can come too terms with the reality and move
    forward. It is sad…but that is how capitalism works. I’m not RC but
    Pope Francis just may have something there.

  48. Bonzo

    @Anon 22.48 The bitterness and recriminations will last for years. The punters will want to know why the “authorities” didn’t save them from themselves.

  49. Anonymous

    -Bonzo: Yo Dude…. I think we are betting on the same dog in
    this fight…..

  50. Bonzo

    @Anon 23.46 As a bystander, the train wreck is just so compelling. Politicians in the Caribbean (hey, Ralph, great due dll on Dave, my old matey…) and the Fundamentally Supine Authority (as it was) have a lot to answer for. I wonder if Hector Sants will have to face any sort of justice?

    Er. Thought not. Trebles all round. Apart from the poor sods who actually put cash into this. Off to the Poor House with you!

  51. Anonymous

    Politicians were warned many times about Ames – he is seen as the UK’s problem, as that is where sales were made. You are right though, money all gone so nothing to fight over. The trust that has evidently been set up also does nothing to recover the funds that have been defrauded and in fact they are all heading down an even more slippery slope as someone has to cash-flow the losses from the two operating resorts (intel from those who work at the resorts) Plus you don’t need to do DD to know the extent of liabilities of the business with so many thousands of unbuilt units under contract. Aint noone financing that…simply no way to make payments and security so small – I hear offers for Marquis of around US$4m, Merricks not much more, Blu US$3m, DR questions remain over ownership – no full planning on any sites reduce value. BB, losing money, all units under contract, common areas not worth much and are unsellable anyway. Total value of Harlequin assets? Maybe US$25m at the most, but probably less. And who will buy them in this market? The sites are not conducive to compete with a highly competitive Caribbean market. So yes, investor money all gone, nothing will get the owners anything back, perhaps 5% if all liquidated and dished out but there are some with cautions who will get paid first anyway. Bitterness will last for years as you say, authorities will have some explaining to do. There are easy answers here in the Caribbean as to how to stop it happening again – if you do a development on my island that involves selling real estate, all funds are held in escrow until you begin building and all permissions have been given, and you cannot use those funds to build any other development. And those funds must be held on island. Not rocket science. How the UK fixes what happened is harder.

  52. Chris David

    Bonzo- thanks for the SFO link- they’re not much help though. As for the point re prosecutions. Revenge old bean revenge and maybe a warning to others. Call me Mr Nasty if you will but I want to see as many as possible proved guilty of ripping of purchasers jailed and fined- well even bankrupted as they have done to some (not me just in case you think its pure personal vindication)

  53. anonANON

    Some historical posts from last year https://barbadosfreepress.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/fire-at-harlequins-buccament-bay-report-of-arson-by-unpaid-employees/
    Kevin Webster
    May 18, 2012 at 6:48 pm
    “Up until February I was employed as a contracts manager on Harlequin Developments Construction Site at Buccament Bay.
    I was responsibLe for the building off and most importantly the development of the new villas and block two.
    However when I was ordered to use Mr Andy Smith (procure indirect) foreign workers , all from Prague , instead of excellent qualified local brothers & sisters . When I question this practice I was told by Messers Smith , Campion and Ghent that if I didn’t “toe the Company line” then I would be out.
    Without hesitation I resigned . I do not want my professionalism and great work ethics ruined by such devious and underhanded business practices.
    I was contacted by Simon Terry (Lawyer) and told I must leave st Vincent immediately and that if I mentioned anything about Harlequin or Buccament Bay, that I would be sued.
    How dare this pompous and arrogant Man and Company deal with me like this. I suffered daily threats and acusations from Harlequin People, especially a Mr Shaun Ghent who actually told me “I will make you disappear Boy” how dare he . He is a nasty , racist ,rude and angry man who tries to intimidate because he is a big overweight bully.
    Just a small point. These are my lands and Islands, as a Proud Bajan Man, don’t come here and try and throw your weight around.
    We are a proud People West Indians and we know how to deal with imperialist racists . How dare he call me “boy”.
    I continue to get threats of Legal action against me and also violent, intimidatory threats from the South African bully boy. Everywhere he now goes he has a heavily tattooed man and a big German shepherd dog with him, does that mean the bodyguard now needs a bodyguard.
    I am happy to stand by all my words and actions.
    Kevin Webster

    1.
    2. Kevin Webster
    May 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm
    “Race Card”
    You were not there. You were not insulted by the manner or attitude of this man, Who incidentally is an extremely large and aggressive South African man. He intimidates and threatens people continuously.
    Do not tell me how to feel when it was i who was insulted. It is i who has had threats against me
    The way these people deal with our Local Brothers and Sisters is in an extremely patronizing, threatening and racist manner.
    Apologies Sir, but you were not there and you have not had to work under these conditions or threats.
    Harlequin and Buccament Bay allow an overgrown bully to do what he wants to do. He walks around with a Big tattooed Man and a Dog, as he now feels he needs a bodyguard.
    Kevin
    3.

    Kevin Webster
    May 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm
    Could i please correct Mr Jeff King.
    Sir
    you are wrong, Harlequin have indeed purchased the Amaryllis Hotel. They announced it to the World last week , AT the same time they were refusing to pay Contractors and Staff . Good honest People who carry out there duties and deserve payments.
    However it is more important for the megalomaniac Ames to continue to add to his Ponzi empire at the expense of others. While the workers at Buccament Bay are kept waiting for salarys, the little man with delusions of grandeur flies the world First Class.
    World wide , well except Thailand, as the excellent expose by Mr Andrew Drummond highlights and also it was aired on Radio in ST Vincent on the past weekend . Ames cannot go to Thailand as he has robbed, swindled and defrauded People out of Millions of Dollars, exactly as he is doing at Buccament Bay and all the other developments
    Like all little men Ames surrounds himself with a Team of Bodyguards , he has state of the art Security at his home and offices in England. Who is he scared off
    I wonder if the Amaryllis is a Mary Celeste (Andrew Smiths Words) the same as the Allamanda Hotel has proved to be, Due to useless surveys by incompetent Staff at the Harlequin Offices in Oiystins . They got the survey so badly wrong that refitting work will costs millions in extra costs.
    It made my day when i realised who was responsible for these costs and extreme neglect as he was one of the main reasons i left the employment of Harlequin at Buccament Bay. I refused to work with incompetents like David Campion,
    Well you really messed up at the Allamanda Campion, Good Work”