Category Archives: Business

Harlequin’s David Ames disobeys court order, fails to give evidence in court. What now for investors?

David Ames - Harlequin's Ponzi King

David Ames – Harlequin’s Ponzi King

TLW Solicitors are here to help on a no-win no-fee basis

contributed by TLW Solicitors

Following recent reports of the Harlequin Properties’ headquarters going up for sale and the company’s chairman David Ames failing to give evidence in court, those who have lost out financially through the scheme are assured that they may still be entitled to compensation.

The Harlequin Property company was set to build 6000 luxury properties in the Caribbean, financed by deposits from UK investors. With only 300 of the properties actually built and the Harlequin Group having gone into liquidation, thousands of investors have been left in debt.

Rip Off Britain

The BBC’s consumer affairs programme Rip Off Britain investigated Harlequin Property for a second time earlier this year, after an initial broadcast in 2010. Although some early investors had been able to claim back their money, the returning of more recent deposits has been ruled out by the company since it entered liquidation.

Around 3000 UK investors are thought to have been involved in the Harlequin investments scheme. Chairman David Ames blamed the problems on the 2008 global recession and claims to have been let down by developers.

Recent evidence suggests the Harlequin case has been flawed from the start, with suggestions that it never owned much of the land it intended to build properties on, and a business model that relied wholly on continued foreign investment. (BFP Editor’s note: It’s called a ‘Ponzi Scheme’. We’ll say it, even if TLW Solicitors won’t.)

Investigations into Harlequin hotels & resorts

Harlequin Property has been subject to an ongoing investigation by the SFO (Serious Fraud Office) since 2013 and two warnings by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).  Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Business, Consumer Issues, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments

Airline Partnership opportunities gained, lost and possible


Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

With any number of uncertainties there can be very few other businesses like airlines which present a constant indeterminate challenge.

It only seems a twinkle ago since massive controversy hit the media over the sale of the valuable Heathrow slots by the now defunct BWIA for what many felt was an under-valued GB Pounds 5 million to British Airways in 2006.

In 2011 the current Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Kamela Persad-Bissessar commissioned a forensic management audit which concluded that a fair market value for the slots then ranged from GB Pounds 23 million to GB Pounds 44 million in a report dated 8th May 2012.

Then with a blaze of glory in 2012 it was announced the replacement Caribbean Airlines was going to return to London, but this time flying into Gatwick.

Last week according to, Caribbean Airlines (CA) will return its Boeing 767 fleet to lessor ILFC (International Lease Finance Corporation) during the first quarter of 2016, axing the Gatwick route and these aircraft will join the Air Canada Rouge fleet soon after.

This year, the airline has already returned two Boeing 737-800 aircraft with two more that are set to go soon. This will reduce the fleet to twelve B737s while retaining all five ATR 72 equipment.

Since the re-birth of the carrier, it has been difficult to follow what if any substantial part they play in supplying airlift to Barbados, specifically for inbound tourism and I probably am not alone into thinking ‘we’ as a destination do not have the best of working relationships with them.

Can this be changed or improved on specific routes, perhaps with a Barbados/Fort Lauderdale service or would this further alienate the existing legacy and low cost airlines?  Continue reading


Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation, Business

What’s up with Mark Daghorn and Rising Records?

Mark Daghorn Barbados Music

Editor’s Note: The following is only one of many letters and complaints we’ve had in the last while concerning Mark Daghorn (photo above) and Rising Records.

We remind BFP readers that this was sent anonymously to BFP – an anonymous blog and should be taken with a big dose of salt.

We offer Mr. Daghorn or anyone the space to reply to these accusations publicly, in the same space and to the same audience.

Without further delay, here is one of the anonymous emails sent to BFP…



Mark Daghorn is/was known as the owner/director of Rising Records.  The UK based record label had a roster of over 40 bands and specialised in Heavy Metal, Hardcore, Death Metal, Black Metal & Grindcore.

Warning to bands about shady record label
November 29th, 2011, 02:29 PM

On Nov 29th 2011 a comment was posted to a music website by user Men With Ven claiming Rising Records was a front for a scam.  Within hours the story went viral and over the next few days various people who had dealt with Daghorn posted their own stories of dodgy dealings with him, corroborating the original posters ac­cusations.

Daghorn claimed the post was the working of a disgruntled band.  He responded to these accusations with intermittent threats of legal action whilst fleeing the UK for Barbados. He never followed through with any legal action as he threatened.

Daghorn then proceeded to establish himself in Barbados and people he owed money to in the UK were ignored, fired or offered more work which never materialised.  Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Business, Crime & Law, Music

If each small business in Barbados could hire just one more employee…

got the job barbados web

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

As a small business person for most of my life, trying to make miniscule budgets become larger profitable realities goes with the territory. As a general rule we adopted a very simple psychology – that any marketing dollars spent had to produce a tenfold return, or return on investment ROI of 1:10.

For instance if you took a quarter page on a peak circulation day in the sister publication of Business Authority, the ‘ad’ space would cost around $900 per insertion.

Very few smaller businesses could reasonably expect that a single ‘ad’ would generate an additional $9,000 in turnover, so the only plausible alternative could be to partner with 8 other entities each contributing $100 and then ask the question again.

Could an individual participant in a collective ‘ad’ expect to drive another $900 in new business?

An example might be a standalone restaurant ‘ad’ at $900 would probably need to drive another 60 customers a week to justify, but a shared cost of $100 would require just six or seven more patrons per establishment.

More historically traditional mediums like newspapers have been driven into looking for far more creative ways of retaining advertising revenue to compete with internet and other competition, but at the risk of the editor sacking me, they have to do a lot more to retain viability. (Editor’s note: Not around here, Adrian. Our advert ratesheet is very reasonable!)

One of the simplest ways this could be achieved would be to run a dedicated weekly restaurant and/or staycation/attractions page. Break the cost down to a level where individual ‘partners’ could afford to participate and justify the expense. Perhaps even build-in a discount voucher which is exclusive to the publication.

The recent revamping of the Nation and its various supplements may provide a new opportunity with one or more sales staff dedicated to following through with this concept.

There is also the possibility of sponsorship by other businesses that ultimately stand an equal opportunity of adding turnover or brand awareness. A local branded credit card issuer would be a natural partner who would benefit by users selecting a preferred method of payment.

The remodeled Easy Sunday insert just might be one of the best mediums for such a regular feature, as it appears to be targeted towards a particular lifestyle and perhaps would be easier to manage in terms of size and content.

As we rapidly approach the more challenging long tourism softer summer months the launch timing also seems to be perfect.

Personally, I am absolutely convinced it is going to primarily our small businesses that will be largely responsible for aiding economic recovery. Just imagine if by encouraging co-operative marketing initiatives each small business is able to employee just one more person. What a difference that could make to reducing unemployment levels and increasing disposable income into the system.

So I have thrown out the gauntlet to this publisher and those enterprises who think they can work together collectively to make a positive difference.


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business

Last Harlequin update by Serious Fraud Office was July 2014

Harlequin Fraud Office

Harlequin Property
25 July 2014

The SFO investigation into The Harlequin Group continues. We have had several reports from worried investors who have recently received information from other sources to suggest that our investigation is now closed. This is not the case.  Due to the complex nature of our investigations and the fact that several overseas jurisdictions are included within the scope of those investigations, it is inevitable that delays in the process of gathering information and evidence will be and have been encountered. It is not possible to issue any more detailed information at this time. Once we are able to issue a further update we will do so.

Many thanks to those who have been in touch to register their details with us at


Filed under Barbados, Business, Corruption, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Real Estate

Will the Harlequin Resorts debacle explode in 2015?

David Ames - Harlequin's Ponzi King

David Ames – Harlequin’s Ponzi King

The numbers tell us one giant truth: From the start Harlequin was set up as nothing less than a Ponzi scheme requiring a constant influx of new victims to keep everything going.

Consider these numbers…

– Total “deposits” by victims: US$800 million

– Percentage of “deposits” paid as salary and sales commissions: 50%

– Percentage of “deposits” used to pay interest to earlier “investors”: 22% (estimated, see below)

– Number of units sold: 9,114

– Number of units built: 230

It might be worth Ames and his merry band of supporters considering to remain silent throughout 2015.

To do so would reduce if not eliminate the anti-Harlequin responses no matter how articulate and factual they may be, given that the anti-Harlequin posts in the main are merely responses to the incessant nauseating, repulsive litany of lies emanating from Harlequin and their supporters in their never ending quest to justify “at best” the gross incompetence and abject failure by the Ames family and staff of Harlequin to operate their businesses in a proper manner.

The constant need to allay the blame for the failures of the Ames family and management at Harlequin at the door step of others demonstrates that the Ames family and management of Harlequin are in serious trouble.

And that summary is giving Ames and his cohorts far more benefit of the doubt than the facts say they deserve. The only reason I can think of that they haven’t been arrested as yet is that the Serious Fraud Office has been overwhelmed by the planned worldwide chaotic nature of the fraud through only god knows how many different companies, coupled with legal contracts bearing so much fine print, inter-jurisdictional references and available outs for the criminals.

The resorts will most probably never get built, not in the lifetime of many of the purchasers victims.      
Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business, Consumer Issues, Crime & Law, Economy, Offshore Investments, Real Estate

Barbados natural gas stoppage: Government lapdog Nation newspaper blames hotels, restaurants, bakeries for “lack of business continuity planning”

Dog eats garbage

New Bajan tourism attraction: Dog eats garbage

by Passin Thru

In true Bajan and Caribbean “Island Time” style, a Nation newspaper editorial says that no one should be blamed or sacked for the disastrous stoppage of natural gas these past three weeks during the Christmas and New Years season.

The Nation says that those businesses, restaurants, hotels and other natural gas users are the problem. They foolishly didn’t have a backup plan and necessary technologies in place to prepare three meals a day for thousands of tourists for several weeks of outages.

Who wrote that editorial? Such foolishness from presumably an adult. They must be high on drugs or from another planet.

And what of the DLP Government’s failing to keep the gas flowing? Here’s what the suck-well Nation has to say about the government’s role in the crisis:

“The efforts of the Minister of Commerce, Donville Inniss, to personally interact with both the NPC and affected businesses, were very commendable.”

Fabulous! Government Minister Donville Pornville Inniss went about the place talking! What a fabulous job, Pornville, just fabulous!

Perhaps if Minister Inniss and his government paid the VAT refunds owed to business within say, a year of request, those businesses might be able to buy a gas grill or thirty to sit waiting “just in case” the government can’t deliver natural gas for a month in tourist high season? Should the hotels do the same with drinking water too? A month’s worth for 500 people?

Such foolishness.

And then there is the garbage problem… 

Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business, Economy, Energy, Environment