Category Archives: Consumer Issues

Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal offers some advice to Harlequin victims

Harlequin Investor Update March 2015 from Regulatory Legal News on Vimeo.

Meanwhile at the Financial Services Compensation Scheme…

Financial advisers could be on the hook for hundreds of millions of pounds after the latest twist in the Harlequin saga in which the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has written down the value of the investment to nil.

In a document from the FSCS seen by Professional Adviser, dated 12 February and marked ‘compensation calculation’, the body lists the value of a Harlequin Property investment as £0.00.

A FSCS spokesperson confirmed the decision.

“Where applicable we will disregard the residual value in respect of Harlequin investments,” they said.

The move opens the floodgates for the FSCS to pay the thousands of Harlequin investors compensation on the full amount they put into the unregulated scheme, up to a £50,000 limit.

With around £400m originally invested in Harlequin, the compensation bill is set to run into hundreds of millions of pounds, putting it on a par with other investment disasters like Keydata and Arch cru.

As in those cases, the bulk of the cost of the compensation is likely to be borne by investment advisers.

Read the entire article: Spectre of £400m compensation bill looms as FSCS values Harlequin at nil

1,080 Comments

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

Harlequin victims hit with new lawsuit from Guardian SIPP

Abandoned Harlequin H Hotel is a testament to Barbados politicians' greed and incompetence.

Abandoned Harlequin H Hotel is a testament to Barbados politicians’ greed and incompetence.

Many “investors” in Dave Ames’ Harlequin ponzi scheme lost everything they had and more. Many of the gullible mortgaged their homes to “invest” in Harlequin, and relied upon the promises of Harlequin’s sales representatives. But the sales people knew that no legitimate investment could afford to pay the commissions that Harlequin was paying it’s representatives.

Now after losing everything, Harlequin victims are set to lose even more as Guardian SIPP is suing the investors for non-payment of the fees related to their self-invested personal pension.

Who is to blame for the mess?

Start with David Ames – but lined up with Ames should be the Government of Barbados, that allowed Harlequin companies to get away without oversight, accountability, annual filings and statements for the entire time. And our Government allowed Ames to acquire and start projects with zero oversight or consideration as to whether Ames had the means to finish those projects. As a result, the ‘H’ Hotel and Merricks projects look like bombed out disaster sites that are a testament to the greed and incompetence of the Bajan political class. Another Barbados property investment disaster that sends the wrong message to the world.

It’s fine to say that Ames and his crooked friends are responsible – but they couldn’t have done it without the wholesale purchase of willing politicians in Barbados and throughout the Caribbean.

Professional Adviser: Guardian sues Harlequin investors over SIPP fees

14 Comments

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

1,759 Comments

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

How government will use Barbados Water Authority smart meters to identify tax cheats

“This is a search on of your private life, showing your personal living patterns everyday – without a warrant. Your information going out to the Barbados Water Authority, the government, the police, the insurance company; to anyone who cuts a deal with the Barbados Water Authority now or in the future.”

Yes, my friends: that BWA smart meter is part of the government data-gathering and analysis system used to identify tax cheats (and for other purposes too.)”

Smart Meters a little too smart?

Back in 2011 Barbados Free Press published Smart Meters are Surveillance Devices – Data already used by police. Since that time there have been dozens of articles by major news outlets about privacy concerns with not only water and power smart meters, but also with the rise of the internet-connected home automation and camera systems.

While the use of internet motion detection / video-camera systems and online home appliances is a choice, the installation of smart meters is mandated by the government.  And what does the BWA and the government do with the data that they collect every second? They do anything they want with that data because there are no laws against it.

Who says BWA smart meters can identify tax cheats? The technology suppliers – that’s who…

Cowater International Inc. and Sogema Technologies Inc. are the two international corporations at the top end of the US$24.7 million dollar smart meter deal with the Barbados Water Authority. The Barbados government says the total cost of the project will be US$58 million dollars.

With subsidies from the Canadian Commercial Corporation, the BWA will install almost 100,000 smart water meters on this rock and the computers and software to monitor, administer and control the system.

Commercial clients are the priority, but eventually every home will have a smart meter too. Every one of those 98,800 household smart meters will supply a wealth of data that can be married up with other data to show patterns of behaviour, associations and reveal information that never would have been noticed before. BWA data will be consolidated with other private and government data sources.  Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Economy, Ethics, Human Rights, Police

Three weeks since garbage collection in Callender Gardens

Typical roadside wildlife: The not so rare Genus "plasticus baggis trashisus"

Typical roadside wildlife: The not so rare Genus “plasticus baggis trashisus”

The Solid Waste Tax is in effect and I had hoped that what I am experiencing now would not occur. It has now been 3 weeks garbage in my area (Callender Gardens, Christ Church) has not been collected. However just a stone throw away garbage has been collected in Callender Court every week.  I cannot fathom the method which which they are operating.

I am wondering when  they will collect the garbage since the increase of trash is quite evident daily. Thanks.

(Name withheld by BFP editor)

1 Comment

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Environment

Angry Bajan rants about corruption with taxpayers’ monies

kickback-bribes

No contractor General, No Public Prosecutor, No Freedom Of Information, No Integrity or  Transparency Legislation. Below are some recent suspicious happening in Barbados involving taxpayers monies.

  • Carsicot. ( Warwick Franklin )
  • St Joseph Hospital  ( Branford Taitt )
  • 3S Highway Project. ( Glyne Clarke )
  • Greenland (  Liz Thompson )
  • QEH $18M Power Plant ( Everson Elcock)
  • GEMS ( Rodney Wilkinson )
  • Veco Dodds ( Dale Marshall)
  • Cahill Waste To Energy Plant ( Denis Lowe/Chris Sinckler/ Darcy Boyce )
  • Sanitation Workshop ( Denis Lowe )
  • NHC $150 Yearly Lease to Coverley  ( Michael Lashley )
  • CLICO Money Laundering ( David Thompson Associates, Garth Patterson, Freundel Stuart, Leslie Haynes, Chris Sinckler )

The above clearly shows the two political parties are comprised of deceitful spin doctors who use innuendos and theatrical distractions to protect each other which amuses the duncy Bajans.

Is the DPP asleep?

Ministry of Agriculture: David Estwick driving a Q5
Ministry of Environment: Denis Lowe driving a X5
Ministry of Transport: Michael Lashley driving a X5

Imagine workers from the above ministries gone home to help stabilize the country’s finances. Where is the empathy? The DLP is truly behaving like they no longer interested in politics after their term expire my 78 year old granny thinks.

Angry Bajan

21 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Invader’s Bay a politicians’ debacle of questionable actions and hidden information

afra raymond CMMB

by Afra Raymond

After a flurry of attempted explanations from the Minister of Planning & Sustainable Development, Dr. Bhoe Tewarie, as to the real meaning of the High Court’s 14 July ruling on the Invader’s Bay matter, the State has now appealed that ruling and applied for expedited hearing of the matter while having the judgment stayed.

What that means is that the State is asking the Court to agree an extension of the Stay of Execution until the appeal is decided, so that the requested information could be withheld while the case is being heard.  Presumably, the State has asked for a speedy hearing so as to avoid any impression of them encouraging needless delay in this matter of high public concern.

This article will focus on the three critical findings in the judgment.

  • Legal Professional Privilege
  • Waiver of Privilege
  • The Public Interest Test

I will be examining Dr. Tewarie’s statement to Parliament on Friday 18 July, alongside the facts and the actual High Court ruling…

Read the entire article at Afra Raymond’s blog: Reality Check

Leave a comment

Filed under Consumer Issues, Corruption, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago