Category Archives: Freedom Of Information

LIAT Statement On Barbados Free Press Blog Post

DHC-8-300 Dash 8 LIAT V2-LGI

LIAT Statement On Barbados Free Press Blog Post

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Jan 21 2014 – LIAT (1974) Ltd. has taken note of the post, dated 17th January 2014, in the Barbados Free Press online blog of an Article entitled “Report of Conflict of Interest: Saint Vincent PM Ralph Gonsalves said to own 2 LIAT aircraft”.

The anonymous author concludes that “The conflict of interest arises because SVG is one of the major shareholders in LIAT. Government funds are involved and Prime Minister Gonsalves is heavily involved in decision making about the airline”.

The two aircraft mentioned in the article are owned by a publicly listed US based Leasing Company trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). LIAT has always had arms length negotiations with this Lessor and its relationship with this Lessor is firmly set on a commercial basis. LIAT has no Aircraft Leases with Prime Minister Gonsalves or any shareholder of the Company and categorically denies the suggestion that the Prime Minister has anything to do with the leasing of aircraft to LIAT. LIAT views conflict of interest very seriously and abides by principles of good corporate governance.   Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Politics

Barbados Hotels and Resorts debacle continues with another government loan guarantee. Where did all the public money go?

barbados-gems-hotel-scandal.jpgGEMS scandal keeps going and going and going…

Say ‘goodbye’ to your tax dollars as government guarantees a loan with zero hope of repayment.

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner.

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner.

Whatever was behind any honest intentions of the Hotels and Resorts Limited (HRL) or the “GEMS” debacle, it is difficult to imagine a worse outcome so far.

Government’s decision to guarantee yet another loan to this failed entity, despite the current austerity situation, frankly defies belief and clearly will not have a happy ending.

This latest loan is for BDS$5.55 million at an interest rate of 7.75 per cent, arrangement fee of $350,000 and monthly repayments of $55,000.

Included is a $300,000 overdraft facility which attracts an administration charge of $5,000 each month.

HRL now operate a single hotel – Blue Horizon with just 67 rooms. Another 50 additional rooms acquired at the time of purchase (1997) remain derelict all these years later. Savannah and Time Out at the Gap are leased and operated by private sector interests.

Where did the money go?

Three other properties originally in the GEMS portfolio were sold and it still remains unclear what price they realised and exactly where those funds went. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy, Freedom Of Information

Dirty politics in Barbados? Sex Video said to be a well-known politician… but it’s not him

1 Barbados Sex Video

At least, we don’t think it’s him…

In the past few days eight readers have sent us a sex video that is supposed to involve a well-known Bajan politician having an excellent time with a woman not his wife.

Wuhloss! Who would have imagined such a relationship could happen on this rock?

After a thorough examination of the video, several times, with rum and beers in hand, your committee of Barbados Free Press editors and staff concluded that it sure looks like you-know-who, but it’s not. At least, we don’t think it’s him.

But that leads us to the next question: Who created or discovered a slightly-blurred sex video that looks like a Barbados politician but isn’t really? Who sent it around and put it up on the chat groups with his name? Was it done with a hidden camera? It looks that way!

Why it was done is an easy question to answer, and we’re not going to mention which party might have done it. *** (We’ve changed our minds… see the end of this post.)

All we can say is, politics is a dirty game everywhere, but especially in Barbados where there are no rules about conflicts of interest, there are no procurement standards for spending government money, and there is no Freedom of Information Act that would at least give citizens a hope of finding out the truth.

Do you want to clean up politics in Barbados? We have to start by stopping the feed at the piggy trough. Being elected shouldn’t be a guarantee of becoming a millionaire, but that’s the way it is ’bout hey.

As long as the rewards of being elected are that large, and the chances of being caught so small, the politicians of both parties will continue to use every dirty trick to discredit others and to get themselves elected to the piggy trough.

Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Afra Raymond on More 104.7fm – talks about his lawsuit against the Minister of Finance

afra raymond

Afra Raymond chats on the show ’Forward Thinkers‘ with David Walker on 104.7FM, dealing with the CL Financial bailout and my lawsuit against the Minister of Finance to get at the detailed information as to how the $24B in Public Money was spent. 24 October 2013. Audio courtesy More 104.7 FM. Listen here.

Programme Date: Thursday 24th October 2013
Programme Length: 0:45:41

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Filed under Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Trinidad and Tobago

Send us documents, articles: whatever you like! You can trust Barbados Free Press.

barbados-epa-secret

Some folks want to know the answers to these questions…

How can I post a news article on Barbados Free Press?

Easy! Just email the article to us here: barbadosfreepress@yahoo.com

OR… you can use our Contact Us form.

How can I get a letter or document to BFP?

We don’t reveal our mailing address because we’re an anonymous blog. You’ll have to scan or photograph the document and then email it to us.

If the document is too large to email, try using one of the free document posting services where you can upload the document and then send us the secret link – all anonymously.

Try: anonfiles.com  Wikipedia has an updated list of anonymous file sharing sites

Will Barbados Free Press keep my identity secret?

Of course we will keep your identity secret. You don’t even have to tell us who you are. We publish anonymously-written articles all the time.

We’ve kept writers’ identities secret at their request since we started in 2006. That’s a long time and nobody has a better track record – not even WikiLeaks!

Does Barbados Free Press keep records of emails and files sent to you?

No we don’t. Once we publish something, read your email or otherwise finish with what you send us, we delete everything securely. Only what is posted on BFP’s WordPress blog remains.

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Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press

Court issues order: Afra Raymond can drag stonewalling Trinidad government before Judicial Review

FOI Order Trinidad

Tough guy, that Afra Raymond. Won’t take “NO!” for an answer from a government that doesn’t think it needs to obey the Freedom of Information laws.

They fired Afra from where they could in the news media and thought he’d go away – but still he walks on in search of the truth. They tried ignoring him and now he’s gone to court and obtained an order when most people thought he couldn’t.

Yup, this is getting even curiouser and curiouser!

Order granting leave to file judicial review in Afra Raymond vs Ministry of Finance and the Economy.

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Filed under Freedom Of Information, Trinidad and Tobago

CL Financial scandal: Government ignores Freedom of Information request, Activist heads to court

CL-Financial-Fraud

At least Trinidad and Tobago has a Freedom of Information law!

What is being pursued here is our right as citizens of a modern republic to the details of these huge expenditures of Public Money – the CL Financial bailout is costing some $24Bn, about $3.5Bn USD! – and the background to how critical legislative support is obtained.  It is my view that S.34 was not the first time and that the spectre of ‘regulatory capture’, which underlines much of the discourse around the Great Depression 2, is in fact founded on a sinister degree of ‘legislative capture’.

Having had a series of ‘cat and mouse’ exchanges with the Ministry of Finance since my Freedom of Information Act application made on 11 May 2012, this is my pre-action protocol letter sent to them by my attorney on Thursday 7 March, seeking their proper reply in 7 days…that time expires at midnight today, Wednesday 13 March.

So stay tuned, because we are going to the High Court after that…

Afra Raymond

15 Comments

Filed under Freedom Of Information, Trinidad and Tobago

Barbados, Trinidad governments excel at turning public assets into private profits

The ‘Eden Gardens’ transaction is a prime example of a large-scale economic crime against the State and the interests of its citizens.

Again, I ask – ‘Who were the beneficiaries?’

As we read Afra Raymond’s latest tale about how public monies are turned into private profits by corrupt T&T politicians and their friends, our thoughts turn to a dozen similar situations here in Barbados.

BLP or DLP doesn’t matter: the record of both major parties makes it clear that Barbados politicians have made it their business to rape the public purse at every opportunity. Think Dodds Prison and the Oil Terminal. Think CLICO. Think land expropriations where government doesn’t pay for the land ever and then some Minister of Government ends up fooping his mistress in a house built on stolen land. Her house but everybody knows where the land and building money came from.

Some church going folks will be upset I used the F word. They should first be upset at the Minister and if they have any upset left over then worry about my f word – for Bajans are being fooped by their guvment every day. It doesn’t stop.

Barbados lacks ITAL – Integrity Legislation, Transparency and Accountability Legislation. Prime Ministers Thompson and Stuart and their corrupt DLP promised it just to get elected in 2008. Then they pretended to push it through when they knew an election would kill it. An doan fool yourself… Mottley, Arthur and the BLP were in on the plan.

We can’t have the politicians restrained by little things like Integrity Legislation and Conflicts of Interest rules, can we?

There is only one political party in Barbados… the DLP-BLP coalition and they take turns every few years to let the other be on top. That’s the way things work in Trinidad & Tobago too. It’s all about turning those public assets into private profits. Afra Raymond tells us about some real experts…

by Afra Raymond

by Afra Raymond

Calcutta Settlement review

The simple, inescapable fact is that the State could have lawfully acquired the ‘Eden Gardens’ property for less than $40M.  The HDC paid $175M in November 2012 to Point Lisas Park Ltd (PLP) for that property, which is the reason I am calling this an improper use of Public Money.

Despite having available the advice of the Commissioner of State Lands, the Commissioner of Valuations and various attorneys at HDC and so on, the Cabinet approved this transaction.  This Cabinet, with two Senior Counsel at its head and several other seasoned legal advisers, appears to have been unaware of, or intentionally ignoring, the legal safeguards.

“I am calling for this matter to be swiftly investigated and the responsible parties prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Some readers may be surprised at those assertions, so here are my reasons for making such…

The last two articles examined the steps leading to the HDC’s purchase of land at ‘Eden Gardens’ in Calcutta Settlement.  In my opinion that transaction, as well as the one which preceded it, are both highly improper and very probably unlawful.  The HDC purchase must be reversed and the responsible parties investigated/prosecuted as required by our laws.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

Barbados election doesn’t matter when the two parties are the same

DLP & BLP politicians at work

by Perdy

There is no difference between the two parties in my opinion. Both parties take it in turn to dupe the public into believing they are better than the other; yet when either wind office, they carry out the same or similar agenda as the the other party next.

Prior to the 2008 election,we were told by one party how corrupt the other party was, displaying so-called evidence. Four years later this claim is still being banded about. If one party has evidence to prove the other lied steal or borrowed, which may be against the law, it should proceed to bring a case against the other in a court of law and have those responsible prosecuted.

Four years later, with no action being taken, brings me to conclude there is no truth or, those critical are just as guilty as those they are criticizing.

If there are no laws currently on the statue books to use to prosecute, why not? Again 4 years have passed where those laws should have been implemented so as to halt or prevent a repeat of it happening again.

“The truth of the matter is: There is no difference between the 2 parties. The party is in power is as guilty as that out of power. If one witnessed a crime or is aware of a crime committed; refuses to take action to prosecute or to take preventative action, he is as guilty as the guy who has committed the crime.”

I would like to see good governance; transparency, integrity, especially those who are holding the public purse. There is temptation in many organizations and ‘Humans’ are weak. Some kind of legislation should be on the statue books so as to deter those who weak. The law should be applied equally to all who break the law.

It is high time now. We should be pressuring those who are in office or are thinking of running for office, that if they break the law, they will be harshly dealt with. No mercy should be shown to corrupt politicians.

Barbados has no anti-corruption laws. Neither party has put Integrity Legislation or Freedom of Information laws in place although each party has promised to do this many times. This brings me to conclude that neither party can claim to be credible when it comes to being honest with the public.

There is no difference between the two parties.

Submitted by BFP reader Purdy. BFP’s Robert corrected a few spelling mistakes and added some connective sentences. Purdy’s original can be viewed here.

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Filed under Barbados, Freedom Of Information, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

International Press Institute reports how Barbados politicians lied about Integrity Legislation, Freedom of Information, Defamation law changes

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and his DLP promised Integrity Legislation. They lied. That was a slimy thing to do!

UPDATED: January 22, 2013 (pinned to top. scroll down for newer)

Have another read of this folks and remember that the promised Integrity Legislation will not become law before the next election.

Time to vote for ANY INDEPENDENT!

Here’s our original story first published October 15, 2012….

Lying corrupt DLP, BLP politicians will not pass Integrity Legislation

The just-released International Press Institute report on Barbados tells the sad history of how the DLP – Democratic Labour Party lied about Integrity Legislation just to get elected. The report is dated last June, 2012 and now that we are well into the political campaign for the next election we know the truth: there will be no Integrity Legislation put forward by the governing DLP. It was all a sham to get elected in 2008.

“The government and the population know that Barbados’ Defamation Act is a relic of the colonial past and that it hinders freedom of expression. IPI believes that when the country’s politicians are aware of the situation and have already attempted to change it, half of the work is done. We are optimistic that there is still enough time before the January 2013 elections to implement the new legislation.

While several news outlets now say that the people in Barbados were misled and that the Freedom of Information, Defamation and Integrity Legislation is an outstanding debt, IPI believes that public opinion can be changed. Barbados’ leaders have the opportunity not only to change these reports, but also to make history, as those who make this decision will have ushered in a more free, transparent, and democratic country.”

… the last two paragraphs of the Report on the IPI Advocacy Mission to End Criminal Defamation in Barbados (PDF here)

Former BLP Attorney General confirms no plans for Integrity Legislation

Barbadian voters remember former BLP Attorney General Dale Marshall as the one who hilariously gave a clean bill of health to VECO’s operations in Barbados after a 25 minute conversation with representatives of the company. This was after a series of scandals showed that Alaska-based VECO used bribery of politicians as a standard operating procedure to obtain government contracts.

The Owen Arthur led BLP government awarded VECO the contract for the new Dodds Prison even though the company had never built a prison before. Everything was done in secret and that’s the way Dale Marshall, Owen Arthur, Mia Mottley and the BLP like it. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Afra Raymond: I will not be stopped!

“It is a wonder that you are continuing to write these articles Mr. Raymond. Have you received any pressure to stop? If only our Bajan journalists had your integrity and courage.”

Barbados Free Press reader WSD comments on Afra Raymond’s article CL Financial bailout “a major failure on any scale”

In response to a reader’s concern for his safety, journalist Afra Raymond replies:

Readers,

I am going to continue on my course, this is an epic crisis, being the single largest episode of corruption in our region’s history, so it is essential that the few of us keep on informing the public and agitating for Economic and Social Justice in this matter.

I am independent enough to maintain these efforts – no one is ever absolutely independent in our small societies – and it is a painful reflection in this, our 50th year of T&T’s Independence, that our leading institutions, academies and thinkers have remained resolutely silent in the face of this tidal wave of ‘commesse’ and ‘bobol’. It does make me wonder what was the ultimate purpose of all the sacrifice of our foreparents who struggled for liberation from colonialism, education and self-determination. What was that all for?

It is a disturbing measure of the depth of the corruption in all the western democracies that so few of the main players in this global meltdown have actually been imprisoned, but that is an issue for another column in this series.

My rallying call is -

SILENCE IS THE ENEMY OF PROGRESS!

Thanks for your support

Afra Raymond
www.afraraymond.com

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

CL Financial bailout “a major failure on any scale”

“The region’s largest privately-held group of companies is now under State control, in a situation of huge insolvency, with no proper accounts and no declarations being filed by the Directors…

This development is a serious peril to our Treasury.  It must be a matter of the gravest possible concern to all right-thinking people that our fundamental Integrity safeguards appear to have been circumvented or ignored in a matter of this size and consequence.”

A call to order

by Afra Raymond

The CL Financial bailout continues to be a major failure on any scale, both in the causes of the fiasco and especially the manner in which it has been handled. This is my update on what has been the progress in this campaign.

First… A Reality Check

The equation for our reality check is –

Expenditure of Public Money
Minus      –      Transparency
Minus      –      Accountability
Equals     =     CORRUPTION

In May 2009, I wrote that the Directors and Officers of the CL Financial group should be required to file declarations under the provisions of the Integrity in Public Life Act (IPLA). According to the IPLA, the Schedule detailing those persons is at page 31 – one of the classes of person required to file declarations to the Integrity Commission is –

“Members of the Boards of all Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises including those bodies in which the State has a controlling interest.”

I have put the last part of the sentence in italics to emphasize the deliberate choice of language by the legislators.  The drafting of legislation is a painstaking exercise of strategy, debate and sometimes compromise…my point being that the inclusion of that last phrase must mean that the legislators intended to go beyond merely saying ‘Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises’, which would be the obvious, to specify that the IPLA must also apply in situations where the State has a controlling interest.

The CL Financial Shareholders Agreement (the Agreement), of 12 June 2009, which I obtained by using the Freedom of Information Act, specifies at clause 3.1 that the Board of Directors of CLF shall consist of seven Directors, four of which shall be nominated by the Government.  The government has been exercising its rights under this clause, so it is clear that the State’s controlling interest in the CL Financial group is effective. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Freedom Of Information

Barbados Free Press republishes deleted Harlequin news story

Why was this Harlequin news story removed by Echo-news.co.uk ?

BFP readers supply over 30 copies of deleted Harlequin news story

As BFP reported yesterday, Echo’s news story ‘Wickford man at the centre of storm in the Caribbean property market‘ by investigative journalist Jon Austin was deleted from the internet the day after it was published in the dead-tree edition, and within hours of being posted online.

This deletion of internet content fits right in with our observation last week that articles critical of Harlequin are disappearing. In some cases entire websites have disappeared.

Barbados Free Press has received legal advice concerning our use of a news story originally published on Tuesday, July 10, 2012 by echo-news.co.uk on pages 14 and 15 of their dead tree edition, and on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 on the internet.

This is of vital interest to Bajans due to freedom of the press issues, and also of interest to those investors who have very legitimate questions about why so few units have been completed throughout the Harlequin projects list, why the construction is not following the schedules communicated earlier by Mr. David Ames and where and how investors’ money is being spent.

“There are also serious public questions about the Harlequin’s relationships with various officials and why certain governments have, among other unusual decisions, allowed Harlequin to get away with not filing financial statements as required by law for periods of up to four years.”

This is of special concern to Barbadians as our country has no Integrity Legislation, no Freedom of Information and no Conflicts of Interests rules for public officials: this despite 30 years of promises by various DLP and BLP governments.

There seems to be a concerted effort to prevent serious, in-depth public discussion about issues surrounding Harlequin, its operations, finances, and its relationships with politicians in various countries. That is bad for freedom of the press, transparency and accountability. It is also bad for democracy.

Our legal advice is that BFP is allowed to publish the Echo article in full to review and discuss the content, and the takedown. Especially in the absence of Integrity and transparency laws in Barbados, both the content of the news article and the circumstances of its removal from the internet are of vital public interest that supersedes any copyright issues.

BFP and our readers recognize that any allegations in the article are unproven, and we invite representatives from Harlequin to join in the discussion to correct or clarify any inaccuracies. If Harlequin so desires, BFP will publish any response or communications from the company with due respect and prominence as we have done before for Harlequin and others.

For discussion:

Why was this story removed by Echo-news.co.uk?

Are there any inaccuracies or omissions in the news story?

Readers, please feel free to use the comment section to discuss these questions and others that are of vital public interest.

Thank you!

Our sincere gratitude to the over 30 readers who sent us copies of the Echo-news.co.uk news article ‘Wickford man at the centre of storm in the Caribbean property market’

Here is the story. Class; discuss! …

Wickford man at the centre of storm in the Caribbean property market

Wednesday 11th July 2012
By Jon Austin

A SOUTH Essex businessman is at the centre of a political storm in the Caribbean where his firm is striving to develop a series of luxury holiday resorts.

The Harlequin group – run by David Ames from Brock Hill, Wickford – has become a political football in St Vincent, home to the company’s partially-open resort.

The Basildon-based firm is meant to be building six resorts in the Caribbean and one in Brazil.

In April, an Echo investigation revealed some of the 6,000 people who invested in the resorts wanted deposits refunded due to delays to some projects.

Now some investors have launched court claims in St Vincent in a bid to win back their cash.

At the same time staff, contractors and suppliers, working at Harlequin’s flagship Buccament Bay resort, are also taking action through the courts amid claims they haven’t been paid for several weeks.

The firm also hasn’t filed any accounts in St Vincent for the past four years, meaning investors cannot track what has happened to their cash, which has been sent overseas to build properties.

Harlequin Property in St Vincent, which owns Buccament Bay, could be struck off in the country if it fails to bring records up to date.

Mr Ames, 60, who said he was recently made a citizen of St Vincent and has the backing of the ruling Unity Labour Party, vehemently denied allegations staff were not being paid. The claims have been raised in the Vincentian parliament.

He said all resort staff were being paid on time and it was down to individual contractors to pay workers.

The business, which has a marketing office in Honeywood Road, Basildon, has so far built around 300 out of 1,120 units at Buccament Bay, with work yet to start in earnest on other resorts.

Opposition politicians from the New Democratic Party of St Vincent said at least eight claims – including some lodged by unpaid workers as well as investors – are going to court.

The party’s leader Arhnim Eustace called on the government to ensure payments were made to local contractors and employees.

He told the Echo: “I am aware a number of local contractors who say they have not been paid have filed cases in the court. This includes local contractors, workers and a supplier of vegetables.”

He said amounts claimed in cases varied, but at least one involved an alleged unpaid amount of £118,000. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption

Why did our Minister of Works and Transport endorse this technology company? Does he own stock?

BREAKING HOT NEWS: Company paid up to $100,000 to certain websites to promote this stock! Did they pay anything to Minister of Transport John Boyce or any other Bajan? See end of story for details.

“Utilizing the Start FEED unit in Barbados on our government vehicles will result in tremendous fuel costs savings, in addition to major reductions of toxic automobile emissions and assist the government in accomplishing the goal of a cleaner and healthier Barbados.”

Hon. Mr. John Boyce, Minister of Works and Transport as quoted in a press release and stock prospectus for Great Wall Builders Ltd.

Did Barbados Minister John Boyce receive any gift or benefit from Start Technologies or Great Wall Builders Ltd.?

A new stock is in play. Press releases and a stock prospectus were sent out hyping new technology that is claimed to improve fuel efficiency by 20%. The miracle aftermarket gadget “uses a high-voltage electric current to break long-chain hydrocarbon molecules into shorter, lighter more volatile molecules.”

Why didn’t Detroit or Toyota think of this? Because they are stupid, that’s why! In 100 years of internal combustion engine development nobody has thought of this…

except… there have been many similar devices in history making the same claims about using electric current to modify the properties of fuel. There are even websites where engineers debunk this type of claim that electricity will change the molecular structure of fuel and result in significant mileage increases.

Not to worry though: the Barbados Minister of Transport attests that the technology works. And it’s not just Bajan citizen John Boyce saying this: he is a Minister of the Government of Barbados and representative of the entire country, so his claim must be true… right? It must be because the credibility of our country and the government rests upon Mr. Boyce’s endorsement.

Some engineers and scientists disagree with Minister Boyce. They say that claims of 20% increase in mileage are not scientifically possible and that these devices are scams…

“The unburnt fuel in the exhaust (even before the cat) represents 1 or 2% at most of the input fuel. If you factor in the energy in the CO emissions, the figure still only rises to 3% maximum. So even if the fuel “saving” device could totally eliminate unburnt fuel and CO in the exhaust, and give an absolutely 100% complete burn, you would only save 3% of fuel. Claims that 10%, 20% or even more of the fuel is not burnt and escapes into the exhaust are entirely false…”

From Tony’s Guide to Fuel saving gadgets

Why are my warning antennae up and pulsating?

The press release by GWBU reports that the Barbados Ministry of Transport and Works tested this new technology over a 2 month period and confirmed the claims of the company. Imagine what a 20% fuel saving could do for the world! With that kind of savings the West could tell the Arabs to shove it where the sun doan shine. That would be the end of the UK’s travel duty. Cruise ships will flock to Bim because they will use 20% less fuel.

This is big. Really big… and the stock price soared!

So the stock price of GWBU must go up… and up it went! Nine cents a share to a buck seventy three in a few of weeks!

I wonder if Transport Minister Boyce or his family members or close friends have any of this stock?

Good. That’s great to see entrepreneurship and progressive capitalism at its best: making money and saving the planet.

Hey… Minister Boyce… we are saving the planet with this device, right?

Just a few questions Minister Boyce. We know you’ll take the time to answer them because although your government promised to implement Freedom of Information Legislation within the first 100 days of office, your government didn’t do that in almost five years because you were really busy with (fill in the answer here.)

But the DLP government is committed to transparency and accountability – with or without legislation – so we know that you will take the time to answer a few questions…

Dear Minister Boyce:

1/ Did you or your family members have any GWBU stock? How many shares? Waddya pay per share? Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Science, Technology

Afra Raymond asks: Who will benefit from the expenditure of public funds at Invader’s Bay?

Updated August 4, 2012

Trinidad & Tobago government negotiating with businessmen for Invaders Bay Development Project

Just like in Barbados where politicians sometimes use the most elaborate schemes and deceptions to transfer public lands and other assets to the private sector without transparency or lawful process, the government of T&T is about to provide private interests with public assets at Invaders Bay. Will the public interest truly be served? And how are the people of T&T to be assured that there is nothing happening ‘on the left’ ???

Govt green light for talks on Invaders Bay

Cabinet yesterday gave approval for negotiations to begin with businessmen Derek Chin and Jerry Joseph for the Invaders Bay Development project.

Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie, speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s said that D Chin Commercial Development Ltd’s proposal to lease a portion of the State land to construct a Streets of the World entertainment and shopping complex was accepted and negotiations will commence with market determined commercial lease rates…

… read the latest at the Trinidad Express Govt green light for talks on Invaders Bay

BFP’s original story first published April 25, 2012…

Do citizens have a right to know where and how public funds are being spent?

The land at Invader’s Bay, Trinidad was reclaimed at public expense about 10 years ago. Now Afra Raymond and the Joint Consultative Council for the Construction Industry are trying to determine who owns the lands, and under what laws the lands were created and transferred.

Simple questions, to be sure… but the answers have not been forthcoming from the Trinidad and Tobago government. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Consumer Issues, Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Trinidad and Tobago

Why Prime Minister Stuart never mentions Freedom of Information legislation anymore

DLP thick as thieves with Parris, Duprey, CLICO & CL Financial

by Nevermind Kurt

It is readily apparent to anyone without a political agenda that the introduction in Parliament of the DLP’s promised Integrity Legislation was strategically withheld for the last four years so the DLP could again use the issue in the coming election. Their lies fooled the voters last time, so why not use the same technique again?

The obvious plan is to have the legislation ‘almost’ make it through this session of Parliament, but not be declared as law. That has been the intent all along: to have the legislation stillborn so a/ the current government would not have to conform to integrity rules, and b/ the current government can now say “We almost made it except for the damn Opposition. Give us one more term to finish it.”

Fool me once, etc…

How quickly the electorate forgets that the DLP promised to introduce Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information within the first 100 days. The DLP also promised to introduce a Ministerial Code including conflict of interest guidelines “immediately upon forming a government”. That code was to have been a policy declaration and could have been implemented on the very first day as promised.

Leroy Parris and good friend Finance Minister Chris Sinckler share champagne

The DLP didn’t introduce any of these promises because as it turned out Prime Minister David Thompson and his gang were thick as thieves with Leroy Parris and Lawrence Duprey of CLICO and CL Financial infamy. It also turned out that David Thompson and his law firm were money-laundering for Parris. (That’s the auditors talking, not us, and you can read about it here.)

Under those situations and many more questionable activities of the DLP, it’s no wonder that the current government didn’t keep its promises concerning integrity legislation. A big part of the DLP/CLICO/Parris/Duprey relationship would have immediately become illegal under the new legislation and there’s no way that Thompson or Stuart would permit that.

So the DLP leadership lied to get elected and then delayed, delayed, delayed integrity rules until the DLP was well into its fifth year of majority government when the designed-to-be-stillborn legislation could be produced again at the right moment like a rabbit from a magician’s hat.

What happened to the Freedom of Information Act?

Prime Minister Stuart has been in the papers recently pulling out the Integrity Legislation, telling folks “It’s coming!” and setting up the public so the DLP won’t be blamed when the legislation doesn’t make it into declared law in time for the next election. Stuart fully intends that the promised integrity legislation “almost made it!” will be an asset, not a liability during the coming election.

But he never mentions Freedom of Information anymore.

The reason that the DLP never mentions FOI is that the thieving politicians know that Freedom of Information is the key to making the integrity legislation a real threat to the way things are ’bout hey.

Freedom of Information legislation gives ordinary citizens an easy and economical means to legally force the government to provide copies of documents and information that citizens need to hold officials accountable. Integrity Legislation isn’t much use if you can’t force the government to surrender the paperwork that proves offences. Stuart and the DLP know this and THAT is why FOI became a non-subject.

Look at the plight of David Weekes – and know why the Government hates Freedom of Information

David Weekes is an ordinary Bajan man trying to sue the CARICOM government and the cartels that run this place. PM Stuart won’t provide him with the CARICOM ratification documents he needs for his case. These are documents that every citizen should have a right to see, but the Barbados government is denying them to Weekes to spoil his case… and some people are so upset with Weekes that he believes (and we do to) they tried to burn down his home. With no Freedom of Information legislation and process, ordinary citizen Weekes has no effective means of forcing the government to provide the public documents that he needs.

That’s why the BLP and DLP elites and their cartel cronies have never implemented any kind of Freedom of Information rules and process: they desperately want to keep information out of the hands of citizens.

The thieving politicians simply don’t want the little people to become empowered by knowledge and access to public documents.

And that, my friends, is exactly why the DLP will not implement Freedom of Information and why the Opposition BLP is silent too.

Nevermind Kurt

Further Reading about Barbados political elites and (cough, cough) ‘integrity’

September 24, 2011: Prime Minister Owen Arthur “invested” YOUR money in Nigeria. A predictable result.

August 28, 2011: We told you so! Integrity Legislation buried in a dark hole

October 17, 2009: Prime Minister Thompson’s new strategy for avoiding Integrity Legislation, FOI

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Trinidad: Police storm newspaper offices, journalist’s home

Snapshots from the battle for press freedom

Police seize Andre Bagoo’s computers, phones, flash drives

Nine police officers raided the Newsday offices and journalist Andre Bagoo’s home on Wednesday – seizing at least four computers, two mobile phones and several external storage drives. The police say they are looking for evidence of Bagoo’s sources for his December 20, 2011 story about the row between Integrity chairman Ken Gordon and deputy chairman Gladys Gafoor.

Of course, now that the police have EVERYTHING on Bagoo’s computers they will have a look at EVERYTHING, won’t they? Emails, love letters, shopping lists, contacts list, financial records, photos, sources for every story Bagoo has ever written – little things like that.

The latest attack in the Trinidad police campaign to muzzle a free press comes two months after a similar raid on TV6 last December.

The lesson is that if the Trinidad news media won’t self regulate (as the Guardian did causing journalist Afra Raymond to resign in disgust) then the Trinidad & Tobago police will teach the Trini press to know their place.

We’ve had our own problems here in Barbados with the police strong-arming journalists, seizing their cameras and arresting journalists for photographing accident scenes and corrupt police officers. As a society we must be vigilant and aggressive about preserving the independence and freedom of the press. History has too many examples of what happens when citizens drop their guard.

Photo courtesy of Newsday: Journalist Andre Bagoo, centre in white shirt, surrounded by officers of the Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau (ACIB) as they search his computer in an attempt to get him to reveal the source of information in a report he wrote on the Integrity Commission.

Further Reading

Newsday Statement

Newsday:  Shame!

Newsday: Newsday raid shocks AG

Trinidad Express: Police storm ‘Newsday’ offices in PoS

Trinidad Express: Cops want interviews with CCN directors

Trinidad Express: Newspaper stands by journalist not to reveal sources

Guardian: Tribunal to probe Gafoor

Newsday Statement, February 10, 2012

NEWSDAY condemns in the strongest possible language, yesterday’s raid by officers of the Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau (ACIB) on our Newsroom at 23A Chacon Street, Port- of-Spain and at the private residence in Belmont of this newspaper’s senior investigative parliamentary and political reporter, Andre Bagoo.

The police officers led by Senior Superintendent Solomon Koon Koon, executed a warrant and searched Mr Bagoo’s desk in our newsroom, went through his office computer, all documents on his desk, including parliamentary papers and other information used in the course of his duties.

After two hours they left our Chacon Street newsroom, taking with them two flash drives, one Newsday cellphone issued to Mr Bagoo, his personal cellphone and Newsday’s computer hard drive on which Mr Bagoo has stored confidential information relating to his duties. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Caribbean Media, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Human Rights, News Media, Police, Trinidad and Tobago

Why is Wikipedia blacked out?

Wikipedia is protesting against SOPA and PIPA by blacking out the English Wikipedia for 24 hours, beginning at midnight January 18, Eastern Time. Readers who come to English Wikipedia during the blackout will not be able to read the encyclopedia. Instead, you will see messages intended to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA, encouraging you to share your views with your representatives, and with each other on social media.

More information here.

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Filed under Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press