Category Archives: Real Estate

David Ames running from the courts: Percival Stewart v Harlequin Properties

David Ames - Harlequin's Ponzi King

David Ames – Harlequin’s Ponzi King

Both Affidavits can’t be true!

Some interesting reading from a recent court case [March 2015] in St Vincent where Dave Ames is no stranger to litigation.

Percival Stewart v Harlequin Properties (Caribbean) Limited et al

In this case  on Page 4 the judge rules on the audacious delays by Ames in filing statements…

“Mr Commissiong deposes that Mr Ames lives in England and travels a lot globally making it difficult for him to be in Saint Vincent to testify. Implicit in Mr Commissiong’s averments is the notion that for those reasons, it was impossible or extremely difficult to contact Mr Ames, receive instructions from him, or arrange for him to sign a witness statement. I make the observation that the CPR permits a party to file and serve a witness summary if he is not able to provide a witness statement, and that a witness does not need to be in the jurisdiction to sign or attest either document.”

(download court document pdf here)

Now this is totally the opposite of what lawyers and Ames claimed last October 2014 (in the group of 33 investors failed case) when the judge was told that the company was NOT run from Essex. (See Judge rules against Harlequin investors in £1.8m court case)

“The case did not centre on whether or not the investors were owed money, a point which deputy judge Nicolas Strauss QC noted ‘does not appear to be in dispute’. Instead it focussed on whether a UK court could wind up Buccament Bay, given that the company was incorporated in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

While the investments were sold through Essex-based Harlequin Management Services (South East), which filed for administration in April 2013, Strauss ruled that Harlequin’s ventures including Buccament Bay were not run with ‘bird’s eye management from Essex’. He agreed that they were largely managed in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and therefore this was the correct jurisdiction to apply for a winding up petition.”

The fact that Mr Commissiong’s claim that Ames couldn’t possibly find the time to be in St Vincent for the Stewart case makes a complete nonsense of Ames’ submission to the UK court that the Harlequin business was entirely run from the Caribbean and therefore the UK court’s jurisdiction does not apply.

Quite obviously both Affidavits cannot be true and both evade bringing Harlequin and Ames to account.

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Land use, land theft, backroom deals a worry for small Caribbean island nations

Barbados Expropriation

How long must ordinary Bajans put up with corrupt politicians compulsorily acquiring private lands – to be converted into private profits for the political elites and their friends?

“Sobbing uncontrollably, his mother said she was afraid that her house and land would be taken away.” (Nation News)

“A small State such as Trinidad & Tobago must accord a very high priority to the judicious management and utilization of its land resources or perish. All elements of land policy must must be designed to ensure that these finite resources are efficiently utilized and husbanded in such a manner as to serve the long term interests of the national community.”

—Conclusion of “A New Administration and Policy for Land” (19 November, 1992)

Afra Raymond’s new piece Our Land talks about the same problems we have in Barbados with greedy elites using public and private lands like their own little piggy bank.

Between crooked lawyers scamming little old ladies like Violet Beckles, and Bajan politicians doing backroom deals, land ownership is a dangerous jungle out there.

Any Bajan has heard the stories and sometimes read the news…

– A relative of a Government Minister ends up with a building lot after an expropriation.

– An official advises his cousin to buy a piece of useless land, and six months later the government expropriates the land and pays a very good price – far more than the original purchase price. Who knew that a new road was to be built there? Don’t ask!

– For fifteen years, a farmer tries unsuccessfully to re-zone his land for housing, but then gives up and sells out. Thirty days after the new owner (and friend of government) buys the farm, the zoning approval comes through and the land is now worth millions. No one knows who the real shareholders are.

– Prime land is expropriated for “low income” government-sponsored housing, and eleven months later a Government Minister moves into a new home in the “low income housing” sub-division. Of course, his girlfriend owns the home – not the Minister. (Barbados Government Minister Gline Clarke – House and Mercedes on Expropriated Land)

– “Back door” land expropriations where building permissions are denied for no good reason until the owner gives up or goes bankrupt over unpaid land taxes. While one arm of the government refuses permission to build, the other arm expropriates for back-taxes… and the land eventually ends up in the hands of a friend of the government.

When a politician gets his eyes on your land… it’s all over. Corrupt Barbados politicians prepare to expropriate widow’s land – probably for personal profits

… and on and on and on. Then when the citizens start ignoring the laws, the elites wonder about the state of the world.

“We can never move forward as a nation until we have men/women of integrity running our country – that is our problem, and it cannot be said too often.

Until then we will always be second raters, puffing and panting on the world stage with a veneer of progress, but the condos, concrete palaces and circumscribed greens of the golf courses which are admired, will not be our own. We will be strangers in the land of our birth, Oh! how our forefathers must weep, as to what has become of us.

So much pain, for so little gain, a pain “perpetuated” by those who felt the same warm confines, of the womb from whence we came.” Yardbroom, August 2007

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Sales persons are liable for Harlequin pension losses!

Harlequin Resort

Oh boy!

“Financial advisers who recommended clients switch their pensions into self-invested schemes heavily exposed to investments being marketed by embattled overseas property group Harlequin are legally liable for losses, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme confirmed…”

… from the Financial Times article Advisers are liable for Harlequin pension transfer losses

Yup…

Do them. Do them all. Lead them away in handcuffs and beat them on the way to jail.

Lives ruined. Pensions devoured.

Barbados politicians played a pivotal role as enablers for David Ames and his gang. Do them all.

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Inter-American Development Bank cancels $160m loan for Barbados Four Seasons project

barbados four seasons construction

Another monster project left to rot in the Bajan sun

The on again – off again Barbados Four Seasons resort project may have received its final coffin-nail with the IDB finally withdrawing from this decade-old debacle. (Nation News: IDB withdraws loan for Four Seasons)

How much taxpayer funding has the Barbados government poured into this mess? Are we allowed to know? Did the government transfer any of the National Insurance Scheme pension funds to the project developers?

Barbados Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler has made all sorts of claims. In March 2013 he told Bajans that our taxpayer monies would be recovered on the sale of the Four Seasons. Well Mr. Sinckler? Where’s our money?

Back then, BFP’s readers were asked if Bajan taxpayers would recover all the monies that their government invested in the Four Seasons. 50% said we’ll never know the truth, 43.5% said there was not a chance that we would recover the monies. 6.4% said we’d get back all the money, (but that was probably Minister Sinckler himself sitting there for voting for hours.)

Former PM Thompson said that supporting Four Seasons could be “extremely risky” to the DLP Government, but Freundel Stuart went ahead and did it after Thompson died.

“Now of course the first objective is not for Government to give guarantees to projects of this type. So the Government is not available, generally speaking, for that kind of thing and I want to make that abundantly clear. It is extremely risky. It has brought down Governments in other countries and I don’t intend to let it bring down my government. And it can sometimes smack of an element of favouritism and once you start it, it becomes like a rolling stone that will gather moss…and therefore, we have to be very careful,”

February 2, 2010 – Prime Minister David Thompson in the Barbados Advocate article PM defends stance on Four Seasons

Hard Times have arrived in Barbados

We’ve said it before, and we’ll keep saying it…

1/ Shun debt. Shun expenses. Live as frugally as you can.

2/ Work hard, save what you can.

3/ Look after family and friends as you are able because you might need their help someday.

4/ Learn to grow food, repair your own car, maintain your own home. Repair clothes, repair everything. Don’t buy new anything: let some other fool pay the depreciation!

5/ Smile at the tourists, make them feel welcome but never pressured. Pick up the rubbish where you can and never do anything that takes away from the beauty of Bim.

6/ Thank God for what you do have – then get back to working harder than you ever have before.

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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

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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 confidential@sfo.gsi.gov.uk

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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.      
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