Category Archives: Trinidad and Tobago

Abby Martin interviews Afra Raymond about the corrupt CL Financial – CLICO disaster.

“On the 30th of January 2009… that bailout was wreathed in political corruption because it was discussed and agreed behind closed doors. We later discovered the Minister of Finance who negotiated the bailout is a lady called Karen Nunez-Tesheira, I will call names.

She is an attorney at law, former lecturer of law, and in fact was a shareholder of CL Financial. She was later revealed by my research to be a shareholder of CL Financial that she was negotiating a bailout of.”

“The people who caused this collapse have really gotten away scot-free because the government purchased their debt.”

Afra Raymond to international journalist Abby Martin.

Two-thirds of Caribbean Government money stolen!

If this interview doesn’t rock you about how corrupt your Caribbean governments and politicians be then go back to smokin’ whatever you be smokin’ an doan bother with life.

Afra Raymond tells it like it is to international journalist Abby Martin. It’s all here – the whole history of corruption in the CL Financial collapse and bailout.

Ministers of Government who were CL Financial shareholders gave your public funds to shore up their own interests.

That was the corrupt foundation of the bailout.

I saw this interview on YouTube and had to post it. Don’t know when I’ll be back.

One Love… Cliverton.

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

Code of Silence in effect over CL Financial Bailout

by Afra Raymond

by Afra Raymond

Sad to say, this CL Financial bailout is resembling a situation in which well-connected persons are getting what they can, any way they can, but making sure not to get caught. Who were the beneficiaries of this lavish payout? What is this reluctance to release details?

That is the Code of Silence in effect.

I was not at all surprised at the reported statements of the Minister of Finance, Larry Howai, on the 22 July 2015 High Court judgment ordering him to provide the detailed information I had requested on the CL Financial bailout. The High Court granted a 28-day stay of execution and the Ministry is reportedly in consultation with its lawyers, claiming that “A decision will be made within the period of time allowed by the court,”. The article closed with this quote –

“…Finance Minister Larry Howai said in the statement it should be noted, none of the requests refer to “how over $25b was spent in the Clico bailout”…”

Given that the very request was for the detailed financial information which has been deliberately suppressed since 2009, it is of course impossible to say with any certainty just how much Public Money was actually spent on this CL Financial bailout. That is the inescapable fact at the center of this scandal. The Minister’s tautology is really a powerful explanation of this point.

The fundamentals are that Public Money must be managed and accounted for to a higher standard than that which applies to private money. That is the accepted position in terms of good practice in public administration. Larry Howai is a qualified accountant and was a career banker before his appointment as Minister of Finance & the Economy. I do not accept that Howai is unaware of these standards. We are entitled to a full and detailed accounting of how this vast sum of Public Money was spent…

… continue reading this article at Afra Raymond’s blog: CL Financial Bailout – The Hidden Truth

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Economy, Trinidad and Tobago

Chinese contractors in the Caribbean can build it cheap… but then the walls collapse

china fail caribbean

by Afra Raymond

by Afra Raymond

This article is about the Las Alturas Enquiry into the collapse of two new Morvant apartment buildings erected by China Jiangsu International Corporation (CJIC) for the Housing Development Corporation (HDC).

This Enquiry seems a politically-motivated one into a serious failure of professional practice which could have cost human lives. It is only in its opening stages, but it is already clear to me that this episode is one which contains serious lessons for our country in terms of the role of Enquiries; the role of the Chinese contractors; the culture of non-enforcement which we practice and of course, the impact of targets and political objectives on proper process.

In the case of Las Alturas this is a large-scale multiple-housing project constructed on a former quarry-site on the Lady Young Road, just south of the lookout. Two apartment buildings which were completed in late 2010 were eventually declared uninhabitable due to severe cracking and the proposed demolition of those structures was announced at the end of May 2012. Each building comprised 24 three-bedroom/two-bathroom apartments, with the total cost of those buildings stated by HDC to be in the $29M range. The buildings were erected by CJIC on the design/build basis which usually places all responsibility for soil investigation, design and construction onto the contractor…

… continue reading Afra Raymond’s Riding the Dragon

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Filed under Building Collapse, China, Trinidad and Tobago

Something Different…

Trinidad Barbados Oil Rig

by Colin Leslie Beadon

by Colin Leslie Beadon

Rain had threatened since Friday, and now the morning hung with dark low clouds. It was hot and sticky and still in the high bush where the rig stood in a clearing. Parrots flitted noisily from creeper and orchid festooned trees, and a brightly plumed toucan peeved monotonously.

The Rig Superintendent took a last bleary-eyed look at the pump pressures and rotary table torque gauges on the drilling console where it stood front of the driller, and then turned, sore-footed, to descend the ladder from the rig floor.

He slumped across the uneven dusty gravel of the location, his shirt wet with sweat, his face showing stubble and drilling fluid smatterings of a three day stretch without sleep. He climbed the few steps to the doghouse.

“I’m going in Carl,” he said hoarsely. “Call me if we run into it again. I’ll be at the house.”

The toolpusher raised eyes from the drilling report. He was a big solid man with strong placid face as black as midnight soot. He had strong very white uneven teeth, and a badly healed scar running across his bare chest.

“Go on in Cappie. Get some sleep.” He smiled faintly.

“I’ve since Friday to catch up on.” The Rig Superintendent said. “It’s a bad son-of-a-bitch, this one. ‘Bout time something went right.”

“It’s Easter Sunday. Maybe you should try going in church,” the toolpusher smiled faintly. “It might change your luck Cappie.”

“Maybe I’ll try it,” the Rig Super said, yawning and stretching.

“Maybe you could try a whore. That works for me,” said the toolpusher smiling again. He had just taken up tour and there was still the hint of sleep in his face. “Whores work, I tell you. Or a virgin if you can find one.”

“I could do that,” the Rig Super said. “But I’ve got something better in the house, and I don’t have to pay one way or another.”   Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Stories and Memories, Trinidad and Tobago

Afra Raymond questions the motivations of Trinidad & Tobago’s Integrity Commission

Integrity Trinidad

Shocking behaviours by those entrusted to investigate corruption

by Afra Raymond

by Afra Raymond

This column sets out my reasons for seriously questioning the motivation and priorities of the Integrity Commission. Despite my doubts as to the way in which successive Commissions have operated the Integrity in Public Life Act (IPLA), I have continued to offer suggestions as to how their work could be made more effective.

The continuing Code of Silence on the CL Financial bailout, the sharp attack, from many quarters, on our substantial national institutions and the very doubtful history of the Integrity Commission are clear signs that the Public Interest needs to be safeguarded with utmost vigilance at this time.

In relation to the Commission’s history, we need to note the shocking details unearthed during Dr Keith Rowley’s litigation against them. The Commission had made certain findings without giving Rowley the opportunity to respond, as recommended by its advisers and in 2009 the High Court made an historic finding that…

“…The Court declares that the Integrity Commission has acted in bad faith in relation to Dr. Rowley and is guilty of the tort of misfeasance in public office…”

At Para 45 (i) of the 2009 ruling –

“…The Court does not accept the Integrity Commission’s explanation as to why it wrote to the Honourable Prime Minister on the 19th October, 2004, to ascertain whether an inquiry was to be undertaken and if so, the names of the persons to man the enquiry and their terms of reference. The Court notes that the Integrity Commission is an independent constitutional body which ought to act independently pursuant to its constitutional and statutory powers and duties…”

The entire Commission resigned immediately as a result of that High Court ruling.

… continue reading this article at Afra Raymond’s blog Integrity Reflections

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Filed under Corruption, Crime & Law, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

Nigerian Students accuse Deputy State Governor Amos Utuama of running Barbados Trinidad scam with his alleged mistress Donna St. Hill

 Donna-St-Hill Barbados Nigeria Utuama

Barbadian Donna St. Hill alleged mistress of Nigerian Delta State deputy governor Amos Utuama

We might describe this happening as “The Nigerian Scam”, but the rest of the world is calling it “The Barbados Scam.”

What we know from local and African media is that 90 students from Nigeria’s Delta Youth Training Programme paid for 9 months accommodation in Barbados at the Infinity Beach Hotel. The students’ management team stayed at the hotel in December, and the students approved of their residence after they were shown photos and videos.

When the students arrived in Barbados they were taken to a semi-abandoned dump of a hotel, and found themselves pulling pails of water from the swimming pool to flush the toilets and to bathe.

Now reports are surfacing in Barbados and Trinidad of unpaid bills by the organisers.

Some of the African press are reporting that Barbadian Donna St. Hill and her alleged lover Nigerian Delta State deputy governor Amos Utuama pocketed money. Africans are calling the story “The Barbados Scam”.

Sahara Reporters published an account that held nothing back…

Neglected Delta Youth Trainees In Trinidad And Barbados Cry Out, Accuse Deputy Governor And His Alleged Mistress Of Abuse

“As I’m talking to you now we cannot take our baths because there is no water, some of us had to start fetching water from the pool. Do you know that we almost lost one of us yesterday due to food poisoning as we were told by the doctors? The issue of food is nothing to write home about. I repeat, we have sent a series of messages to the State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, to come to our aid, but ‘til date we are yet to get a reply from him,” a student told SaharaReporters.

Though the program advertised itself as one that would train students on agriculture, tourism, hospitality, and culinary arts, students now claim the entire program is a “scam.”    Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago

Afra Raymond: Secret shareholders fuel corruption by public officials

bribery.jpg

Afra Raymond’s new post about the Integrity Commission of Trinidad and Tobago shows that what Bajans know is true – when Public Money meets Greed in an atmosphere of no or inadequate integrity legislation, the taxpayers always lose.

For over 30 years successive Barbados governments have promised integrity legislation, and like fools we keep voting the same crooks into office even when we know they are lying to us.

In Trinidad and Tobago, at least the people forced the passage of integrity legislation. In Barbados the politicians don’t even pretend to listen to the people.

Integrity Strategy

The Integrity Commission is continuing its efforts to revise the Integrity in Public Life Act (IPLA) to give greater effect to its anti-corruption work. I fully support those efforts.

The key challenge is to discern how Public Officials commit the corrupt acts the Commission is meant to reduce. It is therefore necessary to conduct a scrupulous examination of Commissions of Enquiry and other Inquiry (eg LifeSport) Reports & evidence; Auditor General’s Annual Reports; as well as the leading international learning on these questions.

Once the main methods of corrupt agents are discerned, it will then be necessary to consider how the existing powers of the Commission might be deployed in tackling those and if there are new powers needed…

… continue reading at Afra Raymond’s blog: Integrity Strategy

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago