Tag Archives: Barbados Investment

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

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

Barbados hotel investment collapsing as government concessions to Sandals set the expected standard

level-playing-field

Barbados tourism investment ‘level playing field’

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

It reminds me a little of the rather repetitive ‘ad’ aired on local radio, ‘how low can you go’. There are almost always consequences for the failure to implement policies and address the overwhelming concerns of an entire industry.

Therefore it was inevitable that it would manifest itself in the shortest possible time. The Daily Nation article published last week ‘Jobs on Hold’ graphically demonstrates the dangers of attempting to invest, upgrade and re-open one of our many closed hotels, in a climate that lacks a level playing field.

If the reporting was accurate, then a potential 320 jobs, $4 million refurbishment plan, $5 million in foreign exchange and getting 145 improved rooms back into the marketplace for the upcoming critical winter season is now beyond possibility. That could represent a further loss of almost 300 airline seats per week, which may play a crucial part in helping fill and ensuring the sustainability of the two new Delta flights from Atlanta and New York starting early December.

An enhanced Amaryllis would have also helped bridge the gap of product quality offerings from when Sandals is scheduled to re-open its doors in late January 2015.

What I find so incredulous is that did our policymakers not think through that no substantive investor in their right mind would speculate millions of dollars into new or improved plant, before having in place the unimpeded similar concessions that Sandals extracted.

I also think that as a matter of urgency, some analysis needs to be done by the Central Bank of Barbados to see in ‘real’ terms if foreign exchange generated by our accommodation sector, that is retained in the country has fallen in a desperate attempt to replicate Sandals policy of collecting revenue offshore.

If in fact this figure is down there will be further negative implications in terms of taxation collected and payable to Government through VAT and any corporate taxes payable.

These issues have to be addressed now if there is any realistic chance in returning our tourism sector to growth and lifting it out of the current prolonged period of arrival numbers stagnation.

The longer the administration delays universal implementation of all the pledged concessions, the closer is the risk that more hotels will close.

As a destination, we currently hold the record for the most failed tourism accommodation properties within the Caribbean.

Later this week the Minister of Finance has kindly consented to address the third quarterly meeting of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association. It would seem like this would be an ideal forum to declare that the promised ‘permanent’ legislation is now in place. Only then can the entire industry start rebuilding a sector that clearly is experiencing prolonged and severe distress.

Using the Minister’s own recent ‘instant coffee society’ analogy, as the pot has been on the boil so long already and the expectations have evaporated, it will not be the beverage of choice for me this Thursday.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Kick Starter staff picks new project by Permaculture Research Institute of Barbados

by Lorraine Ciarallo

The Permaculture Research Institute (CPRI) of Barbados has been in the making since 2012 and I am proud to finally announce that our project has started.

A couple days ago CPRI launched its KickStarter crowdfunding video campaign which I would like to share with you. The purpose of our project is to set up a permaculture school in Barbados to teach, educate and demonstrate through the principles of permaculture how to grow food, repair landscapes & build community. Permaculture is a design science, inspired by nature and guided by ethics. Its purpose is to meet the needs of humanity while benefiting the environment. To this end, it empowers individuals, local communities and the larger public to build sustainable & environmentally friendly:

  • Food and Land Systems
  • Social and community systems
  • Shelter and home systems
  • Livelihood and business systems

I hope you will take the time to watch the video. If this campaign is successful, it will help ensure the life of this project, a project which I am committed to for the next 3 years. It is super exciting for me to share it with you and I hope, you find it exciting too!  Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Energy, Environment

Investors’ Class Action lawsuit against Harlequin shaping up in the United Kingdom

Does Harlequin really have any significant net assets?

TSL Global Consultancy is preparing a class action lawsuit by investors against Harlequin, David Ames and associated companies of which there are many.

“Dozens and dozens” of dissatisfied people who invested in Harlequin projects in the Caribbean and Thailand are contacting TSL, a source close to the company tells Barbados Free Press. It is expected that several hundred investors will sign onto the lawsuit.

Some observers, however, are questioning just how much money and assets still exist under the the Harlequin umbrella in light of the extremely high commissions paid to agents (over 30% according to some sources) and profits already taken by the Ames family and close associates.

Some sources indicate that Harlequin has taken in over £200 million in deposits from trusting investors but only a fraction of this exists now.

According to the now-defunct Harlecon.net website, large areas of indicated development at various Harlequin projects are actually ‘planned’ on land not yet purchased by Harlequin which holds only purchase options on land surrounding smaller plots where some building is taking place.

In March of 2012 BFP ran a story that the U.K. Serious Fraud Office had opened an investigation of Harlequin Resorts. This followed a February report that Harlequin’s auditors had refused to sign off on the accounts, and a recent report that Harlequin had sued its accountants as being responsible for the Harlecon.net website.

Oh dear!

For access to all Barbados Free Press stories on Harlequin, click here

Interested investors can contact the class action lawsuit directly at:

TSL Consultancy

Email: info@tslconsultancy.com

Phone: 0844 504 9793 in the United Kingdom.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Offshore Investments

Harlequin’s H Hotel Barbados – Five months of photos: Can you see any progress at all?

(click all photos for large versions)

Where are the workers? Where are the materials? Where are the walls?

Five months of photos at the H Hotel construction site show little, if any, real progress happening at this David Ames Harlequin project. Barbados Free Press first published photos of the worksite dating from February 16, 2012 to March 22, 2012 (BFP’s March 23, 2012 story here). Now, six months later we publish photos taken on July 18, 2012 and we cannot see any progress at all. Some piles of sand, some concrete tiles in the corner, a few internal supports removed – but this isn’t progress. It certainly isn’t what we would expect to see on an active construction project after nearly six months.

Does this look like six months of work on a healthy, vibrant project to you?

These photos will probably cause some Harlequin investors and prospective investors to do a doubletake, and perhaps they should. What work is being done? How much money has been spent on labour and materials in the six past months? Why isn’t this construction site a beehive of activity like every other healthy site you’ve ever seen? There is, however, precedent for this snail like pace by Harlequin…

Unless there’s something we’ve missed, folks who purchased units at Harlequin’s Merricks project six years ago have yet to see one customer unit delivered. Where is all that customer money now?

Perhaps we ordinary people don’t understand how the whole Harlequin project portfolio can support itself without using customer funds from one project to keep other projects going, and by using the funds from new investors to cover existing daily expenses. We don’t understand where the money will come from to build all those sold units at Merricks, because after six years of paying some of the highest sales commissions ever to ‘investment counselors’ who push Harlequin ‘investments’, we think Harlequin is relying on new investors to support the whole scheme. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Economy, Offshore Investments

BLP & DLP Governments’ stupid refusal to pay Al Barrack cost Bajans $35 million dollars

Government’s motto: “Delay, delay – never pay.”

by Nevermind Kurt

We read in today’s Nation that “Minister of Housing and Lands Michael Lashley says his ministry is working feverishly to have contractor Al Barrack paid the more than $70 million owed to him.”

If memory serves, the truth is that Barbados once owed Al Barrack ‘only’ about $34 million dollars for the Warrens office building debacle. The Owen Arthur BLP government refused to pay, went to arbitration and lost large – ending up owing about $50 million dollars after a 2006 judgment.

“For the next two years the BLP government refused to pay, deciding instead to beat Al Barrack through the simple Bajan tactic of lawyering him to death and waiting for him to die.”

The BLP government’s story was that the country couldn’t afford to pay the lump sum and Mr. Barrack was unreasonable for refusing to take a ‘very fair offer’. Mr. Barrack described the ‘very fair offer’ as a dollar now and a dollar a day for the rest of his life. For the record, Mr. Barrack’s version is probably closer to the truth than the government’s.

The clock kept ticking and the interest compounded frightfully as interest does when it’s not being paid. Ask any Bajan fool who has missed a credit card payment – it’s not a pretty sight.

Enter the DLP

The Thompson DLP government inherited the mess when they won the election in 2008, but they too decided that the answer was to keep Al Barrack at bay with years of false negotiations punctuated with court battles to keep him from selling the assets of the National Housing Corporation. Minister Lashley says the government tried to ‘give’ the Warren’s office complex to settle with Barrack, but the truth is the government fought for years to prevent that happening and then changed its mind when the economy tanked and took the building’s value with it.

What’s changed now? Why is the government suddenly appearing so contrite and anxious to keep Al Barrack hopeful? I’m not sure if this is another delaying tactic, or the government has heard the rumours that Barrack is about to go ‘nuclear’ on the international legal scene and that he has found the financial backers to do it.

The times, they are a’changin

As we recently saw with a legal conflict involving the Grenada Airports Authority (GAA), ‘globalism’ is a many-edged sword that sometimes allows people to seek justice internationally when they cannot find justice in their own countries. In Grenada’s case, a Taiwan bank obtained a US Court order that allowed them to seize all the fees normally paid to the the Grenada Airports Authority by airlines flying to Grenada from the USA.

BFP said in a previous post

“Can you imagine what would happen if some court in New York or London ordered airlines to pay all Grantley Adams airport fees to the court over the Al Barrack debt? How about port fees for cruise ships too?

Wuhloss! That would put the mongoose in with the chickens! If that happened you can bet the government would settle with Al Barrack right away – and that just shows how bankrupt our government is: both financially and morally.”

Maybe our master Bajan economist Owen $ Arthur can chip in some money from one of his offshore bank accounts. After all, it’s only fair that he assist to pay off a financial mess that he and his government initially created.

Nevermind Kurt

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Ethics, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Founder of Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary named Queen’s Counsel in Canada

Peter Allard has been named Queen’s Counsel by the Province of British Columbia. The Canadian businessman, lawyer and philanthropist is the founder and owner of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary in Barbados.

This is the second time Allard has been in the Canadian news recently. In September the Chief Justice of Canada opened Allard Hall – a new $55 million dollar law school building at the University of British Columbia that was helped along by a huge gift from Allard of 10 million dollars (Canadian). Allard also gave another 2 million to establish an international prize that supports freedom, integrity and human rights, and creates an online historical faculty archive.

As we related in our post The sad tale of a lost friend of Barbados Peter Allard was last in the news in Barbados when he penned an open letter to Bajans explaining why he had to close one of the island’s premier tourist attractions and why he is suing the Barbados government for dumping raw sewerage into the Graeme Hall wetlands and other violations of various treaties and agreements.

Allard explained the situation in a May 6, 2010 press release:

“The investment in the Sanctuary was supposed to be part of a sustainable environmental initiative, dependent on government leadership. As the largest private environmental stakeholder in Barbados, we continue to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to maintain the Sanctuary, but we all have to face the fact that it’s Government who is killing the wetland.   The study shows that our environmental commitment and investment cannot withstand this assault.”

… Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary owner Peter Allard in a May 6, 2010 press release.

At one time Allard was in love with Barbados and focused his philanthropic efforts here. Since coming into conflict with the corrupt Bajan elites though, Allard has funded projects in Africa, Canada and elsewhere in the Caribbean including St. Vincent and Dominica where he helped establish a National Park.

Allard’s problem in Barbados is with our corrupt politicians

Barbados politicians and their land developer friends want to profit from the sale and commercial development of environmentally-protected lands, including public lands once designated for two National Parks. Allard opposed this rape of our natural heritage and that was the end of his relationship with the powerful elites.

How much do the corrupt politicians and their land developer friends hate Allard?

Then PM Owen Arthur and Health Minister Liz Thompson denied the people of Barbados a multi-million dollar cancer and AIDS hospice rather than accept it from Peter Allard with no strings attached. Given a choice between accepting philanthropy from Allard or not, the corrupt politicians preferred our loved ones to die in pain in that filthy hole called the Queen Elizabeth Hospital instead of spending their last days well looked after in a beautiful place with their family members.

That, my friends, takes a lot of corruption and hate but Arthur and Thompson had more than enough.

Congratulations to Peter Allard

Congratulations to Peter Allard upon being honoured by the Canadian government. We wish he had had a better experience in Barbados, but if it’s any comfort he’s not the only philanthropist or foreign investor to be set up and taken advantage of ‘pon de rock. The real losers are we Bajans and our children and grand-children who will never know the National Parks and green space that Allard and others fought for.

Here is the press release from the Government of British Columbia, received via Google Alerts…. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Environment, Offshore Investments

Former Canadian diplomat “Barbados a case study of systemic corruption”

 

“I have come to question the country’s laws and constitution and intend to expose the rottenness of its corrupt system.”

… former Canadian diplomat Isaac Goodine in his new book

Book be released on November 30th – Independence Day?

by Junior Campbell – AllVoices

I persist with Canadian diplomat Isaac Goodine’s story of how he and his family fell victim to fraudsters in my homeland because I believe that any hardship arising from this expose is outweighed by the benefits to Barbadians that may accrue from confronting the corruption that plagues the island.

In his book “How Barbados Works: A Case Study of Systemic Corruption” Goodine declares that his intention is not to tarnish Barbados’ image, but rather to demonstrate that “there are many honest ‘Bajans’ on the island and abroad, who are frustrated by the prevailing corruption in the system and feel powerless to bring about change by themselves.

The silenced majority

These Barbadans Goodine calls “the silenced majority” and states his intention to challenge some of them to tell the truth. He expresses the hope that persons in Barbados’ civil society will help the government and its agencies clean up their act.

“This is also their story.” he says.

“When their victims, local or foreign, lose confidence in them, it is the elites’ lofty positions and corresponding connections that intimidate many into silence.”

AllVoices & Junior Campbell publish Part 2 of excerpts from the soon to be released book by former Canadian diplomat Isacc Goodine: “How Barbados Works: A Case Study of Systemic Corruption

Also see BFP’s previous story: Former Canadian Diplomat to publish Barbados exposé – Corruption, Greed, Opportunism

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Harlequin shuts down Merricks, Allamanda projects

How many abandoned developments can Barbados take?

by Stolen Sea Eggs

2009: “The Merricks Beach Resort will become one of Barbados’s most luxurious, family-orientated 5 star resorts and will offer state-of-the-art accommodation and amenities including a world class spa. There is currently a shortage of this level of accommodation on the island.”

… from Harlequin Property: The Merricks, Barbados

2011: “Government had offered Harlequin concessions but to date they had not received them, so the development company had to shut the projects down until the concessions became available.”

… from the Nation article 13 workers lose jobs

Where is the bottom?

Word came yesterday that Harlequin Properties shut down construction at the Merricks Resort Development and the Allamanda Beach Hotel – “due to Government’s failure to provide concessions” according to an article in The Nation.

Harlequin says that the Barbados Government promised the company certain unnamed concessions at the start of the projects, but to date the government hasn’t delivered on its promises. That could be. Could it also have something to do with the alleged fraud at Harlequin’s Buccament Bay Resort? Who knows!

These are bad times and they are not getting better tomorrow. Whatever the promised concessions, if they involve revenue output from the Barbados Treasury the vault is empty and no amount of promising or wishing will make it not so. Did we promise roads, power, water and other infrastructure to the project? The money probably isn’t there. It really hasn’t been for decades unless we planned to borrow it and that free ride on our grandchildren is ending according to the IMF and any reality check.

We can’t pay our pensioners and government employees on time, chemists are waiting up to a year to be paid for government prescription plans and at least four buses I know of are sitting idle because the budget isn’t there to cover major engine and transmission work.

Other big projects are in trouble too as the private sector goes into hibernation during the financial chaos. The Four Seasons is nothing but a concrete wasteland, and in another year or so many of the half-done footings will be seriously damaged. There’s nothing more insidiously destructive to unfinished structures than salt-laced water running down exposed rebar and into the concrete for a couple of years. I’m sure that my friend and rebar engineer Grenville Phillips II would agree. 🙂

Barbados: Failed promises to investors and philanthropists

The other side of the story is that over the years Barbados has made it a habit to promise much to foreign investors to entice them to the island, but then fails to pay up. Off the top of my head I can think of a two prime examples, but there are many more… Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Economy, Offshore Investments

Patrick R. Hoyos: Poor Barbados justice system frightens away foreign investors

“Where is the justice?”

Editor’s comment: This article by Patrick Hoyos brilliantly explains what is probably one of the most destructive forces in our society and economy – the inability of our justice system (for a variety of reasons) to deliver justice. Bajans have long known that our highly politicized and under-funded justice system cannot be relied upon, and that “Rule of Law” in Barbados means that those in positions of power can change or ignore the rules and the law without accountability.

The big problem for the elites is that with the advent of the internet, Barbados lost the power to control information. Thus, foreign investors and people who might be thinking about doing business in Barbados now know that business disputes typically take decades to resolve before the Barbados courts. Smart money runs from doing business in such a jurisdiction.

Increasingly international investors and companies are happy to have their money flow through Barbados to other jurisdictions – but invest or do business here? Leave the money here? Now that’s something else.

We’ve reprinted Patrick’s article here in full, lest someone pressure him to remove it from his own website, but we ask you to read the full article at The Broad Street Journal. If you live, do business or invest in Barbados, you’ll soon find yourself visiting The Broad Street Journal on a daily basis and eagerly anticipating the next article.

A bridge too far

By Patrick R. Hoyos    Published May 24, 2011

It is now three months since I wrote in this space about The Tribunal That Won’t Deliver its Judgment.

Three months since I noted that, despite having to wait three years after winning their case in court to have hearings before the Severance Payments Tribunal to determine the “quantum of severance,” and nearly a year since those hearings had ended, no judgement had yet been delivered.

Three months since I pointed out the frustration felt by all of the plaintiffs that justice for them seemed only to exist on paper but could not find its way into coin of the realm.

Three months since I pointed out that one of the plaintiffs had died without receiving his settlement.

I asked then, “Where is the justice?” Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments

Government has no business running business

The opposite of “entrepreneur” is “government employee”

The Barbados Investment & Development Corporation has no problem blowing its own horn about the industrial estates under its care. The BIDC website brags, and not unreasonably so…

“The Property and Estate Management Department oversees the ongoing maintenance of the industrial estates owned and managed by the Corporation. The estates are strategically located across the island, and since the first one was established in Grazettes in 1961, have served as a low-cost base of operations for thousands of locally-owned and foreign-owned manufacturing companies. The BIDC’s industrial estates are a significant feature of the Barbadian physical landscape, encompassing over 90 acres of land. Their contribution to the economic and social transformation of the island over the years has been significant.”

There is truth in that statement, but left unsaid and unknown is the massive cost to the taxpayer due to unpaid rents, loans and the natural inefficiency of government employees pretending they know what business is all about. There’s also the not so little matter of the run down condition of some of the properties that might as well be abandoned. They sure look that way, and no real business person would let those assets deteriorate.

But remember… the opposite of “entrepreneur” is “government employee” – and you don’t need to be a brilliant scholar to work that one out.

Our old friend Afra Raymond just published an article about Trinidad & Tobago government employees pretending to be entrepreneurs while holding on to the public purse in case a bailout is needed. See? Barbados and T&T have a whole lot in common!

Property Matters – The Business of Government

by Afra Raymond

Once again, I am using this edition of Property Matters to consider the ever-controversial State Enterprises, against the wider question of the role of the State.  This is no small area for examination and I start by using what seems to be the favourite quote of Trade and Industry Minister, Stephen Cadiz, “Government has no business running business“.

Given the politics practiced here, it should be no surprise that all our political parties give emphasis to the important role of the private sector in the economy and society and so on.

The line of reasoning goes like this – “The State is only here to facilitate and clear the way for Private Enterprise.  The State does not intend to stand in the way of or compete with Private Enterprise” Those are not actual quotes, but they are just a paraphrasing of the sentiments expressed by various politicians over the years, whatever the party in power.

But the actual scale of the State’s involvement in the economy is in stark contrast to the political speeches.  It is my view that the State is in direct competition with the Private Sector in significant areas of the economy.  The large numbers of State Enterprises are inescapable examples of that.

We have to remember that it wasn’t always so…

Continue reading this article at Afra Raymond’s blog: Property Matters: The business of Government

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No money to fund Barbados Investment Development Corporation, so shut it down!

A suggestion to save taxpayers’ money

by BFP reader “C” in St. James

As a small business owner over the last nine months I have found it increasingly difficult to contact a Business Development Officer (BDO) at the Barbados Investment Development Corporation (BIDC). It would appear that as the financial situation of the country has declined, monies form the BIDC has been diverted to other Government bodies, accordingly BDOs aware that there is no monies to undertake programs have taken to not answering their telephones or emails in the hope of avoiding having to break the news to their client companies.

My money saving idea is that until the BIDC is fully re-financed at least 90% of the BIDC personnel, including directors and the CEO, should be sent home without pay until such time as there is something for them to do.

I see no reason why we the tax payers should pay for these civil servants to sit and twiddle their thumbs when it is self evident that there are no funds available for them to undertake any meaningful programs to assist local companies. As soon as the funds become available they would of course be re-hired.

This lesson in reality would perhaps also help to give the CEO, BDOs and ancillary staff empathy with the harsh financial realities that companies operate under every single day in trying to maintain a business and employment in Barbados.

Yours Faithfully,

“C”
St James

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Prime Minister and Former Chief Justice spar in the media – but still no Land Titles in Barbados

“To International Investors and retirees considering purchasing land in Barbados: Good luck suckers. Welcome to the Third World.” *

“Do foreign investors and retirees realize they can never obtain titles to lands and homes in Barbados?”

One Canadian’s Title Deed missing for 37 years!

Prime Minster Stuart and former Chief Justice SIR David Simmons are currently engaged in a public war of words over who is the most incompetent. We’ll reprint two newspaper articles at the end of our post, but for now you can sum up the little boys fighting as this:

Prime Minister Stuart: Did so!

Chief Justice Simmons: Did not!

The land titles system in Barbados has been in chaos for decades. Incompetence, corruption and a laziness by elected and appointed government officials combined to get us where we are now: No land titles have been issued for years, and those previously issued are ALL SUSPECT. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Economy, Offshore Investments, Real Estate

Canadian Government warns about investing and real estate purchases in Barbados (!!!)

Dear Barbados Free Press,

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada recently changed the Barbados Travel Advice and Advisories to include the following additional paragraph:

“Canadians interested in purchasing property or making other investments should seek legal advice from appropriate professionals in Canada and in this country before making commitments. Disputes arising from such activities could be prolonged and costly to resolve.”

This change reflects a report circulated at Foreign Affairs earlier in the year.

Also of interest is that Long Beach is still listed as a place to avoid for reasons of crime and personal safety. I understood that the Long Beach rapist/killer was caught, but I don’t know if the continued listing is an oversight or the result of new crimes and information.

Yours truly,

@gc.ca

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Barbados Environment Minister caught lying again about Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary Dispute

Richard Nixon: “I am not a crook.”

Bill Clinton: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

Environment Minister Denis Lowe:

“Environment Minister, Dr. Denis Lowe says the re-opening of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary is up to the owners, but government remains committed to doing all it can to ensure it happens.

He says he’s looking forward to having discussion with the owners of the sanctuary soon.

According to the minister, a working group has been set up to help government coordinate its vision for the sanctuary with the owner.

Dr. Lowe says the survival of the sanctuary has never been in question for the DLP administration which has inherited a strained relationship with the owners.” (Total lies from the Government mouthpiece CBC article Graeme Hall Talks)

Government Refused to Communicate with Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary since January 2009!

The last time that Environment Minister Lowe met with representatives from the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary was over a year ago in January of 2009.  At that time, Dr. Lowe was again informed that the government-controlled sluice gate into the wetlands had been broken for five years.

Environment Minister Lowe said he’d “get right back” to the Sanctuary representatives about the sluice gate and the other concerns that caused the Sanctuary owner to shut the facility.

Dr. Lowe never contacted the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary again. That remains true a year later in February 2010. The sluice gate is still broken and wildlife species are still dying in the sanctuary as a result.

Now Denis Lowe has the audacity to lie to the Bajan public about what has and is being done by the government about the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. It’s a damned shame that the CBC reporter didn’t ask a few more simple questions but the truth is he or she might have but the Prime Minister’s pal Leroy Parris is in charge at the CBC.

The same tall tale is in the Barbados Advocate and wonder of wonders – that story doesn’t talk about any of the central issues either. Nothing about the change in land permissions to allow development on the Graeme Hall watershed. Nothing about the demise of the Graeme Hall National Park first proposed in the government’s land plans around 1982. Nothing about the government’s refusal for six years to repair the sluice gate that regulates the health of the wetlands. Nothing about the fact that the Canadian investor behind the nature sanctuary recently filed allegations of international treaty violations by the Government of Barbados.

Nope. Not a word of the big issues in the Bajan media. According to Minister Lowe and his government, it’s all a “personal dispute” with the owner doan ya know! Not a word about the theft of a National Park from the people of Barbados.

‘nuf said.

Barbados Government cut off water to Nature Sanctuary wildlife

Just so you know the truth

The government did one crucial thing this past December though: it cut off the water to the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary over a billing dispute about water. You can read the nature sanctuary press release for the details, but the short form is this…

When the government workers arrived at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary and shut off the water service and chopped the pipe (not just lock it!) it wasn’t about a billing dispute. It was just one more step in the constructive expropriation of a foreign investor’s assets by the political and business elites of Barbados.

Dr. Lowe’s current lies in the Barbados news media are designed to manage public talk about what happened when the DLP Government changed the land use permissions to allow development of the Graeme Hall wetlands and watershed. The David Thompson government took away a planned National Park from the people of Barbados and arranged for land developer friends to profit from the move.

The Barbados news media is assisting to keep the people in the dark and refuses to cover the central issues of the Graeme Hall story – when they talk about it at all.

And that’s the way it is this morning in Barbados.

Further Reading

Bajan Reporter, January 29, 2010: BREAKING NEWS – Promised Meeting with Graeme Hall Officials Fails to Materialise When Barbadian Government Officials Refuse to Respond

Bajan Reporter, December 21, 2009: Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary – who’s REALLY hurting from the closure?

Bajan Reporter, October 30, 2009: Canadian Alleges Treaty Violations by Barbados

Here’s the current article in the Barbados Advocate. Check out their website to get your own copy, but we’ll post it here in its entirety because the Barbados news media regularly changes history by removing articles from their electronic and paper archives. (click on image for 200k Jpeg file)

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Environment, Nature, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Wildlife

Lack of Shareholder Rights laws in Barbados makes investors “meat on the table”

“Although saying that the laws of Barbados permit directors to issue new shares by means of a private placement (that is, selling to private investor without an initial public offering) without shareholder approval and without first offering the shares to existing shareholders, Group Chairman and CEO Dodridge Miller yesterday admitted in a statement that the private placement effectively resulted in diluting existing shareholders shares by four per cent of their previous holdings.”

… from the Caribbean360.com news story Sagicor says no money problems despite private sale of shares

Sagicor’s silent memo to its shareholders is a warning to all investors: “We, the Directors, own you.”

Early in January we covered the story of how Sagicor issued an additional 11.7 million common shares to the National Insurance Board of Barbados via a private placement at a 5% discount to the trading price on the BSE at the date of the issuance. (See BFP’s story Did Sagicor’s private placement of additional shares dilute the holdings of existing shareholders?)

What did Sagicor use the money for? Why was there no prior offering to current shareholders? Why was there no explanation to shareholders until the complaints started to roll in to the news media?

On one level, these questions don’t matter at all because everything the Sagicor Directors did was apparently legal under the laws of Barbados. So what if they reduced the value of shareholders’ assets by 4% overnight with no notice? It was all legal.

The newspaper articles have faded out, but the bad taste in the mouths of thousands of Sagicor investors still remains – which is why we’re publishing this reminder to facilitate discussion.

Moral of the Story

Let this be a lesson to Barbados investors both foreign and domestic… Under the laws of Barbados, you’re meat on the table for the big boys.

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Offshore Investments

Barbados Tourism: Adrian Loveridge and other Bajans ask many questions, but receive few answers

‘He (Geoffrey Roach, CEO of the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal) reported cruise ship passengers arrivals to be 760,000 for the last financial year, and projected a six percent growth in the next financial year’.

‘But he said passengers were spending less, as evidenced in a recent Florida Caribbean Cruise Association study which put the average spend per cruise passenger in Barbados at US$69, down from US$111 in 2006.’

From the  Midweek Nation, Wednesday 23rd December 2009 Cruise arrivals up, revenue down

So despite the declared increases in cruise ship passenger arrivals, actual per capita spending is down by a staggering 38% or US$30 million for the last ‘financial year’.

I wonder if this US$30 million figure was factored in to the $100 million loss in tourism revenue recently quoted the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association?

So what measures to redress this situation have been put in place?

What investment has been made by the Barbados Tourism Authority and who is monitoring its cost-effectiveness?

Adrian Loveridge
23rd December 2009

3 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism