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