Tag Archives: Buccament Bay Resort

Scuba diving accident at Harlequin’s Buccament Bay: Friends question emergency care, lack of insurance


“The shocker is that the injured diver was not evacuated to Barbados until the next morning – after additional serious damage happened overnight.”

“Harlequin has offered no support to injured dive instructor Michael Richards…”

Harlequin and St. Vincent news media say not a word about this story…

An experienced diving instructor at Harlequin’s Buccament Bay was evacuated to Barbados for critical care after he was seriously injured on the weekend of November 16, 17, 2013.

From what we’ve been able to gather, Bajan Michael “Richie” Richards fell unconscious after a dive and was taken to Milton Cato Hospital: but the shocker is that he was not evacuated to Barbados until the next morning after additional serious damage happened overnight.

Diving friends and co-workers are incensed and say that Richie should have been evacuated on an emergency basis right away because St. Vincent does not have a re-compression chamber, so by the time any further symptoms became apparent it would be too late.  Any diver knows that unconsciousness within a few hours of a dive is a critical indicator of decompression sickness and serious injuries possibly already done. A gas embolism (“air bubble”) in the brain or heart can kill or maim for life, and if a diver falls unconscious within a few hours of a dive, it is immediately a critical situation even if the victim regains consciousness and appears to have no other symptoms such as joint pain. Dive physicians worldwide agree on one thing: any sign of gas embolism and the diver should get moving towards a hyperbaric chamber immediately by the safest possible means.

Some of Richie’s friends and divers in general are pointing to a statement on Barbados Free Press by Kay Wilson, the owner of Indigo Watersports Ltd., as proof that Richie’s condition was not taken seriously at the time.

Ritchie’s employer Kay Wilson said…

“The following morning it became apparent that his injuries were more severe than anyone could have expected and he was transported with hours to Barbados for treatment.”

One diving colleague told Barbados Free Press “The wrong decisions were made at each step until it was too late. Richie is facing months of treatment and may not fully recover. Immediate evacuation and treatment could have made the difference and probably would have made a big difference in the seriousness of his injuries.”

Richie’s friends are also concerned that he has no insurance and that Wilson stated his dive was “after work”. Divers quite correctly point out that diving illnesses and injuries are often cumulative from multiple dives, and that the earlier work dives that very day were certainly part of the problem. They see Wilson’s statement as a poor attempt to shift liability away from Richie’s employer. They also question why a diving company would not have proper insurance for their diving instructors and students to get them quickly to a chamber the moment a problem happens.

Did Richie have a working dive computer? Was it supplied by the employer? What standards does his employer insist on? Are those standards really enforced or does the work schedule override safety? Does the employer monitor dive logs against work schedules and classes? What was his schedule for the past three months? As a working diver, did the employer arrange medical supervision and regular checkups?

No Ms. Wilson: this is not as simple as “Ritchie was diving after work”.

Barbados Free Press hopes that Richie recovers quickly. As usual, should Kay Wilson or anyone wish to say anything to our readers we would be happy to feature their comments in an article and give it the same prominence.

Further information about hyperbaric chambers and treatment in Barbados and St. Lucia:

BADASS – Barbados Divers Association

Iyanola Dive Ventures – St. Lucia Hyperbaric Center

Here are some of the exchanges about Michael ‘Richie’ Richards that happened at Barbados Free Press:  Continue reading


Filed under Health, Sports

Harlequin Properties stunner! “No agent confirmed Harlequin’s land holdings or company information” SIPP-Pension investors advised to act immediately

Harlequin Resort

“…the due diligence undertaken was the brochures, sale presentations and (free) trips to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

“SIPP Investors / Pension Transfers would be foolhardy to wait as Professional Indemnity Insurance stops immediately upon an insolvency procedure.”

Regulatory Legal Solicitors special report posted on Barbados Free Press

Harlequin investors are sure to be flabbergasted by today’s posting at Barbados Free Press by UK law firm Regulatory Legal Solicitors and their leading lawyer Gareth Fatchett. Mr. Fatchett was in the news lately as he was successful in achieving some kind of settlement for a handful of Harlequin victims.

Today’s Regulatory Legal Solicitors posting alleges that none of the agents advising folks to invest in Harlequin took the trouble to confirm that Harlequin actually held the land it was selling. No sales agent went to the trouble of obtaining company information about Harlequin’s Caribbean operations. And if you want to talk about “Due Diligence”, the agents confined their research to brochures, Harlequin sales presentations and (presumably free) trips to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Throw in free drinks and a few “hostesses” and Bob’s your uncle… the agents were ready to sell Harlequin and at a tempting 30% commission at that. (Not that we’ve heard of Harlequin doing the “hostesses” thing, but this is the Caribbean ya know!)

Master Agent suspends Harlequin sales

The master agent has apparently stopped selling Harlequin so we’ll have more on that in a bit. That sounds important to us because once the sales stop, how can Harlequin sustain current operations even if they scale back? We’re not even talking about building and new construction, just keeping the place open. There’s no staff worth talking about at the Barbados operations, and that is worth thinking about. Was the master agent “TailorMade” ? Can someone advise? See IFA Online’s article Harlequin distributor pulls plug on new investment.

Mr. Fatchett advises SIPP Investors and Pension Transfers to take action immediately because if Harlequin goes insolvent, that is the the end of Professional Indemnity Insurance. Complain now and if it all goes for a fall, the agents’ insurance might cover something. Wait… and, well, the lawyer doesn’t say other than the agents’ indemnity insurance ends but you can read between the lines for yourself. The post also provides advice for other classes of Harlequin investors, so have a read and make up your own mind, folks!

Discussion in the Comments Section

We’re going to make this post the current place at BFP to discuss the Harlequin situation, so join in and please remember to be respectful to each other and also watch the language, okay?

To keep all current discussion in one place, we’re also going to close off comments on previous articles and direct people here. That will take some time so please be patient.

Marcus @ BFP

As posted at Barbados Free Press by Regulatory Legal Solicitors…

Following the court hearing last Thursday, we are now in a position where we understand the full extent of the land holdings and build costs for the various Harlequin projects.

The court hearing last week resulted in a settlement for our clients. The terms of which are confidential.

A few things are very clear :-

1. No agent went to the trouble of obtaining confirmation as to the land position.
2. No agent went to the trouble of obtaining Caribbean company information.
3. Some of the SIPP providers in the main relied on an external due diligence process in 2010 & 2011. We have confirmation

We have both the land acquisition schedule and an affidavit from the new Harlequin accountant setting out the build costs etc. We are currently running the maths to work out.

HMSSE turnover 2006 – 2011
-less land acquisition costs
-less commissions
-less building costs
-less overheads

This should give us an indication of the actual position of the group. There is no evidence of external investors (into the equity of the business) and no evidence of any development finance.

Once again we find it remarkable that agents / IFA’s / SIPP’s have not seen this. These are accounting basics.   Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues

Buccament Bay Resort staff member asks: March 1, 2013 a tipping point for Harlequin?

Harlequin Resort

Some local Buccament Bay staff haven’t been paid for December or January!

by BB Staffer to Barbados Free Press

I think tomorrow will be a tipping point for Buccament Bay and Dave Ames. You might call it ‘Desperation for Dave Day’.

Harlequin has staff to pay and all the loan interest for the ‘investors’ that should have been paid earlier this month. If they don’t make those payments, I suspect there will be a lot more people will talking to the Mail on Sunday.

“There are staff at Buccament Bay Resort who are yet to be paid for December and January.”

Will these local people be paid? All the expat staff have been paid! Why not the locals?

I’m not even talking about how expat staff members are paid many times what locals are paid for doing the same jobs. Will Dave Ames and Harlequin ever show these wonderful local staff the same loyalty they demonstrate to him on a daily basis? Simply paying the local staff would be a start!


Filed under Barbados Tourism, Consumer Issues

Harlequin Hotels & Resorts: New Democratic Party politicians “alarmist” in predicting violence and bankruptcy at Buccament Bay Resort

St. Vincent and The Grenadines Opposition Leader says eight lawsuits filed over non-payment at Buccament Bay Resort

On June 6, 2012, NDP and Opposition Leader the Honourable Arhnim Eustace issued the following on the NDP website:

Government must make every effort to have investors pay local contractors

Opposition Leader the Hon. Arhnim Eustace is calling on the government to make every effort to have investors make payments that are due to local contractors and employees who are working at the Buccama Bay Resort.

The Opposition Leader made the call today at a press briefing held by the NDP to discuss issues of importance to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Mr. Eustace noted that the evidents that are being produce are indicative of problems associated with the Buccama project. Some of these includes, eight law suits being filed against the company by contractors who claimed that they have not been paid or only paid in part and local workers not being paid their salaries.

Eustace said that those with authority need to defend the interest and rights of local contractors and workers. The government must make efforts to ensure that the rights of Vincentians are protected.

In addition the government must maintain an appropriate investment climate that will allow for foreign investments, thus it is therefore imperative that this matter be dealt with promptly, Eustace added.

… taken from the NDP website here

Dave Ames fires back…

The following press release was received from Harlequin Hotels & Resorts on June 11, 2012. The original press release is in PDF format at the end of this article. BFP used an OCR programme to cull the following words as Harliquin’s PDF was set up to block the copying of text. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) produced some errors and we think we corrected them all – but before you get too excited about anything you read in the following, check the original PDF, okay? If it reads the same, then you can get excited.

Take it away, Mr. David Ames…

11th June 2012

Press Statement from Mr Dave Ames, Chairman of Harlequin Hotels & Resorts

In an interview with Searchlight newspaper, Mr Dave Ames provided the following statement:

I first came to the beautiful islands of St. Vincent and The Grenadines in 2005 and fell in love with it. In the years since, I have worked hard to open Buccament Bay Resort, one of the most stunning resorts in the Caribbean.

Harlequin has never engaged in politics, nor do we wish to do so. It has always been our position to remain impartial and go about our business, but following recent comments by Mr Eustace and opposition legislator Mr Leacock in both parliament and press, I feel obliged to speak out for the first time. Mr Eustace and Mr Leacock raise alarmist concerns about the government’s “hands off approach“ to Buccament Bay Resort. Further, they make allegations of failing to pay staff and Mr Leacock goes as far as to suggest, and I quote, “There is the potential for a business to go belly up, leading to violence at the worksite.”

It is apparent to me that Mr Leacock has no idea what he is talking about at all and these comments are not only wholly incorrect and baseless, but frankly tantamount to incitement and hugely damaging to our relationship with the people of St Vincent and The Grenadines. I have in excess of 300 full time employed staff at Buccament Bay Resort, and let me state very clearly that all employees of Harlequin at Buccament Bay Resort are paid and paid on time, every month. In fact, since opening I have committed over $14,000,000 EC Dollars to payroll our hardworking staff in Buccament Bay Resort, making Harlequin one of the largest private employers on the island. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados Tourism

Fire at Harlequin’s Buccament Bay – report of arson by unpaid employees

Harlequin’s management silent on report of arson

St. Vincent’s I-Witness News is today reporting that a fire at Harlequin’s Buccament Bay Resort “might have been started by disgruntled employees for non-payment of wages.”

I-Witness News bases its story on unnamed reports and sources, and also says that Harlequin’s management has so far failed to respond to press inquiries. How strange. We thought that the Harlequin management team would be right on this like any professional organisation is these days.

Bucket Brigade and Garden Hoses? Oh My!

Where are the sprinklers and fire hoses?

Just as disturbing as the reports of arson are the photos of staff forming a bucket brigade in their attempts to put out the fire.

Buckets? Garden hoses? Excuse us folks, but isn’t this a 5-star resort where people bring their loved ones to unwind and have a little fun time? One would think that a new resort would have been designed with guest and worker safety in mind and be equipped with the latest alarm, fire sensors and sprinkler systems.

What? Are there no sprinkler systems in the rooms? No fire hoses with sufficient capacity? How many fire points are there in the resort?

Employee emergency fire response at Buccament Bay is a bucket brigade and garden hoses? !!!

My, my oh my!

If this fire is reflective of the building, training and emergency standards put into place by Harlequin, perhaps Barbados authorities had better take another look at what Harlequin is doing on our fair island. Whether the Buccament Bay fire was accidental or deliberate hardly matters if there are no adequate sprinklers, fire hoses or staff emergency training.

Further Reading

I-Witness News: Fire at 5-star Buccament Bay Resort


Filed under Barbados