Tag Archives: Conflicts of Interest

UK Commons Speaker’s wife to make Barbados speech with or without clothes?

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Conflict of Interest scandal surrounds Sally Bercow’s Barbados trip.

Barbados Anti-Gay buggery laws also focus of attention.

“I would end up sometimes at a bar and someone would send a drink over, and I’d think, ‘Why not?’ and we’d go home together. I liked the excitement of not knowing how a night was going to end.”

Sally Bercow, Labour Party approved candidate and wife of UK Commons Speaker John Bercow at Mizzo

Folks, this should be fun… and the story is already garnering some great publicity for Barbados.

If somebody at the Barbados Tourism Authority could take credit for the growing scandal surrounding Mrs. Bercow’s upcoming speaking engagement at the Bridgetown Hilton, I’m sure they would jump at the opportunity. We won’t say “You can’t buy publicity like this”, because you can and Barbados buys stories all the time as part of the BTA’s marketing efforts.

… But this one wasn’t bought. It’s the perfect storm and hopefully the BTA will jump in to make the best of it. After all, it’s free publicity!

The BTA won’t be able to take credit for Sally Bercow because she’s already a legend in the Brit papers after ‘scandalizing Parliament’ by appearing on the TV show Big Brother and posing nearly naked in front of Parliament.

Oh yes… she also told the Brit public what it is like to have sex in the Speaker’s bed under Big Ben (apparently very exciting!), and also told about her binge drinking, drug use and series of one night stands with… well, anybody. Even Gordon Brown succumbed to her, ah, assets, when the Queen gave here Diamond Jubilee Year address to Parliament, Mr. Brown seemed to be more interested in Sally’s “generous cleavage”. Shades of Owen Arthur and Rihanna!

Well, you know how it is… when the pretty little poodle shakes that thing, all the puppies on the block follow her around. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Celebrities, Human Rights, Rihanna

The Sparman Clinic Affair – Questions about money, conflicts of interest

“The lower the cardiac care capabilities are at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the more money the private Sparman Clinic will make.”

“How many patients have been transferred from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to the Sparman Clinic since July 2009? How did the transfers come about?”

… BFP staffers Marcus, Robert & Cliverton discussing the Sparman Clinic Affair

Who are the financiers and beneficial owners of The Sparman Clinic Inc.?

  • Did the Government of Barbados provide any financing or guarantees regarding the Sparman Clinic?
  • Are any Sparman owners or personnel also Government officials or Queen Elizabeth Hospital employees or Board members with potential conflicts of interest?
  • Have any Government officials, Queen Elizabeth Hospital workers or their immediate family members received any payments or gifts from Doctor Sparman?
  • Has the Sparman Clinic accepted any Barbados citizens for free cardiac treatment as promised in 2009 when government financial concessions were provided?
  • Why hasn’t the government opened the new $5.2 million dollar Cardiac Suite at the QEH as promised by Health Minister Inniss in July 2009 “on an urgent basis”?
  • Have the automated external defibrillators been strategically positioned throughout the country and 200 persons trained to operate them as promised by Health Minister Inniss in July 2009?
  • How many patients have been transferred from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to the Sparman Clinic since July 2009? How did the transfers come about?
  • Dr. Ishmael’s letter of complaint details a similar incident where a complaint was made about Dr. Sparman to the Medical Council of Barbados. What are the details and the outcome of that complaint?

(L - r) Director of the Sparman Clinic, Cardiologist, Dr. Alfred Sparman; Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, his wife, Gail Inniss and the Minister's Personal Assistant, Cindy Downes at the start of the official opening of the $20 million facility for cardiac care located at No. 4, 6th Avenue Belleville St. Michael (photo & caption: Barbados Government Information Service)

  • Given the controversial and troubling public history of Doctor Alfred Sparman dating back ten or more years, why did the Minister of Health and government think it wise in 2009 to so closely associate government with Dr. Sparman and his clinic?
  • On what basis did the Minister of Health call Dr. Sparman a “cardiologist”?

Doctor Richard G. Ishmael pays the price for asking reasonable questions about corruption.

Doctor Richard G. Ishmael was suspended by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for daring to put into writing his observations and concerns about Dr. Alfred Sparman’s actions and qualifications – and also his questions about the troubling apparent relationships between Doctor Sparman, the Director of Medical Services, the Minister of Health and unknown staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital acting as “moles” for The Sparman Clinic. Continue reading

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Sir David Simmons declares Turks & Caicos public servants must declare assets – but not him!

Re-virginated politician David Simmons: “Do as I say, not as I do”

Oh, this hypocrisy is almost too much to take!

As the newly appointed head of the Turks and Caicos Integrity Commission, SIR David Anthony Cathcart Simmons recently declared that members of the advisory council and consultative forum must now declare their income, assets and liabilities along with all other senior public servants. (Turks and Caicos Weekly News: Integrity commission extends its reach)

In truth, that’s a great idea that, in conjunction with other measures, assists in making sure that the political elites have the best interests of society in mind and not their own profits when they make decisions.

Yup. SIR David thinks it’s a great idea for the Turks and Caicos, but not for himself of any other Barbados politician or public servant.

“In the last 35 years David Simmons had many opportunities to propose and implement all kinds of rules and oversight into how people in positions of power access and spend public money. He never did.”

Simmons fought against integrity and transparency laws for 35 years… Continue reading

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Were the CLICO pension funds segregated and managed separately as required in law?

Prior to being appointed to his regulatory position, (current Barbados Supervisor of Insurance) Carlos Belgrave was the General Manager of a local company that manufactures “flour, animal and poultry feeds” … from OffshoreAlert’s 2006 “Worst Regulator” Award

Barbados Thompson Government continues with the CLICO cover-up

“There are many persons in Barbados who owe, not so much the public, but more importantly the Policy-holders of CLICO, a complete candid set of answers, free of rhetoric and put in the simplest form.

It is being re-iterated that Mr. Leroy Parris is still Chairman so he owes the first set of explanations. It is his responsibility even if he chooses to delegate it. If you are in charge, you have to face the music at crunch time. The Board of Directors must also show that they are not asleep at the wheel. The Board should have a full investigation and someone has to be held responsible. If no-one is responsible, the members of the Board will have to answer other questions.

Mr. Thornhill and the other members of CLICO’s management team must be more candid and direct in their statements. They have to come out of their state of denial and accept responsibility for this state of events. They cannot hide behind CL Financial because managing the risk of a CL Financial failure must have been one of the contingencies they were planning against.

Mr. Parris most importantly has to speak out on the issue of Pensions. As I understand it these funds ought to be segregated and managed separately. I am yet to hear a definitive set of assurances that these various pension funds are fully intact. If they are not intact, CLICO also has to come under closer scrutiny with a view to whether or not there was any breaking of statutes on the part of the company.

The Government of Barbados also needs to provide the public a full explanation of what appears to be a systemic failing of institutions that were created to protect the public interest. Furthermore, the former Prime Minister ought for the record to explain what was happening under his watch or that of any other Minister who might have had responsibility for the Office of the Supervisor of insurance.”

… taken from an absolutely excellent article by The Devil’s Advocate over at Ian Bourne’s Bajan Reporter: CLICO Unplugged: An Insider’s Perspective

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CL Financial bailout is a grievous attack on the very integrity of our Treasury

“We have now been bound into a long-term arrangement to restore the fortunes of one of the Caribbean’s riskiest adventurers.”

“…it seems clear that the cupboard is bare and that this CL Financial group has no unpledged assets of any value.”

“We are… advancing an unlimited quantum of taxpayers’ funds, for which no security has been provided and those funds are being advanced at ZERO interest.”

“…the State (takes) all the risk, a massive injection of capital, responsibility for management, yet even in the case of a successful outcome there is no return either by way of interest on the funds advanced or equity in the rejuvenated enterprises.”

“..where is the $5.0Bn missing from the CLICO Statutory Fund?”

These are some excerpts taken from Afra Raymond’s latest article on the CL Financial – CLICO bailout. Afra used a Freedom of Information demand to obtain the June 12, 2009 CL Financial shareholders’ agreement with the Trinidad & Tobago government – and what a scam that agreement is.

Afra explains how we taxpayers are being raped to save the skins of a few big shot friends of government – and it’s not just the Trinis.

With the full and enthusiastic participation of their David Thompson DLP government, Barbados citizens are also being raped as our Prime Minister uses our money to bail out the Godfather of his children, long-time legal client and political supporter, Leroy Parris.

Barbadians of all ages, colours and political stripes should read Afra Raymond’s articles – but they should also think for themselves as they read the original documents that are posted on Afra’s website.

Florida: Just one of the Duprey family mansions

Taxpayers take all risks while the Bigshots keep their Mansions

My friends, you don’t have to listen to what Afra says. You don’t have to listen to what Barbados Free Press says. You can think for yourself so read the original documents and make your own list of questions and demands of the elected politicians who have pledged the wealth of your nation and your future in a bailout that lets Parris and the Dupreys and the rest of them keep their mansions and offshore bank accounts.

As CLICO's lawyer, PM Thompson helped build the house of cards

Then ask Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson to show all the CLICO – CL Financial bailout documents and business records that remain hidden from the taxpayers because Barbados does not have a Freedom of Information law.

Here is Afra’s latest article published in full. You really should visit his website and read it there, but we’ll leave it up here in full because… ya never know!

COMMENTARY on the CL Financial Shareholders’ Agreement of 12th June 2009
By Afra Raymond, Chartered Surveyor

Read this article at: www.afraraymond.com

FOR YOUR INFORMATION: A copy of the official agreement between C.L. Financial Limited and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago (PDF) has finally been delivered to me per my request under the Freedom of Information Act.  The CL Financial Shareholders’ Agreement (SA) of 12th June 2009, which I requested on 16th November 2009 under the Freedom of Information Act, was sent to me by the Ministry of Finance on 11th March 2010.  My emailed response to the Minister of Finance is on the home page of this blog.

My preliminary comments are –

Quantum – The shareholders’ agreement (SA) is silent as to quantum, which would seem to mean that the group will enjoy unlimited access to taxpayers’ funds.  The 2010 budget statement on 7th September states an estimated allocation to the CL Financial bailout of $5.4Bn – but subsequent events have only added to the confusion.  To wit, the $50M USD for the British-American Insurance recovery (as per 2nd November ECCU press release) and the ‘up to $510M’ announced to be available to meet the pensions due to ex-Caroni workers.  Question being whether the $5.4Bn includes the subsequently-announced amounts or are those to be added-on?

Security – At the preamble to the SA – on page 5 – we are told that “…valuable consideration…” is being offered by CLF as per the original MoU.  Of course, given the Governor’s revelations on 7th April 2009 – see http://guardian.co.tt/business/business/2009/04/08/govt-left-empty-handed-cl-financial-bailout – that is simply not so.  Indeed, it seems clear that the cupboard is bare and that this CLF group has no unpledged assets of any value.

Interest – No mention of interest at all.  We are therefore now advancing an unlimited quantum of taxpayers’ funds, for which no security has been provided and those funds are being advanced at ZERO interest.  Given the well-established rule that late payment of taxes makes a taxpayer liable to 20% interest and the interest rate the Federal government charged AIG for their bailout funds – it was 8.5% above the benchmark LIBOR, which was at 3.0% – it is clear that this represents a massive concession to the CL Financial group.  Quite apart from the bailout itself, the 325 shareholders of this group are also benefiting from this unprecedented and unexplained facility of ZERO percent interest rate.

Accounting – Section 4 of the SA sets out the procedure for a proper system of accounts, culminating at 4.4.5 – “…shall ensure that an annual report of CLF is prepared and dispatched…in manner consistent with standard corporate practice…“.  The accepted interpretation of this language informs us that the word ’shall’ denotes an obligatory, non-voluntary duty.  If that is the case, when can we expect publication of the 2008 annual report, accompanied by audited accounts, as per ’standard corporate practice’?

The role of the Shareholders – The MoU of 30th January, at Para (c) of its preamble, spells out its aims as “…to protect the interests of depositors, policyholders and creditors of these institutions…“.  According to the second sentence of the Ministry of Finance press release of 12th June 2009 – this is the penultimate document in the ‘Quick-Guide’ in the CL Financial bailout section of this website – “This new agreement is designed to give substance to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of January 30th 2009.”  The SA of 12th June 2009 was the subject of that press release.  The SA, at Para A. of its preamble, states the intentions of the parties as having been set out in the MoU of 30th January 2009 and ends by “…their stated understanding, inter alia, that certain steps be taken to correct the financial condition of CLICO, CIB and BA in order to protect the interest of depositors, policy holders, creditors and shareholders of these institutions…” (These two words are put in bold as my own emphasis).

I questioned that official version in ‘Fit and proper?’, ‘Party of parties’ and ‘Figuring it out’ – all available on this blog.  Now that we have the actual SA to work with, it is clear that the statement in 12th June press release is extremely misleading.  The SA does not just ‘…give substance to…‘ the original MoU, it in fact is an entirely different species of agreement.  The Shareholders’ Agreement constitutes a written guarantee to protect the 325 shareholders of this CLF group.


Assisting the incoming Management – Clauses 2.3.3 and 2.3.4. of the SA, require the outgoing CL Financial chiefs to render all assistance to the incoming Board and Management in terms of all records and accounts etc.  The question here is ‘Have the new Board and management been receiving the full assistance of the previous CLF chiefs?’  If not, what is being done about it?  If yes, where is the $5.0Bn missing from the CLICO Statutory Fund?

“…several important and shocking facts came to light.”

Continue reading

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St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister shows the world what corruption is all about.

St. Kitts & Nevis Prime Minister Douglas knows nothing about US$95,000 cheque.

There is a story brewing in St. Kitts and Nevis that is just one more example of what happens when those in government use their insider positions, knowledge, authority and influence to put money in their own pockets – or in the pockets of their close family members. It’s really all the same, you know.

It turns out that Kate Woodley, the mother of the children of recently re-elected Prime Minister Denzil Douglas, has a “consulting business” that received funds from the Saint Kitts and Nevis Labour Party. It gets worse: she is a Ministry of Foreign Affairs employee at the St. Kitts and Nevis Consulate in Manhattan, New York.

That’s really all you need to know. Sure, we’ll tell you how those funds were directed and cleaned and processed to end up in the Douglas family bank account – but it really doesn’t matter.

All you need to know is right here… “Money donated to the Saint Kitts and Nevis Labour Party by voters and businesses ended up in the personal bank accounts of family members of Prime Minister Denzil Douglas.”

It gets worse…

During the recent election campaign the opposition People’s Action Movement had distributed copies of documents that appeared to show large sums of money passing through Lex’s accounts over the years, as well as copies of cheques including one for US$95,000 dated December 30th made out to Dr. Denzil Douglas.

Wednesday, Dr. Douglas acknowledged that his son, also Denzil Llewellyn Douglas, lived at the same address as the home-based company, but dismissed any knowledge of a cheque from Lex made out to him, the Prime Minister.

“I don’t know what cheque you’re speaking about,” the Prime Minister said.

… from the Winn FM article No Conflict Of Interest With Lex Says PM

It gets much worse…

Prime Minister Douglas is using the old “Nothing to see here, folks. Move along” defense…

“Several Government employees have private businesses, so that is nothing new.  There is no conflict of interest there,” Dr. Douglas said.

Public records indicate that Lex Consulting (LLC) is managed by Kate Alex Woodley, the mother of the Prime Ministers two children.  WINN FM understands that Ms. Woodley is an employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, assigned to the St. Kitts and Nevis New York-based Consulate Office in Manhattan.

Speaking at a press conference in the Parliamentary Lounge a Government Headquarters, the Prime Minister reiterated previous statements that Lex had provided consulting services to a number of companies including the St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party.

… from the Winn FM article No Conflict Of Interest With Lex Says PM

Did any of Lex Consulting’s clients obtain government contracts at any time?

This gets worse because here is the way it happens… A government official will issue a government contract to a company we’ll call “Company A”. Company “A” then hires a “consulting” firm that just happens to be owned and run by the wife or lover of the same government official who issued the government contract to Company “A”.

Very slick.

The “consulting” done by the government official’s wife or lover is never on the project for which the contract was issued. It’s always some nebulous job like “office automation consulting” or “marketing consulting” – and the money is often deposited overseas.

For instance, into the New York bank account of the consulting company run by the Prime Minister’s ex-squeeze.

Slick. Very slick.

Probably No Rules Broken because like Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis doesn’t have Integrity Legislation

For over forty years Barbados politicians of both major parties have promised to introduce Integrity Legislation and conflicts of interest standards. The current DLP Thompson government is no exception. Thompson said he would implement a Ministerial Code of Conduct “immediately” upon forming a government, and would introduce Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information laws within the first 100 days.

That was over two years ago – but the DLP have become very slick indeed at managing the political fallout from failing to keep their promises.

The latest ploy by the Democratic Labour Party and Prime Minister David Thompson was to suddenly announce that their proposed integrity legislation will include the private sector as well.

That just about guarantees failure for passing the legislation and the PM knows that. That’s why he included the private sector!

DLP Stage Managing to ensure failure of Integrity Legislation

So here’s the drill… The DLP will introduce something in late 2010 that will eventually die in process. Given just a little more time and the next election campaign will be approaching. The DLP will pull out a couple of old BLP scandals that they have been hoarding for the event. Thompson will wave around another couple of cheques at a rally similar to 2007 when he showed everyone the “campaign donation” cheque that then-Prime Minister Owen Arthur put into his personal bank account.

Thompson will claim that the BLP is blocking the legislation etc etc etc and that he needs a mandate from the people… and off we’ll go into the next election.

And Thompson and the DLP will have had four solid years of operating without Integrity Legislation or Freedom of Information laws.

That’s the way it is near Grape Hall on a Wednesday morning.

PM Thompson Says His Use Of CLICO's Business Jet Is None Of Your Business

As to transparency and conflicts of interest, one of David Thompson’s first official acts as a newly-elected Prime Minister was to borrow the corporate jet of a company that does business with the Barbados government – and to refuse to release any details of the costs and arrangements.

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CLICO sold to CGI – Skeletons will be pulled out of the closet and buried deep

Consumers Guarantee Insurance Limited of Barbados is approved to purchase the assets of CLICO.

The secretive committee formed by Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson to keep CLICO skeletons in the closet worked swiftly to sell the remaining assets before the public realises that the fiasco was caused by three factors: mismanagement, fraud and a lack of proper regulation, oversight and accountability.

Earlier media reports spoke of criminal activities and a billion dollar asset that turned out to be a worthless piece of paper, but don’t expect to hear anything more about the issue. Prime Minister Thompson has done all he can to ensure that no public inquiry will be conducted – starting with his refusal to put CLICO Holdings under judicial management.

Oh… did we mention that CLICO’s top dawg, Leroy Parris, is the Prime Minister’s best friend and godfather to one of his daughters?

No conflict of interest there folks.

Don’t expect the Mottley Crew to say too much either, because much of the shenanigans happened when the Arthur/Mottley BLP Government was in power.

Although there will be much said, there’s not really much else to say folks – because everything is being kept secret, especially the amount that this debacle cost the taxpayers of Barbados.

Nation News: CGI Wins CLICO Bid

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