Tag Archives: Corruption

Coleman Commission into CL Financial: Ministry of Finance, Central Bank want to exclude Afra Raymond’s testimony

“A Commission of Enquiry can only make findings on the evidence submitted to it, so it would be very important for some people to have certain evidence omitted.”

The Colman Commission – Balancing the Scale

by Afra Raymond

The Colman Commission into the failure of CLF Financial and the Hindu Credit Union is just about to move into its second round of Hearings and the public can expect to have further testimony on the losses suffered by people who deposited monies with CL Financial.

I have made several submissions to the Commission and have been invited to give evidence. 

I am reliably informed that there have been strong and unanimous objections to my participation in the Colman Commission.  It would seem that only the Commission itself is interested in having my testimony go onto the record.

It is not surprising to me that objections of that sort would be arising now, but readers need to have a context.

The Colman Commission was established to find out how this fiasco occurred, recommend methods to stop a recurrence and also to identify responsible people who are apt for lawsuits or criminal charges.  The main parties can be expected to give self-serving evidence, designed to exonerate themselves from any blame.

We can also expect to hear more attempts to put the blame onto Wall Street, despite the claims in the CL Financial 2007 Annual Report – this is from the preamble –

…“The Next Wave of Growth” is the theme of this annual report, highlighting, to quote our Chairman, “that out of any crisis opportunities will emerge and our progress during the year under review prepares us to seize those opportunities and unlock value.” We have confidence in our ability to not only navigate this financial storm but to find fresh and profitable opportunities within it…

That Annual Report was published on 23rd January 2009 – yes, that is 10 days after Duprey wrote to the Central Bank Governor for urgent financial assistance and one week before the bailout was signed on 30th January.

The Colman Commission is a Public Inquiry into a matter of major importance; it was approved by the Cabinet and installed by the President of the Republic.  A Commission of Enquiry can only make findings on the evidence submitted to it, so it would be very important for some people to have certain evidence omitted. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Economy, Offshore Investments

Politicians and voters – a visual illustration


Because it’s Monday morning and we all need a smile with our coffee!

“… campaigns once depended on rousing oratory by stump speakers but now feature expensive rallies with musical acts and other entertainment; the political speakers are an annoyance that the audience must endure.”

… from a WikiLeaks US Embassy cable talking about political campaign funding in Barbados.

Our thanks to an old friend for sending us the video!

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Filed under Barbados, Music, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

In the Caribbean, budget time is corruption time!

“Expenditure of Public money – minus Accountability – minus Transparency = equals CORRUPTION”

Property Matters – State Enterprise Accounts

by Afra Raymond

In the next few weeks, this column will cover some of the issues which are likely to have a bearing on the 2012 Trinidad and Tobago Budget. The same issues apply to Barbados – especially considering the country’s lack of Integrity legislation, conflicts of interest rules, accountability mechanisms and Freedom of Information laws. Without these basic foundations, Barbados politicians, government officials and managers of state-owned enterprises can only pretend to be accountable to citizens: and pretend they do!

In my view the State and its Agencies must perform in an exemplary fashion if we are to progress.  A good example is worth a thousand words. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Freedom Of Information, Trinidad and Tobago

Without fear of punishment CL Financial – CLICO Executives had no limits

“If you let people get the idea that they can never be punished, there is virtually no limit to the rules they will break.  Asset-stripping, Bribery and Corruption can become the new norms of a governing class and that is what has happened in our country.”

This is an edited version of Afra Raymond’s address to the 4th Biennial Business Banking and Finance Conference (BBF4) held at the Trinidad Hilton from 22nd to 24th June, 2011.

The session he participated in was devoted to ‘Lessons from the Financial Crisis: The Resolution of Failed Entities’.

by Afra Raymond

Thanks for the invitation to speak at this forum, it was last-minute, but welcome, since our local Institutions of Higher Learning have not spent the necessary time to explain and analyse this financial fiasco.  I have been very critical of the Institute of Business, the Institute of Social and Economic Research, the Faculties of Economics and Management and the Caribbean Centre for Money & Finance, so it is great to see you making a start on this overdue work.  It is my pleasure to participate in these proceedings.

I want to start by shifting focus to the arena of the mind and the existence of elements such as moral and ethical values, as well as social standards.  In 1971 there was a famous series of psychological experiments in which selected students entered a two-week role-play as prison-guards in control of other people who were playing the role of prisoners.

That experiment was conducted at Stanford University in California and the results were that most of the prison guards adopted cruel behaviour with most of them being upset when the experiment was stopped after only six days.  The entire experiment was filmed and the prisoners suffered from regular acts of wickedness, abuse and sheer perversity – one-third of the guards acted sadistically.

The Stanford Prison Experiment as it is now known, was heavily criticised as being unethical and unprofessional.  Of course the other aspect is that it re-opened the perennial discussion into the nature of things.  The nature of our nature, as it were – ‘Are we humans naturally evil and cruel?’  The learning seems to be that well-adjusted and reasonable people can very quickly lose their moral compass in a situation with a lack of the conventional controls such as disapproval and laws.

The New Norms of the Governing Class…

No surprise to those familiar with history and politics, but the lesson for us in T&T is that…

If you let people get the idea that they can never be punished, there is virtually no limit to the rules they will break.  Asset-stripping, Bribery and Corruption can become the new norms of a governing class and that is what has happened in our country.

We have never had a strong tradition of detecting and punishing White-Collar Criminals, so if we are to make a start in terms of the resolution of failed entities, that has to be the starting-point.  We cannot reconstruct or resolve the failed entities if we do not change that aspect of our culture – the absence of consequence has to be abolished. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Economy, Ethics, Offshore Investments

Colman Commission ignoring the smell of dirty money?

Afra Raymond asks where the money came from in the first place

Auntie Moses says that all money has a smell. Honestly-earned money smells clean and dishonest money stinks to high heaven. If you put too much of that dirty money in your purse, you start to stink too. So says Auntie Moses and she’s generally correct about those kinds of ethical issues.

Our friend Afra Raymond has noticed a little problem over at the Colman Commission into the CL Financial – CLICO debacle. I’ll let Afra explain it…

“There also seems to be a strange situation on CL Financial, since I am told that none of the affected people are willing to come forward to testify.  I am not very surprised at that and it is yet another indication of the extent of that toxic ‘Code of Silence‘.

What a shame!  25,000 policyholders said to be affected by the failure of CL Financial, yet only one is willing to testify.  Only One!   I wrote before in this space about the probability that a high proportion of those EFPA monies had never been screened by rigorous Anti Money Laundering (AML) procedures.  I suggested to the Minister of Finance that provisions be made in the payout agreements for the applicants for bailout monies to have the source of their funds vetted for compliance with VAT, PAYE, Income and Corporation taxes.  The Minister did not adopt those proposals.

So, what we now have is the spectacle of the Colman Commission set up by the government to examine the causes of the collapse and finding that few want to speak, very few.  I don’t know if it’s dirty money, or ‘keeping it in the family‘ or what…but I do hope that Colman takes a robust approach by using his powers to sub-poena people to appear and testify.”

Read the whole dirty story at Afra Raymond Colman Commission considerations

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption

State Enterprises, Public Procurement: You scratch my back…

This second article in our series forms part of the Private Sector/Civil Society publication ‘Public Procurement Special’ in the Trinidad & Tobago Review and is published here with the permission of one of the authors. The lessons for Barbados are there if we care to look.

“The fact is that many of the Directors and Officers of State Enterprises are political appointees, which puts the entire rationale onto a doubtful footing.  Because the salaries and perks are so attractive, not to mention the commercial opportunities, the State Enterprises are prize targets for political appointments and favours.”

State Enterprises and Public Procurement

State Enterprises were created to enhance the pace and quality of Public Procurement, yet they are now the scene of the most bedeviling paradoxes in the entire system of public administration.

Some of the key procurement issues which arise in this arena flow directly from the split character of the governance model. Continue reading

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

Mia Mottley trying to stamp out corruption within the BLP Barbados Labour Party

“You do not have to be a rocket-scientist to realise that Mia Mottley seems to be trying to stamp-out corruption within the BLP but that decision has placed her squarely on a collision course with the old-boys club and the very persons who are responsible for the corruption.”

Can “One man, one vote” stamp-out BLP corruption?

by “O”

As an independent observer, I think Sunday Sun Columnist Albert Brandford might have got it all wrong this week (see his column: Sunday Sun, June 5, 2011). I now clearly understand why Social Media has ruled Traditional Media, obsolete. Social Media, for the most part, is being driven by young people: a new generation, who have found an innovative way to communicate, which seems to have given them the freedom of expression, they are comfortable with. This is a new generation who are not willing to turn a-blind-eye towards corruption. Mia Mottley therefore seems aware that going into the next election, the BLP will have a major problem! Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Public Procurement: Can we ever clean up the corruption?

This article forms part of the Private Sector/Civil Society publication ‘Public Procurement Special’ in the Trinidad & Tobago Review and is published here with the permission of one of the authors. The lessons for Barbados are there if we care to look.

Consider some of the quotes from the article…

“The largest State projects were being executed outside of any normal system of accountability.”

“Some of the features of these fiascos are –

  • Huge cost over-runs on virtually every project.
  • Unfinished projects which virtually no one can make sense of…
  • A gross burden on our Treasury going forward – The continuing delay in completing the accounts for these State Enterprises shows how difficult it is to work out exactly what the State owes and to whom.”

The authors are talking about Trinidad and Tobago but it sure sounds like Bridgetown to me. Continue reading

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

Gline Clarke talks from experience, says Goverment should help folks build a home!

Government Minister Clarke: love nest on expropriated land. Barbados news media let it pass!

Gline Clarke, Member for St. George North, said in Parliament the other day that government should be giving long term land leases and help folks to acquire mortgages to build homes.

Fair enough. On this small island where land is at a premium and Town Planning permissions to build turn scrub land into gold, there has to be some government control and oversight. But without Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information, who will watch over the government people?

So give folks access to land and homes.

But when a Minister of Government like Gline Clarke ends up living on land his government expropriated…

Well, that’s something else, isn’t it?

How about it, Mr. Clarke? In five years you haven’t answered the people of Barbados about how you, as a Minister of Government, ended up living in a home on land that your government expropriated.

Your government never paid for the land after expropriating it, but that’s a pretty common story ’bout hey.

Man, if this was New Jersey or the UK, the news media woulda been all over the story. But this is Barbados.

So the newspapers ignored the story, but the people and the blogs doan forget!

Further Reading

Barbados Advocate: Opposition MP wants government allocate land to the poor.

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

CL Financial – CLICO payouts: Afra Raymond asks on television “Who got payouts first?”


“One rule for one set of people, another rule for another set of people”

Our friend Afra Raymond as interviewed by Fazeer Mohammed on Morning Edition television, March 24, 2011.

No word yet on whether the Colman Commission will grant standing to Afra. If Afra does get standing, he’ll be able to ask questions – and then, look out!

Click on the photo to watch. There’s lots more on the subject at Afra Raymond.com

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

A Barbados politician arrived in Heaven…

UPDATED: July 22, 2012

In honour of the Jersey politicians about to visit Barbados to consult with and take advice from Bajan politicians (Yeah. No kidding!), Barbados Free Press revisits this wonderful tale of a Bajan politician choosing between Heaven and Hell…

Original story first published August 30, 2011…

‘Integrity Legislation? That’s a good one!’ laughs the devil as he slaps his knee and pours the drinks…

While staggering down the side of the road one afternoon near Grape Hall, a well known Member of Parliament is tragically hit by a garbage truck and dies.

After a short stop in Bridgetown to pick up a cheap bottle of E.S.A.F. rum, his soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

‘Welcome to heaven,’ says St. Peter. ‘Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a BLP or DLP politician around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.’ Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Freedom Of Information, Politics

WICB Exposé: All the West Indies Cricket Board dirt, all the time

WICB: Nepotism, Abuse of Power, Mismanagement, Hypocrisy, Financial Erosion, Dirty Tricks, Corruption

Insider to publish WICB documents

“Which WICB director rang up $712,311.60 in personal expenses on his association’s credit card and is now facing the embarrassment of having that credit card withdrawn with immediate effect?  We will publish an official document tomorrow to answer this question and to provide a long list of these personal expenses (gas stations, restaurants, sports bars, hotels and cricket clubs).”

WICB Exposé “When torchlight shine, cockroach run!”

Thanks to the dozen readers and one special old friend who sent us this email that is making its way around the Caribbean… Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Cricket, Sports

Freedom of Information, Integrity Legislation “Died with David Thompson. It was his promise…”

“Integrity Legislation? Freedom of Information? All that died with David Thompson. It was his promise and his agenda. The economy must be the priority…”

… said at a DLP gathering as reported by NeverMind Kurt

DLP Strategy: Everything must stand aside for the economy

Nation Newspaper layoffs directly related to politics!

by Nevermind Kurt

The promised Integrity and Freedom of Information legislation is dead, dead, dead. The Democratic Labour Party’s only problem is how to delay the legislation until the next election without being seen to delay the legislation.

The answer is to elevate the economy to the number one priority and to convince Bajans that there is no time and no room right now to work on the promised Integrity Legislation and FOI. It’s all about the economy, you see. We’re in a crisis that is worldwide. “All hands on deck for the economy” is the strategy to delay FOI and Integrity Legislation until after the next election.

It almost sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Another strategy being talked about by DLP folks is to delay the FOI and Integrity Legislation until very close to the election, and then when the BLP Opposition says one word against it, call the election over the Integrity Legislation and FOI. Harley Henry and his friends are devious but no fools.

Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

CL Financial disaster: Did Trinidad and Tobago Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira get her money out?

Afra Raymond digs deeper…

“The 325 (CL Financial) shareholders are listed alphabetically, as at 7th September 2008, with details of their occupations and addresses also supplied.  Of course, that list shows, at #289, the then Minister of Finance – Karen Nunez-Tesheira – as Karen Tesheira, Attorney-at-Law – holding some 10,410 shares.”

“Another thing that is striking is that Lawrence Duprey would appear to have only three blocks of shares in his ownership –

  • #47 – CL Duprey Investment Trust – holding 1,634,335 shares, but we are unable to find the details on that company.
  • #78 – DALCO Capital Management Company Limited of #37 Frederick Street, POS – holding 1,947,833 shares. I am assuming that DALCO is a play on his initials – Lawrence Andre Duprey LAD, reversed.
  • #302 – Trustees of CL Financial Limited – holds 119,145 shares.

I am taking that to mean that Lawrence Duprey had under his direct control a maximum of 3,701,313 shares – i.e. 49.35% of the group’s entire shareholding…slightly less than half.”

Further Reading

Afra Raymond posted a story with CL Financial’s Annual Return filed 2009 and as usual he’s like a terrier worrying a bone: he won’t let go. Good for you Afra! Keep at ’em!

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law

Champagne sipping Barbados Finance Minister pleads against “excessive discourse” about CLICO disaster

Minister Chris Sinckler cautions against a “frenzy”

Oh yes, Minister Sinckler, his friend Leroy Parris and all the other big ups who helped build the CLICO house of cards would love to see limits on public discussion about CLICO.

The Minister of Finance urged “all parties, including the media, not to try whipping up a frenzy”.

We’ve got news for Minister Sinckler: There’s a whole lot of people on this island and throughout the Caribbean who don’t trust Minister Sinckler or the DLP government. The DLP and senior Ministers (including the late Prime Minister Thompson) have an all too close and non-transparent relationship with CLICO, Leroy Parris and the rest of the people who took our money.

Minister Sinckler and the DLP government still have too close a relationship with Mr. Parris.

Here’s a photo (above) published in The Nation last week showing our Minister of Finance socializing with Leroy Parris. It looks like business as usual to us and just about everybody else who saw the photo.

Frankly Minister Sinckler, we’re not interested if you “just happened” to be standing next to Leroy when the photo was taken. It’s a small thing when compared to your party’s long history with Mr. Parris.

Tell us this, Minister Sinckler: How much money did the Democratic Labour Party receive from CLICO and associated companies and people over the years?

Is the DLP going to give that money back to the folks who lost everything?

Minister Sinckler, did the fact that Leroy Parris and CLICO supported the DLP have anything to do with the lack of government oversight about Clico? Did the fact that former Prime Minister David Thompson was CLICO’s lawyer for years and years influence the DLP government’s policies towards CLICO? Does the long term close relationship between CLICO, Parris, the DLP and David Thompson still have any influence on the DLP government?

Hello? Minister Sinckler? Hello? Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Disaster, Economy, Ethics, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Arch Cot Disaster: Links to Mia Mottley & family discovered

Updated May 14, 2011

Canadian geologist Professor Hans Machel testified the week of May 9, 2011 at the Coroner’s Inquest into the deaths of the Codrington family at Arch Cot. We’ll be putting up a new Arch Cot story, but for now have a read or re-read of our March 13, 2011 piece about the Mottley family connection and the unanswered questions about how a powerful Barbados family received land permissions when others were denied…

Powerful Mottley family obtained Arch Cot land use permissions denied to previous owner!

Will the Arch Cot Inquest follow up on our story?

“The Mottley family bought Arch Cot scrub land that couldn’t be built on and then got planning permission when the previous owner couldn’t. They made some quick and easy money.”

“Look at these documents I’ve attached. The people of Barbados deserve an explanation from the Mottley family and from the government officials who granted the land use permissions to the Mottleys that they refused to give the previous owner.”

The following was received via an anonymous emailer. Once again we remind all readers to keep an open mind and to keep asking the questions that need to be asked. Just because somebody says so, doesn’t make it true, but this story should be simple enough that the coroner could find the truth if she wants to. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Corruption, Disaster, Freedom Of Information, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Real Estate

Leroy Parris’ defence of Prime Minister David Thompson rings hollow now

We know now that on May 15, 2005 while acting as CLICO’s lawyer, David Thompson signed a secret contract between CLICO and Leroy Parris’ private company that in effect deceived shareholders into believing that Parris was being paid less than he really was.

After the CLICO house of cards fell, CLICO told the government Oversight Committee – a toothless creation of Prime Minister David Thompson – that the company had no record or knowledge of the Clico’s contracts with Leroy Parris.

Prime Minster David Thompson kept silent although he knew the truth.

Those who say that Thompson had to keep silent about a matter that happened when he was CLICO’s lawyer only emphasize how unethical it was for Prime Minister Thompson to be hands-on during the CLICO meltdown as he was. It was fine for David Thompson to maintain the client confidentiality of something he did when he was a lawyer. It was unethical for him to insert himself into the workings of the CLICO oversight while he was still protecting CLICO and Parris.

I am sorry to say that David Thompson – the man who promised us transparency, ethical government, Freedom of Information legislation, Conflict of Interest standards and integrity legislation – betrayed us in his words and in his deeds.

David Thompson chose to protect CLICO and his friend Leroy over the interests of the people of Barbados and other CLICO shareholders and victims.

Clico ad - click for large

“It is unfortunate that Mr. Arthur again attempted to politicize the CLICO issue last Sunday by suggesting that Prime Minister David Thompson is to blame and should be made to account for the company’s present situation. It is public knowledge that Mr. Thompson served as a lawyer for CLICO before he became prime minister. He was not the only one and several other lawyers also did work for the company. Mr. Thompson was not involved in any way in the management of CLICO’s affairs. He only provided legal advice which management was free to accept or reject, as was the case with any other attorney.”

… from an advert published by Leroy Parris on Friday March 26, 2010.

 

Dear Mr. Parris,

I read your spirited March 26, 2010 advert where you say that Owen Arthur wanted CLICO to serve as “cash cow for the BLP” in the 2007/2008 Barbados election campaign.

From the little information that has appeared in the media, we know that CLICO and CL Financial gave big money to politicians in the Caribbean, but we don’t know how much you, your family, CLICO or associated companies gave in Barbados over the last, say, 10 years.

Well, Mr. Parris? How much money did CLICO and its associated companies channel to David Thompson and the DLP over the last 10 years?

This is our formal invitation to you Mr. Parris: If anything we’ve said is incorrect, write us from an email address that we can confirm is yours and we’ll publish what you have to say without change or comment, and allow you to communicate with the same audience that read this article.

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

British anti-corruption team may refuse to deal with certain Turks and Caicos lawyers

<- click to visit TCI Post

“In her letter, Special Prosecutor Helen Garlick emphasised “close family” connections between attorney and accused. Garlick therefore concluded that the investigations may be “prejudiced” or otherwise put at risk. Continue reading

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Filed under Corruption, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption