“BU at the right time will name those Ministers in government who received lots in the Bakers Wood Development in St. Peter. Then there is Apple Grove Plantation which was sub-divided and sold to top Ministers at “rab land” price as well, located above Mount Stinkeroo with a panoramic view of the West Coast and the Sandy Lane Estate. BU is willing to bet that the Ministers know something that John Public does not. It is interesting to note that Apple Grove was sold by Bruce Bayley who is a Director in CGI along with David Shorey and Peter Harris”
The quote was taken from what is BU’s top post for May 2007. It seems that the issue of the large scale disposal of land to foreigners, along with the ease with which prominent persons including politicians are carving up the rock, continues to strike an emotional chord with Barbadians. BU takes the opportunity to ask readers to recall the transaction which took place with the sale of Bennets Plantation. BFP reported in great detail on the transaction which we all agree although not illegal can be viewed as unethical. The lack of a land use policy if the Barbadian electorate is lucky, could just raise its head as a national issue in the soon to be announced General Election.
The former Christie government made a similar mistake in the Bahamas recently and it now occupies the opposition bench. If Prime Minister Owen Arthur is as savvy as we know him to be, he would have taken careful note.
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Barbados Free Press has an interesting take on the Kingsland story – read it at the below link – http://barbadosfreepress.wordpress.com/2006/09/01/worlds-investors-watch-barbados-court-case There are also some interesting comments on the value of the assets, at http://barbadosfreepress.wordpress.com/2006/09/03/barbados-court-considers-dispute-over-land-valued-at-almost-one-billion-us/ It is significant that Mrs. Knox owned about 15% of Kingsland Estates Limited shares, a percentage that has been diluted by issuing new shares to Classic, the mysterious company involved in what amounts to a virtual takeover of Kingsland, in order for this “impecunious” company to pay for financial statements from 1993 onwards. Several readers have remarked that they have never heard of a company other than Kingsland permitted to avoid filing financial statements by claiming to be unable to pay. Besides, the claim of the former directors that Kingsland is impecunious is at great variance with independent valuations and with existing offers and contracts on the land, not to mention millions in Barbadian lawyers’ fees! How can an impecunious company afford to pay millions in legal fees? What motivated Kingsland’s lawyers to persevere representing an “impecunious” company for years without being paid? An affidavit was sworn to the privy Council that the legal fees had not yet been paid after years of litigation.
The following notice was delivered to Mr. E.A.B. Deane at 9 AM on the morning of July 22nd:
In the matter of the receivership of Kingsland Estates Limited: Take notice that Winston M. Best and Douglas O. Skeete, Chartered Accountants, have been appointed joint receivers and managers of all the undertaking, property and assets of Kingsland Estates Limited effective Friday July 21st, 2006. Please direct all future inquiries or dealings with Kingsland Estates Limited to Mr. Best or Mr. Skeete as follows: Skeete, Best & Co., Chartered Accountants, 2 Medford Complex, Whitehall Main Road, St. Michael, Barbados, telephone 246-424-6626 or 246-425-5325, fax 246-425-5348 – firstname.lastname@example.org
At 7:30 PM on the same day, a restraining order was delivered to Mrs. M. Knox to block the receivership. The Honourable Jacqueline Cornelius acted with amazing speed in this matter. No affidavit or details of the application were attached but it is expected they will be forthcoming on Monday. Handwritten as the last point of the restraining order was “That there be a speedy trial of the matter.”
The Government of Barbados is being challenged to provide details on what is apparently a previously undisclosed $22-million offer to a company, Kingsland Estates Limited, which recently has been characterized as “impecunious.”
And, related to the same matter, Prime Minister Owen Arthur is being pressed to appoint his nominees to an international arbitration process to resolve the so-called Kingsland affair in which Canadian philanthropist and Barbadian resident Peter Allard is assisting a Barbadian widow who is being told that her family’s shares in Kingsland are nearly worthless.
Several portions of Kingsland Estates (KEL) land have been expropriated over the years by the Government of Barbados but no compensation has been provided, in violation of both Barbadian law and a number of international agreements, including the Barbados-Canada Foreign Investment Protection Agreement – FIPA (also known as the Canada-Barbados Bilateral Investment Treaty or BIT).
The FIPA with Canada requires both countries to provide “diligent compensation at fair-market value” for expropriated property. (Though the Government of Barbados signed the treaty, it takes the position that there is no expropriation, as such, in Barbados . The Barbadian Government prefers the term “compulsory acquisition.”)
Allard, originally from Vancouver and now a resident of Barbados , has increased his presence in the Caribbean country over the years, most notably by contributing significantly to Barbadian charities and establishing and developing Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary.
But it is his attempt to assist an elderly Barbadian widow that has led to the current confrontation with the Barbadian Government. Allard acquired his stake in Kingsland Estates Ltd. by covering more than $1.75-million US in legal expenses incurred by Mrs. Marjorie Knox, a minority shareholder in KEL, a company founded by her father more than 60 years ago.
Mrs. Knox has waged a decade-long battle in the courts for recognition of her claim that her minority rights have been oppressed and the company is in danger of being taken over by corporate interests that would be able to buy the company and its land holdings for a fraction of its real worth.
At issue is the failure of the Government of Barbados to pay for several parcels of land belonging to Kingsland Estates Ltd. that were expropriated over a period of several years and the consequent suppression of the value of the Kingsland Estates Corporation.
Peter Allard says his advisors have learned of the $22-milliom offer apparently made by the Government of Barbados to some – though not all – Kingsland Estates Limited shareholders. “This offer belies the contention that Kingsland is an impecunious corporation,” says Allard. “The fiction that KEL is impecunious lies at the heart of this matter. While we are in no way suggesting that $22 million represents appropriate compensation for this land, even this initial offer indicates how the lack of compensation for the expropriated land has suppressed the corporation’s true value.”
Allard says the contention that KEL is nearly worthless is further challenged by some other developments, specifically valuations by two respected Barbadian real estate appraisers, Leonard St. Hill and Michael Parravicino who, at various times, have assessed the entire KEL properties at between BD$220,000,000 and BD$357,000,000. Moreover, says, Allard, Barbadian Government agencies have been marketing the property internationally since 2003 using a property valuation of US$800,000,000.
“With numbers like that, how can anybody characterize Kingsland Estates Limited as near worthless and ‘impecunious?’” asks Allard.
“While the Government has maintained that the Kingsland affair is entirely a private commercial dispute, it is clear that the Government’s role in this matter is substantial,” says Allard. “In addition to its failure to meet its legal obligation to diligently provide compensation at fair-market value for Kingsland Estates property it has expropriated over the last several years, there is evidence of equally disturbing government inattention to key features of Barbadian commercial law.”
Specifically, according to Allard, the Government is apparently willing to see the ownership of KEL change hands without requiring the company to produce audited financial statements for more than 12 years and without evidence of the company holding valid meetings of its board of directors for more than a decade.
“The Government appears to be complicit in a transaction bereft of even minimum standards of transparency required in countries around the world,” says Allard. “This is something which should be a matter of concern to all Barbadians who rely on their Government to uphold laws which protect the interests of all citizens and assure foreign investors that Barbados respects and observes the rule of law.”
Allard’s law firm has also written to Prime Minister Owen Arthur and Attorney General Dale Marshall this week advising them that he has elected to proceed according to the Additional Facility Rules of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, established by the World Bank to handle disputes between investors and contracting states, of which Barbados is one.
Allard’s lawyers have also presented to the Government his list of suggested arbitrators for the dispute and have asked the Barbadian Government to do likewise.
BFP is shouting out to BU
UPDATED – Someone Asks For Changes To This Article – Barbados Underground Please Respond
A commenter on this article asks…
“I would appreciate it if you would remove the photo of houses in your comic strip with Miss .Thompson and Miss.Mottley. If you have this information that you imply put the correct houses. I can assure you that the houses you have pictured are being paid for every month .”
OK… that is a fair request IF the homes in the photo are not the subject of some problem with government corruption etc.
Barbados Underground, could you please clarify this issue? Are the homes in the photo directly connected with your story on government corruption or were they just to illustrate the issue?
Please let us know so we can consider our reader’s request.
NOTE TO OUR READERS – would someone kindly head over to Barbados Underground and make a comment on the story or otherwise let them know that this issue has been raised? I am writing this from one of our “posting” computers and we don’t visit other websites while using this PC.
The picture of the houses are not connected with the story. The picture was used to illustrate the issue. What we can do later, because we have to hit the beach now, is to replace the pics when we return.
Please convey to your concerned reader that we are not “picking” on them.
On second thoughts the wife demanded that the clarification be made. Thank you BFP for passing on the concern of your reader.
Bakers Woods, St. Peter
bu, could you get someone to fix me up too? i do not own a home.