Beware Of Greeks Bearing Gifts

Allen Stanford

Allen Stanford

Recent reports in the international press that former Chief Financial Officer James Davis has blown the whistle on former boss and Texan billionaire Allen Stanford, may have implication for how Barbados and other small Caribbean islands welcome foreigners in the future with deep pockets. The revelation by Davis that Stanford entered a pack with his inner circle of employees and prominent others to keep regulators at bay maybe the final nail in the coffin which sees the Knight donning prison garb very soon.

Until Allen Stanford’s free fall from the pinnacle of his financial empire based in Antigua, he was the man.  Nothing of any consequence seemed to have occurred in Antigua unless it was branded Stanford. His last business venture the 20/20 tournament was hugely popular and demonstrated that he was ahead of the WIBC in trying to popularize the shorten version of the cricket game. He owned financial entities, real estate and of note many important people in Antigua.

Sanford has not been found guilty yet but there is a lesson to be learned from what has unravelled so far. One man with money carry great influence in our small islands. Often times the lack of financial resources at a national and individual level creates the opportunity for our politicians and government officials to explore shortcuts when dealing with those with deep pockets.

In is against the foregoing that Integrity and Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation assumes great importance in small islands like Barbados. To prevent a Stanford from happening in Barbados, the legislative framework promised by the government cannot be rolled out too soon. The need to create an environment which encourages integrity in decision making should act as a counter to those with deep-pockets in our midst.

Prime Minister David Thompson should be sensitive to the Stanford matter given his declaration to tap the philanthropic market as a source of finance for public projects. In our view before Thompson starts to promote a philanthropic culture in Barbados, a legislative framework of Integrity and FOI legislation should be implemented first.

Already Barbadians have started to observe the unexplained haste persons in public life have been acquiring expensive things not commensurate with remuneration or obvious circumstance. BU is aware of the delicate process currently under way to implement Integrity and FOI Legislation.

If Barbados is to avoid the pitfalls and challenges to counter the influence of those with deep pockets, we must revise the current ground rules.

Thanks to BU family member CCC for the story.

0 thoughts on “Beware Of Greeks Bearing Gifts

  1. Every single member of the past Owen Arthur administration assets needs to be examined.

    During the last administration we saw sudden millionaires,and owners of large and numerous properties,as well as sudden new businesses and mercedes benzs all on a middle class professional salary which was at the least vulgar and sickening.

    Those BLP politicians should be shivering in their shoes wondering not IF but WHEN the Thompson administration will bring the hammer down on them.

    We expect nothing less – fair but rigourous investigations to be conducted,and where appropriate charges to be brought.

    We know Owen put in a number of his people on the benches as judges so we will have to wait and see how independent this judiciary really is.

  2. Politicians greed for money has always been a worry of mine. I’m not sure P.M. Thompson will be able to do something about the matter though because the greed might be present in both camps. I remember in the 1980’s election Mr Barrow promising to do something about the same matter plus the involvement of persons in the drug trade. When he became P.M he had to step back and put it on the back burner since I believe that he found out that persons in his camp was involved too. All P.M Thompson can do is have a serious talk with his crew and he himself be very watchful. We have ex-patriots in this island who can easily write a cheque and clear the national debt of Barbados. Remember the “fairy godfather” who assisted then P.M. Sandiford? He then started to call shots, somehow he was quieted. Those tempting apples are always dangling before our leaders. I also remember a certain international star is alleged to have offered then P.M Barrow an aircraft if he would allow gambling casinos in Barbados; Mr Barrow said “get thee behind me satan”, he is allegedto have said “over my dead body”. We need leaders with backbone, so far we have had them, I just hope it continues.

  3. Does this have an oh-so-familiar ring to it? Let me think…….ah yes……Graeme Hall, Nelson Barbados, Keltruth and, loudest of all at the moment, Barbados Free Press – all the creations of one North American man with deep pockets and a miniscule to non-existent penis. AND, Bimbro, he is white. No prizes for guessing who it is.

    • As the economic plight of our small islands become more and more threatened in the prevailing economic climate our laws and watchdog agencies must become more aware of the challenges/threats.

  4. @ The first anonymous Thompson will not investigate past BLP politicos..he already knows they were tiefing,he does not need to waste time on that part because the old boys club has come to an agreement..” oh i will let Bajans know you is a tief but nuttin’ ain’t going to happen to yah”just as long as i get my chance..can’t you see what goes on in this island?

  5. As part of FOI legislation, it is essential that ALL Government spending and project spending become more transparent.

    Detailed comparisons of tenders, detailed financial reports of all projects and major spending should both be available for anyone and everyone to see, with a visit to GIS and payment of a small fee (to supplement costs of resource use).

    Alternately, a visit to the Government website should take one to pdf copies of respective tender info, respective expenditure documents of each and every Ministry and of all major expenditures, down to what third party companies receive payments and who the principals of these companies are.

    We still have not seen financial statements for GEMS, despite years passing, let alone detailed expenditures on this ‘project’.

    Everyone has been waiting, I will not say with bated breath, for most would be dead by now if so, but waiting, for disclosures on this.

    If indeed, that project is shown to be good and proper, then fine, but let us at least see the reporting and detailed expenditures on it.

    There can be no FOI without this, because there are many ways to ‘lose money’, whether via third party bagmen, via external companies with the money being banked overseas, etc.

    One of the most important things will be detailed explanation and PUBLICATION of these expenditures.

    What say you?


    • Senator Orlando Marville the head of the task force charged with investigating recommendation for the FOI and Integrity Legislation was reported in the news last week as saying, a key component of implementing an efficient FOI is to have properly training officers. These officers will be key players in interpreting the laws to match the requests received from public.

  6. You are aware, of course, BU family, that integrity legislation will not apply to private citizens and that FOI will only apply in respect of Government information. The connection with Stanford is therefore not clear.

  7. Scout wrote “I remember in the 1980’s election Mr Barrow promising to do something about the same matter plus the involvement of persons in the drug trade. When he became P.M he had to step back and put it on the back burner since I believe that he found out that persons in his camp was involved too.”

    True, true.

    If only our national hero had had balls enough to discipline his party members and his financial supporters.

    My bet is that not a fella will be man enough to do the necessary.

  8. Scout wrote “We have ex-patriots in this island who can easily write a cheque and clear the national debt of Barbados.”

    NOT true.

    And that will never happen.

    The only way our national debt will be cleared is by our own hard work, and the hard work and intelligence of our children, grand children, and great grand children. But hey!!! we know how to work hard, and we know how to work smart.

    In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries the white people did not bring our fore parents here because they believed that our fore parents were lazy. Our fore parents were brough here because everybody knew that they were intelligent and hard working.

    So no we do not need to be rescued by some Santa Claus from the Great White North.

    We are our own best saviors.

  9. BAFBFP wrote on // August 31, 2009 at 11:29 PM…”Sorry David but is he not still SIR Allen Stanford..?”

    The man is an accused BIG TIME thief. He will almost certainly be convicted. No we do not have to call him Sir. We do not have to call anybody Sir or Lady or Mr. Or Ms. We can call him Allen and if he does not feel like answering what do we care.

    What is this hang-up that we have that we so like to insist on titles, even for crooks?

  10. Anon wrote at 3:25 a.m. “one North American man with deep pockets and a miniscule to non-existent penis.”

    Cuh dear man. You don’t think that you are being a bit hard (pun intended)

  11. Against the back drop of obvious corruptive behaviour by past politicians and maybe some of our present newbies, it completely dumbfounds this writer why FOI, Standord being the impetus to drive the need for this legislation moreso now than ever, is not yet implemented. Surely, if the Stanford drag net continues to investigate the connections, there is the likely possibility that prominent people in the Carribbean (and possibly Barbados) might be implicated.
    The Caribbean easily stands poise for exploitation due to its small fragile economies and sense of dependency.

    It is my opinion that the stalling of this important piece of legislation makes it obvious that politicians and friends are guilty to the many alleges of corruption and gift takings and have no intention of implementing legislation that can expose them. Or, time is being afforded for a cleaning up process to mask the degree of corruption so only key and necessary information could be audited without raising suspicion. What ever the reason, it is made clear to this writer that the charges of corruption are not as farfetched as some would lead you to believe because you can hide and buy land but you cannot hide when working it.

  12. @David, Yes some might do contracts with government and the information will have to be released, but this would not apply to Sanford, or interlocking directorships or Ponzi schemes or avoidance of customs duties or tax evasion or…should I go on?

  13. @Themis
    You suggesting that there is no wriggle room? … and who would want to avoid customs duties and evade taxes most?

    There is a serious relationship between business and Government or more accurately, politicians. Business perceive that they can get what they want once they have the money and the politician perceive great financial gain from the businessman.

    One of the reasons for the black box of budget fame was that government decisions on budgetary matters should be announced fairly, giving every person the same chance and preventing upperhand moves from those with inside information.

    Usually it is the private sector and politicians who benefit from close alliances.

    This matter of corruption is one which I have been trying to highlight. The general public needs to know how to spot corruption.

    The bottom line is that there is no will to end corruption and where there is will, the pressure is great and at the expense of a collapse in ruling party.

    It is embarrassing that we are still looking for handouts rather than help ourselves. We have become as prostitutes; lying in wait; hard to rape.

  14. J 1st sept @ 7.28 a.m.
    What i was trying to say is that there are filthy rich ex-patriots who have connections to Barbados that have so much money that they can easily clear the barbados national debt. people who are high on the Forbes lists of most wealthy in the world, people who own big companies that manufacture heavy duty equipment all over the world. people who can build a summer home in barbados for 130mil just to spend 3 months a years and also own other properties in the island and other parts of the world. People who can maintain a pleasure yacht for over 50 mil per year. People who have big international airlines. When these type of persons invite our leaders to a pool party, they usually use the occasion to ask certain favors. That’s where our leaders have to be strong and think about the country and not their personal greed. it might sound easy but believe me, it takes a strong person to stand firm on their integrety .

  15. I suppose so Scout. But I am sure that you remember, that our parents and grand parents knew to drink the politicians rum and eat their corn beef and still had enough integrity to vote according to their conscience.

    We expect no less of our “leaders.”

    And it their integrity is so weak then they should refuse the cocktail party invitations, ’cause all that alcohol and greasy food only gives them strokes and heart attacks long before they are three score and ten.

    But my point still stands. We Bajans are as capable of working hard and working smart as anybody else in the world.

  16. freewilly // September 1, 2009 at 5:39 AM

    … to my mind wrapped up the discussion. This is the nature of the fallacy that is referred to around the world as Democracy. Japan just swapped out a *Liberal* (reading too much Halsel) party after forty years expecting a change in the way things are done; boy are they in for a surprise! The one major argument that is put forward to defend this lie is – “The other forms of Government are so much worse”

    By the way J, I am on your side! Being facetious and having to explain myself is not pleasant..

  17. J
    I totally agree with you. I hate when we behave like a mendicant society. My father told me, when I was small, that when i become a man always hold my head up high and be independent as much as possible, walk with a tooth pick in my mouth even when I’m hungry, people would belive I just ate. I’ve lived with that philosophy, it was tuff sometimes both now in my senior years, I can respectfully speech my mind without the fear of backlash from someone who granted me favors.

  18. In Jamaica: Chairman of the Integrity Commission, Kenneth Lewis, has resigned after tax authorities attempted to seize the assets of two New Kingston businesses of which he was a director.

    The enforcement team from the Tax Administration Services Department attempted to seize the assets last week after the institutions’ failure to file taxes of some $100 million, inclusive of penalties.

    “In order not to compromise the Integrity Commission in any way, I have written to Sir Patrick Allen, governor general of Jamaica, tendering my resignation from the commission with immediate effect,” Lewis said in a release issued last night.


    What does this story in todays news tell us about Integrity legislation in small states like Barbados?

    I urge David Thompson to think it through and come up with the best solution rather than follow those jacks on BFP (and some here) whose perception is that all black people are dishonest!

    They are not calling for better Corporate governance rules with the same urgency! Tell me why? Or maybe I should tell them!

  19. Though I support such legislation, FOI guarantees neither good governance nor government.

    Would FOI eliminate the victimisation presently en vogue at UDC and other statutory departments?

    FOI is a mere response to our belief that ALL politicians, especially of the past administration, are thieves of the highest order.

    We often comment about Ministers’ rapid accumulation of wealth (or perceived) but say nothing about the same within the private sector. CLICO, which is now relying on government for assistance, a prime example.

    I fear this call for FOI is driven by malice, jealousy, nosiness and this need to appear progressive (though as a society we are retrogressive on many other issues) rather than to engender transparency in government.

    The implementation of FOI could very well come back to haunt this and future administrations and their supporters; since winning and election would now be based on performance and vision as articulated in a manifesto, rather than on innuendo, gossip and lies.

  20. Anonymous // August 31, 2009 at 9:18 wrote:

    “Every single member of the past Owen Arthur administration assets needs to be examined”.

    When you take off your political blinkers go and check the goings on around the private invitation extended by Stanford to Suckoo. Check and see what did she do during her visit to Stanford in Antigua of February 2008, immediately following the election of January 2008? Was she used as the conduit to bring some of stanford nasty money into Barbados?

    You should also get the figure on the cheque for the millions giving to Thompson for the election. Quite frankly you and the jack*** Thompson should bring hard facts about these foolish charges of corruption or shut up. The country is growing tired of this nonsense.

    The electorate is asking the question, how is it that the previous administration was all this corrupt and thieving yet the country prospered? How is it that the DLP claims to be so squeaky-clean yet the country is on a free fall to poverty and deprivation? Under the last BLP people were at work, businesses prospered, bills were being paid and the standard of living of Barbadians were envied. Today the complete opposite is the order of the day.

  21. RoyalRumble

    You could really shut your ass mouth up. Who the heck you trying to fool with painting the halo ring above the heads of BLP members to make them look like saints. You think bajans are less informed and foolish as in days past. None of the administrations are squeaky clean. All of them are in cohoots in dirty dealings; but the last administration made it obvious were alot of their priorities lie (in big contracts and getting money). They got millions of free money and you friggin know it. How else can you explain the affording of yachts, plantation houses, building girlfriends huge bungalows, real estate investments and other property investments abroad and in house on politician salaries. You think informed persons just making up stories. You really want to fool bajans that none in the BLP camp never received draw backs, gifts and free cash flows. You want people to believe that alot of instant established contractor base companies in politician family names and friends names is a figment of our imagination. You musse really think we fuh jack asses.

  22. @ Johnny Postle @ // September 2, 2009 at 6:34 PM

    Could you show us here at BU any of the proven evidence to all the claims you have made in this post?

    Furthermore, you seem to be knowledgeable of all the alledged corruption by the former regime! In that case it is your responsibility to turn whatever evidence of such alledged corruption over to the police and/or the DPP! Failing this you could be held as an accomplice before/after the fact!
    Better go and see who that is knocking at the door. Just might the anti-corruption agents looking to ask you about the evidence!! LOL.

  23. Robin Hood

    Is your words suppose to make me afraid. You ask for evidence on the basis that you know such matters are well covered and hidden unless there is a pig who decides to squeal (and believe me the pigs are squealing). There are many charges against the former administration (just as there will be against the present) by persons who are aware of their dabblings. I certainly do not scare from your words, maybe you should be the one who is scared if you have benefit from the deals. Do not think that you can hide every secret Robin Hood, your days of stealing from the poor and feeding rich will one day come to an end.

  24. “Our fore parents were brough here because everybody knew that they were intelligent and hard working.”
    “But my point still stands. We Bajans are as capable of working hard and working smart as anybody else in the world.”

    Hey “J”, I think you have no idea what hard working is, this is way you constant replay your stupid words especially “else in the world”! What is the reason for this? Your guilty conscience?
    In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries your for parents yes, you in the 20th not.
    To much Rum!

  25. You idiot.

    You don’t know me.

    I don’t drink.

    Guilty about what?

    You need to learn to write a simple sentence.

    But that may be too hard for you.

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