The G Virus

Auditor General Leigh Trotman

Many financial analysts agree that a poor governance structure contributed to the collapse of Wall Street, and precipitated a global economic meltdown not experienced since the Great Depression. A consequence of it all, small countries like Barbados have seen ‘wanton’ destruction to gains accrued to standard of living built out over the years.

On the regional front we have not been immune to the G Virus. We witnessed it with the collapse of Stanford Bank and more visibly with CLICO. The CLICO mess exposed the lack of a robust regional regulatory framework to govern pan Caribbean companies. Several years after the demise of CLICO the jury is out whether any serious attempt has been made to improve the regional regulatory framework. It is ironic to note however that despite a commitment to Caricom by regional leaders, they all own Central Banks with the exception of the sub region.

Locally, we are confronted by the G Virus at every turn. The best example is the perennial disrespect which both political parties have directed at the Office of the Auditor General. Exceptions to the financial rules of government have been highlighted by successive Auditor Generals and ignored by successive governments. How can we be serious about being competitive and building out a disciplined  society?           

63 thoughts on “The G Virus

  1. There is a difference between the governance problems in the 1st world and here.
    There, they relaxed the rules and allowed banks to do whatever they wanted – assuming that market forces would prevent them from doing anything stupid.
    Here, we just failed to enforce the rules in any way whatsoever.
    Possibly, the right answer is to have a set of governance rules and enforce them, or am I being to simple-minded?

  2. Let’s see. How will this thread develop? Hmmmmm……………

    A few earnest comments from well-meaning contributors and then POW!!

    Degeneration inbto the usual name-calling, partisan defensive and offensive missiles and a few scandalous allegations thrown in for good measure.

    Shouldn’t take long.

  3. St. George’s Dragon
    You have hit the nail on the head. Dishonest people always have someone to call in order ensure that the rules don’t apply to them. The classic example is VAT: in many cases when officers start to take steps against a delinquent taxpayer, a telephone call would be made and the taxpayer is no longer in trouble. When senior Government officials call off the tax enforcers, Government eventually arrive at a situation where there is not enough revenue to meet commitments and they raise VAT.

    When Courts was being audited, it was discovered that they did not pay in to the VAT Division in excess of $25 million dollars. The officer was taken off the case and reassigned. This money is still outstanding and the Government decided to play reverse Robin Hood and increase the VAT in order to take more from the poor so that the rich could benefit.

    • David

      The only list that is available is the register of judgements at the Registration Department. Unfortunately it is hopelessly out of date because the VAT Division is no longer pursuing VAT cheats through the courts.

  4. you guys talking about vat but the long list of ineffiences in govt in the auditors general report going as far back as 2007 would make one belly hurt . things like equpiment bought and never accounted for loan agreements cheques in the millions cashed and can’t be accounted for the list goes on in the various depts .disgusting

    • @ac

      Does it matter if we are talking about the mal administration of VAT or non response to exceptions raised by the AG?’ It is all the same isn’t it? A lack of financial discipline by successive governments concerning governance.

  5. all i know it is digusting and should not have continued for such long periods of time i meaning it like if money was been thrown left and right and nobody cared but to just simply past a glazing eye over the report and says where it signifancance should be of importance in one area or another is kind of shortshigted for indeed wthe populace put governments in place to govern and when the fail miserably they should be held accountable no matter who was at the reigns past or present. the report shows how govts become spoiled and when unbridled takes the public for granted even thumbing their noses at the auditors report and suggestions as if to say it doesn;t matter and for these inefficiens to continue for an overextended period of time is a shame no wonder the country is in a fiscal deficit because if all the millions unaccounted for and the loans govt gave to certain entities not repaid and the millions of dollars in land taxes were collected the story might be different.

  6. @ Caswell Franklyn | November 14, 2012 at 1:00 AM |
    “When Courts was being audited, it was discovered that they did not pay in to the VAT Division in excess of $25 million dollars. The officer was taken off the case and reassigned. This money is still outstanding and the Government decided to play reverse Robin Hood and increase the VAT in order to take more from the poor so that the rich could benefit.”

    This is a very serious allegation of blatant tax evasion and fraud perpetrated in collusion with very senior bureaucrats and politicians.
    Can you, Caswell, tell us around what year this malfeasance is alleged to have taken place?

    If this kind of blatant corruption is going on at the Central Government level one can just imagine what goes on at the statutory corporations and agencies.

  7. OH!!! …and this is all a surprise to to you right Miller???!
    Yea Right!!

    This place has become like Sodom and Gamorrah. ….can we find 10 honest people in the place….? …an over abundance of perverts and crooks.

    When the Auditor General could be so blatantly ignored by successive governments

    When practically EVERY government institution can be breaking the law by not having current audited accounts

    Let’s not even talk about the private sector criminals…

    When there can be NO PROSECUTIONS when there is such an abundance of evidence of dishonesty

    ….what governance what?!?!
    In a banana republic?

  8. @ ac | November 14, 2012 at 6:51 AM |

    That is one of fairest balanced contributions you have made. A feat rarely achieved or seen and in the realm of an astronomical alignment event.

    Thanks, ac! Keep it up.

    OSA will be proud of you for Not blaming him solely for this corruption taking place within the government finances. Now you see where a major factor for our fiscal problems lies. Enforcement and collection are only catch phrases used by the politicians in speeches to audiences like the BBCI whose members are primarily the dishonest beneficiaries of such contrived laxities.

    It seems that the unveiling of the face of Mr. Caring vs. Mr. Arrogance to the light of truth has also brought about a conversion of the irrepressible “ac” to a more sober and balanced state of mind and clarity in thought and analysis.
    Again well done, ac.

    • David

      The audit covered the period from the inception of VAT in 1997 to May 2000.

      The first audit was done by two officers, Stacy Goodridge and Janice Coward. Courts criticised their work, calling them inexperienced. The VAT division then re-assigned two auditors, Ann Gittens and Junior Dottin, who made the $25 million assessment. Courts then contacted senior officers at the division and these two auditors were also re-assigned. Two other auditors, Dwayne Stuart and Clover Dottin were then assigned to do another audit and they confirmed the $25 million figure. The money has never been paid.

      What is particularly reprehensible is another case involving The Crane. They were collecting VAT but not paying it in. When they were discovered the definition of “time share” was changed by Chris Sinckler in his Budget two years ago that had the effect of exempting Crane from paying the VAT.

  9. The g virus is deadly to effiiciency and progress. Clearly it also eats away eventually and indirectly at economies too.

    Have to agree with miller. Well done

  10. @ Caswell Franklyn | November 14, 2012 at 8:43 AM |

    Thanks, Caswell.

    Now we know who are at the heart of our fiscal problems.
    Who will guard the guards! If we can’t even get our ministers of Finance to be honest why are we bothering.
    Maybe the Bush Tea man is right after all!

    We know what ac and to the point would say about the 2000 corruption buy wonder what they have to say about Chris Sinckler’s dirty move.

    • Miller

      I am not blaming Chris Sinckler for the changes to benefit The Crane: Sinckler does not understand and was merely implementing something that was given to him. The man is an idiot without a clue.

  11. the auditor generals report gives/a vivid look at how all the wastage and lost came to be just go read the full details concise and precise from A-Z showing the incompetency from 2007-2011 having a snowball effect and cost to taxpayers how can one not read this/report and wonder what the FUC……..K

  12. Yesterday the BBC at 7am broadcast the story of Greece in their World Have Your Say programme.It was a wakeup call to what is happening in Buhbaydus.Greece is now having salaries and pensions reduced considerably and govt services reduced/eliminated in order to access badly needed funds from the international moneylenders.The source of their current situation?Borrowing to pay current account liabilities..Buhbaydus better wake up and stop this crap talk/idle boast about not sending home anybody on govt payroll while private sector companies being sold out or closed and staff being put on the breadline every day.

  13. @ Gabriel Tackle | November 14, 2012 at 10:39 AM |

    I have already commented that if “Buhbaydus” does not change its present course by next year it will be another Greek tragedy in the making. All the signs are there and pointing to the Trojan horse concealing the devaluation demon.

  14. @David

    Are my submissions being blocked and if yes why? I have submitted a few this morning and i Have not seen the most recent.

  15. @David

    why has the above gone through and the blogs on privatision have not. It shouldnt have anything to do with the other computer as i was using that one to submit my blogs, and i am not using more thn one handle.

  16. @ Miller
    “…..Maybe the Bush Tea man is right after all!”
    This is the most accurate summation that you have made to date. 🙂 Unfortunately, the last time Bushie was wrong was back in 1977…..” (Notwithstanging a feeble attempt by MME to prove otherwise a few years ago…)
    Those of you not currently aligned with the BBE political system should be quite worried…… If you are not yet, rest assured that you soon will be…

  17. “Sinckler does not understand and was merely implementing something that was given to him. The man is an idiot without a clue.”

    Are you calling the Minister of Finance & Economic Affairs a stupid person?
    If yes, is that just perosnal or just a fact?
    To me he just looks like a slow person or what the old people used call a dumb-dumb or simpleton.

  18. Didn’t the Customs Department promise to prosecute those responsible for permitting 16 vehicles to leave the Port a while back? This matter if memory serves was highlighted by the AG.

    What is the status?

  19. Who can believe this?
    The government lost $25 million in vat between 1997 – 2000 but who do you jump on Chris Sinckler as being an idiot and dumb. Let us hear how much the Crane did not pay because of the Budget presentation.
    What about your genius Owen Arthur? He is not dumb or an idiot. How can we classify him? It was under his watch that $25 million was not paid.

  20. @Caswell

    Do you have any cases pre 2008 about people owning and not payin up the vat. Can you state the cumulative amount owed before 2008 and the accumualtive amount from 2008 to present excluding that amassed under the dlp.

  21. What a sad state of affairs. I really do feel your pain. Taking from the poor to give the rich. Your government is Robin Hood in reverse. Lord have his mercy. I aint helping nobody. I aint moving down deh. I gine stay up here where tings good.

    By the way going to see Chrissy next week. With Mac Fingall, et al. Hope it is worth my $10.

  22. The failure to collect VAT is incompetence. Sales taxes are collected by business people on behalf of the Inland Revenue at the point of sale. All that is needed is someone going round and collecting the money. If a business has failed for three consecutive months to hand over the VAT to government then that business should be put out of business.
    The reality is that most businesses know that nothing will be done. All they are doing is using VAT to help their cash flow. This is criminal.
    A few years ago in Dominica a young man, a relative of an acquaintance, used to drive to the airport to collect departure tax. We can do that once a month using the ineffective Defence force to protect the collection.

  23. @To the point and Clone

    Don’t even think about making this a political issue. If we accept Caswell’s word then the bullshit has been condoned by both parties.

  24. @David

    I found you out of order for thinking why I asked those questions. And by the way dont we have freedom of expression. Are you now a psychologist to read my mind. Please dont jump the gun. The chips will fall where they should.

  25. David
    With all respect
    How I am making this a party issue when Nanny White reinforced Caswel point that Chris Sinckler is an Idiot. THIS WAS SAID ON YOUR BLOG.

    As an old boy of the Garrison School I am defending Chris as a young intelligent Barbadian who has been educated up to a masters degree level

  26. Why are all relying on one source caswell for do your own research the information readily at hand for all to see and the whose,s and wher,s the blame lies millions of dollars disappears not only in vat but in every nook and crannie of govt focusing on vat alone leaves the other areas open and most vulnerable don.t just sweep the corners but sweeo the whole filthy room some body ir biodies should have been pout behind barsand the govt atthe time should have been fired. this makes nio sense.

    • @ac

      We rely on Caswell because unlike you he uses his real name and is therefore open to be challenged in Court if he defames anyone. Also all of his information to date has proved to be accurate. Finally if there is cleaning to be done, one room (VAT) at a time is fine.

  27. @Clone and To the point

    Believe if we were to stick to the systemic issue of abuse by successive governments the debate becomes more constructive. What if Sinckler is not Caswell’s favourite politician? Believe Caswell explained that relationship in earlier blogs ie. that Sinckler lied on him.

  28. Clone calm down it,s all good igot yuh back i watching and reading the way how caswell wants to form the agenda on this don,t worry theBLP needs as much help crossing threatorous waters filled with land mines they have placed for others clone its all good.don,t worry

  29. @David

    why would you want to influence my thinking. I thought the role of blogging is to put one’s perspective. R u trained in psychology?

  30. @ David:

    The current Minister of Finance has committed himself to an April 01, 2013 start up of the Central Revenue Authority (CRA).
    We shall see how effective this Minister is. I can’t see such an agency being up and running by that date in light of pending elections. A merger of such administrative magnitude would involved the severing of a few hundred posts from the departments of Customs & Excise, Inland Revenue Land Tax and even the Treasury.
    There is no way that a DLP administration would or could do such a ‘cutting’ job before elections given the propaganda it is currently spewing forth about protecting jobs in the public sector.

    • David

      The Minister is on record as saying that there would be no job losses. How is that possible? There are taking four departments, all of which have heads, and forming a single entity. Is this entity going to have four heads? I am not saying that the Minister speaks without thinking since it would not matter if he thought about it: the same nonsense would still come out.

  31. @ David | November 14, 2012 at 5:49 PM |

    And you believe that! If you believe that you would believe that God and the Devil are the same.

    So we will have all the maids, drivers, janitors, clerk typists, supervisors and other ancillary staff from all 3 departments doing the same job.
    What kind of restructuring is that?
    From what the Minister said there will be three heads in charge of one agency located in many buildings with three different ICT platforms.
    The Comptroller of Customs & Excise, the Commissioner of Inland Revenue and the Commissioner of Land Tax all sitting in the same chair at the top of the CRA.

    The minister is either meeting all the necessary requirements of Caswell criteria for an idiot or a man whose ability to tell the truth is as challenging as a trip to the Sun.

  32. We rely on Caswell because unlike you he uses his real name .

    So david what is that to do with the price of tea in china there are people who can be very persuasive in getting people to believe any thing that doesn’t mean that they are telling the truth. the proof is in every individual doing there own research and coming up with their conclusion.david i’m about to steupse but i change my mind.

  33. look david my real name is insignificant who the hell cares unless they are up to some malicious deed and by the way it is one of the few possessions given to me by my parents that i treasure with my very being and have been hesitant in revealing out of of having it abused and misused by one and all ac is enough especially when dealing with people one does not know why would anyone not show respect for their name and just release it in a public forum to have it kicked down the road like an old rusty can i have too much respect for myself and my family to allow others to take that kind of advantage .however on the subject of research going back to 2007 when the BLP was in power it was more of the same and evediently all the losses attributed back totalling in the millions have had a snowball effect trickling all the way down to the taxpayers pocket in 2012

  34. @David

    I nick pick when it necessary, I have a problem with caswell or anybody attacking people here and when they are attacked resort to caliing people stupid. so thats why i haveto nick picked at times. I abide with the protocols established for your site.

  35. Whether persons are sent home or reassigned to other ministries, it is a given that the arrival of the CRA will mean significant restructuring. Margaret Sivers, PS of the special projects unit in the MOF urged (according to a report in the Business Monday last November) trade unions to work hand in hand with the ministry. she said that there were about 780 persons collecting taxes, that staff levels would have to be reexamined, as well as remuneration of that staff. of course she said upfront that the amalgamation did not “necessarily mean layoffs” but we no what the necessarily means.

  36. this is my first time posting to your site and i enjoy it by the way. opens my eyes to a lot of things going on about here

    • Who heard the man who made a contribution at the BLP Town Hall about the backlog at the VAT Office and the impact it is having on businesses, especially small, in getting refunds? This should have been a priority for the government, let us fix the damn things we can’t blame on an economic recession.

  37. They owe the VAT Office a lot of money

    The problem in this country is that no one wants to enforce Laws. It is that simple. Black people are not going to enforce laws against Black people. Black people are owed reparations and because of Karma , they must get their reparations any which way they can even if it means corruption and bribery

  38. Talking about revealing true Names
    I want to reveal that my real name is DR. THE HONOURABLE stephenmacarthymacdonald seymourdonaldstoute-chambers

  39. Pingback: Are VIPs Exempt From Paying VAT? | Barbados Underground

  40. that new guy at the board of tourism, is he living under a rock? how on earth tourist going to come to Barbados only because rhianna is a bajan, there are other issues why people don’t travel to Barbados in high numbers, they look at the crime, the food prices, travel prices, and also the way Barbados conform to certain social issues, like for example I read in a paper that Barbados wants to jail people with mental problems, you must understand people with mental problems needs help, and services they can access, how about how people in Barbados treat animals, this might sound like a small issues, but they are tourist that care deeply about animals, the mentally ill and mentally retarded, so all these issues have to be taken into account, and not only about a celebrity that promotes Barbados, you will be surprise that many people in other countries don’t even know rhianna, so its best to impress tourist in many other areas. Also rhianna may be a big celebrity in Barbados, but they are many other celebrities all over the world she have to compete with. Tourist dont want to come to a country where you go down town Bridgetown area and you see buildings in distress, and just gone to wast and an eye sore, example?? the empire theater building, why not take that quarter million dollars and improve the country better, buildings, roads etc.

  41. nanci,

    I live here and I don’t even want to come to Barbados. I cringe at ALL those sores of which you speak. I am so ashamed when I meet tourists in the street. I avert my eyes. I couldn’t promote Barbados if I tried. And no amount of Rhyanna can change that.

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