Harlequin Hotels & Resorts has halted operations here owing employees two months’ salary, the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) about $80 000 and several local businesses and contractors in excess of $3 million – Nation Newspaper (07 April 2012)
The Harlequin matter continues to hog the media space in Barbados and in the United Kingdom.. The blogs have been harping on this issue for months and if what is carried in today’s press is to be believed, it has been with good reason. It seems that today’s business environment can easily be described as toxic, Ponzi, greedy, lacking governance and other similar unflattering descriptions. David Ames and his cohorts, the owners of the Harlequin operation, have been able to ‘persuade’ investors mainly from the UK to fund their questionable project.
BU has posted several blogs which have expressed disgust about the lack of interest shown by local authorities to investigate the local operations of David Ames and Harlequin. It is ironic that in August 2012 the most widely circulated local newspaper published a headline, Harlequin boost to building, equally ironic it was penned by the same award winning reporter Maria Bradshaw. Needless to say when the Nation newspaper was delivering its PR job on Harlequin, a simple Google would have unearthed a myriad of concerns about Ames and Harlequin Limited which should have provoked the most dense journalist to be probing in their report. Unfortunately an unacceptable level of passivity from the Fourth Estate and many other agencies in Barbados is what we have to tolerate. Was it too much to expect the Nation journalist to have included that the FSC issued an alert about Harlequin last month? Obviously the answer is yes.
As a consequence of the relevant local government agencies not anticipating that Harlequin was a company to be kept under close watch, we read in the press today of the inevitable. We keep repeating the word ironic but is it not ironic that even as our government continues to grapple with the CLICO Mess we can be duped so soon all because of 30 pieces of forex? Some may however surmise it is the price we will have to pay as a service based economy.
In the same way a local business is expected to establish a Performance Bond to satisfy that it has all the resources to complete the job, have we reached the point where we should be making similar demands on forex Greeks making promises to deliver jobs? (The issue of under the table deals cannot be addressed in this blog to avoid cluttering the issues)
Based on today’s press report taxpayers (NIS) have been left holding the bag to the tune of $80,000.00 and several local businesses add another 3million dollars. BU is not too concerned that Mark Maloney’s Preconco Ltd is one of the local companies which got the contract to build Harlequin properties in Barbados. (Another issue to be followed in another blog). Too often of late Barbadians have had to ask where does the buck stop. Who should be held responsible when we have these muckups? How can we build a reputation as a centre of excellence if there is an aversion to holding those responsible to account?