Harlequin: Who is Accountable?

David Ames (Harlequin) r, Mark Maloney (Preconco) r

David Ames (Harlequin) r, Mark Maloney (Preconco) r

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.

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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?

18 thoughts on “Harlequin: Who is Accountable?

  1. David

    You must understand that many of those who owe Government agencies make sizeable campaign contributions to both political parties. Therefore they find it difficult to enforce the law against them. Do you remember when Sinckler raised VAT by 2.5% that it was for the express purpose of raising $42 million? Do you also remember that Courts alone over $25 million? Government taxes the poor to compensate for the money stolen by the rich.

    I believe that Government wouldn’t dare squeeze some of the people who money to various departments because more than money would come out. We would start to hear who paid whom for what favour. One of the main reasons for forming the Central Revene Authority is to have an independent body to collect Government’s debt in circumstances where ministers would now be able to tell their friends, I can’t help you: I have no control over the CRA, and escape that way.

    • David

      I heard that after all these years, they are appealing the assessment but wouldn’t you know it, the file has conveniently gone missing. I hope they find it.

  2. David, Surely its not just the outstanding NIS contributions. What about VAT, land taxes etc. What is the legal position with non-recoverable VAT charged by the suppliers/contractors etc. Government knew all about this ‘organisation’ from a very early point. Any basic due diligence would have highlighted a twice bankrupt double glazing salesman and fraud charges against a former director (son Matt). They chose to turn the other way and now ‘we’ will all pay the price in terms of investor confidence in the destination.
    Now is the time to have our laws changed and insist ALL planning permission is granted subject to due diligence checks and any deposits are held in escrow. Of course it won’t be the Government who pays for this fiasco but once again the taxpayers for Government NOT doing the job they are paid for.

  3. It appears to me that Mark Maloney was the person behind the story in yesterday’s Nation news paper. Mr. Maloney should tell us why he lobbied and ‘lobbied’ the Chief Town Planner to help Harlequin get permission to build the 7 storey structure, now partially complete.

    • Mark Maloney should NOT be able to ‘lobby’ the Town Planning Office but then again this is Barbados.

    • David

      I don” think that the appropriate word is “lobby”. The more appropriate term would be “unduly influence”. Depending on how that undue influence was brought to bear, there may be a crime in there somewhere.

    • Caswell, there seem to be enough evidence circulating to support that the Bjerkhamn JADA group as government money bag has been exerting tremendous influence on the men in suits.

      Let us continue to be vigilant!

    • David

      Your response should have been to that there is enough evidence to support corruption.

  4. What else is New ? Before elections , during elections , after elections the same , same same people , on going FRAUD . no Freedom Act nor Law , no and never Integrity Leg-islation . , Where the Legs bolted to the floor in the House..keep the fire Burning David.

  5. I gotta agree with Plantation……..it is going from bad to worse, why did they not due back ground checks on this Harlequin group. Because they are British, does not make them honest, look at the amount of British investors crying because they lost money. The walking suits in Bim are ridiculous.

  6. JADA is so ALL powerful now that the could walk about Barbados threatening to close now every one of their competitors, COW, Rotherly, Morrijani and Inotek

  7. Shameful, black politicians are now seen as easily bought because they do not want to use their brains under any conditions.

    • Study finds 40% of Harlequin investors want money back
      Author: Laura Miller
      IFAonline | 10 Apr 2013 | 11:27

      Categories: Investment

      Topics: Harlequin| FCA| FSA| SFO


      A survey of 150 investors in properties sold by overseas property agent Harlequin, which is at the centre of a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation, suggests as many as 40% of them have asked for their money back – but only two have received it.

      Elsewhere the research, carried out by law firm Regulatory Legal which represents the surveyed investors in their pursuit of Harlequin, points to up to 50% of cases where mortgages taken out by investors – and where Harlequin promised to support the mortgage interest payments – not being up to date.


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