It seems like yesterday, although it was June 2010, when a frail David Thompson turned the the ceremonial sod to announce the coming of the Pickering Housing and Town Centre development project. Depending on which local media outlet is sourced for information about the project the figures 800 million or 1.7 billion are mentioned . BU cannot remember so many projects going ‘bellyup’ in such a short time period when compared to the last 3 years. Have we compromised on our due diligence method for recognizing quality foreign investment? Have a read of the lofty words uttered by the late Prime Minister Thompson to describe the Pickering Housing and Town Centre development.
Prime Minister Stuart and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) need to explain the stench wafting from this project which appears to be stillborn 3 years later. Before the fowls begin to cackle, here is why. In the Nation article Not Jolly a Canadian businessman is reported to have invested USD750,000 in the Pickering project after being approached by a Reynold Austin who was and still is the president of the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) Canadian branch. It seems a sordid affair that Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart is being advertised as guest speaker at the 6th Annual Errol Barrow Memorial dinner being planned by the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) Canadian branch. One wonders what the late Errol Barrow would have to say to Reynold Austin if he were to be reincarnated at his memorial function – see DLP Canada website.
Back to the Pickering Housing and Town Centre development project. A Google search (not surprisingly) found no concrete financial information concerning the Pickering project, although a number of newspaper and blogs was generated which provided additional information about the project.
The Pickering Barbados website refers to the Pickering Plantation Development project as “possibly one of the largest project of its kind in the Caribbean”. (How many names does this project go by anyway). Under the “Organization Tab” there is an organization chart; but no names of officers and directors. Extracted from the website, “All architectural and engineering design is currently being undertaken by teams of professionals located in Miami, Florida and in Barbados. Construction is expected to span the period 2008-2012” A June 20, 2010, Nation article said – “Cuban American architect Danny Martinez told specially invited guests that the multimillion-dollar investment would be sustainable, compact, diverse and walkable.” Our research did not reveal anything for Cuban American architect Danny Martinez connected to Pickering.
Further, click on Construction Tab and the website www.trinityconstruction.com at DomainMarket.com which has the domain for sale, suggesting the company no longer exists. How about clicking the Contact Tab which shows locations as c/o Wayne P Cumberbatch and Company in Barbados, and 3800 Sanctuary Drive, Coral Springs, Florida. The latter address is a modest home which was until June 2012, owned by Yusuff and Indra Mohamed. It sold for $245,000.00 in June 2012, Hardly the type of home you would expect of a big-time developer heading up a $1 billion project. If Jolly is the successful businessman he is being touted to be he should have done some due diligence before he plunked down $750,000.00.
A Nation newspaper article posted that North Ridge Development Company has five directors including former long-standing former St Lucy MP Evelyn Greaves and two other Barbadians in Stanley Yearwood and Wayne Cumberbatch. The others are Rayhana Rahim and chairman Yussuf Mohamed. Note that Evelyn Greaves is the High Commissioner to Canada and former minister in a DLP government.
So who are Rayhana Rahim and Yussuf Mohamed listed as executives and the key movers in the company North Ridge Development. We assume this is the holding company which was incorporated to manage the Pickering project. Rayhana Rahim is a professor at the University of South Florida and Yusuff Mohamed is listed as a United States entrepreneur – see a detailed bio.
In a relatively short time researching this matter on the Internet the sketchy information available about these characters raises immediate concerns. And then there is the obvious DLP connection.
Why isn’t there anything of substance about “possibly one of the largest projects of its kind in the Caribbean” to be found in the public domain?
Why did the President of DLP (Canada) allegedly solicit funds from a Canadian investor for the project?
How come the Barbados High Commissioner to Canada is a Director (and presumably investor) in the private sector venture? Is this not a conflict of interest?