The Governor’s Acid Test

Submitted by Heather Cole (The Barbados Lobby)
Heather Cole

Heather Cole

We often think that some of the subjects that we took in High School and College are a waste of time and not practical to use in everyday life since we never used them again.

My last interaction with chemistry […]

was in third form but low and behold a few weeks ago the Acid Test came to mind as I read a newspaper article and it make me smile because I was finally able to apply it to a real life economic situation.

On Wednesday 11th November, 2015, the Central Bank Governor Delisle Worrell and the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler signed a trust deed for $70 Million for an Enhanced Guarantee Fund from the Inter-American Development Fund and the China Co-Financing Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean. On November 14, 2015, Barbados Today carried an article in which the CEO of the Small Business Association, Lynette Holder queried the Central Bank being the administrator of the Fund. She cited that Government already had a mechanism in place named Fund Access to disburse funds to small and medium sized enterprises.

The role of a Central Bank is to:

1. Advise the government on monetary policy;

2. Supervise the banking system;

3. Act as banker to other banks;

4. Act as banker to Government;

5. Raise money for the Government though issuing treasury notes and bonds;

6. Issue bank notes (cash, coins etc.) for circulation;

7. Provide stability by controlling inflation.

8. Compile economic statistics.

In order to carry out these functions, a Central Bank must remain independent from Government’s fiscal policy and must be uninfluenced by political party, that is why it is separate and distinct from the Ministry of Finance in a country. Political decisions should not influence the operations of the Central Bank. It must also not hold interest in any of the commercial banks. It does not lend to the public, neither does it hold deposits for the public. In essence, the role of the Central Bank is set in stone.

This leads one to ask why the Central Bank has gone outside of its mandate yet again. Last year during the CLICO scandal it was discovered that the Central Bank was illegally holding $5M in deposits for Leroy Parris who is a member of public, then there was the sale of junk bonds on the domestic market as well as producing economic statistics that are less than stellar. This brings into question the integrity of the Governor of the Central Bank.

There is no structure or staff in place at the Central Bank to disperse the loans from the Fund. There are already established procedures and staff at Fund Access to be competently responsible for the disbursement of the funds. One wonders if additional staff will be hired at the Central Bank thereby creating an anomaly in the system. At present there are no demarcation lines to prevent these funds from being used for another purpose. There are no mechanisms in place to verify how the funds will be used. There is no mechanism to verify that one cent of this money will reach any small or medium sized enterprise. Government has not provided a reason why Fund Access was over looked and not used to disburse the funds.

This opens the door for speculation regarding the motive of Government. It makes one wonder if there is some type of scam occurring because within the past few months, almost every article in the news with the Prime Minister or the Minister of Finance was in reference to the signing of documents for a loan. Could it also be that they are borrowing money supposedly for projects but the destination is really to repay Governments loans? Could that be the reason to lodge $70 Million in the Central Bank and not Fund Access? Will there be an audit?

One can also speculate that Barbados has crossed the threshold into Idi Amin style politics, where the primary functions of institutions were twisted in order for Government to manipulate the system. Is the Government using this method of fund disbursement to further divide the people along party lines? Will it allow their party supporters to be the only ones to get loans? Will this system be the new pecking order that may be added to the package for buying votes? If so it is wrong because the economic success of the people should not depend on political patronage. One can only wonder what the next event involving the Governor will be or what else is hidden away from the public view at the Central Bank.

Another speculation is that the Government is restructuring the Central Bank to broaden the range of its services because Barbados does not have a development bank. However, if this were the case, by now Government would have informed us that the Central Bank was assuming a development bank status and Fund Access was about to close its doors. No such announcements have been made.

Maybe there is a connection between this chain of events and former Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s request for a development bank, which he made in his address at the SBA Awards Ceremony early in November. He spoke then of the need for a development bank that would be a source of funds for entrepreneurs in Barbados. He wants a development bank but it does not appear that this will be an option the Government will be putting on the table anytime soon based on this action by the Governor of the Central Bank. If Mr. Arthur accepts the position to be the advisor of the Government joining the unholy alliance of the Governor of the Central Bank and the Minister of Finance he may be setting himself up to become the poster child of institutionalized corruption.

However being optimistic, I will be mindful of the fact that the Governor may do just as the fund is intended, which is to assist to small and medium sized enterprises. To justify my optimism, there needs to be an Acid Test. That test that I learnt by heart eons ago simply states that acid turn red litmus paper blue and blue litmus paper red.

There is an opportunity for all the small business men and women and all those who dream of opening their own business, the four thousand who did not make it to the University last year and the thousands who did not make it this year, as well as all those vendors of Swan Street who were removed by the police a few weeks ago. It is also an opportunity for small farmers as they can form a cooperative and apply to the fund for a loan to take the land off Mr. Ward’s hand that Bjorn Bjerkman no longer wants at a fair price of $1.3 M. These groups need funds to expand or start their business and the governor has $70M to assist them.

I am even willing to help the Governor to conduct the Acid Test. The best I can do is to extend an invitation on the behalf of the Governor of the Central Bank to all those whom the fund is intended including those mentioned above. All they have to do is arrive at the Central Bank and inform the Governor that they are in need, qualified and ready to apply.

Will the good Governor live up to the commitments to which he attached his signature? I am waiting for some well deserving souls to step forward to state with clear proof that they are indeed beneficiaries of that loan fund. Only after the test has been conducted will we know for sure the colour of the paper that the acid determined the Governor originally held in his hand.


44 thoughts on “The Governor’s Acid Test

  1. You forgot to mention those who could not get into the BCC because they raised the fees, causing the scions of the poor, the needy and the vulnerable to miss out once again!

  2. @ Heather Cole

    A very well written and though provoking article.

    “Last year during the CLICO scandal it was discovered that the Central Bank was illegally holding $5M in deposits for Leroy Parris who is a member of public…………..”

    “The SUNDAY SUN has learnt that on June 3, 2013, THE ROYAL BANK OF CANADA, which declined to continue a banking relationship with the retired insurance executive, DEPOSITED, ON INSTRUCTIONS, a $5 MILLION BANKER’S CHEQUE to an ACCOUNT at the CENTRAL BANK in the NAME of Parris.” [ – March 1, 2015]

    Also recall Parris applied to the High Court of Barbados to have on order enforced to freeze his assets, overturned. In the affidavit to the court, Parris also listed accounts at the Central Bank of Barbados and Scotia Bank with a cumulative total of $12M.

    To this day neither the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Delisle Worrell or the Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler has refuted Parris’ claim.

    In all fairness, the Barbadians will have to assume that the silence of these two esteem gentlemen on this issue is confirmation that the Central Bank is actually maintaining a deposit of $5M for Parris.

  3. As far as I read it’s not a loan scheme, but a loan guarantee scheme. The central bank will not be making and loans, Persons get their loans from a financial institution not the central bank. By offering the guarantee the central bank scheme reduces the risk to the financial institution which should make them more willing to grant the loan. The central bank already administers other loan guarantee schemes.

    • @Observer

      You are correct based on the news release. However the substantive point is why is the central bank administering the fund when its role doing same with other funds has been a disaster based on the reports from the SBA. The funds sit at the Central Bank not drawdown over the years. The biggest drawdown was to pay JADA for the Grotto project, still not satisfactorily explained.

  4. A banker explained this loan guarantee scheme, which has been in place at the central for decades, to interested parties a few years ago it was explained that the amount of paperwork and aggravation involved, the banks don’t like the process and avoid it if they could. Those previous millions have been sitting there a very long time, unless the process is modified, it’s now being joined by more millions, one wonders at the objectives and intentions.

  5. @Wel Well;
    There once was a Development fund administered by the Central Bank (Sir David Seale was ultimately associated therewith; I think as a member of the Boar4d, more knowledgeable persons will put me str4aight. Hoteliers and other4 small business persons profited. It is alleged that many of the loans were not repaid and had to be written off. Then the change in government resulted in the Central Bank, acting as guarantor, with the applications having to be maDE THROUGH THE COMMERCIAL BANKS. MANY SMALL BUSINESS PER4SONS DID NOT, AND HAVE NOT TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF THIS INSTRUMENT. Loans to this facility are made from time to time by foreign governments.Our business people do not take advantage of many other4 facilities that are there and that can help them.

  6. Alvin…..without disputing what you said, what the banker said still holds, just the aggravation associated with the process acts as a deterrent.

    Did anyone go after the hoteliers and other small business people who got the money and according to you, never repaid., I can assure you that the ordinary business people on the island never knew and most still don’t know about these millions. Did those hoteliers get the money because Seale was on the board, like Bjerkham is or was now.

  7. BU continue to dish up some thought provoking articles. It will be interesting to see how others dissect this article and offer a partial rebuttal based on a single sentence in the document.

    With the abundance of Observers on BU I felt i necessary to become TheGazer.

  8. Other names considered were:
    Bush Tee
    Well Not_so_Well & Consequences
    To the Ayes and the Nayes … Have a great day

  9. Someone suggested that Job,reputed to be one of the biggest plunderers of ‘development funds’ and who just passed on to a higher calling,must be shedding crocodile tears wherever he is,that he’s not around to hit upon this fund.

  10. Only a select group of people on the island have been steadily plundering those development funds, but Alvin and DBLP will not want to call names, it’s not the poor been doing the plundering, so it’s a well kept secret.

  11. “Minister Owen Arthur’s request for a development bank, which he made in his address at the SBA Awards Ceremony early in November. ” So who you think shut it tah F’ck down in the first place. Seriously. That midget should shut to f’ck up ..!

  12. The reason given for not restarting the Development bank is that it was being managed like the usual commercial bank and was therefore ineffective in carrying out its mandate. Stupse. All that is required is for there to be a BOARD populated with people who would others wises be Angel Investors, knowledgeable in both start-ups and industrial entrepreneurship and clear access to 4% of National Insurance’s annual take.

    BTW retail Bankes DO NOT expose clients to any “loan guarantee scheme”, they do not; and exposing small businesses to be assessed by these commercial risk-aversed BDO’s is criminal as they will always be deemed high risk and offered the highest interest rates possible.

  13. @ Well Well,
    Ask Mohammed Nasser, Bree St. John,(well he is gone now, but it was during his administration) Trevor (Job) Clarke (he gone too), OSA, Sir David, and others of that time.
    Of course you would not know what I am talking about. Ask Wild Coot, he was a Banker4 at that time so he can give you all the details regarding application process etc. He might even be able to give you names of some of the small hotelier4s on the south coast who benefitted. These are not National Development funds to be plundered. These are loans made through the normal commercial banking system, and they were supposed to follow the normal loan system of the relevant commercial bank.
    This was not a loan guarantee scheme. The Central Bank was the under writer for the scheme. The borrower approached a bank for the loan (business loan) and went through the usual process, but the Central Bank (Development Bank) was the guarantor for the funds loaned out. Many business people got loans.
    And BAFP… it had nothing to do with NIS funds, It did not then, and it does not now. The first thing you people talk about is NIS funds

  14. @Well Well; for your information, and the information of any other BU reader.

    In light of high conventional energy costs, Barbados presents a multitude of interesting investment opportunities in energy efficiency, renewable energy and other green projects. Based on recent studies, opportunities for advancing these through appropriate financing can however be challenging. In recognition of this, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Central Bank of Barbados, by means of a guarantee fund, aim to incentivize financial institutions to provide credit under favorable conditions for Barbadian enterprises and their green projects.

    Connect quality green projects with financial institutions
    Provide technical and market advice on investment proposals with the aim of improving the bankability of projects
    Support financial institutions to finance individual loans to green projects by means of guarantees
    Facilitate access to competitive debt financing conditions, in close coordination with local financial institutions, the IDB and the Central Bank of Barbados.

    The information is out there it is not hidden from anyone.
    “Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door will be opened unto you.”

  15. Alvin….you are speaking about green projects now, who do you think you can distract, no one mentioned green project, that is recent. We are speaking and you well know about the money in the millions that’s sitting in the central bank, what green project what, those funds for green project were recently received, you just don’t know when to stop.

  16. Hey hey hey .. The mention of 4% NIS funds is just an idea. But here is the thing. They may have been some people who benefited from the loan guarantee schemes of the past, no one is saying otherwise, but it WAS NOT THE NORM for banking representatives to inform clients of the availability of these facility. This is FACT …! And again, using the normal commercial banks to retail this cash only exposes applicants to the same risk assessment culture that has hampered true innovative development in the Barbados product offering for decades …! Canadian and Trinidadian Commercial banks are not concerned with that kind of development … and why should they be ..?

    As to your “Objectives” … Seems to me that as always, this money will fund all kinds of consultants … It is ridiculous how much money is spent on “training” and “advising” and “Administering (coordinating)” … Train train train train … Teach a man how to fish … but he still will not be able to feed himself without access to a line and hook and a boat….!

    People need to be F U N D E D … Public Servants are funded, and they will never show a return on anything .. STUPSE

  17. Alvin…it’s one thing to make jokes on the blog, but when you deliberately and maliciously set out to mislead your own people in Barbados, while you sit your ass in Canada, no one will take you seriously, you are not contributing anything useful to the discussion except mindless yardfowlism, so tell me, how does that help the island or the people.

  18. @Well Well,
    The truth will help the people of the island; especially those who do not know. I do not make jokes on this blog. I take everything I write very seriously and write what I know about, have researched, or have experienced.
    In your earlier contributed you expressed the opinion that only a few people benefitted from the undertaking by the Central Bank to underwrite the applications for loans through commercial banks. Baffy is quite correct when he says:…it WAS NOT THE NORM for banking representatives to inform clients of the availability of these facility. This is FACT …! And again, using the normal commercial banks to retail this cash only exposes applicants to the same risk assessment culture that has hampered true innovative development in the Barbados product offering for decades …! Canadian and Trinidadian Commercial banks are not concerned with that kind of development …” When entrepreneurs applied for loans to further their businesses bank managers were not in the habit, or practice of letting the applicants know that the loan would, or could be underwritten by or through the Central Bank. If I am wrong, so is Baffy. Wild Coot should be able to verify whether or not this was fact.
    My reason for posting the last blog…re Green Energy… was to show that this information is available. People just do not read enough. I would like to find out how many people have applied under this programme.
    Where have I “deliberately or Maliciously” set out to mislead. I am giving facts, untainted by yard fowiism. Facts are facts and I am not setting out to make myself popular, for I know that for certain persons it will always be the opposite. Would I be contributing to the discussion if I wrote untruths? Won’t get that from me.

    Buffy you people have got to stop dissing the Civil servants. Without them this country would not function, at all.

  19. Stop lying Alvin and read my posts again, you expressed the opinion, not me. The funds are accessable, but not how you were trying to make people believe that small business people took the money and never repaid. There is no need to lie on small business people, read your own post again.

  20. Alvin ‘Boots’Cummins
    How come you have not yet been honoured for service to the country in facilitating exchange between Cow-woman and the onliest black albino on this planet Denis Lowdown and for lying repeatedly on behalf of the damned lying party.Look,go and change your bib.

  21. @Well Well<
    Facts are facts. Did you check out what I said?
    The records can be checked. Find out what and who caused the demise of the Development Bank. It certainly was not me. In your cynicism you can believe what you want, but you don’t have to accept my word. Where was the headquarters of Winifred Enterprises located?

  22. @Heather Cole
    How much does the opposition leader pay you, E. Jerome Davis and Anthony Davis for your public relations campaign conducted in the mainstream media and now on the blogs?

    As for Idi Amin dicator like politics – ask Maria Agard which politician in Barbados is behaving like a despot?

    Your submission is a waste of space on the blog …no wonder you have to use the word speculate so much in your diatribe.

  23. Alvin……it’s now obvious to everyone why SSS despises you so much. Is that the only line in my comments you can find to justify you lying. Do you know the deference between obtaining a loan and PLUNDERING money from the central bank, you disgrace. Yardfowls like yourself helped DBLP destroy the country and you are not done yet.

  24. Find out what and who caused the demise of the Development Bank. It certainly was not me. In your cynicism you can believe what you want, but you don’t have to accept my word. Where was the headquarters of Winifred Enterprises located?

    The high ranking political negrocrats of both political parties who borrowed , and borrowed and borrowed and were never called upon to pay back. These sycophants plundered the Agricultural credit bank and the Training fund as well and had not control of the Barbados National bank passed to the Trinidadians, there would have been nothing left to sell.

  25. Bim is a risk averse country,I cannot see how this new set up will work as all the training for the implementers of this project is for a bottom line of profit with no room for failing or allowing developmental options to be considered.

    • With this scheme it seems from all the writing the process to access funds has been overhauled. The banks will have less risk to manage, it is online etc. The issue though is whether the banks will aggressively pursue on behalf of customers.

  26. Hope you guys realize that Central bank took Leroy Parris money just to bail him out. When the banks gave him the cheque he literally could do nothing with it. Worrell put it in the bank to accommodate him and he has been withdrawing cash from Central bank ever since then…

  27. Bajanfuhlife December 3, 2015 at 3:27 AM #

    @ Heather Cole: How much does the opposition leader pay you, E. Jerome Davis and Anthony Davis for your public relations campaign conducted in the mainstream media and now on the blogs?”

    Wunnuh DLP supporters cud really hush wunnuh mealy mouts, doah. Wunnuh really trying to convince BU dat the DLP is “high and mighty” and dat wunnuh got angels in dey?
    Look, Dennis Lowe, Michael Carrington and Pronville…… ah mean, Donville Inniss put dem thoughts to rest.

    How much was the then Opposition Leader paying Maxine McClean, Sontelle Munroe-Knight, Tony Marshall, Akentoolove Corbin, Peter Wickham, as moderators at VOB for their “public relations campaign conducted” on Brass Tacks and Tell it Like it is, then to be rewarded with picks in the senate, on boards and at CBC when the DLP won the 2008 general elections?

    “How much does the (DLP) pay you, “Douglas,” the legion of demons and Alvin Cummins for your public relations campaign conducted in the mainstream media and now on the blogs?”

    How much of TAXPAYERS’ MONEY is the Democratic Labour Party using to PAY Maureen Holder as a consultant, as well as John Lovell and Dale Forde at CBC, to promote DLP propaganda?

    How much RESOURCES of the state-owned agencies, i.e. the Government Information Service (GIS) and CBC, is the Democratic Labour Party using to promote DLP propaganda?

    Six is half dozen………. same political parties, same motives……. different days.

  28. Decisions on lending businesses money are now made in Port of Spain and Ontario. Branch managers are now only responsible for personal financing. Hope you people understand the level of shite that is being dumped on your heads

  29. @ BAFBFP

    My man Baffy, you like you getting tamer in you old age.

    One time you wudda cum heah and tell peeple the truth bout these Central Bank Guarantee Funds and how you boy Timotee Simmons was did large and in charge uh dese funs sorry funds at de National Development Bank whey he friends dem benefit from de free money like how he friends dem does still benefit from EGFL money up to today, excluding you dat is?

    Unlessing you pun he good books now…

    The thing is Baffy that you know the truth about these funds.



    Doan leh we discuss de fack dat de interest dat dem is mandated to levy pun de money doan leh dem perform highway robbery so dem is not going to lend you de money.

    De third ting is dats you got to know somebody in de system or you is not going to get de money, EVEN IF YOU SCVUNT did was had de cure fuh goadies!! or baldness!! or erectile dysfunction which de ole man believe is 50% of de reason fuh wars and small “equipment” being responsible for de udder 50%

    De nex fack is dat de guarantee is fuh peeple widout collateral but with a viable business idea, so imagine dat I goes in de bank and dem tell me here is de guarantee but where is you collateral? How de fack you expect a fellah gine get de same money dat de Guarantee supposed to facilitate fuh he?

    And de next ting dat dat ingrunt ole man like me, Alvin Cummins from Eglinton in Canada doan know is de fack dat dese peeple at de bank dem doan know how de Guarantee Supposed to operate and does insist de borrowers accept responsibility fuh all de money and den, when de po people business fail dem does go and tek all de people house and car and ting and sell dem to dem friends fuh nuffin and den go to de bank fuh de entire balance.

    To whichin you house you car, and you botsie plus de money dem get back from the Central Bank on de guarantee is worth twice as much as de money you borrow pun, in de first place!!

    I heah da you and Hami and dem microenterprise fellahs is drinking buddies now but I tell de peeple dem dat you gine be a radical til you dead and you only setting dem up to cuss dem scvunt later…I hope dat you ent selling gund to de injuns yuh…!!!

  30. My man Piece .. who could truthfully argue with your take on how these “funds” have been traditionally administered to… ha ha .. but as for your intelligence gathering on private citizens … well perhaps you should consider getting some real assets … ’cause the ones you got now ain’ wukkin’ out … 🙂

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