Another Heather Cole Column – Connecting the Dots to Pandora’s Box
We are all familiar with the story of Pandora’s Box from Greek Mythology. Out of curiosity, Pandora opened a box that was given to her. Death and all the other evil deeds flew out and as she struggled to close the box only hope was left because it was at the bottom of the box.
For some strange reason known only to my brain the context of the scenario regarding Pandora’s Box, the death of the Englishman and all that it entailed brought to mind the Chase Vault in Christ Church Graveyard. Perhaps each time the Vault was opened, death and evil were exposed until there came a time when something had to give. That “hope” was the ultimate decision that burials of the lead coffins must take place leaving the Vault unoccupied.
Someone stated on the Barbados Underground blog that death and politics are nothing new in Barbados. They provided several instances throughout the years when this phenomenon had occurred, mentioning name like Pele, Sydney Burnett Alleyne and the like. Therefore, one knows that the island is well aware of the ramifications synonymous with Pandora’s Box but each time not only were death and evil were exposed and flew away, so too did “hope.” So too did the hope for a resolution to crime, against corruption and hope for political change on the island.
As I wrote before, the present situation is different because of its international element. Unless one is actively associated with the investigation, the evil contents of Pandora’s Box remains unknown. At present, what we can do is to try to connect the dots to that box.
The dots have led to activities at the Bridgetown Port. The Blogmaster of the Barbados Underground wrote something which set me thinking. It was the contents of the 2009 Auditor General’s Report which mentioned that cars were removed from the port without the proper entry papers. That in itself is confirmation that this is not just a mere allegation. One or two instances of this occurring would not merit its inclusion in a national report. It may very well serve to assist in confirming if there is a racket going on at the Bridgetown Port with regards to the entry of stolen vehicles.
Audit review of a sample of vehicle imports revealed that forty-one (41) vehicles exited the Port without the payment of the relevant duties. This represents a major breach of the Department’s policies and resulted in considerable loss of revenues to the Government. It is recommended this matter be further investigated by the Department, and appropriate action taken against anyone found to be responsible. In addition, the Department needs to put measures in place to avoid a recurrence of such actions. (Auditor General Report 2009 – p.54)
With regards to the matter at hand, the allegation that these vehicles were stolen in the UK really creates an anomaly in the system. Is there not a registry to check VIN numbers of vehicles to verify that they have not been stolen? If it is, that there is such a registry in use at the Bridgetown port was this action not deliberate and wilful?
The National Union of Public Workers wants to have a protocol in place for the use of cameras in the Port claiming that Customs Officers may be easily targeted. Perhaps they think the idea of using cameras is insidious. I beg to differ as I believe it can be a deterrent to the crime of bribery.
Perhaps it has escaped me but as far as I know the Englishman did not own a business in Barbados so how could he have been an importer of cars? His status on the island of Barbados is not clear either. Perhaps the Immigration Department needs to clarify the status that he held because it is questionable how a visitor can import any kind of vehicles to the island. The BBC referred to the Englishman as a UK national with a home address in England.
Is there paperwork regarding the importation of any vehicles by the Englishman at the Bridgetown Port? Just think of it without the paperwork all that is known is that the cars arrived on the island. There is therefore no evidence of a bill of sale, or title for these vehicles. So, the origin cannot be established neither can the buyer or the previous owners. Yet they would have been allowed on to the island.
The dots have led to financial institutions and here is where it gets sticky. How were these vehicles paid for? Was it in cash or through one of the local banks or Financial institutions? If a loan was taken out, do these institutions have paperwork as to the previous owners of the vehicles, title transfers from the Department of Motor Vehicles, foreign insurance forms or the Port entry documents? If they were bought with cash where would the average person find over $100,000.00 in cash to make a purchase of one of those luxury vehicles? On what basis were the insurance companies able to provide insurance for these vehicles without the proper documentation? There may very well be some sleepless persons who work in financial institutions now. If in breech of some English banking regulations by involvement in this case, can local banks be fined when this investigation reaches a conclusion?
The dots have led to the Licensing Department. How was the licensing Department able to provide registration to such vehicles? Do they have in their possession all of the required documentation including the Port documents? The Licensing Authority must have a list of those luxury cars. Everyone who owns them should be able to show proof of their origin, and be in possession of the transfer of title documents. It will be easy for the police to trace those cars.
There is a chain of complicity. If the companies mentioned above accepted improper paperwork or proceeded without paper some of the managers are now sweating. So too are the persons who bought these vehicles.
The dots have led the the confirmation that there are leakages in the system where money is concerned. One can even state with some degree of confidence that they are money mules in operation in Barbados. There was a story that was covered in both Barbados Today and the Nation in February of this year of the employee from the Barbados Revenue Authority that was caught at the airport on her way out of the country with thousands of dollars in foreign currency. The last that was heard of this case was that the person was on bail. The public was therefore left to wonder if she was acting alone or on the instruction of another party.
The evidence of illegal firearms and drugs in Society are ever present with us. The commissioner said recently that is the gang members who are killing each other. Was the Englishman part of a gang? Perhaps it is much more than that. Ultimately it seems like the key person involved in all of these rackets is dead; unable to pay for his goods with a check, and with his killers are in jail, who benefits? Who was Sunil Broomes’ boss?
Finally, I am not always in support of the actions of the police. However, every law abiding citizen who honours and upholds the laws of Barbados should support the Commissioner of Police by sharing this article. We need the answers that he can provide. We need closure, We need corruption to end and good governance to commence that spills over into every sector in Barbados; both public and private as well as the lives of it citizens and residents. We must become a nation in which all are subject to the law. No one must be above the law. Like wise the laws of Barbados and law enforcement must treat all of its citizens the same. The same treatment that is meted out to the poor black young men from depressed areas must be meted out to persons who drive around in luxury vehicles. Or, the same treatment that is meted out to persons who drive luxury vehicles must be meted out to poor black young men who live in depressed area. We must all recognize that we must start somewhere. Resolving the matter at hand is not as easy as burying leaden coffins.
For a start we the people of Barbados need to be informed of the outcome of your investigations Commissioner.