The CITIZEN, the STATE and PUBLIC ASSETS…Barbados Hilton Sale

The following is an interesting Editorial from today’s Barbados Advocate newspaper [17/12/2017].

This image was shared on Facebook by citizen advocate Heather Cole

“…Where a purchase is made from a poor and ignorant man at a considerable undervalue, the vendor having no independent advice, a Court of Equity will set aside the transaction.” Per Lord Denning MR (1975)

The recently rumoured sale of the Barbados Hilton Hotel brings once more into sharp focus the need for a resolution of the precise nature of the relationship between the citizen and the state with regard to the disposition of the national patrimony. We say “rumoured” because the transaction in question has neither been confirmed or denied by any of the parties to it, although we are fully aware that there is in Barbados an existing precept that the failure immediately to deny a published rumour leads inexorably and miraculously to its public conversion into truth.

This is not the first time that a national asset has been disposed of without reference to the beneficial owners, the taxpaying public. The Barbados National Bank, the Insurance Corporation of Barbados and, had the arrangement providing for its disposition been more compliant with the laws of fair competition; the BNTCL, would have all been unilaterally transferred to private entities by a governing administration without the express or, we may argue, even implied permission of the populace.

Our perception of the matter varies significantly from what has hitherto been seemingly the state practice. First, while we understand that there may be a need on some occasions for the state to unload a number of its commercial enterprises to the private sector, these should be clearly identified and subjected to vigorous reasoned public debate.

Second, the mode of their acquisition should be as transparent as reasonably practicable, both with regard to the selection of the intended purchaser and the terms and conditions of the acquisition, including the sale price that should be, if not the best obtainable, at least arrived at after an independent valuation of the asset.

Third, it seems to us necessary too that, unless it is entirely impracticable in the specific scenario, the state, in the public interest, should seek to retain either an actual or vicarious interest in the enterprise by an insistence on the retention of a golden share that would maintain an element of control at the level of policy or through a stipulation on public participation in the acquisition by the requirement that the purchaser should issue a public offering of shares in the novate enterprise at a reasonable time after acquisition and on terms favourable to as wide a public participation as possible.

The relationship between the citizen and the state in connection with the ownership of national assets appears to us to be one of a fiduciary nature whereby the state holds the property as trustee for the beneficial owners who financed its original acquisition, the taxpayers. It seems only fitting therefore, that any sale of the asset should be authorized by the beneficial owners and at a fair market price.

Of course, there will be some public assets that appear to be wholly unsaleable, either because of the inherent obligation of the state to maintain control of that aspect of the economy in a progressive developing democracy, or because the asset itself might appear unattractive to potential purchasers. While the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation might be an example of the latter, the Transport Board, especially given the configuration of the market in which it exists, might fit comfortably into both camps.

However, in respect of those assets that might prove more alluring to private buyers, we must seek always to ensure that potential purchasers do not unconscionably take advantage of our current economically precarious position.

47 thoughts on “The CITIZEN, the STATE and PUBLIC ASSETS…Barbados Hilton Sale

  1. Unconxcionable to sell a taxpayer’s entity for less then half it’s market value and that includes Blue Horizon hotel, only extremely stupid, self absorbed, disdainful of the people, uncaring and reckless government ministers would do this.

  2. Agree with the thrust of the editorial,the issue is really not the sale but the unwillingness to be transparent with a very important stakeholder,the people. We see it time after time, transaction after transaction, government after government.

  3. David

    We have been contending for decades that Barbados is not a functional democracy at all

    Never has been!

    To some extent we disagree with you

    This (these) action/s maybe legal but will have difficulty in passing any moral or democratic test.

    For it cannot or should not be within the power of any government to dispose of hard won, profit-making, national assets unless specific permission is given by the people, in each case.

    To take their actions to a logical conclusion and looking beyond the sale of the last physical national asset, we must then ponder what else will a government seek to sell off in the future.

    Could it be humans, since they have all long argued that the Bajan people are the most valuable national asset the country possesses?

  4. Or maybe

    A future government of Barbados could be minded to get into the sale of human organs

    There is a thriving trade taking place in that ‘industry’

    A government might find that our friend Bushie needs not have two kidneys!

  5. David

    What else could be done but have a laugh?

    For we have a government that is so unpopular and corrupt but still presumes that it has the power to make final judgements on the primary national assets, without reference to they beneficial owners.

    In circumstances where the country has never declared bankruptcy

    And in relative secrecy as if these were personal assets.

    While they must know by now that the people of Barbados are waiting, with bated breath, to deliver them a large electoral defeat.

    Not that the wolves hearing the chick’s cry would be coming to help!

    How are their actions substantially different to the thief who disposes of stolen property before the police arrives?

  6. How much is the GOB willing to front to solve the CLICO debacle?

    What is the cost of an election?!!!

    Lots of things to ponder … that’s just two!!

  7. This is a really odd form of democracy that we have here. The warring parties can promise anything that they want come election time but are NEVER held accountable for anything during their tenure. There is no transparency and even the auditor general who comes around once a year is ignored by the government. He can audit and show that there is plenty of corruption but the people do not rise up and complain. And so the system goes no matter which party is in power.

  8. @ John Everett
    This is a really odd form of democracy that we have here.
    It is Shiite!! ….that is what it is.
    ….which is why the stuff is currently flowing freely in our streets….. the first ‘plague’.

    Boss, the ONLY way to describe it is by the term ‘BRASS BOWLERY’
    It defies common sense, basic logic, simple survival, …indeed it is sub-human in context.

    But the absolute WORSE aspect of the situation is that the ordinary brass bowl in the street, who is being screwed over and over, …can ONLY think, and dream, of the day when HIS turn will come to do the screwing… It is a kind of BLINDNESS.

    We also have the ‘plague’ of our savings in the FOREIGN-OWNED banks being exploited while the banks pay NO interest, and charge HUGE fees for us to even enter the damn bank…
    So all the ‘money’ we accumulated by selling the national assets are sitting uselessly (to us) in the foreign banks…

    The next ‘plague’ will probably be related to blindness (darkness??) when the folly of handing the national power company over to money-grabbing Canadians begins to take root….

    There is NO WAY that anyone could make up such national FOLLY…..
    Only a satanic curse can explain it.
    The answer sits at the Garrison.

  9. Lol…..the REAL “brass bowlery” is the numb mindset of those who want to maintain that blighted system andmentality to appease others…yet still got the nerve to complain about it..

    …. the real curse is that their children and grandchildren will be exposed to even worse forms of abuses and exploitations….because of the ignorance of those of yesteryear and today….new age abuses and exploitations which would take them another 50 years to recognize let alone fight against it, look how helpless they are to the centuries old copied, small time exploitations currently en vogue.

    Someone need to tell them that they cannot have it both ways, they either eradicate completely and radically, with EXTREME PREJUDICE, out of the society the dumbed down mentality and complacent mindset to willingly please, appease and help their exploiters, which would radically transform the society into future progress ….while ridding themselves of all past, present and future exploiters, parasites and abusers……

    OR keep the blighted system and mentaility…. but dont complain when you make an informed decision to keep it and remain perpetual slaves.

    They would not be able to blame Canada, US, UK, EU or the minority parasites both local and foreign for that…even I would soundly cuss them if they try….cause they cannot have it both ways, we have been years on BU pointing out their weaknesses, if they want to stay weak and keep their desire to be exploited, it’s all on them.

  10. All that is necessary for transparency is public auction or publicly heard/considered tender.

    These DLP bitches are setting themselves up to teef an entire hotel.

    This is what we have become.

  11. The proceeds from the Hilton sale will disappear like a line of coke up the nostrils of a paro to feed the country’s insatiable addiction to imported junk.

    So what’s next on the chopping block at the fire sale on George Street with the invitation flyer marked: “Say NO to Privatization”?

    You want to bet it will be the GAIA? It has all the attractive characteristics to be of interest to foreign buyers.

    If the Hilton hotel can be sold why not its symbiotic facility, the airport, which is the sine qua non of land-based tourism?

  12. Good editorial . I hope it is not too late. Some people prefer activity and no effective action. What is democracy in this epoch ?

  13. I rather like the quotation from Lord Denning’s judgement of 1975.

    But as in Physics the laws of atomic physics cannot as a rule apply to the laws of the Universe.
    In Economics the principles of microeconomics seldom are relevant to Macroeconomics.

    Can a government be described as ” poor and ignorant” and devoid ” of independent advice”?

  14. Why waste precious breath huffing and puffing, IF there is reasonable grounds to believe that the law of the land has been compromise regardless of which office has blatantly exercise mischief, the as a person or body lodge a complaint to the police in the presence of the media, followed by the lodging of class action or civil law suit in law counts in the presence of the media.

    LET THE LAW COURTS DEAL WITH IT ….. starting with an injunction. if the sale/s have been misappropriated due to violation of the law, collusion etc., then those who are the perpetrators will be required.

    Stand up and be counted.

  15. NineofNine..when you saw us complain of the uselessness of the Barbados Supreme Court, when the CCJ complains about the sloth and tardiness…there is something to it..

    judge for yourself..this is a 20 year old injunction….no movement from the judges or lawyer, this proves that we know, as well as the CCJ…what we are talking about…re a useless supreme court, 4th rate lawyers and powerless judges..

    the big question is also, what did the 2 governments do with the money.

    The Crane Beach in St Philip is in dire need of rehabilitation, but Government is unable to do any work because of an injunction filed by a private citizen two decades ago.

    Prominent businessman, Canadian Eugene Melnyk, who has been living in Barbados for 26 years and is one of two citizens who own homes at Crane Beach, applied for the restraining order to prevent Crane Beach Resort from undertaking any construction work on the famous cliff, on which a section of the hotel was built.

    The DAILY NATION recently discovered this situation after Andrew Fleming, a regular sea-bather at the beach, complained about its rapid erosion and the unappealing condition of the area.

    Only two years ago, the beach was voted one of the ten best beaches in the world by Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous. However, Fleming questioned why it had fallen into such a sorry state.

    He complained about the public access to the beach – a pothole-filled road which he said was so narrow that vehicles were forced to reverse out of it. He also made reference to an iron grill across the road which was so rusty and falling to pieces that red scones were placed across it as a precaution to pedestrians. Those scones have been in place for close to a year.
    Fleming pointed out that some of the slabs on the walkway to the beach had become dislodged, making the well-used area a slippery slope. In addition, he expressed fears that if the beach continued to erode, there would be no rock to stand on.

    He asked: “With all the millions that the Crane Hotel makes, why don’t they repair the entire beach instead of only focusing on the beach close to the hotel?”

    Sean Alleyne, general manager of the Crane Resort, said the hotel was willing to contribute to the rehabilitation of the beach but was unable to do so because of the injunction.

    Asked to comment on this situation, Dr Leo Brewster, director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, said they could provide a detailed response to this matter, but would need permission to do so from the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Environment and Drainage. He subsequently responded that he had not received the authorisation to speak on the matter.

    However, Melnyk, whose vast residence was on one side of Crane Beach, confirmed he had filed the injunction after contracting an engineer company from Canada to conduct a geo-technical study of the beach and the cliff top because he felt the cliff would be compromised by any construction work done by the hotel.

    He also pointed out that although the road was a public one, he had spent money to upkeep the area.

    “The only part that I own is the turning bay,” he said. “I have privately cleaned up that beach. I hired a bunch of people to remove the seaweed because it was horrendous and that is the job of the NCC [National Conservation Commission]” he said.

    Melnyk also revealed he had installed the iron grills across the road.
    “I did that 20 years ago. I put that in with my own money because all the rain used to come down onto the beach and it was decaying and eroding. I put the grill in and put a pipe to divert the water,” Melnyk said, adding it was Government’s role to maintain the area.

    It is understood that the other resident also contributed by putting boulders on the beach and installing the steps for pedestrians.

    DAILY NATION investigations revealed that the Crane Beach was one of six beaches in Barbados which fell under the Government/Inter-American Development Bank US$24 million Coastal Infrastructure Programme in 2002.

    Of that sum, US$2.5 million was supposed to be used for the restoration and enhancement of the Crane Beach. This was to include replacement of the existing deteriorating revetment that stabilises the headland; and construction of shore-parallel spurs south from the headland to hold and expand the beach adjacent to the headland for easier pedestrian access to the south beach.

    This included construction of new steps to the beach also; resurfacing of the headland along with the construction of a walkway at the top of the revetment to allow access to the north beach; and reconstruction of the access road to the headland.

    None of this work was ever undertaken because of the injunction. (MB)

  16. NB…..all the judges and lawyers will be in their graves, so will both parties to the matter…and they will still refuse to close the case..

    there are simple land issues still moving through the courts from mid 1960s and those are not the ones where the litigants all died and the land already got stolen

    most people involved are long dead in those cases from 60s, 70s, 80s…for some reason there is an aversion to closing cases..its the worst case of incompetence i have ever seen in a court system.

    it`s the most psychotic thing, where instead of closing these cases, they all sit and wait for everyone to die, that gotta be a mental disease, there is no other explanation..

    the insurance companies sit and wait for claimants to die..

    lawyers sit and wait for their clients to die….like what thiefer of the house Michael Carrington tried with his wheelchair bound senior citizen client…

    defendants sit and wait for plaintiffs to die or get fed up…

    it`s very ugly to watch.

  17. So….with all things being fair, Fruendel should not only be cussed for opening his lying mouth about the CCJ slandering the court system, but also fired by the electorate both him and all his greedy, corrupt useless ministers….most of whom are 4th rate lawyers, just like him.

  18. re Pachamama December 17, 2017 at 9:40 PM #
    A future government of Barbados could be minded to get into the sale of human organs


  19. Had two good laughs
    1)they should import brains
    2)lawyers sit and wait for their clients to die
    Mi belly

  20. Actions being displayed must most likely have a legal parameter in order to justify it. Then that being the case, the wrestle is not with the administer but with the Laws. Loopholes and or definitive omissions give rise to exploitation.

    Therefore a COMPLETE OVERHAUL of the laws of the land including those that are cleverly used to justify known corruption by THE NEW INCOMING GOVERNMENT .

    To protect and serve was the policy of the day for the Plantocracy. To this day, that policy still holds and until this is addressed, to change it totally to include all ethnicities, to hold responsible all who misuses and abuse common fairness of by means of stealth directives it will be business as usual.

    Protect and serve who?

  21. Every property will be sold out in Bim at the end of 2025. Then the local elite will start to sell the people to Saudi Arabia – like the African despots 300 years ago to the English.

  22. Ronald Toppin said in the House that there is an attorney who is at the centre of every deal going down in this government……..a 2×3 lawyer whom no one knew of before.

    He sources buyers, acts as the broker or consultant and tells the filthy buyers where to deposit the commissions.

    Someone needs to be made an example of………there are too many instances of clear corruption for all this to be swept under the carpet.

  23. Ì remember when many of us posted about the detructive corruption particularly in the supreme court, particularly with insurance companies like CGI and especially within government, we were attacked by those sitting behind computers and who refused to get their lazy asses up and check it out themselves, instead they sat there demanding proof as though someone owed them something.

    Countless complaints have been made to chief justice Marston Gibson about the delays CGIs slimy little lawyers and others manufacture and contrive to delay and prevent personal injury cases from closing for decades….Gibson has had the last 3 years to put systems in place to stop these crimes against the court and claimants, he has not, therefore he is inviting critism of his nonaction and can be seen as enabling further destruction of the supreme court by refusing to put an end to these practices…like all the others before him, he refuses to protect the integrity of the court and those people who depend on the court to have their cases fairly adjudicated in a timely manner…

    …Gibson could never be that ineffective in NYC and still keep his job.

    …. as Chief Justice he can give the Judges the power they need to put an end to these delays and severely punish those lawyers who continue the vile decades old practice, but just like Frank Alleyne, he sits on his ass enjoying taxpayer’s money and all the perks that goes with his job and does nothing to REMOVE those threats from the supreme court.

    Well here is IMF striking a warning about Sagicor…and putting any future collapse of another ponzi scheme….squarely at the feet of Alleyne, where it belongs this time.

    …someone was telling me a couple years ago there was cause to complain to this same FSC and Frank Alleyne about the nasty criminal practices of CGI Insurance against injured people , it appears these agencies such as FSC are just formed so people can collect salaries but there is no oversight on their part to supervise insurance companies as they should…..they do not do their jobs, they just carry useless titles, talk nonsense from time to time and nothing else…..this agency was formed AFTER CLICO ponzi scheme collapsed…and it is just as useless as before it was created..

    “Another CLICO

    Added by Marlon Madden on December 18, 2017.
    Saved under Business, Local News
    A new report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) paints a frightening picture of the impact that “the failure or near failure” of this island’s most dominant insurance company could have on Barbados and the Caribbean, hinting that it could be worse than the CLICO collapse.

    And while stating that “a brief review” of the Sagicor’s financial statements and actuarial reports “did not reveal any untoward or serious financial or risk-related issues”, the IMF warned that the Sagicor group (SG) “poses systemic risk” for Barbados and the Caribbean region.

    The IMF is concerned about ‘weak’ supervision of Sagicor by the Sir Frank Alleyne-led FSC.
    “The size and complexity of the SG operating in 21 countries throughout the Caribbean, and holding assets equivalent to about 50 per cent of the GDP [gross domestic product] of Barbados, is larger than CLICO before it collapsed,” it said in the 16-page report from an October 9 -13 mission here by its monetary and capital markets department.

    Worryingly, the Washington, DC-headquartered international organization, which was invited here by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) to review the current supervisory framework which it uses to supervise Sagicor Life Inc, found that the FSC was not in a position to conduct group-wide supervision, “and solo supervision is weak”.

    “The group structure, business philosophy and operations are in many ways similar to those of the CLICO Group, another Caribbean financial conglomerate which failed ten years ago, and resulted in substantial losses. Notwithstanding the acknowledgement of the systemic relevance of the group resulting from its size and interconnectedness, no formal college of supervisor exists, nor is the group subject to basic group-wide supervision,” it said in the executive summary of the report, a copy of which was obtained by Barbados TODAY.”

  24. Barbadians,

    How can you allow this despotic government to continue to sell off the countrys’ valuable assets, without any involvement of the people of Barbados.

    Selling the Hilton is disgraceful. Done without any open and transparent consultation with the people. Without any accountability. Without any care for the long term economic consequences for the island.

    Where is the public enquiry? Where is the opposition? How could be allowed this happen?

    The country is being run like a third world Banana Republic.

    • The majority of the public seems preoccupied with the price of a ham and securing a free roti from Chefette.


      On Tue, Dec 19, 2017 at 11:00 AM, Barbados Underground wrote:


  25. the petty, licorish, for the moment mentality embedded in the culture, as usual with no awareness of or concerns for their own welfare, wellbeing or futures of their children or grand chidren..

    just sitting on their asses waiting for minorities to exploit and abuse them..even after 51 years of exploitation, that`s all the idiot crooks of parliament and the miseducated, politically dumbed down population knows.

  26. Since I discovered BU about a year ago, I’ve maintained regular visits to this blog. I try to keep up-to-date on the social and political views submitted here, and I do this in addition to finding other sources of “independent” grassroots information about Barbados.

    Today is the first time I have ever posted any comment on BU or any other Barbados forum, for that matter, but I am so unhappy with what is happening on the island. I felt compelled to join in the forum and express some of my views.

    Why are so many hardworking people of Barbados suffering, while the political class walk all over them and treat them with total indifference. There seems to no accountability for anything!! Some people are doing very well, but in reality the SYSTEM IS BROKEN!!

    It’s not only about the selling Hilton Hotel or Oil Terminal without open consultation
    it’s the Unfair Taxation
    it’s the Environmental stewardship
    it’s the Unemployment and under-employment
    it’s about serious Leadership and good Governance
    it’s about Accountability

    …. this list could contain another hundred items

    Do the politicians read these comments? Do they even care anyway..? I doubt it.

    I don’t know about, nor do I care about the party politics in Barbados. This should NOT be about partisan politics. It MUST be about the stopping the rot… and getting the island back to it’s rightful place as a prosperous environment for all citizens to live in.

  27. @Well Well & Cut N’ Paste At Your Service December 19, 2017 at 5:09 AM #

    Good luck, when a car hits you in Bim insured by CGI. It takes them at least a year to hand over the money even for the clearest of all cases.

  28. How are Bajans going to “Actively” change the existing political system so that it is fit for purpose? Note the emphasis on ACTIVE..

  29. Tron…those are the easier cases, because CGI as insurance carrier for Transport Board for the last 17 or more years, through the corrupt ministers of both political parties has been allowed to do as they like, their corrupt relationships with ministers protect them from consequences….if you are injured in a Transport Board bus, even when the driver is clearly careless and negligent… it can take 10 years or more of delays through the court system.

    Harris is well known for promising to settle cases and never does. …always using lies, tricks and scams to avoid paying injured people.

    There are dozens and dozens of personal injury cases stuck in the supreme court for many years because of incompetence within the court system, dishonest, lying CGI lawyers and anclearly ineffective chief justice and judges……not to mention a very clearly useless FSC..

    Why do you think the Transport Board has no equity, it’s all tied up in liabilities in the supreme court and obviously none of the ministers, FSC nor the chief justice cares enough to bring that criminal from CGI and his vicious greedy business partners to their knees…they care nothing about Transport Board, funded by taxpayers.

    It’s disgusting.

  30. And if all of those frauds who are supposed to protect the court system, protect the claimants/the injured, protect policyholders, protect the Transport Board and protect taxpayers who pay their salaries……instead of protecting the criminals at CGI, CLICO and all the other predators who prey on the population, we wont be discussing any of this.

    If they care nothing about the taxpayers who pay their salaries, or care that this maggot has destroyed a whole bus company with liabilities, do you think they care anything about people who are injured by transport board reckless drivers, injured by a CGI insured car, their suffering or that their cases have gone on for too long.

    These are the most heartless, treacherous generation to their own people once they got those fake titles, coming out of the 50s, 60s and 70s to be found anywhere…it is a good thing they are all ready for their graves.

  31. @ David. It was stillborn!! and that’s it??

    If I may use the same birthing analogy as used above.. How about Bajans begin to do what is necessary to make sure the Freedom Of Information Act legislation is “fully formed” ensuring that it is useful..(NOT neutered or castrated, thereby making it ineffective) and given a healthy birth so that it is on the statutes “before” the elections. Oh I forgot how long it takes to get things done in Barbados.

    I just read the draft version of the document online, and the article in the Advocate in which Freundel said it needs tweaking and tidying up even though he drifted it in 2010 and stripped out the guts from it.. Really??’t-still-committed-making-freedom-informationact-reality

  32. @ Dexter G
    Boss, you can save yourself quite a lot of grief by immediately abandoning ANY idea that normal people live and operate in Barbados….
    You obviously seem to expect that we have laws, courts, rules, etc, and that there is accountability for action, consequences for results etc….

    We don’t do it THAT way….

    However, if you should manage to come to terms with the concept of ‘brass bowlery’, then you would have grasped our situation here precisely.

    …but welcome to BU.

  33. Sorry Dexter G….there will be great disappointment for you if you are holding high expections of seeing results that will benefit the majority population coming from the tainted, blighted slaves of parliament, who only exist to please the exploitative, abusive criminals in the minority population….as long as there are bribes in it for them.

    There will be no FOIA….

    No Integrity Legislstion

    NO Anti Corruption laws etc as long as these political beasts are being fed through their sell out their own people agendas.

    Their evil, demonic, greedy, corrupt nature is real and not any figment of our imagination….as many on here spent years trying to make us believe..

  34. Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has defended his government’s decision……

    wanna can figure out the rest of the baloney.

  35. Now that the documents have been laid last night (May 13th 2018? at the BLP meeting in Oistins, we see the attempt to divert attention of the bullet sale of the HILTON HOTEL by Monday 21 May 2018 (Whit Monday BANK HOLIDAY). with concerns relating to a meeting with a Nigerian businessman. The meeting according to the documents is being convene to close the deal before elections.

    A deal reported to have questionable concerns of the valuation of the sale of the HILTON HOTEL from a real valuation figure of $200M+ USD to a reported closing value of less than $90M USD.

    Also concerns were raised of an individual who holds responsibility of two business entities that supports and is RELATED the buyer. This person is also seeking an extension of service by the local body.
    Other concerns relate to additional development of the plant/property not inclusive of the hotel sale as well as the accommodation/allowances by law to facilitate compounded value inclusive of financial projections of earnings and employee considerations.


    “the eulogy has been read”

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