Another Grenville Phillips Column – White Oak

fscwhiteoakThe Government has allowed an unusual amount of transparency with the White Oak contract. The recent (12 May 2019) Financial Times article reported that White Oak would receive an “absurd” fee of US$27M. I assumed that they meant US$2.7M since the calculations were done by Financial Times’ staff, and the error could have been missed by the editors.

Avinash Persaud responded to the Financial Times article, but surprisingly, he did not challenge the reported fee. Rather, he claimed that Barbados got value for money. Then Clyde Mascoll provided a similar endorsement, with the shocking claim that no Barbadian could have done the job. Their uncritical and fawning endorsements of White Oak should demand an unbiased examination of this no-bid contract.

In their contract, White Oak specifically state that they are not providing any accounting or legal services. They are mainly giving advice, for which they are to be paid a monthly retainer fee of US$85,000. They also get a success fee of 0.45% on foreign debts that they can get cancelled or amended, and 0.40% on any local debt that they can get cancelled or amended.

The total Barbados debt was approximately BD$15B, with about $12B in local currency and $3B in foreign currency. The BERT restructuring of the local currency debt resulted in a BD$2B reduction of our debt. We were told that White Oak were working on the foreign currency debt.

If White Oak can save Barbados from paying 25% of the foreign currency debt after one year of negotiations, then they stand to earn a success fee of approximately US$1.7M plus a retainer of US$1M. This total fee of US$2.7M led to my assumption that the decimal point was mistakenly omitted from the Financial Times’ article.

The only way that White Oak can earn anywhere near the reported US$27M, is if their success fee rate is applied to the total local currency debt, instead of just the amount that they can successfully negotiate to avoid us paying. Clearly that could not be the intent, since success fees are normally applied to the amount that the consultant can save the client from paying.

If White Oak’s success fee rate is misinterpreted to be applied to the total debt, then White Oak can ludicrously get creditors of Barbados’ $15B debt to agree to a one-month delay of payment. For that lunatic advice, White Oak can legally earn US$30M, and we would still have to pay the entire $15B of debt. No political administration could be foolish enough to sign such an unfair contract.

The retainer is also badly arranged, since White Oak can simply make US$1M each year by doing absolutely nothing. After approximately one year, they still have not completed renegotiating our foreign currency debt, which is what they were reportedly contracted to do.

This confusion could have been avoided if the Contractor General, who should be able to identify weaknesses in contracts before the Government signs them, had been appointed. The BLP promised to address political corruption by appointing such a person, but has yet to do so.

The listed services that White Oak are contracted to provide, should be well within the competence of any accounting firm in Barbados experienced in liquidation or judicial management. If such local accounting firms agree with Clyde Mascoll’s assessment of their competence, then they should be ashamed of themselves for their incompetence, cowardice, or both.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at

64 thoughts on “Another Grenville Phillips Column – White Oak

  1. perhaps you have / had the decimal in the correct place and the remainder that makes up for the $27 mil US is for political overheads or whatever euphemism they are using under the BLP to describe the numerous ministers, consultants, czars, gurus and other hangers on

  2. Also glad that you challenged the statement of Dr Mascoll.

    50 years of free education, a plethora of advance degrees across numerous disciplines and we are nowhere near the competence of a two-man team. Not even an approximation.

    Soon they will be telling us we do not understand Bitt scam.

  3. Enuff

    It should be guvment to deny that steel is in this contract.

    More broadly, could there be anything this administration might do to attract your criticism?

  4. Enuff:

    I researched the matter, and was a consultant on several projects where we were paid a percentage of what we were able to save the Client.

    To knowingly sign a public contract, to force the public to pay a success fee that is applied to the gross principal amount does not show that you care for the public one bit. Wise up.

  5. Your article is riddled with errors. I am not even opposing your position because I am not interested, but at least get the facts right. Carry on.

    • @enuff

      Do you agree that White Oak should have earned a flat fee on negotiating local debt restructure given it was a simple job to accomplish?

  6. @ Grenville Phillips

    Again a good article (you still pulling blows but in time that will change I hope)

    You have 2 articles here on BU which will garner support

    Try not to publish a third one simultaneously because it will diminish your application to each one.

    Also, push your other people in the fray Mr Phillips so they can get insulted and cussed and called liars AND UNDERSTAND WHAT IS THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO US THE ELECTORATE.

    if you are representing the people then we the people have rights to challenge you as our potential representative.

    We want good men and women Grenville NOT WUSSES

  7. David
    I can’t agree what I don’t know, I’ll left that to the BU experts in feelings . McKinsey charging PR $3.3M per month and has earned over $70M so far while the final bill is expected to be $1.5B. You feel that too high? The fact remains that GP article is riddled with errors.

  8. Piece:

    I pull punches only to stay on the right side of the defamation line – which professionals should never cross.
    I publish one article each week (52 each year). Sometimes an additional article is required, like for this week.
    I do not mind insults – that is par for the course. I welcome harsh criticism of our policies – because that benefits the public. But I will push back on defamation – hard.


    According to the article, the Auditor General, Mr. Deodat Sharma is reported to have said, “I believe it is more frequent now. There are a lot of sole sourced contracts and every other day you have some issue with breaches of contractual or tender board procedures. Even the recommendations for corrective action, most of them are not being implemented.”In the absence of any knowledgeof a claim by Mr. Sharma, disassociating himself with the above statement, I can only conclude that it was indeed made by him.

  10. The discussion is once again so typical for Barbadian academics. They only see the small crap on the floor, but not the big tidal wave rolling towards them. If I were you, I would pray that White Oak is successful. Otherwise, the lights will go out in Barbados. Wily is right about that.

    Instead of moaning about White Oak, it would be far better to offer a sacrifice to our beloved goddess Bim so that she can show her prime minister the right way in her dreams. If the Prime Minister fails, Barbados fails. So whoever wishes Mia Mottley bad things is a bad patriot. It is therefore time to stop criticising the government and show solidarity and patriotism.

  11. @ Tron

    Instead of moaning about White Oak, it would be far better to offer a sacrifice to our beloved goddess Bim so that she can show her prime minister the right way in her dreams. If the Prime Minister fails, Barbados fails. So whoever wishes Mia Mottley bad things is a bad patriot. It is therefore time to stop criticising the government and show solidarity and patriotism.

    Why doesn’t Mia lead by example and give up her $20 thousand plus a month to include Salary and Allowances?

    And show solidarity and patriotism with most of the suffering people on the island.

    I believe and stand to be corrected that she draws a Politician pension of an additional $8000 plus a month so she can easily manage.


  12. Dont pay Tron no mind. He is a wealthy self serving bastard having no empathy or thought of mind for the poor
    In one of the local papers there is a story of a woman protesting outside parliament about this govt insensitivty to the needs of the most vulnerable in so much that they cut her monthly financial benefits from 800hundred dollars to 41.67 per month
    Tron u are a waste and need to go hide your face

  13. @Barbados 2019 May 29, 2019 3:01 AM

    False accusation.

    The new government is a government of the people and for the people.

    Even if I personally would like it to be otherwise, I have to admit that the moderate cuts the government has made in the social net and the efforts to achieve tax justice to date have avoided major social distortions. That is not even my personal opinion, but also the opinion of the IMF.

    By the way, I prefer a prime minister who communicates with people every day and knows their needs and cares for them, as opposed to a former minister with a residence permit and villas in Florida. Here, too, it is evident that the Prime Minister does not make policies for the rich, but for the entire nation.

  14. How can you accuse a government of social injustice that taxes villa owners heavily but offers free university education?

    – fair and balanced –

  15. “Very good. I doubt the debtors would have screamed if it was 2.7M.”

    The IMF were the FIRST to start SCREAMING…about those shite consultants

    “How can you accuse a government of social injustice that taxes villa owners heavily but offers free university education?”

    useless SELL OUT HOUSE NEGRO…maybe because the MONEY BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE ENTITLED TO HAVE THEIR MONEY PAY FOR THEIR EDUCATION…as it has paid from the 40s for you CORRUPT THIEVES education and all you learned to do was …to rob the BLACK population…FRAUDS.

  16. Mia commuincation is built around the power of self fulfilment and an authoritarian style to convince the people that she has her best interest and has nothing having to do with the pain and depleting of household fiances
    In today local news we hear of water rate increases for Commercial business
    Well all knows that the working stiff would pick up that increase as resolution by businesses would further decrease the finiancial where withall of the people by way of there pocket books
    In a year nothing has been given back to the people but more pain and suffering with more to come

  17. Why does Grenville have to sign off all his articles with his qualifications? Is this a Bajan thing?

  18. when i first when to the UK i worked in a firm where a lot of stealing from the workplace or pilfering (as the Brits called it) was going on. a particular mate used to say, ” Greeny, if you do it, do it early. never leave it to late in the day as you are likely to be grassed.”

    it seems to me that a lot of the BLP either worked in the UK or had comparable experience elsewhere

  19. Tron:

    You wrote: “Instead of moaning about White Oak, it would be far better to offer a sacrifice to our beloved goddess Bim so that she can show her prime minister the right way in her dreams.”

    I think that you be the one to bring down our Prime Minister. To be a sycophant supporter is your decision and will likely not affect her. But to cross over into being a lunatic may definitely hurt her. You are doing Mia Mottley a grave disservice with your lunatic statements. Wise up – unless that is your intent.

    “So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.” (Acts 12:21-23)

  20. “it seems to me that a lot of the BLP either worked in the UK or had comparable experience elsewhere.”

    what many do not know…that is why we continually warn yall about this destructive yardfowl philosophy both ugly DBLP parties concocted…which runs CONTRARY to the Constitution…….since the the CONSTITUTION…neither recognizes political parties…NOR yardfowls…

    be aware now ya eyes opening

    that these THEFTS OF LANDS FROM BLACK PEOPLE AND THEIR BENEFICIARIES…started in the 40’s and 50s when the likes of SIMMONS et al…YA CAN ASK HIM YASELF….. and all the other walking dead now polluting the parliament and misusing diplomatic status were university students in UK…all happily forging wills, deeds and conveyances while students in university…the theft from black bajans INDEED STARTED VERY EARLY …long before the population could even understand the crimes being committed against them…which started DECADES BEFORE..

    so their degrees outta UK and other places should in effect read…GENIUS THIEVES.

  21. @ Pachamama May 28, 2019 7:26 PM
    “You are in good grazing …..
    .but yuh tie short’’’

    A good old Bajan saying there, Pacha!!
    Did you use to raise ‘stocks’ with your grandparents? LoL!

    GP 11 might be walking in the right forest but barking up the wrong old oak

    He needs to follow the ‘avinashi rat’ and he would get to see the big slice of the white oak brand of cheese and who else is gnawing at the already scarce foreign money and taking the cream off the top because of the stupidity and financial naivety of the Bajan taxpayers.

    He needs to enlist the sleuthing skills of the ‘retired’ financial journalist, your bête noir the black Englishman permanently resident on BU.

    Since Hal is the BU correspondent on the British ground why not task him with responsibility of investigating any links (financial and otherwise) between the oxymoronic ‘persauding’ capital intelligence (not the Yankee financial AI outfit) and the associates making up the company Quercus Alba?

    Why not engage the services of the wily oak to find foreign developers for the All Seasons project of financial and environmental Disgrace?

  22. @ nextparty246 May 29, 2019 9:07 AM

    You can turn it around any way you want. Since the election in May 2018 we are experiencing an absolute negative campaign against Mia Mottley and her capable team. It is a fact that 95 % of all contributions on BU are directed against the government, partly up to open defamation (accusations of corruption, where no corruption can be seen).

    Before the last election you always attacked DLP and BLP at the same time. It’s as if you wanted to do DLP’s job and pin DLP’s failure on BLP. I remember the time before 2008 under OSA. It was a great time and the island triumphed.

    You called this figure Sinckler “your finance minister” before the election. You said that we all had to support this minor. You probably hoped for bread seeds from the DLP table. All in vain.

    I will not be banned from being the positive voice of reason here and from promoting trust in government action. The Prime Minister is unprecedentedly open and honest, saying that the hard times will last until 2025. A very realistic assessment and no airy promise like before May 2018.

    Of course, my contributions are cynical – to challenge the constant naggers who speak ill of everything and deny the democratic decision of 30 to 0 seats.

  23. Open and honest you say…wuh i could swear Gaston Browne had to expose the latest scam… telling the people she sold 49% shares in LIAT when she sold 39% and got 10% hiding.. ??? wuh is that what really happened Tron??????…notice i put enuff, enuff question marks…lol

    yall hot to sue and we hot to lock up.

    ah know yall did something wicked recently..ah asked ya what ya did…but ya can keep it nah know none of you.

  24. @ Tron May 29, 2019 6:41 AM
    “The new government is a government of the people and for the people.”

    That’s a massive leap of faith there, Tron! Much unlike you!

    So why can’t the “new government” show how much confidence it has in the people and express its appreciation of its 30-0 victory by telling them (the people) who are the ‘real’ financial backers behind the revised Hyatt hotel?

    Would the Hyatt resort be built using FDI, local private sector financing or the NIS funds?

    Where would the foreign exchange be coming from to underwrite such a massive balance of payment outflow given the current IMF programme?

    When the “new government’ is able to disclose and discuss the most important aspect of the Hyatt project, then and only then would the “People” consider it to be a genuine investment to benefit Barbados and not some mirage reflecting the scamming intentions of politicians equivalent to that of the Cahill incinerator or the US $270 million modern sugar and energy generation factory at Andrew’s or the Pierhead marina or the Sugar Point Cruise Ship terminal.

  25. And trying to get Gaston Browne to keep the negotiations secret…FROM HIS OWN PEOPLE…a PM that is KNOWN for not suffering the corrupt or corruption not even in his own ministers…and ya trying to corrupt this man…

    unlike you lowlifes…he KNOWS the money, the shares AND EVERYTHING…belongs to the majority Black population in Antigua and he KNOWS he is not supposed to ROB THEM…so yall may not want to be intimidating and bullying him for ya own nasty intentions and crimes against ya OWN PEOPLE.

  26. Ah told yall these DEMONS interfered with a WEST African descendant from a specific BLOODLINE …AND NOW CANNOT STOP TIEFING..

    everything they touch TURNS INTO a scam, a frame, a sabotage, a cover up, a robbery, a set up….THAT IS NOT NORMAL….when everything ALWAYS…turns into one of these 6 blights…

    THEY HAVE MARKED THEMSELVES….by their own evil actions..

  27. @ Hal Austin May 29, 2019 7:57 AM
    Noted. I used my credentials to prove a point: to annoy the hell out of my detractors ,enemies and back stabbers who were not as competent as me and who made sure that after my company went bust ( internal struggle for company control) and I was up to my neck in debt to the banks, that I couldn’t get any work.. To tell the truth. I nearly ended up on skid-row with that little episode. I always had a lot of will power and it was the latter that made me pull through. That was a learning experience I can tell you. People looked on one as though one was a pariah. .

  28. Abigail de Salemite

    “Was Mia trying to hide 10% shares in liat and keep it for sheself. While telling the people she sold all 49% murdahhh”

    When or where the PM said she sold any shares in Liat far less all? Dishonesty fits you well.🤣🤣

  29. @ Robert Lucas,

    I have noticed it. It is very American. In fact, the chairman recently told us that Darcy Boyce had lots of letters after his name, clearly meant to close down further discusson. Nearly all our MPs also list their qualifications.

  30. Looka here:

    “Hal, who was born in the Ivy, St Michael, won a scholarship to attend Combermere School and left in 1963. He then went on to study at Middlesex Polytechnic (now university), and undertook various undergraduate and post-graduate studies at Cardiff, Thames Valley and Bristol Universities. Hal also done a number of courses [sic] at the London Business School. #coursebehindname🤣🤣

  31. @ Hal Austin
    My doing so was purely for revenge purposes. I even stated that in one of my articles to the press. There I was being treated as a pariah and the only thing I had going for me was the fact that I was more qualified than all my detractors. It was a solace or therapeutic healing for me. My motives were definitely not altruistic. You are correct it’s Very American.

  32. Next Party I see you looking at contracts so I got a case of civil in-justice I want you to address.

    I come home this evening to find a Land tax bill in my mail box for the same amount I paid last year for a 12 month period, however this bill only covering the period from the last bill till now which is only roughly 7 months. So can you tell me if I should go to the Fair Trading Comission and lodge a complaint for receiving a bill for a calender year but only covering a 7 month period?

    I mean I ain t got no alphabet behind my name but somehow to pay 12 months in land rental to the government for only 7 months of occupancy seem wrong to me.

    Help advise a small man what to do here fellers cause the way I see it this tax period I either getting double bill per months of occupancy, or I get a 50 percent in land tax based on me paying in 7 months what I paid in 12 last year.

    So wait next year bill going come out in February then and we going pay a full land tax amount for 8 months next year too?

    Grenville help who to call????

  33. Barbados Labour Party will hold a meeting in Carlisle Carpark on Sunday evening @6PM. The purpose is to give a one year report.

  34. David I ain t want no meeting I want a pro rated land tax bill that will bill me only for the period passed. You can’t bill someone in October for land tax and then come back in May and charge them the same amount again. A year is 12 months has always been and will always be.

    I guarantee this issue going blow up in you all face. People and businesses don’t have money sitting down for this type of nonesence. So what does this say if unchallenged? It says you can bring next year’s bill in February no problem.

  35. David start a new thread with this as the topic if you doubt me and let’s get the pulse of the people.

    As it open I will drop the first comment and let’s go from there.

  36. Start a new thread David I going Give you the headline


  37. John
    I notice the land tax gone up sky high…like a thief in the night…not a word from Finance.I saw one for a residential,property went up 33 1/3 %.Murda!!

  38. @ John A.

    I dont think you are John The Quaker.

    The Honourable Blogmaster is not going to start an article like that which would discredit his government

  39. Gabriel not only sky high but we getting 2 land tax bills in less than 7 months! Land tax is an annual bill how could they expect to send out one in October and one in May! So not only is it only 7 months between billings instead of 12, but as you see some gone up 30% too.

    So what will stop them now from bringing out next year’s bill in February? In other words another 8 months from now instead of 12.

    You got to wonder how this could even be legal and who if anyone will defend the property owners.

  40. Pieces no I am not John the Quaker. Is he also a blogger?

    David may have his party loyalty but I have also seen him entertain free discussion, so he has proven to be somewhat open to hear public opinion. Besides the party loyalist can defend and others can pose questions. Topics like this need to be ventilated. We can’t have this kind of draconian decision being made and not push back, if so what’s next?

  41. John
    Your point is well made.The tax demand is for the Financial Year 2019-20 so that Finance would proffer that the payment can be demanded anytime after April 2019 but in that event the next payment should not be due until April 2020,one year after as you have pointed out.I was around long enough to know that these tax bills offered a 10% discount in the first instance usually in November and a 5% discount in the second instance in December before the full amount is due and payable.Now it’s a 5% discount only after which the full amount is demanded.So we have seen significant changes in the Tax Demand Notice without so much as a whimper from Mr Ryan Straughan. (1)A big increase,(2)less discount for prompt payment and (3)less than a calendar year elapsing before demanding the following year’s payment.Property owners are sitting ducks as are the PAYE class.

  42. Gabriel I just spoke to friend with a vacant lot and he is in a state with what his has gone to. Thing is he has been trying to sell it for 2 years with no luck and now the cost to own it is over 30 percent more. On top of that too by some miracle a year has now been transformed to 7 months.

    Yes you are right not a squeak from the economist and yet another move done in the power of darkness with little discussion that suddenly has seen the phenomena of a 7 month year being born!

    Plus as you say if you realise the maximum discount is now only 5% and you add the lost 5% to the 30 percent increase, we heading closer to 35% increase in real terms to many owners.

  43. This will drive another fatal nail in an already weak real estate market, where many have been forced to drop their rents by 25% just to try and avoid their properties being empty. On top of that they now have to face this too.

  44. Tron:

    What negative campaign? The media are generally supportive of the current administration.

    As for corruption, no-bid contracts are be their very nature corrupting. The BLP promised us that they would address political corruption by appointing a Contractor General. Instead, they have signed well over $100M in no bid contracts without the promised oversight of the CG. Therefore, should this not attract valid suspicions of corruption? If not, then why not?

    The BLP’s OSA was our (Barbados’) finance minister. So was the DLP’s CS. So is MAM. It is in all of our interests if they succeed.

    It is extreme partisan supporters that ensure that only half of a country’s resources are used every 5 years. That is not in any country’s best interest. Your accusations are stupid. Wise up.

  45. “When or where the PM said she sold any shares in Liat far less all? Dishonesty fits you well.”

    So then she should not be PISSED at PM Browne…for telling his people what is going on in LIAT negotiations…what is there to hide…not every leader is WILLING to KEEP INFORMATION FROM THE VERY POPULATION…WHO PAY THEIR SALARIES..

    so of course we can all presume…THAT YALL GOT CAUGHT AGAIN.

  46. John A:

    It can be challenged in court. However, even if David C was available to represent the public and win in court, they would likely change the law to make the over-charge legal – as they made confiscation of part of our retirement savings and pensions legal.

    If the amended law was challenged to be against the Constitution, they would likely change the Constitution to make their actions Constitutional – as they have done repeatedly.

    We are in the ‘like it or lump it’ phase of the BERT program. Only the sycophant supporters enjoying the fatted calf like it – the rest of us must lump it.

  47. #webetternothearshekept10%secretly..

    cause ya done know…there will be hell to pay, cause PM Browne will not be keeping ya SKIMMING SECRETS…that we done know…lol

  48. Pingback: Two Land Tax Bills in Eight Months | Barbados Underground

  49. Next Party sounds like we are in a dictatorship where our rights have been removed. Sad day in bim

  50. @ John A

    Did you say DICTATORSHIP?

    The dreaded “D” word?

    Watch yourself yuh!

    Just now Hee Hee and Hee Haw going appear on the blog to chastise you for that word

    I hope you dont live on the island

  51. @ John A

    It is a benevolent dictatorship. Take the medicine, it is in our best interest. The president knows best. By the way, with a 29/1 parliament, does the president hold Cabinet meetings? And if so, do ELECTED ministers have an equal say? Or do consultants, privileged senators (with MAs in something called Political Sociology) have more say?

  52. John A: No dictatorship. She is simply being badly advised that the BERT plan is the only way to avoid economic ruin. Her advisers are wrong and too arrogant to consider any other viable option – despite the PM’s prime directive that all ideas must contend.

    For balance, the DLP had the same approach absent the prime directive.

  53. Poster you were the WHITE OAK before Election, hope now you can see you were wrong, You can not manage Fraud, it must be identified and then clean up in Order to Move Forward, Your failed to admit is another failer you have, Clean and Clear yourself and come again this time the Right way,BFP ,

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