Four Seasons Project: Public Servants Must Serve Taxpayers NOT Politicians

The Four Seasons Project – Story of Failure continues to be an example of how the public continues is short changed by public officials elected and recruited to serve us. The inability of taxpayers to solicit answers to legitimate questions regarding the quality of decisions made by successive governments is an embarrassment to the type of democracy we should be aspire. This has to be a significant contributing factor to the social dysfunction we have been reminded by the Trojan Riddims video affair – see How De Yutes Get So?. Officialdom expresses righteous indignation at a group of artistes for violating public morals of the country, however, successive governments and public servants have been unable to defend malfeasance, financial indiscipline highlighted in years of Auditor General (AG) reports. It is surprising local calypsonians hasvenever penned a title ‘politicians laughing at we’. The Paradise 88, Four Seasons, Clearwater Bay issue suggest there is opportunity for another title, ‘public servants also laughing at we’.

Some took umbrage to the call by BU that some public servants should be fired for unresolved issues highlighted in years of AG reporting- see 2020 Auditor General Report – Time to Fire Senior Public Servants. Yesterday AG Leigh Trotman was quoted in the press calling for tougher legislation to force public servants to comply with requests for information to complete audits. A decade of AG reports and not one person handed over to the justice system for processing. Not a single public servant sacked. As we prepare to convert to a Republic meant to solidify people power, it begs the question – why are senior public servants betraying the trust of the PEOPLE?

The Four Seasons matter is a classic case of the cloak of secrecy zealously guarded by politicians AND public servants. How on earth can a government incorporate Clearwater Bay Limited, appoint directors who are public servants with a fiduciary responsibility to citizens of Barbados, yet, feel comfortable guarding the interest of politicians and the money class? These public servants must be held accountable.

Although the AG is constrained to audit public sector business, it should not be forgotten the other signature on public agreements is often times a private sector player. The company Clearwater Bay Ltd had oversight over the transaction which led to the following comment by the AG:-

The treatment of the investment in Clearwater Bay needs to be further explained. The investment in this government-owned company was recorded at a value of $124 million investment in prior years. It represented an investment by Clearwater in the Four Seasons Hotel project. The value of this investment remained unchanged on the books of government for several years even though the property on which the investment was based was significantly impaired.

Leigh Trotman, Auditor General

The part of the AG’s comment (highlighted) taxpayers should be concerned about is that public servants who sat on the Board of Clearwater Bay as directors have been complicit in the ‘cover-up’. Many, if not all of the directors are considered respectable citizens of Barbados and competent public servants. The meetings of Clearwater are recorded in board books and should be available to the public. Unfortunately the public does not have the avenue of Freedom of Information legislation to activate an important check and balance in our system of government, this should not be necessary if the public servants serving as directors of Clearwater protected the public’s interest they are ethically required to do.

It is never too late to right a wrong Directors.

William Decoursey Layne

Adrian Maurice King

Louis St. Elmo Wooddroff

Margaret E Sivers

Sonia Carol-Ann Foster

Julia Thorington-Powlett

Nancy L Headley

Enter Clearwater to see Clearwater directors listed in the ICIJ – Offshore Leaks Database.

Related Documents:

  1. Paradise 88 and Clearwater Sold to PHARLICIPLE INC
  2. Request for Offers to Purchase and Develop ‘Paradise Property’

82 comments

  • Don’t care how you tell them that they are ALL PAID SERVANTS….paid by the PEOPLE…and not the corrupt government ministers, they are still hardcore YARDFOWLS who ignore that fact and do whatever wicked government ministers tell them….just to keep a job..

    and the name of that lawyer is always STEEPED in some type of thefts, they don’t work for the people, they work for corrupt governments and thieving minorities but are paid a salary by the people and they don’t have any shame, they collect their salaries and still turn traitor…same at the judiciary and in every taxpayer funded entity, traitors taking salaries from the people and working WITH THE CORRUPT TO UNDERMINE THE POPULATION.

    they have no morals, ethics, care for the people who pay their salaries, and NO SHAME..

    that scam would have to be created under Owen government, taken further by Thompson, with Mia as the lawyer and carried to it’s TIEFING CONCLUSION by all involved.

    both corrupt political parties need disbanding, they are both a blight on the landscape.

    Like

  • David
    This article is fatally flawed. For it is predicated on the misnomer that a British-minded public service ever had any allegiance to any publics anywhere.

    Yes, this is what has been constantly drilled into our heads but in reality the public service has always been about keeping the public away from what democracy was to be about – people’s power.

    It has always acted as a buffer in the war between the masses and the elites

    It has served itself

    And on and on,. You get our drift.

    Like

  • @ David

    The PAC’s investigations of the Transport Board has recommenced, with former GM Sandra Forde giving ‘evidence.’

    Liked by 1 person

  • The question should be, how come the Transport Board according to Forde, never had adequate state funding but yet…THERE WAS ALWAYS SO MANY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS LAYING AROUND TO TIEF..

    that’s the reason for the investigatons….all those missing millions and whole buses disappearing, wonder if they ever found any of them..

    Little Island, Big Thieves

    Like

  • “but in reality the public service has always been about keeping the public away from what democracy was to be about – people’s power.”

    been telling them that for years, that’s how the colonial system was designed, NOTHING derived from slavery is good or real..

    Like

  • But when is PAC going to investigate present govt handling of monies missing
    Tax waivers and all the other mishandling of govt spending
    Also land giveaways
    Ensuring minds want to know

    Like

  • “But when is PAC going to investigate present govt handling of monies missing.”

    What “monies (are) missing?” Or, is “monies missing” because Verla and Guy seh so?

    Like

  • @Pacha

    Your comment is a good reminder UK pubic servants are sworn under the so called Official Secrets Act in the interest of national security, a public service system we pattern. What we are hoping to do is disrupt the culture. To trigger change often times it requires a maverick behaviour, some one to swim against the normal way of things. It must be done to earn the title of patriot.

    Like

  • @Artax

    Watched a little of it yesterday. It seems so pedestrian leading to an inevitable result.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Just the other day David 34.1 was bitching with biased bad reasoning about Public Services budgets and staff headcount being too high, but public servants are underpaid and overworked and require the same level of high standards due diligence and professionalism as the Banking Financial and Accounting Industries who are rewarded beacoup recompense for their skills and experience. As the workers in Banking Sector would say when challenged about their lack of effort and work ethic.. “Who cares?! It ain’t my fucking money”. Fundamentally flawed bad decisions and reckless spending by bad Government is above the public servants pay grade. So the ball is kicked back into the political arena for scapegoats to be lynched and hung from the sycamore tree. Heads must roll. The buck stops here.

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  • William Skinner

    @all
    Agree with @ Pacha that the article is “fatally flawed.” It’s actually DOA because it makes the assumption that public servants can like magic create reports from information that is bogus.
    Pray tell which public servant could have stopped Greenland, Cawhill or the write off of 124 million dollars regarding Four Seasons./Clearwater.
    We have short memories but some years ago Dr. Clyde Mascoll exposed corruption in the Hotel industry (GEMS) and nobody went to prison then either. Were the public servants responsible for that?
    In recent times public servants have been into to parliament to be questioned by the politicians. How come not one of the politicians asked about Four Seasons/ Clearwater.
    This “ fatally flawed“ piece tries to kick the bucket down the road.
    The damn truth is that there is massive corruption in the affairs of the state. The BLPDLP has raided the treasury as it likes. But as always , we like to pretend otherwise but no amount of window dressing is going to get past those who think for themselves.
    The article is a weak premeditated attack on the public servants designed to let thieving politicians off the hook and to shift the narrative from the Auditor General’s report about the massive corruption that now envelops our country , fuelled by two political parties that behave as they like supported by their brainwashed apostles here on BU and elsewhere.

    Like

  • David

    Your intentioned objective is not the first time somebody has so proffered. Indeed, we’ve been discussing these issues here for a decade.

    The G7 is currently meeting and Bideni has been making noises about democracy verses autocracy as organizing principles, with all the ironies implicit.

    Seems to us that yours is a microcosm of this larger conversation which has been ongoing for decades.

    And as you may know that nothing is going to change in Barbados before this international issue is resolved and the requisite time tag has been dutifully observed.

    We remain unconvinced that any of the structures in Barbados hold the capacity to transform themselves.. That radical transformation, not tinkering, can only be imposed from without. And the civil has always been the conservator of backwardness.

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  • @William

    As usual you join the fray with a bone already stuck in your craw because you have a philosophical position that public servants are entirely blameless in the process. For your information, the blog is questioning these public servants who possibly abdicated their fiduciary duty as directors of Clearwater by presiding over a questionable transaction between Paradise 88, Clearwater and a company incorporated to purchase a publicly owned asset. Further, the auditor general in a report yesterday carried in the Barbados Today suggested the laws should be changed to ensure his office can hold public officer more accountable as far as supplying info needed to do the people’s work. Implied in Leigh Trotman’s infrequent public pronouncement is that we have public officers frustrating the process.

    Auditor General wants legislative backing to hold public officials to account – Barbados Today

    https://barbadostoday.bb/2021/06/11/auditor-general-wants-legislative-backing-to-hold-public-officials-to-account/

    Liked by 1 person

  • William Skinner

    @ Pacha : “And as you may know that nothing is going to change in Barbados before this international issue is resolved and the requisite time tag has been dutifully observed.”

    Nothing is going to change in relation to what ? The Auditor General’s report?

    Like

  • William
    Governance, our relationship to t h e socalled democracy, the role of the uncivil service, the relative power of elites forces, official political crimes being unpunished, etc

    Like

  • fortyacresandamule

    Like any board in the private sector, the public boards are there as another layer to protect, in this case, the interest of the taxpayers. But it seems the people who are appointed on these boards are there to inflate their linkin profile and feather their own nest at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

  • fortyacresandamule

    Barbados rating on the annual corruption index is deeply flawed. We should be in same category like Nigeria.

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David BU
    An article that attempts to zero in on the problem of accountability for Public Funds. As expected those who want to debate petty politics are uncomfortable.You are quite correct in pointing out that continuity of public accountability has to reside in our senior public servants. They need the testosteronic fortitude to say :”No Mr. Minister,. This is not who we are. My advice to you is to follow the Financial Rules and Administrative Act , Sections A,B, N etc”

    Like

  • “The G7 is currently meeting and Bideni has been making noises about democracy verses autocracy as organizing principles, with all the ironies implicit.”

    G7 are led by Warmongers and their Military Industrial Complex MO
    when USA and UK were droning muslims on the rob like bug splats China was helping develop developing nations
    now the white boy spy spin is China is a threat to their New World Order odour
    Lizard Johnson is talking about inequality out the other side of his face like he gives a fuck

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    Is that not the reason we make Public Servant virtually “fire proof”. It ensures them a certain level of freedom to give objective advice.. It is also the reason for having the Auditor General’s independence specifically written into the Constitution.

    Like

  • fortyacresandamule

    Sometimes democracy don’t work. Criminals and crooks love the protection and loop holes in system. It is issue like this that I crave for a BIG STICK ruler, who just come about and punish those corrupt and incomptent bastards to the fullest extent.

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David Bu
    Your auto correct is beginning to over react. Perhaps this is the signal for he to recuse myself.

    Like

  • “They need the testosteronic fortitude to say :”No Mr. Minister,. This is not who we are. My advice to you is to follow the Financial Rules and Administrative Act , Sections A,B, N etc””

    Have you ever met a Bajan with the testosteronic fortitude to say boo to anyone it simply does not exist it is just a figment of the imagination in the fantasy minds of spineless slow thinking bajans who lie and make up war stories about their life spinning yarns
    Bajans are not belligerent rebels like Jamaicans they are soft like a penis with erectile dysfunction

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ 555 etc
    Do you not think it is time WE meet some?

    Like

  • William Skinner

    @ Pacha
    Okay understood. Perhaps the only way forward is for the region to become go rogue and begin declining to accept these impositions.
    I know Lamming has fervently denounced managerial imperialism of the region.

    Like

  • WURA-War-on-U June 12, 2021 6:09 AM #: “The question should be, how come the Transport Board according to Forde, never had adequate state funding but yet…THERE WAS ALWAYS SO MANY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS LAYING AROUND TO TIEF..”

    “SPOT ON!!!!”

    Like

  • fortyacresandamule

    What disturb we the most, is that, sometimes you have people from the various private financial sector professions who are appointed to these boards and without fear of reputation risk, just sit there and go along with the status quo.

    People who should know better are CAPTURED by the system. Go figure. Or they might just see this gig as a means to pad their resume.

    Like

  • The next time whunnah see Empress Mia or the six negroes featured in the photos. Just ask dem deh simple question:

    Like

  • The mavericks don’t rise high enough to say anything to a minister. Those who rise are usually yes.men or women or cut from the same cloth as the politicians.

    Barbados and Barbadians try to remove your backbone from in the cradle.

    Mavericks are labelled rude, bad behaved, mad, miserable and rebellious.

    Women especially are told to “be ladies” and not rabble rousers.

    We are reared to shrug our shoulders and ask, “Wuh yuh gon do?”

    People who wish to shake up the system are therefore rare and so they find themselves standing alone on the battlefield.

    Easy to pick off!

    Like

  • Ask any bus driver and he could tell you what was wrong at the Transport Board.

    I could write you a book.

    Like

  • @Vincent

    The other question not included in this big to avoid breaking the word limit set is, directors have the responsibility under the Companies Act to make decisions in the best interest of the company, not to anyone that appointed them read the political directorate.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Vincent Codrington like the quintessentially retired public servant would insist that life tenure for his ilk is required to combat the excesses of elected politicians. A one footed argument, dated as it is. wilh all the structural failings we witness.

    Should this form of dictatorship not be checked by a right to recall, remove? How is it possible to have a democracy when any idiot public servant could frustrate an elected official?

    Like


  • “Do you not think it is time WE meet some?”

    Hmmm..
    That sounds like an interesting thought experiment subject matter hypothesis for the Bajan scholars to grapple with and produce their next thesis on
    but surely if there was a Bajan man or woman with big enough balls you would have met him or her already..
    Big words like “testosteronic” and “fortitude” and legal speak like “Financial Rules and Administrative Act” are not part of a mantra to be just simply repeated but has to be chanted with intention and has to become as if it is part your very being to absorb the mantra within yourselves until it sings us and chants us and all the cells of your body become rejuvenated in wisdom so even the sky is not your limit

    Perfecting Wisdom
    Teyata Gate Gate Paragate
    Para Samgate Bodhi Soha

    Gone, gone… gone far beyond to the
    awakened state.

    Inner Tuning: Absorbing this mantra, I move beyond all names, all forms, all identity, all limitations.

    Like

  • There’s a naïveté in some comments indicating an autonomy of thought among government workers. You work within set rules & regulations and the better you know them, the faster & further you advance. Your choices at clear. Either buy into the group speak & maintain upward mobility or opt to have a stalled career or exit the bureaucracy.

    Like

  • @groslyn

    Then what is the point, all should prepare to go down in flames if we do not have the courage to be the difference maker.

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    @groslyn
    Possibly you can direct the blog to the “set of rules and regulations” you reference, which explain why annual reports are consistently not made available to the AudG office, and/or why the AudG attempts to get information are consistently thwarted/ignored..

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    @WS
    Disappointed with your 8.17 contribution. I suggest a few stiff rums, connect the dots, and hopefully you may appreciate the intended target. The path merely runs through the public service.
    Their rot lies in their complicity, not in their intent. Though separating the two can be difficult in the face of “no information”. Yours is precisely the defense the political elite desire.
    Recall how the USDOJ got to DI, and with time ( extradition?), the other two as well.

    Like

  • Who remembers Katherine Gunn?

    She leaked top-secret information to the press concerning alleged illegal activities by the United States and the United Kingdom in their push for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. This occurred in the home of the Westminster System and the mother of the civil service we parody in Barbados.

    Like

  • @ David

    It is a fact government ministers do not have access to government’s financial records to compile accounting transactions, make adjustments and prepare financial statements.

    Nor can they walk into the Treasury or any ministry under their portfolio and demand to be given $24M and put it in their pockets.

    The financial statements of government ministries and departments are prepared by the Accountant General’s Office, while those of the various state owned and quasi government enterprises are prepared by their respective accounting officers.

    We all know Greenland, GEMS, Clearwater Bay, Hardwood Housing, CAHILL, write-offs, etc, are among the ill-advised political decisions politicians make, which the Auditor General highlights or query in his annual reports. So, it is ludicrous for anyone to ‘say’ people seem to be suggesting public servants are responsible for those occurrences.

    But, what about the material misstatements………. errors of omission or commission, under and over statements, incorrect classification of data and other ‘anomalies’ in those financial statements that the Auditor General also comments upon in his reports as well?

    Perhaps those individuals who claim they’re able “to think for themselves” could explain to BU, who is responsible for recording those financial irregularities…………… government ministers or public servants?

    Additionally, we seem to be conveniently or purposely ignoring certain facts probably in an attempt to facilitate our specific agenda. “Public servants have been into to parliament to be questioned by the politicians” on matters relating to the estimates of expenditure.
    Questioning them on issues such as “Four Seasons/Clearwater” would come under the purview of the PAC.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ David

    Another fact is, BOTH public sector employees and politicians use creative methods to steal money from central government and statutory corporations. And, in some cases, politicians steal with the assistance of public servants and owners of companies that are awarded contracts to provide goods and services to government agencies.

    A minister would make sure his friends’ companies are awarded contracts, who in turn gives him a ‘draw back.’ For example, a certain retired individual who is now working at NHC, was contracted and paid to provide a specific service (that was beyond the scope of his expertise) for a government agency. Someone else was contracted to complete the service. So, we have two people being paid for supposedly providing the same service.
    How about the consultant who was being paid $10,000 per month for almost one year, to implement a tax system for the BRA, which was eventually not considered for use.

    We’ve heard about a former transport minister receiving gifts such as a Mercedes-Benz motor car; and another former transport minister and his colleague, the former environment minister, driving vehicles owned by a company that repaired vehicles for SOE’s under their portfolio.
    The former minister of trade was recently convicted of money laundering in the US, based on his receiving a ‘draw back’ from ICBL.

    Recently, a clerk was convicted of stealing over $1M from the Psychiatric Hospital, by authorising payments to ‘ghost companies and individuals’ that supposedly provided the hospital with goods and services. One of his girl friends ‘spilled the beans;’

    Another guy stole approximately $800,000 from the BRA and was able to leave the island;
    a guy, who is now deceased, was arrested and charged after it was discovered he was including ‘dead people’ on the QEH’s payroll and collecting salaries/wages on their behalf;

    three NIS employees, including a husband and wife, stole over $900,000 in a benefits cheque scam;

    it was revealed that some people at Licensing Authority were suspended because vehicles owned by certain companies were ‘passing inspection’ without being inspected.

    It was revealed during the PAC’s investigation into the Transport Board, the former chairman would travel to various countries to source bus parts, paid for them with his personal credit card and was reimbursed by the Board.

    I also recall, when then minister of social care, Sinckler, talked about houses built by UDC, under the OSA administration that could not be found. Ironically, the AudG raised similar concerns about UDC, under the former FJS administration.

    These people completely ignore government’s financial regulations.

    Under these circumstances, we have to agree with an over enthusiastic Mr. Skinner that “The damn truth is that there is massive corruption in the affairs of the state.”

    Like

  • @Artax

    A mouthful.

    Who gave the late Hadley Byer the contract to import thousands of meters for the BWA. Who influenced the decision?

    Who gave Caves Barbados the directive to retained his brother Richard Byer to review agreements, in one case charging over $700,000 for a cookie cutter review?

    The AG commented on both matters with not a boy or girl handed over to the justice system or fired for flouting the financial rules.

    In all of these transactions public servants are intermediaries, possibly will participants.

    These are tax dollars given away. We like it so.

    Like

  • Buddhist Monk version of mantra for Perfection: Teyata Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Soha by Deva Premal and The Gyuto Monks of Tibet who are known for their rich undertones and overtones in music

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David at 11:42 AM.
    You are correct. Some commentators ignore that basic requirement in the Companies Act.

    Like

  • 555dubstreet

    It isn’t that Bajans are talawa like Jamaicans, it is the social forces which shaped the collective apparatus of the Jamaican populace.
    And this you ought to also know, unlike Jamaicans, Bajans do not believe in violence as jamaicans do, to force social and political change.

    Like

  • @ 555dubstreet

    We are not an impulsive people. De majority of bajans renounces violence.

    Good afternoon Davie..Did you partake of de usual hog today ???

    Like

  • David are you aware of the limitations laws to hold public service workers to account. You can only make a claim against malfeasance and are awarded nothing except for remedy of errors and the means to follow these complaints are make a formal complaint which is automatically rejected and then subsequent complaints at various levels of management which are also rejected and then at the top level of chairman which is rejected and then file a case through a tribunal process.

    Like

  • William Skinner

    @ David @ Artax
    And after all that , we still believe that we should have faith in either of these two parties.,Almost all day on BU, we chronicle their collective misdeeds only to prove that our party of choice is cleaner / or better than the other.
    Corruption is corruption nothing more nothing less.
    After such extensive chronicling what do we have.to show ? Who has been brought to Justice ? One single man and he was arrested and charge in the United States of America! Where is our collective shame ?
    Like I said and will continue to say: The pot calling the kettle black. From Greenland to Cawhill a trail of poor governance and corruption.
    And on this BU, it is apologized and reasoned for to defend either the Democratic Labour Party or the Barbados Labour Party. A pathetic , deceptive breed of brainwashed apostles who operate in the interest of Roebuck and George Streets. And once you don’t pick a side, they can’t stand to read anything you write . I hope you all burn in the political hell where you belong.

    Like

  • William

    Don’t hate the player hate the game.

    Politics is a mugs game for suckers.

    Both parties are just two sides of the same coin.

    The beast has many heads.

    Like

  • William Skinner

    @ Northern Observer
    A fair comment but you are not one of the brainwashed apostles on BU who are very skillful at defending the BLP and DLP.

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  • William Skinner

    @ 555 dubstreet
    No hate here at all. But it’s important to let these apologists and brainwashed apostles of the BLPDLP know they are not fooling anybody who can actually see through their intellectual dishonesty ,
    while pretending they are the paragons of balance. No hate at all.
    I’ve been dealing with them since the 70s. Six of one half dozen of the next.

    Like

  • William
    FYI
    “dont hate the playa hate the game”
    is a phrase or idiom from an Ice-T song
    your specifying not hating is a bit anal

    Like

  • Re: Politicians

    Don’t hate the hustlers
    hate the hustle

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    @Dub 6.34
    Are you aware the GoB incorporated a company, and these persons ( who happened to be public employees) were appointed Directors of that Corporation.
    The target is their role as Directors, not as employees of the GoB or any role they had as a public employee.
    The GoB went before Parliament and enacted a Bill, which laid out in some detail the 5 (or maybe it was 6, I forget where Cinnamon 88 fit) other entities it was guaranteeing “loans” and the amounts and reasons were laid out via the various Tranches of loan monies.
    The stated reason for this, was to permit the FS project to restart.
    The AudG makes reference to the ‘hotel owner(s)’, but since no hotel was actually built, I am unsure to whom he refers.

    Like

  • William Skinner

    @David, @ Artax
    Should have actually read : I hope they burn in the political hell and not “ you” burn in the political hell.
    Since the posts was sent @ you both. Apologies.

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    @WS
    You have to ignore the noise, and focus on $124M that is “missing” especially in light of the island’s debt situation.
    The docile nature of Barbadians is a strength, but potentially a weakness when others run brazenly over them. They tend not to know how to react?

    Like

  • That’s the opportunity they use to steal billions of dollars and leave the most vulnerable without water and in poverty..”They tend not to know how to react?;.tthey were indoctrinated with OUTRIGHT LIES for 54 years..

    that docility will cost Black lives on the island with these dirty no good lying ministers/politicians and their minority crook friends riding roughshod over the people..

    the people have to STOP listening to these liars, frauds and THIEVES in the parliament.

    Like

  • NorthernObserver
    Nope I wasn’t aware that it was a Company, which means the title and subject of this thread had not made the distinction either.
    Presumably the Government wanted their interest to be made as a Private Company, now it is failing it is purely business not political.

    Like

  • Sounds like Four Seasons was a Government bailout, same with LIAT, could these be the reasons Government is now bankrupt.
    Maybe Independence means Barbados can have a sovereign currency and print money like USA and UK do.

    Like

  • Timely accounting essential
    The history of the Public Service of this country in accounting for and producing the relevant documentation touching on public expenditure is once again a current and critical debate, but the time for talking must end.
    Some critics speak of corruption and their views are not misplaced. Others speak of bringing in the police and other investigators and things of that sort. There are many views about what can and should be done.
    And there are many reports of successive Auditors General speaking to the question of more staff to assist with the tasks constitutionally assigned to that office.
    With respect to all that has been said, perhaps we may offer a few suggestions in the hope that the public interest will be protected. The most contentious point emerging from the Auditor General reports over the years is the fact of late submissions to his office of the financial statements of the enterprises to be audited.
    Perennial
    There is also the non-production or non-timely production of documentation required by the Auditor General’s department. These complaints are perennial. They are to be found in the reports year in, year out. It seems to us that apart from identifying formally the accounting officer of the various enterprises, a person has to be identified within each enterprise who will have to ensure the timely production of the financial statements.
    If need be, formal legislation should be enacted to ensure that such an identified person understands that he has a legal duty to submit the reports in a timely manner and that penalties enforceable at law will be applied in any instance where the statements are not filed on time.
    There should also be an officer similarly identified who will be responsible for registering and archiving all documentation relating to public expenditure over a specified amount. Equally tough sanctions will be applied to any defalcation of duty by this officer.
    The relevant new penalties should not exclude loss of employment as the ultimate sanction. We must not underestimate the importance of proper records. Corruption, if it exists, or bad or negligent management inimical of the public interest, can be concealed if documentation is absent or does not exist or is not produced to the Auditor General’s office.
    Proper paper trail
    For all we know, widespread corruption may not exist. That is not the point. What is important is a proper paper trail on why, how and where the public funds have been spent or how the public interest has been otherwise safeguarded when funds are due to be collected.
    It is incredible, to put it mildly, that dishonoured cheques in the millions are in the hands of ministries. What efforts were made to get in these monies? Have the issuers been informed that their cheques were returned?
    Assigning an officer by name and job description as having the specific authority, for example, to deal with dishonoured cheques could solve that problem.
    We can no longer tolerate slack or non-existent accountability for the performance of specific duties designed to protect the public interest.
    Let us get real. Politicians are constitutionally responsible. It is the officers whose actual day-to-day job it is to perform on whom we must now also specifically focus our attention. Financial statements must be on time and proper records must be kept. The public interest demands it.

    Source: Nation News Editorial

    Like

  • Dems’ questionable $124m judgement

    The political silly season has started in earnest.
    The Reverend Guy Hewitt has launched a bid to oust Verla De Peiza from the presidency of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). The party is now split since Mr Hewitt, it seems, has the support of some Dems.
    Some political commentators have studiously looked at this action, which seems to me, if it succeeds, to be akin to trying to change horses in mid-ocean. All I can say is walking on water is not given to human beings.
    I had intended to focus exclusively on the lack of politics in the Four Seasons project, but the description by senior DLP member, former Senator Reggie Hunte, comparing Mr Hewitt’s entry to that of a calypsonian arriving “on the stage by helicopter” underlines the large crack in DLP unity. It is a description that will stick!
    I soon expect to hear references to “helicopter Hewitt” because internecine party politics can be a cruel business, especially when annual conferences start.
    But let me illustrate how the silly season has really started. I turn to the Four Seasons project. If ever there was a project which is in this country’s national interest to get started and completed, it is the Four Seasons project.
    Now, this project was started under the Dems. The project fell victim to the 2007/2008 financial crisis after it started and after international investors had put down their money on residences to be built as an integral part of the project.
    The DLP tried unsuccessfully to restart the project. That was an honourable thing to do since they were seeking to do so in the national interest. They failed.
    Eventually, they decided to commit the people of Barbados to guaranteeing a $124 million loan from the AnsaMcAl Merchant
    Banking Group to the project and passed the relevant legislation in Parliament in early 2010.
    The guarantee given by the Government converted what was essentially a private sector investment to what then became in a real commercial sense a private sector/public sector project.
    Giving that the guarantee might be called if the project was not restarted meant that the Government of Barbados had skin in the game . . . and during the debate the BLP drew attention to this real risk.
    However, the DLP Government had backed a $124 million liability and made itself liable. But it got a 20 per cent stake in the project.
    Hence, speaking strictly, from the perspective of company law, and the duties of auditors, it is clear to me that the Auditor General would wish to see all the documentation relating to the guarantee transaction agreed by the Dems to verify the critical aspects of the transaction.
    As a matter of constitutional law, it would also be his duty. So to ask who was the Four Seasons lawyer and who was in charge of the project is to change the core of the essential debate.
    The issue is that $124 million has been paid out on the guarantee agreed to and signed on to by the DLP when they were in office, and with prominent Dems trying to inject political slings directed at the current Prime Minister in this matter is to obfuscate the issue.
    To speak on this issue as though $124 million of public money has been missing is what DLP supporters are trying to do; and is a disservice to both political parties if the issue is fully understood . . . . But, as I said, it is the silly season and anything gets thrown under the bus including the truth, the public interest and sometimes one’s own party.
    The gravamen of the issue is the judgement exercised on signing the guarantee and, now, the production of the relevant documentation for the Auditor General. The adjacent issue is how well was the Government’s guarantee supported by legal techniques in case the public money had to be paid out.
    That is the Auditor General’s concern, but it is also a question for the DLP!

    Ezra Alleyne is an attorney and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly.

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  • Like they didn’t tief enuff in that fraud project, they plan to TIEF MORE..

    IF THEY TELL YOU TO WALK….sprint like Bolt, they are all LIARS..

    Like

  • . NorthernObserver

    @Dub
    I cannot refute your conclusion it was a bailout. Much points in this direction.
    Yet it would “appear” based on the numbers, that either they were significant additional guarantees, or certain inflows were not credited to the company.
    The 5 tranches mentioned and their various sub-tranches were to total US$60M which bears a striking similarity to BDD$124M. That would mean EVERY loan was defaulted on, and all operational allowances were spent in full.
    Without the accounts it is all guesswork

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  • The Auditor General should have TOTAL POWER.

    https://barbadostoday.bb/2021/06/12/transport-board-under-auditor-generals-microscope/

    “The issues raised include management practices, overspending, a missing bus, over-invoicing, fleet shortage, purchases of reconditioned transmissions, lack of management meetings, a major reduction in ridership and difficulty in paying suppliers, among others.

    Zeroing in on the issue of fleet shortage at a time when substantial sums were being spent to constantly fix faulty buses, the auditor general called on Forde to give an assessment about why that was the case and what action management had taken during her tenure to rectify the situation.

    Forde simply responded that it was due to “inadequate funds” from the Ministry of Finance.”

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  • So who is the insurance company for Transport Board again, when last did CGI Insurance pay out, made attempts to settle or brought the cases to closure in the last 15 plus YEARS……or are most of the cases still LOCKED OFF IN THE SUPREME COURT…thanks to delinquent lawyers and judges…

    people are sick and tired of all of you sucking on BLACK LIVES…it’s time for everyone world wide to know exactly who you are…

    Like

  • fortyacresandamule

    When we as a people are this docile as a sheep, those in power will see this as a weakness and abuse our gentle disposition. It was said we were the best slaves of the lot.

    Like

  • Further to my point, do note that I spoke to the reality of the public service. This is from observation since I’ve never been a servant. What I know of it is that those who are critical of the public service usually leave because few can take on a bureaucracy & win. Those who are forced to stay usually become belligerent or worse. In my time working as a quasi, I’ve had people being sent outside of the process for employment or accommodation, have been warned about taking food out of people’s mouth because I referenced the Financial & Audits Act, etc. I’ve been in the trenches working to make changes so know what it takes to win battles as well as the reality that fighting against the tide gets you exhausted or sometimes lose you your job.
    Those in the system just laugh at the blogs suggestions & comments knowing full well the AuG will not ever get the information required. I also suggested a fix for changing the public service. Oh by the by I was also an auditor.

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  • The following is an extract from a 2007 dissertation by a South African on the AG service there. This comment is directed at those who are of the blinded view public servants should be exempted from being held accountable.

    In relation to late submission of financial statements, heavy penalties should be set on departments which submit late. Officials who are responsible for such misconduct should be reported directly to the Accounting Officers and face disciplinary measures. This should also be acknowledged on their appraisals at the end of the year. Encouraging personal responsibility on government officials will therefore be an effective measure to ensuring accountability.

    Click to access 49241517.pdf

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  • @Northern Observer

    Have you heard David Ellis explaining why the $125 millions from his understanding from what Ryan Straughn stated last week was removed from the books? In a nutshell it would have been unreasonable to ask the investor to assume the debt.

    Like

  • @ David June 14, 2021 10:38 AM

    (Quote):
    In a nutshell it would have been unreasonable to ask the investor to assume the debt. (Unquote).
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    LOL!!

    Is it being suggested in the MoF’s quarters that the AG has been “unreasonable” also in asking for a rational explanation for this ‘unusual’ write-off of a non-performing asset?

    Of course asking an investor to assume the “debt” would have made the ‘sale’ of the property less attractive.

    But the questions still remain:

    Which investor is/was this?

    Who are the current owner(s) of the Four Seasons site and what plans are on the table to put the long idle property to productive use to generate employment and earn forex for the country in order to repay the massive foreign (restructured) loans including the growing IMF millstone around the Bajan taxpayers’ necks?

    Like

  • DavidJune 14, 2021 10:38 AM

    @Northern Observer

    Have you heard David Ellis explaining why the $125 millions from his understanding from what Ryan Straughn stated last week was removed from the books? In a nutshell it would have been unreasonable to ask the investor to assume the debt.

    Xxxxxxxxxx

    You got to be the biggest dummy to belive that tripe
    What investor
    Is Ryan saying that the building has been sold
    Why didn’t Ellis asked him for the name of the Investor and how much was paid for the property
    Look at that David can’t belive u would repeat that tripe

    Like

  • This govt said that bajans are fools and everyday some one steps out to prove this govt right

    Like

  • Pingback: Barbados Underground | Gold Club Properties Real Estate

  • NorthernObserver

    @David
    I did not listen to the referenced exchange.
    However, if you go back to Act of guarantee, and the intended uses of the various Tranches, they were paying off existing debts. The Act/Bill does not reference what consideration ( security) the GoB received for their financial exposure. One might expect if the intent was to re-start the project, some stipulation between funds flow and measurable actions would have been presented? The reported gatekeeper was one ‘Consolidated Finance’. What I fail to appreciate is exactly why the GoB saw the need to make all and sundry “whole”. The taxpayers took a huge hit. Why was it their fault?

    Like

  • What about governments stake in the company, was it 20%?

    Facebook is listing that Maxine McClean is scheduled to discuss the matter on The Marcia Weekes Show at 1AST. Search Facebook or YouTube. The blogmaster will not have the time to view/

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    What is “the company”?
    It is lovely a former unelected Minister of External affairs sees fit to talk, but like you, I will have to listen to the recorded version.

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    Lost.
    The GoB owned 💯% of Clearwater Bay Limited.
    They were at least 6 other companies related to the FS development. Several had the “88” moniker. Some like Eastern Resorts were UK incorporated, Cinnamon 88 was a BVI entity.
    Hence without name I am left guessing “the company” refers to the entity which actually owned something of value (land?).

    Like

  • @NO

    Government when Persaud was in the chair negotiated a golden share? What is the status of governments interest in the transaction now that the 125 million was taken off the books.

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    I would say…ask Persaud?
    I recall something about this share, but as Billy P sang….nothing from nothing leaves nothing. Maths even JohnK can agree with?

    Like

  • Forward to about 24 minutes into the video:

    Like

  • The Seasons saga
    MY FRIEND EZRA put up a valiant argument on page 25A in the SUNDAY SUN on June 13, 2021 and did not even have to mention the $40 million in cash paid or the expected 84.5 per cent of share earnings that the Government now is expecting from the new owners in the eventual sale of the Four Seasons property.
    I had written an article shortly after the eventuality entitled Deal Or No Deal (DAILY NATION of November 4, 2019). I believe that the previous Government under pressure invested $125 million of our money in the project by way of guarantee and eventually had to pay that amount to Ansa McAl Merchant Banking Group when the project went belly up.
    That investment may have been made in order to save face as many international investors and big names had already participated.
    Real cost
    My article sought to imply that the real cost to the eventual buyer was just the $40 million paid in cash for the prestige property and that the 84.5 per cent of expected earnings for preferential shares promised to Government was in fact meaningless in the light of possible accounting processes and the real myriad of problems facing the new owners for an expected opening in the near future.
    In fact, it was a real bargain for the buyers and the Government did not have a good deal. There was no clarification of how the 84.5 per cent entitlement of preferential shareholding before ordinary share entitlement was related.
    My friend Ezra says that the Government got a 20 per cent stake in the property but from my limited point of view the 84.5 per cent of earning in preferential share “before the owners participated in profit”, amounts to what Paddy shot at, and Paddy was a marksman.
    So the question remains. Who got a good deal?
    Up to this point there has been little activity to warrant the expenditure of $40 million, so it
    is not clearly evident who got a better deal.
    However, each passing day without activity increases the time that the investment can claim depreciation and further reduces the possibility of dividends accruing to warrant payment for ordinary or preferential shares. However, my friend would claim that the Government extricated itself from an embarrassing investment.
    The interest of the Auditor General would be an opinion on the potential value of the investment now as it concerns the Government and the taxpayers. That is, what Paddy got for his marksmanship.
    The statement that the Government got a 20 stake in the project is not very clear. In my assessment, I might have overlooked the fine print although it is not clearly stated the relationship between the entitlement of 84.5 per cent participation in dividends and the eventual buyer.
    I quote from my article. “However, for whatever reason, recovery of part of the $120 million (should have been $125 million) already spent on the property by the Government in the amount of $40 million cash is something. What was amazing is the ability to participate in the 84.5 per cent of preference shares before the owners recover a cent of profit. On the surface this is fantastic negotiating by our team that should be very familiar with the property. However, I would always remember the course to which Barclays Bank sent me in the 1960s. I was taught how to present a balance sheet. I will never forget. Don’t we see the confusion of claims for taxes from international organisations by governments where international business is conducted in many countries? Don’t we see the plethora of tax experts engaged by these international Fortune 500 companies. to save their company from paying taxes?”
    Perhaps my friend would like to reassess his exultation in the light of my commentary.
    Negotiating experts
    We are left to wonder who were the negotiating
    experts in a project to which Ansa McAl Merchant Banking Group would previously advance $125 million and the project only was able to fetch $40 million – a project for which my friend Butch (God rest him in his grave) would have given his right hand to control.
    But why does my friend include in his article, “Who was the Four Seasons lawyer and who was in charge of the project?” when the real core argument seems to be the impending sally from up north. I do not believe that such a reference is complementary to his argument.
    Harry Russell is a banker. Email quijote70@gmail.com

    Source: Nation News

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  • Give Auditor General more teeth

    No responsibility of government is more fundamental than the responsibility of maintaining the highest standard of ethical behaviour for those who conduct the public business.
    – John F. Kennedy
    INADEQUATE POLITICAL ACCOUNTABILITY measures are often reflected in large numerical losses, estimated at about US2.6 trillion per annum globally. However, given our general assessment of the Auditor General’s report, Integrity Group Barbados (IGB) proposes that the real cost of mismanagement of public funds and accounting inaccuracies are more far-reaching.
    Indeed, the implications of public malpractices can reduce every taxpayer’s prospect for economic prosperity, every time it occurs. More importantly, financial mismanagement of state resources can translate to qualitative underdevelopment trends, that are characteristic of many Caribbean states. Suffice to say that the promotion of political accountability, buttressed by formidable transparency mechanisms, is every civic minded citizen’s business.
    The implementation deficit
    The following are noteworthy of the Auditor General’s report:
    • irregular tendencies in Government expenditure and the prevalence of administrative deficiencies within public institutions.
    • engrained limitations in the managerial operations of state resources.
    • the absence of comprehensive criteria of determining appropriate beneficiaries of state welfare assistance, utilising cost-effective financial inputs to generate productive outputs, and
    • inadequate monitoring and evaluating of state-funded programmes that are necessary for providing assurance that financial decisions were legitimate and practical.
    Consequently, the report has offered recommendations to reinforce financial discipline, and related policy instruction on efficient procedures to remedy accounting lapses.
    However, consecutive Auditor General reports note that, to a large extent, corrective measures to rectify the infractions remain disappointingly unchanged. In the last report, the Auditor General aptly stated: “I am not aware that my requests are being addressed and this is unfortunate as it negatively impacts on the effectiveness of the Office in the recruitment and selection of staff and in the use of resources approved by Parliament in bringing to the forefront any issues pertaining to waste, abuse, and breaches
    of laws and regulations to ensure that there is greater transparency and accountability in the affairs of Government.”
    These sentiments are germane to the financial improprieties disclosed in previous auditing reports of public offices under successive administrations.
    Such patterns are indicative of the almost perpetual state of financial blunders, pointing to chronic recurrence of inaccurate accounting records. They also necessitate enforcing improvements to institutional operations, and changes to workplace cultures within the public sector. Thus, the execution of audits and the submission of related recommendations do not guarantee strict compliance, and are insufficient conditions for the effectiveness of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) in safeguarding political accountability.
    What explains the disparity between the provision of clearly defined and straightforward communicated financial and budgetary advice and the implementation deficit? The volatile politicoeconomic climate in which our parliamentary system operates is too complex to offer a single answer without the risk of over-simplification. Nevertheless, the inability of the Auditor General to administer enforcement can be offered as an explanation.
    The limited scope of the Auditor General
    The Auditor General is handicapped by the absence of legislation and the inability to enforce existing legislation as it relates to ensuring that public officials and bureaucrats comply with best practices. Exacting appropriate remedial action where evidence of malfeasance abounds is legally permitted in accordance with the Public Service Act and Financial Administration and Audit Act. However, the absence of enforcement capabilities of the Auditor General does not facilitate sanctions in the form of suspension, much less dismissals as stipulated in these acts.
    In 2020, the Auditor General petitioned the Government to allow the OAG to penalise acts of delinquency. He has also been championing legislation that would allow for punitive measures against public servants for violations, particularly in relation to the non-submission of critical documents. He noted that these pieces of legislation must be adequate in nature, by outlining specific corresponding disciplinary enforcements to prevent ambiguity. However, in Barbados, despite the legal provisions, there have been no cases of prosecution emanating from the reporting of financial maladministration. This lack of action has undermined public sector effectiveness.
    The limitations indicate that although the Auditor General is responsible for making referrals based on investigative inquires, the imposition of penalties falls outside of the scope of his mandate. In comparison, in jurisdictions such as South Africa, the Public Audit Amendment Act (2018) not only empowers the Auditor General to press criminal charge, but to reclaim state losses derived from debt or mismanagement. The act empowers “the Auditor General to take appropriate remedial action” and to “issue a certificate of debt where an accounting officer or accounting authority failed to recover losses from a responsible person and to instruct the relevant executive authority to collect the debt”.
    Similarly, the Office of the Auditor General in New Zealand possesses the ability to interrupt payments from state accounts that are intended for unlawful or unapproved purposes. It is authorised by parliament to require statutory entities to provide documents, explanations, and evidence for questionable transactions. The Auditor General is also permitted to examine personal banking statements at his discretion. Perhaps, there is utility in considering these provisions.
    It is imperative that the Government of Barbados demonstrates willingness in responding to the requests by the Auditor General to exercise enforcement powers, especially in instances where deliberate acts of mismanagement have occurred. IGB supports and looks forward to the implementation of these reasonable and appropriate recommendations from the Auditor General.

    This article was submitted by Integrity Group of Barbados.

    Source: Nation

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