Land Dispute Between Sir Charles ‘Cow’ Williams and Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite

Submitted by Neil a Holder, Political Leader, Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) – Press Release

 

charleswilliams

Sir Charles Williams

I followed this matter in the print media of the Sunday Sun last week and have since heard of a banter on the radio program “Brasstacks” between Sir. Charles Williams and Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite regarding this issue! At this juncture I wish to state very clearly that I have been privy to three occasions prior to the elections where I have personally engaged Sir Charles on this subject on behalf of Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite with both gentlemen present.

In my opinion, Sir. Charles had exhausted every avenue to have the gifted lands approved by the Town and Country Planning Department from inception. From our initial meeting, Sir Charles profusely apologized to Ambassador. Ryan Brathwaite for the protracted delays experienced over the past 9 years citing the then Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart as being the hindrance to the handing over of the lands with the relevant approvals.

In his usual candour Sir Charles gave us a dossier of a multiplicity of correspondence to the Town and Country Planning Department and the Ministry of Agriculture to outline the arduous process and the status to date. This was followed up by an introduction to Sir Charles’  Physical Planners who in return forwarded every iota to both Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite and myself spanning the 9 year period.

It was upon confirmation of receipt of the documentation that Sir Charles gave me full authority to pursue the completion of this matter citing the possibility of my placing some political pressure on the government to do right by Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite. Both gentlemen were extremely frustrated for obvious reasons as Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite wanted to acquire the lands and Sir Charles wanted desperately to deed the gift offered with the relevant permissions.

When asked why Sir  Charles did not alternately choose to offer up a parcel at Apes Hill, the initial reason for the location of the agreed and substantive parcel was that of the locale in relation to the village (Hillaby) where the Ambassador grew up. This was all cited by Sir Charles in the media of recent.

As I came to be acutely aware that Sir Charles had indeed exhausted all channels to acquire the relevant Permissions; I instructed the Ambassador not to engage the media on the matter in the presence of Sir. Charles in the hopes that we could have approached the Hon. Fruendel Stuart in order to have the file reviewed with every expectancy that it would be favourably granted the permissions sought.

To my dismay some two (2) weeks later there was an article in the electronic media where Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite allegedly spoke at length with the press regarding the issues. This was against our mutual agreement in the presence of Sir. Charles and my subsequent admonishment not to go to the public domain with what was at present a very sensitive issue. When Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite was confronted on the matter, his response was that he received a telephone call from that specific media house to query the progress to date on the approvals.

My verification with the media house concluded that Ambassador Brathwaite reached out to them to give the story even against our admonishment and his agreement not to do so in order that we could engage the Prime Minister. By this time I became aware that Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite out of total frustration was becoming devoid of reasoning.

I contacted Sir Charles to apologize for the matter having reached the media which was contrary to our last agreement and understanding. Sir Charles was quite gracious and we then agreed to proceed as planned to have an audience with Prime Minister Stuart.

Once more to my shock and dismay during a conversation with Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite it was revealed to me that he had high hopes of selling the land in order to pursue funding for the preparation process leading up to the World Games qualifiers and the 2020 Olympics.

At that juncture I grew very concerned that an athlete of this calibre was not being subsidized by the Ministry of Sports. I immediately tried to reach out to the then Minister the Hon. Stephen Lashley who refused to accept calls from both Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite and myself. I was later informed that the minister did respond to the Ambassador through a subordinate and gave assurances that he would also have the planning approvals garnered through the Hon. Fruendel Stuart, Prime Minister.

This matter has indeed been a political football that has been kicked off field for reasons only known to the Democratic Labour Party Administration which up until election time has never addressed the issuance of permissions for the subdivision.

It is my hope that this will vindicate Sir. Charles and also engage the attention of the Hon. Mia Mottley Q.C, M.P, Prime Minister where a positive outcome will be concluded.
Let us be true Patriots and reward our Citizens who Excel beyond expectation.

Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) Criticizes Barbados Labour Party Opposition Over Its Handling of the BNTCL SOLTransaction

The Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) has issued a highly critical statement about the lack of action by the Barbados Labour Party over its handling of the BNTCL issue.

On January 4th, 2017 it was announced that the DLP administration had signed a sale agreement on January 3rd, 2017 and would be selling our national asset and family pearl the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited(BNTCL) to the Simpson Oil Limited Group through its St. Lucia based company the Barbados National Terminal Company (St. Lucia) Limited.

The Leader of the Opposition Ms. Mia Mottley QC, MP hurriedly carried a press conference at the office of the Opposition with both Mr. Kerry Simmons MP and herself to address the danger of this potential sale.

Neil Holder took the decision as the leader of the Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) to first call in on Brass Tacks the Sunday morning following the announcement by the DLP administration regarding the proposed sale to express nationally that BIM will do all in its power to halt the sale since it would potentially hurt All Barbadians.

A BIM press conference would ensue during the following week to alert all Barbadians that BIM would be launching a Petition to have the general public engaged to help us to halt the sale of the BNTCL. A campaign ensued where BIM vigorously questioned the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) as to the process and procedures surrounding the sale.

It was at this point that BIM came to the realisation and the FTC conceded that the documentation provided for the public scrutiny was indeed prepared by the SOL Group and Not the FTC as mandated!

The outcome of the sale is now known to all of us!

However, our concern is the fact that this process has had no support from the Leader of the BLP Opposition Ms. Mia Motley to stand in solidarity to work alongside another entity seeking to save the nation of Barbados from what could have been potentially another unsavory transaction where the DLP administration would have uncaringly thrown the country to the wolves!

For what ever reason the leader of the Opposition Ms. Mia Mottley remained silent throughout what would be almost a year! Our question is, the BLP led by Ms. Mia Mottley is now before the country seeking a mandate to become the next government; why was there no opposition or participation in any tangible way to stop the sale of the BNTCL?

Why was Ms. Mia Mottley silent on this and many issues which would have required her vigorous intervention?

Was it because there was no publicity in staging a march of any sort so as to highlight the BLP team all in red?

The Opposition leader Ms. Mia Mottley has dropped the ball on this potentially detrimental national issue for reasons that may be best known only to herself!

For this reason, we say to Barbadians that neither the BLP nor the DLP administration can be considered for election to office during the upcoming constitutionally due general elections to be held later this year. They have both failed us as a country!

As such, BIM is once again calling on the leader of the opposition BLP Ms. Mia Mottley to join the leader of the BIM Mr. Neil Holder in a National debate to tell the people of Barbados what our plans will be to take Barbados forward!
It’s time for Real CHANGE Not Exchange!

 

Warm regards
………………………………………….
Neil A. Holder
CHAIRMAN AND POLITICAL LEADER

 

 

Barbados Integrity Movement Promises to Shut the Country Down IF…!

Neil Holder, leader of the BIM

Neil Holder of Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) promises to call for a national shutdown if the Freundel Stuart government attempts to circumvent the decision of the Fair Trading Commission’s concerning the sale of the BNTCL.

Response to the FTC Ruling AGAINST the BNTCL Sale to SOL Group by the Barbados Integrity Movement

Submitted by Neil a. Holder, Political Leader of Barbados Integrity Movement

 

Dear Barbadians,

We are exceptionally pleased with the ruling of the Fair Trading Corporation (FTC) in its decision NOT to support the sale of our National Asset the BNTCL at this time in its current form.

The Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) sees this ruling as small victory in our monumental task of bringing integrity to governance and the delivery of prudent and transparent stewardship when given the mandate to make decisions on behalf of the people of Barbados.

Suffice to say that the Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) has from inception called for the rejection of this transaction after its careful review of the documentation provided by the FTC which was prepared by the SOL Group for issuance to the Barbadian public for review where BIM has cited that this “Deal of the Century” would be extremely detrimental to our country!

We are happy that the concerns eventually highlighted by the FTC were in tandem with those raised by BIM in its petition and subsequent utterances in the media over a protracted period.

Since all of those concerns have already been vented and are now in the public domain, BIM proposes the following as the strategy forward:


  1. That All Barbadians be granted permission by the Minister of Finance to establish US Dollar (USD) Accounts in Barbados at the bank/financial institution of their choice.
  2. That these accounts will be interest bearing “Tax Free” accounts.
  3. Barbadians be granted the freedom to bring into the country any amount of foreign currency (particularly USD) from a legitimate banking institution once all KYC and AML regulations are met!
  4. That an Initial Public Offering (IPO) be put out for USD shares in the BNTCL whereas USD$100 Million can be raised through average Barbadians who may be interested in having shares in the ownership of the profitable BNTCL.
  5. The share capital of the BNTCL be evaluated based upon the present day value of the organisation taking into consideration the profitability.
  6. Issue an allocated sum of shares to be equally purchased in USD between the two petroleum products providers SOL and RUBIS.
  7. Issue an allocated sum of shares to be purchased by the Cooperative movement in Barbados.

In this regard, we feel that the aforementioned approach is fair and equitable to all parties.

National assets such as the BNTCL which has the potential to harm our foreign reserves and create unsavoury monopolies, unfair competition and potential loss of revenue to the Government of Barbados should Never be considered for sale!

The Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) will not permit now or in the future a sale of the BNTCL to be approved unless the aforementioned conditions are met and Barbadians of all stations in life can own a piece of any such entity.

We wish all Barbados a HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Official Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) to Launch on Emancipation Day

Dear Media Practitioners and Media Houses,

We are pleased to invite you to the Official Launch of the Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM) on August 1st, “Emancipation Day” at the Divi South Winds Resort for 7:00pm in the evening. The dress code is elegantly casual.
The official launch will be followed by a cocktail Mix and Mingle for all guest.
We look forward to your attendance.
Thanking you sincerely in advance.

Neil a. Holder

POLITICAL LEADER
 
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BARBADOS INTEGRITY MOVEMENT (BIM)

Barbados Integrity Movement – Happy Easter Barbados

Neil Holder, Political Leader of BIM

EASTER MESSAGE

FROM THE BARBADOS INTEGRITY MOVEMENT

POLITICAL LEADER – MR. NEIL HOLDER

 

Thursday, April 13th, 2016

Today Barbados celebrates what can be constituted as one of the most significant events of the Christian Faith; “EASTER DAY/RESSURECTION SUNDAY”. Most Barbadians have come from or eventually gravitated to a religious background which has been known to have shaped the fundamental principles from which we are guided today.

While the Barbadian landscape is representative of numerous cultures which may not all share the same religious beliefs; our country for the most part has a deep reverence for GOD and the tenets that are representative of such a belief system through examples of godly living.

These principles are the very bedrock that we as Barbadians have grown to expect in each other irrespective of cultural diversity; principles such as respect for fellowman, respect for law and order, courteous behaviour, helpfulness, respect for elders, discipline and many others too numerous to mention.

Today, let us reflect as a Nation on where we have gone wrong and how we can work hand in hand to recover our very brilliant past and the legacies of our forefathers and in so doing plot a new chart for our tomorrow by the grace of the Almighty God!

Can it be done? Yes, together we will achieve this and together we must!

Let us embrace each other along with all those who have chosen to call Barbados home and in so doing, let us rebuild our society one precious person at a time.

Easter is the message or characterization of the impossible (from death to life) being evidenced by the reality of the power of GOD to change everything negative into a positive for His good.

Dear Barbadians let us accomplish what seems unrealistic to the human eye by fully committing our country’s future into the hands of the Almighty GOD.

Let peace, love, hope and nationhood prevail in every aspect of our society so that we as good citizens can one day soon proudly proclaim “Alas, Barbados has risen again”, with the hopes of never returning to dismal days of deep despair.

Fellow Barbadians we are ready to serve and grow with you; we are ready to chart a new unprecedented course of Nation Building that will enable and empower our generations to come!

Happy Easter and GOD Bless Barbados.

From the BIM – “Together We Will”!

Barbados Integrity Movement Open Letter to the Fair Trading Commission -Proposed BNTCL Sale to SOL GROUP

Submitted by the Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM)

"OPEN LETTER" to the Fair Trading Commission on the Proposed Sale/Merger of BNTCL

Submitted by David Comissiong, President,Clement Payne Chambers

ftc

CLEMENT   PAYNE   MOVEMENT

CLEMENT   PAYNE   CULTURAL   CENTRE

CRUMPTON  STREET

BRIDGETOWN

BARBADOS

25 January 2017

Ms Sandra Sealy

Chief Executive Officer

Fair Trading Commission

Green Hill

St. Michael

Dear Madam

Re: Proposed Sale of the Barbados National Terminal Company Limited and its proposed merger with the SOL Group of companies

I write this “Open Letter” to you as a Citizen and taxpayer of Barbados, and also in my capacity as President of the Clement Payne Movement of Barbados.

Over the past fortnight I have been approached by many individual citizens and residents of Barbados, and – in a more organized manner – by members of the Barbados Integrity Movement (BIM), expressing great concern about the proposed sale of the Barbados National Terminal Company Ltd (BNTCL), and its proposed merger with the Kyffin Simpson-owned SOL Group of companies. (I would also like to note for the  record that the BIM provided me with much valuable information about the proposed sale/merger.)

As you are aware, the statutory agency that you lead – the Fair Trading Commission – was established by the Government of Barbados in the year 2002, and was given a mandate to promote, maintain and encourage commercial competition in Barbados for the benefit of the Barbadian people. In addition, your agency was mandated to prohibit and prevent the restriction of competition and the abuse by large monopolistic enterprises of any dominant positions that they may acquire in any particular area of trade or commerce in our country.

It is also important to note that the other statutory agency with which we are concerned here – the Barbados National Terminal Company Ltd (BNTCL) – was established a mere four years earlier (in 1998) on the identical anti-monopoly principles of free and fair competition.

Indeed, the BNTCL was incorporated by the Government of the day following the closure of the Mobil Oil Refinery, and was designed to be a governmental corporation that would manage the storage and distribution of all gasoline, diesel, heavy fuel oil, kerosene, and aviation (jet) fuel imported into Barbados. And, as a governmental entity, BNTCL was required to relate to and service ALL of the private fuel and gasoline retail companies operating in Barbados on a basis of absolute fairness and equality.

Furthermore, the existence of the Government-owned BNTCL definitely benefitted the people of Barbados, in that the rate of return that BNTCL set for itself was a mere one-half of one percent, as against the previous rate of 12 per cent that Mobil charged when it ran the fuel storage facility! Thus, the state-owned BNTCL was not motivated by mere profit-making considerations, and instead set out to ensure that Barbadian consumers got the best prices possible for fuel products.

And so, over the past 18 years Barbados has consciously pursued a distinct state moderated anti-monopoly policy in the fuel distribution and retail sector of our economy, and this policy has worked well for our nation and people.

Now, however, there are signs that the “monster” of  private sector, profit driven, monopoly is rearing its ugly head in this sector of our economy.

At present, the fuel retail market in our country is controlled by a mere two companies – Rubis Caribbean which controls 30 per cent of the market, and the SOL Group which controls a massive 70 per cent of the market.

Now, this level of monopoly or oligopoly is extremely disturbing as it is: but, to make matters worse, we have recently learnt that the present Government – which was reelected to office in 2013 on a distinctly anti-privatisation platform – has entered into an agreement to sell the BNTCL (the company that owns and operates our nation’s only oil terminal) to the Kyffin Simpson-owned SOL Group, and to thereby bring about a “Merger” between the SOL Group of companies and BNTCL.

It is against this background that the Clement Payne Movement now hereby makes an official request that the Fair Trading Commission carry out a comprehensive investigation into this proposed sale of BNTCL to the SOL Group, with a view to exploring all of the possible “anti competition” and monopolistic implications of the said sale.

Indeed, we wish to remind the Fair Trading Commission that under Section 5 (I) (e) (III) of the Fair Competition Act, Chapter 326 C of the Laws of Barbados, the Fair Trading Commission possesses the power (and is bound by a statutory duty) to take such action as it considers necessary to prevent mergers that are detrimental to the principles that the Commission is mandated to uphold.

The Clement Payne Movement has paid very close attention to Section 20 of the Fair Competition Act, and we believe that this section of the Act provides your Commission with an excellent framework for analyzing the relevant facts and for ultimately determining that the incestuous sale of BNTCL to SOL must not be permitted to be consummated.

The relevant portions of Section 20 are as follows :-

(1)  From the commencement of this Act, all mergers by an enterprise that by itself controls not less than 40 percent of any market are prohibited unless permitted by the Commission in accordance with this section.

(Thus, in light of the fact that SOL already controls a massive 70 per cent of the market, a “prima facie” case already exists for prohibiting its merger with BNTCL ! Indeed, the Commission is obligated to begin the process with a preliminary decision in favour of prohibiting the merger – a decision that may only be reversed if there are really compelling reasons to do so!)

(2)  The Commission shall conduct an investigation into the proposed merger in order to satisfy itself that the proposed merger would not affect competition adversely.

(Mr Mauricio Nicholls, the CEO of Rubis Caribbean, has already publicly pointed out that competition will be adversely affected in that Rubis’ business in Barbados is dependent on the operations of the country’s only fuel terminal, and that with the proposed merger the said fuel terminal will be exclusively in the hands of Rubis’ sole competitor. One therefore cannot want any more  direct or compelling evidence of an adverse effect on competition than this!)

(3)  The Commission shall conduct an investigation into whether the proposed merger would be detrimental to consumers.

(SOL is a private sector company that operates on a profit maximizing principle, and that has to answer to its profit-demanding shareholders. No doubt, it will be driven by the desire to recoup the tens of millions of dollars it will have spent on acquiring BNTCL and by the additional desire to make a profit on its investment. Thus, only a purblind idiot would believe that such a sale and merger would not bring in its train  increases in retail fuel prices to the Barbadian consumer!)

(4)  The Commission shall conduct an investigation into whether the proposed merger will be detrimental to the economy.

(In the six years between 2011 and 2017 Rubis Caribbean purchased Chevron Texaco’s Barbados operations; invested an additional US $50 Million in Barbados; increased its number of service stations from 12 to 17; and is in the process of constructing its Caribbean headquarters building in Barbados. But, Mr Mauricio Nicholls, Rubis’ CEO, has publicly warned that if Rubis’ sole competitor – the SOL Group – is given the distinct and unassailable competitive advantage of owning the country’s only fuel terminal, that Rubis will have to reconsider remaining in Barbados. Therefore, the clear answer to the question is:- yes, the proposed merger would be detrimental to the Barbados economy!)

It should also be further noted that none of the factors specified in Section 21 of the Fair Competition Act for permitting a merger apply to this case. These factors are as follows:-

1.  A merger may be permitted if the parties establish that the merger is likely to bring gains in real efficiencies that are greater than the effects of the limitation on competition that are likely to result from the merger.

(It is difficult – if not impossible – to conceive of a more efficient arrangement than the one that exists now, with the state-owned entity fairly and even – handedly servicing all of the private sector retail companies, and at the same time looking out for the consumer by settling for a rate of return that is extremely modest and yet still sizeable enough to enable the enterprise to make a more than reasonable profit for the Government and people of Barbados. Thus, one CANNOT argue that the proposed merger will bring any gains in efficiencies, much less any gains that would be capable of off-setting the obvious ill effects of the limitation on competition that the merger would cause.)

2.  A merger may be permitted if one of the parties to the merger is faced with actual or imminent financial failure, and the merger represents the least anti-competitive alternative uses for the assets of the failing business.

(This is a total non-factor! Not only is SOL one of the richest, most powerful and most stable companies of Barbados, but no less an authority than Sir Frank Alleyne, Government’s former Chief Economic Adviser, has publicly described BNTCL as the “Crown Jewel” of all Government enterprises! Thus, neither one of these profitable and stable companies requires this proposed merger in order to survive!)

It is against this background therefore that we now call upon the Fair Trading Commission to do its duty and to protect Barbados and Barbadians from the spectre of unhealthy monopoly and the unholy restriction or distortion of competition that this proposed sale and merger portends.

We also remind the Fair Trading Commission that it is an INDEPENDENT entity that is governed by its own Act of Parliament, and that it not beholden to any particular Minister of Government or partisan political Administration.

We trust that the professionalism and objectivity of the Fair Trading Commission will shine through all of its dealings with this matter, and that there will be no need for recourse to the ultimate Review role that the Supreme Court of Barbados always reserves for itself in matters of this nature, particularly where duties are imposed and procedures stipulated by an Act of Parliament.

We now look forward to hearing from the Fair Trading Commission as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully

DAVID A. COMISSIONG

PRESIDENT