From Private to Public – Cinnamon 88 to CLEARWATER BAY, a concern for taxpayers

It started as a private project in 2006 under the name Cinnamon 88 Ltd and through the years morphed to Clearwater Bay Ltd a company registered to do business in 2010. The project has straddled both administrations starting with the late David Thompson and now rest uneasily with the incumbent Mottley who was a legal advisor to the failed project while in opposition. An interesting side note – Avinash Persaud also played a role and would have assisted in him being able to drive the luxury sports car he zips .

We fast forward to the recent 2021 Auditor General report with the following note on Clearwater Bay Ltd can be found.

In my 2018 and 2020 Reports, I indicated that there were some concerns surrounding the accounting treatment of a loan guarantee made by the Government of Barbados through its’ company, Clearwater Bay Limited in the sum of $120 million. This guarantee was in relation to the construction of the proposed Four Seasons managed hotels and villas. The sum of $120 million had appeared in the books of the Government as a receivable for a number of years but was completely written off in 2018. I had previously indicated that enough information was not provided to my Office as to the nature of the arrangement between Clearwater Bay Limited and the developers. I also stated that, in any event, the entire $120 million should not be written off since the lands on which the project was being built were valuable; instead the value in the accounts should be written down rather than to be completely written off.

Based on information made available to my Office, Clearwater Bay held a mortgage over the real property and after the loan was called, Government was required to honor its guarantee and a payment of $124.3 million was paid to the bank. Action was then taken by the Government company to recover the monies expended through a sale of the property.

Audit Update

In respect of the sale of the property, a review of the records at the Land Registry Department indicates that the property has been conveyed to a private company. However, there is no evidence of consideration being paid. Matters surrounding the sale and ownership of this property are complicated and is currently the subject of litigation which is ongoing.

2021 Auditor General Report

See relevant BU blog on CLEARWATER BAY MATTER

A Citizenry Contented to be Baffled by BS

Let’s see which tranches were defaulted and exactly the amount. And what value the “books” placed on the asset(s). All neatly hidden, because we can never see what those entities who received the “loans” did with that money, other than defaulting on repayment. Everybody got bailed out except the local taxpayer.

NorthernObserver (call for transparency by BU commenter in the Paradise/Clearwater Bay matter)

Both major political parties continue to baffle the citizenry with ‘bullshit’ and we accept it. Is Minister Ryan Straughn telling he does not have a recent valuation of the Paradise property to share? Why have we allowed another crisis to go to waste? 

At the best of times the Barbados economy was deemed to be fragile because it is a tourism_service oriented economy which makes it ultra vulnerable to what economists warn exogenous attacks from the global economy.

Post-2018 the incumbent Barbados Labour Party (BLP) after winning the general election, recruited a bevy of financial consultants supported by a 26 member Cabinet. Immediately proceeded to opt for a selected default (SD) on foreign and domestic debt. Fate has intervened and the so-called fiscal space created has been eradicated by a raging pandemic made worse by a 2 week period of ash fall from an active volcano next door on St.Vincent.

Acts of nature have tested the adaptability of man from the beginning of time. This is what we must do, adapt.

Is it the imagination of a lowly blogmaster we have allowed our priorities to shift to ‘less pressing’ matters at this time? All local newsfeeds are choked with traffic about transition to a referendum by 30 November 2021 and the consideration by government- supported by private sector- to regulate a mandatory vaccination policy. Further, we had a march reported to be upwards to three thousand people registering public concern. The news from government and Central Bank of Barbados that there is a hole in government’s revenues of 600 million dollars has not registered the same level of protestations from John Public. Is it fully understood the success of expertly managing the economy of Barbados directly impacts quality of life of individuals, households; food on the table, jobs etc? 

The blogmaster smiled this week while listening to a Canada-based Barbadian economist beseeching the government to decrease excise/ad valorem taxes to buffer increasing cost of imports. The fight to satisfy our taste for imported goods and services to feed the consumption behaviour continues.

Covid 19 virus feeding the pandemic has had an uncompromising impact on economies of developing countries like Barbados. Unlike so-called developed countries, scarce resources have had to be redirected to defend against Covid 19. For Barbados the issue is made more acute because of the pre-Covid 19 state of the economy. 

The structure of the local economy means there is limited prospect of achieving real growth in the short to medium term. The weight of years of debt accumulation means more significant fiscal adjustments – that will be painful – have to be made. Coming after about 15 years of economic fatigue this will spur social fallout. The time has come and gone for our leaders, political and social to govern, to lead. A recommended first step in that process is to immediately desist from baffling the citizenry with bullshit and set about the task of setting realistic expectations.

A word to the wise should be sufficient.

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

Junita 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’


Four Seasons Project – Story of Failure

The most recent Auditor General Report – see 2020 Auditor General Report – Time to Fire Senior Public Servants – continues to generate the usual concerns engaged annually by the general public. Although it must be said there is more impatience being exercised this time around if the blogmaster has tested the temperature of debate correctly. Is it because of the unprecedented mandate given to the Mottley led government in 2018? The promises made during the last general election platform certified by hints of documents secreted in the Red Bag that officials known to have engaged in criminal acts and flouting of government’s financial rules will be held accountable? members of the public rightly (or wrongly) have set high expectation that Mottley will turn the table and tackle malfeasance in the public sector once and for all. Knowing that it takes two hands to clap one can reasonably expect private sector players will be in the frame as well were she to lead Project Corruption Clean Up.

Three years later and it is business as usual on the rock with Minister in the ministry of finance Ryan Straughn still promising that the government is probing malfeasance highlighted by the Auditor General’s recent report.

Two issues caught the attention of the blogmaster yesterday (7 Jun 2021). Minister Straughn admitted the Clearwater Bay Limited (Four Seasons) file has not been digitized and therefore he would have to review said file to be able to respond to a question about the total of the project-to-date lending by government. The other is the alleged $124 million reportedly written off by government.

BU commenter Artax offered the following comment on another blog to explain the $124 million.

Therefore, the people of Barbados have a right to know where the money has gone? And why was this investment valued at $124 million written off.

Verla De Peiza – Leader of the Democratic Labour Party

It’s either Verla De Peiza has conveniently lost her memory or opposing just for the sake of opposing.

Paradise Beach Ltd. secured an 18 month, US$60M (BD$120,000,000) loan from ANSA Merchant Bank, at an interest rate of 6.75%, for the purpose of ‘restarting’ construction of Four Seasons Resort.

The former DLP administration agreed to guarantee the loan in return for a 20% stake in the project.

Paradise Beach Ltd. defaulted on the loan and ‘government,’ as guarantor, had to repay the outstanding amount and interest in the amount of $124,329,766.

Verla was a GOVERNMENT SENATOR when the ARRANGEMENTS were made between the former DLP administration, Paradise Beach Ltd. and ANSA Merchant Bank.

Why is Verla De Peiza saying “the people of Barbados have a right to know where the money has gone,” when, according to Chapter 2, pages 25-26 of the 2016 Auditor General’s report:

This amount ($124,329,766) was subsequently brought to book in the accounts of the Treasury as an account receivable. There has been no movement on this receivable account for the past four (4) years.” [2.49]

There is NO information available on whether there might be a need to write down this receivable or WHEN or HOW THIS AMOUNT will be REPAID. [2.49]

2020 Auditor General Report

Did the former administration use tax payers’ money to guarantee a loan for Paradise Beach Ltd., without negotiating the necessary arrangements to recover the funds, if the company reneged on its commitment to repay?

From whom or what company would the former or current administration recover the outstanding debt, especially if Paradise Beach Ltd. is defunct?

How can one deem $124,329,766 to be ‘missing,’ when the amount has remained on the ‘books’ and uncollected for ‘several years’………. and ‘yuh doan know who to collect it from?’

JADA’s Secret Company (Pharliciple) Listed in the Database Paradise Papers – PARADISE GONE

The startling revelation made public by Barbados Underground on February 20, 2018that the government of Barbados SOLD what Barbadians refer to as Paradise or Four Seasons needs a fuller explanation by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler. Now that the parliament has been dissolved his promise to Barbadians that the matter would have been debated will have to wait until after the general elections.

There is really no need to be prolix on the need for the government to be transparent about this matter IF it has nothing to hide. What are the details of the transaction with Pharliciple Inc, the company registered by Philip Tempro and Bjorn Bjerkham of CAHILL fame to support the Paradise Four Season Clearwater, Cinnamon 88 deal. It is interesting to note that Bjerkham sits on the Board of the Central Bank. Does the Barbados Labour Party have a role to play especially against the background its leader Mia Mottley was legal counsel for one of the key players at the early stage when government attempted to salvage the original plan for the project as conceived by Pemberton and company.

Click on image to search the Database for other companies e.g. Paradise, Cinnamon 88, Clearwater etc

Movement on the Clearwater Bay (Four Seasons) Project

Local multi millionaire rumoured to be taking over the 'blighted' Four Seasons project

Local multi millionaire rumoured to be taking over the ‘blighted’ Four Seasons project – Click to read tender on the sale of Four Seasons Property

It is good to read about government’s effort to wrestle the Four Seasons beast to the ground – finally. It maybe tactical to have placed the tender in this weekend’s press which is sure to go unnoticed by many Barbadians who are gearing up to party in the last lap for Crop Over 2013.

All discerning Barbadians look forward to full disclosure promised by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler on this matter. Until he does Barbadians will begin to speculate about whether Ansa Merchant Bank has called the $120 million guarantee and the implication. It seems like a long time ago the late David Thompson went to parliament to validate the Clearwater Barbados Guarantee which was meant to kickstart the project. The media has reported the tender is meant to give the appearance of transparency. Given government’s hands-on approach to managing the project, it begs the question whither Project Manager and Chairman Avinash Persaud who was requested by the late David Thompson to retrieve the project?

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The Four Seasons Project Summarized

Submitted by W. Lorimer

The controversial Four Seasons development

Lest we forget some of the reasons for this project…

Me thinks that people have perhaps become a little too bogged down in the trees of politics and grandstanding and everyone is tired from looking at this too long to see the forest – hopefully this might refresh people’s memories of why this journey began in the first place.

Why has the project taken so long to restart?

Why should the NIS invest?

Why would the Four Seasons project be good for Barbados?

Why does Barbados need Four Seasons?

Did you know…?

1. Four Seasons predict that this will be one of their premier resorts – great kudos to Barbados

2. Four Seasons themselves are investing in the project as a sign of their belief in the project and Barbados – they usually never invest in the development stages of resorts.

3. In the US alone in 2011, over $137 billion was spent on travel  and one of the fastest areas of recovery in this sector is luxury travel so the sooner the Four Seasons project is up and running, the sooner Barbados will be able to tap into this market.

4. The new company, Paradise Beach Limited have put into place the following social initiatives

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A Dozen Facts On Four Seasons Barbados

Professor Avinash D. Persaud, Chairman of Paradise Beach Limited

Extracted from the Facebook page of  Avinash D. Persaud posted on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 12:44am (FB time). Persaud is the Executive Chairman Paradise Beach Limited.

  1. It is a 110-key, Four Seasons operated and managed hotel, at Paradise on the west coast, plus Four Seasons-serviced villas and apartments, in all occupying 33 acres.
  2. The project was suspended in February 2009, as a result of the global financial crisis and the attendant collapse of private sector investment. This challenging environment, in which private investors are often looking for extreme, short-term-returns and un-Barbadian exemptions from labor and environmental laws, stymied a handful of previous rescue attempts.
  3. If the project had failed, 300, largely Barbadian trade creditors would have been left with approximately $34m of debts being unpaid.
  4. Seeking to avoid the adverse economic and reputational consequences of default and buying time to find a long-term solution, the Government guaranteed a $120m loan from ANSA Merchant Bank. No Government cash was transferred but until the guarantee is fully released the Government will appoint 4 of the 8 Directors of Paradise Beach Limited.
  5. If the guarantee is called by ANSA McAl, all lands and assets of Paradise Beach Limited will then transfer to the Government. The lands were independently valued recently at $200m.
  6. Continue reading