Donville Inniss Incarceration Exposes a Culture of Corruption

The dent to reputation suffered suffered by Barbados when former Minister Donville Inniss was jailed in the USA for money laundering should make for interesting commentary. To be expected a gullible population continues to focus on the obvious. Why was a former minister charged over a measly USD36,000.00?

What Barbadians should be more concerned about is the incarceration of Inniss should bring into focus how business gets done in Barbados. We have so many examples whether Cahill under the former administration or the Radical vaccine scam under the current administration to finger only two.

White collar corruption and malfeasance is always hard to ringfence in any country because the gatekeepers of justice are the powerful in society. Unfortunately in island states like Barbados, it becomes more difficult because of the incestuous nature of the beast resulting in incompetent watchdog agencies as a result of nepotism.

The following insightful comment was posted by Northern Observer. We need to lift our game as citizens in a democracy showing fissures.

@David I cannot comment on AT (Alex Tasker), I don’t know the person. What can be observed is the senior management at ICBL did not appreciate the finer points of what they were doing. What none of know is the inner workings.

Did BF&M have other issues with IRS/DOJ?

What was the relationship between the CEO-CFO at BF&M, and that CFO/others and ICBL personnel.

I mean, even after discovery, it did not have to be disclosed. Who actually found it? It was two relatively small amounts…somebody could have created paperwork after the fact. Yet, somebody also decided that wasn’t going to happen.

Imagine somebody at BF&M was upset they didn’t get the ICBL CEO job. Let’s face it, II (Ingrid Innes) wasn’t particularly well qualified, and an outsider at BF&M. The decision to disclose may have been to sink her. In the myopic Bajan view it was to get DI (Donville Inniss). But the intent may have been to get II fired, and it ends there. Maybe they were after AT. Sometimes when you don’t appreciate the ‘big picture’ a decision is made, which has ramifications one didn’t foresee.

Northern Observer

Red Bag Politics

Less than one month after the Phillip J. Pierre’s St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) won the government in St. Lucia from Allen Chastanet’s United Workers Party (UWP) the Deputy Governor General read the following in the Throne Speech:-

My Government in recognition of the widespread, unprecedented reports of alleged corruption during the term of the last administration will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of corruption and Government. This appointment is expected to be completed soon. My Government will strengthen the integrity commission to return our country to a system that respects our democratic norms and the rights of the people. My Government will reactivate the bipartisan parliamentary committee to review Justice Suzie d’Auvergne Constitution report and the parliamentary recommendations, with a view to adopting final recommendations for implementation.

Extract from Throne Speech (St. Lucia)

The appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate charges of corruption by the former Chastanet government delivered on a key campaign promise by the SLP. In less than one month the SLP has started the ball rolling in a tangibly and visible manner. Time will tell if the special prosecutor will be able to discover evidence of the corruption hinted on the campaign platform.

The decision taken by the SLP government in St. Lucia contrast starkly to what occurred in Barbados post 2018 general elections. The Mia Mottley led government after three years in office has made no tangible or visible attempt to deliver on a similar promise made on 2018 general election campaign to prosecute corruption. Thousands of Barbadians were ‘mamaguyed’ into a belief that there was a mountain of evidence safely stored in the RED BAG by then Opposition Leader Mia Mottley. After three years it is safe to say Barbadians were given a ‘big rock’, the RED BAG was a prop in a well designed melodrama called – Geh Muh de Vote and Watch Muh.

Some will suggest former minister Donville Inniss suffered the ignominy of being the first minister in a Barbados Cabinet to be incarcerated, therefore the incumbent government must receive some credit? The irony is that Inniss was incarcerated in the USA because of a transaction that originated in Barbados. It was reported in the case notes local authorities cooperated with US law agencies, however, to date no charge has been made against Inniss by local authorities. The electorate geh dem de vote and watching dem like a hawk with 2023 quickly approaching.

All manner of reasons have been shared with the public by Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Attorney General Dale Marshall why they have been unable to deliver on expansive promises about corruption made in 2018. One does not have to do scientific polling to deduce that the 30-0 mandate the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) received was because a large segment of the electorate bought into the promise that corrupt behaviour would have been exposed and actors held accountable by this government. Three years later it is fair to surmise we are having more of the same.

The government will proffer that it has had to grapple with an economy in unprecedented decline, followed by the pandemic made worse by ash fall from La Soufriere- the result of which the economy loss 2 million dollars in economic activity. A reasonable question must be asked and answered – why has St. Lucia been able to initiate a formal process to investigate corruption suspected of the Chastanet government in less than one month?

Donville Inniss’ File Missing from Mottley’s Red Bag

BREAKING: Alex Tasker ordered extradited https://www.nationnews.com/2021/09/08/breaking-alex-tasker-ordered-extradited/

 


It is also a different version of how the story got out than what our own Attorney-General said last Thursday after the verdict was handed down. He said: “It is significant that the conviction came about because individuals who had knowledge of the events were prepared to speak out and to give evidence about wrongdoing.” The AG added: “This is something that is required at all levels in Barbados’ society whether dealing with the scourge of corruption or the scourge of gun violence.

Donville Inniss Case Points to Endemic Corruption in Barbados

The traditional media is off and running with the big headlines about the sentence federal District Court Judge Kiyo Matsumoto is scheduled to deliver today in New York in the Donville Inniss matter. It is the story traditional media will have a healthy appetite for because of flagging circulation.

Mia’s Red Bag has come up empty so far

 

The concern of the blogmaster confirmed in the deliberations during the Donville Inniss trial is the strong inference there is pervasive corrupt behaviour in the way business is conducted by some PUBLIC and PRIVATE officials in Barbados. Successive governments over the years have paid lip service to unearthing and punishing corruption even in the face of obvious indications of wrong doing. The Mia Mottley government is better placed than her predecessors given the unprecedented mandate handed to her government to do something about it. It is no secret however to those in the know that Donville and Mia are bosom buddies.

The following is a blog repost from January 20, 2020 which captures key concerns by the blogmaster, the late journalist Patrick Hoyos and the BU family.


Donville Inniss Case Points to Endemic Corruption in Barbados

The blogmaster found the Patrick Hoyos article to be – without prolix – a good summary of the Donville Inniss matter. Especially as it pertains to the inference other payments were made to Donville Inniss and that bribery by elected officials was commonplace in Barbados. Although we have the Attorney General et al saying that local laws would not have permitted prosecution of Inniss this position was challenged during the Inniss trial.

The blogmaster’s wish is that we have a dispassionate debate in Barbados and a call to action by our officials regarding the honest prosecution of public officials. It is ironic former Speaker of the House MICHAEL CARRINGTON and Adriel Brathwaite, former Attorney General showed support for Inniss by attending the trial in New York. CARRINGTON’s legacy will be that a High Court judge had to issue a court order for him to release monies due his client 70+ John Griffiths, the blogmaster will remember Brathwiate for promising to report to parliament the status of Mia Mottley’s qualification (LEC) to practice before the Courts of Barbados. He never did.

The time has come to arrest the moral and ethical rot- add criminal. We have started to experience the negative fallout of pushing our heads in the sand.

Time for the authorities to do a job.

Time for the Prime Minister, Attorney General and stakeholders to lead the charge.

Importantly, time for John Citizens to hold officials accountable.

Read full text of BU blog https://barbadosunderground.net/2020/01/24/donville-inniss-case-points-to-endemic-corruption-in-barbados/

Preventing Corruption in Barbados

T

grenville-phillips

Submitted by Grenville Phillips II

he recently defeated Integrity in Public Life Bill (Integrity Bill) will not trouble the scores. Despite the fake Oscar-contention outrage of our senators, if the bill had passed, it would simply have made corruption legal in Barbados. That is how terrible the bill was designed.

At first, the bill specified that a person could not be investigated for corruption after they had retired from public life for 2 years. So, a person who received a bribe in January 2018 and then retired, cannot be investigated after February 2020.

A sloppy bribe may be uncovered by a financial audit, but the 2018 accounts are audited in 2019. The earliest the Auditor General will look at the 2019 audited accounts is in 2020, after the fellow has retired. How convenient. Perhaps the time has come to ask our politicians and senators, why they would champion such a farce.

After Solutions Barbados explained the farce, the final Bill increased the time where no investigations can happen, to 5 years. That is also useless in Barbados, since the Auditor General provides his annual report of many issues that are more than five years old. A short limit on investigating corruption is a glaring loophole for guilty persons.

The Integrity Bill will likely cost taxpayers $5M each year, to recover less than $50,000. It is a farce. It conveniently ignores the estimated $100M of corrupting no-bid contracts each year. The Integrity Bill is wasteful, ineffective, and practically useless for Barbados. Consider the following scenario.

CORRUPTION 101.

A company bribes a person to get a no-bid contract. The company charges the Government five times the normal value of the work, which Barbadians must pay in higher taxes (that is why most Barbadians live hand-to-mouth). The bribe may be paid in any of the following ways.

1. Paying his election advertising expenses.

2. Building a house, and transferring ownership five years after he retires.

3. Purchasing land, and transferring ownership five years after he retires.

4. Purchasing financial instruments that mature five years after he retires.

5. Funding community projects in his constituency.

6. Paying money to his friends.

7. Selling him property (eg. car, house, etc) at a significant discount.

8. Paying for the renovation of his house.

9. Paying his children’s educational costs.

10. Hiring consultants and employees whom he recommends.

11. Hiring him as a consultant five years after he retires.

12. Procuring and managing a business (eg restaurant or store), and transferring ownership to his family five years after he retires.

There are hundreds of similar ways of paying and receiving bribes. Our useless Integrity Bill is conveniently designed to avoid all of them. Worse, the Integrity bill does not address any of the common methods of political corruption.

POLITICAL CORRUPTION.

Forcing the public to make payments to consultants that only benefit one political party, is political corruption. The payments are normally made to political supporters, who may be disguised as: public relations, media, information technology, security, or financial advisors.

Solutions Barbados recommended an effective anti-corruption policy. It is based on the proven method of rewarding whistle-blowers, as an incentive to blow the whistle. We planned to reward them with the total value of the bribe. We also planned to fine both the bribe givers and the bribe takers, to pay for the policy.

The whistle-blowers already know about the corrupt activities. They include: tellers who did the bank transactions, contractors who renovated the houses, lawyers who drafted the contracts, accountants who did the audits, and vendors who sold the properties. Employees of the department that gave the no-bid contract, and the company that paid the bribe, also know.

The Government is planning to pass a whistle-blower protection bill, but there is no reward incentive. Instead, the exposed whistle-blower gets to keep working in the now toxic work environment, until it takes its foreseen emotional health toll. What a farce of an incentive.

It is time for our politicians and senators to stop giving us false hopes. If they do not plan to reward whistle-blowers, and abolish corrupting no-bid contracts, then at least be honest with Barbadians. Passing an ineffective Integrity Bill is not in the public’s best interest. However, it is good political advice, that benefits only one political party.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

How Dirty is CARICOM?

Submitted by Nathan ‘Jolly’ Green

CARICOM is the oldest surviving integration movement in the developing world. It is a grouping of twenty countries: fifteen Member States and five Associate Members.

CARICOM is owned by the member countries and run by the member countries. So, if you have among those countries leaders who have elements of evil in their leadership, you will have the same aspect of evil in CARICOM.

Heads of Government have established a Quasi-Cabinet arrangement further to advance specific issues/areas within the Community. The decision to establish and develop the Quasi-Cabinet was taken at their Seventh Special Meeting (October 1999, Trinidad and Tobago), convened to deliberate on a Vision for the future of the Region. Within the Quasi-Cabinet, individual Heads of Government have responsibility for critical areas of Community Development.

All the leaders are aware of how each other attain the leadership of their countries. None of them is stupid; they know if and how vote rigging and cheating takes place, they have read about it. The problem with that is that if they sit back and do nothing about crooked elections, it must mean they condone such behaviour and are therefore more likely to do the same themselves. Making CARICOM little more than a breeding ground and nest of criminals.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has a leadership which was allegedly installed on the policy of election fraud. All kinds of anomalies took place in SVG at the last election. People were voting in more than one constituency, dead people voting, planeloads of diasporan Vincentians who have not lived in SVG for years, sometimes decades, brought in on free air junkets to vote ULP. Extra ballots were said to have been stuffed on ballot boxes. Ballot boxes specially designed to allow fraud. When caught out instead of welcoming an enquiry into what happened to clear their name, they employed the Caribbean’s most expensive legal teams to fight in the courts to frustrate the claims in every way possible. Multi millions of taxpayer dollars were paid to these legal teams of lawyers and barristers. Election petitions which are supposed to ensure a quick and rapid hearing for such petitions were so cleverly manoeuvred that instead of being heard and adjudicated upon in months, five years later through the frustration of the system they are still languishing in the system and about to be overtaken by new elections. The further problem with that is that every CARICOM leader knows that, they do nothing so are deemed to condone such behaviour and must be considering adopting the same response to stay in power forever themselves.

Before each general election in Saint Vincent, thousands if not millions of dollars in envelopes are given out to villagers. Building materials are given away to villagers in what appears to be the buying of votes. The materials are not given away at any other time except in an election year running right up to midnight before polling day. Before the past election, there was $20 million-plus given away. This procedure is so blatant that Gonsalves has even announced the giveaway has started for next polls in a news release. This time around Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has announced the Ministry of Housing is in the process of distributing Building Materials to residents of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Speaking on NBC Radio, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said the Government purchased 4.5 million dollars’ worth of building materials to be distributed. He said an assessment is being done by Officials from the Ministry of Housing to ensure there is a fair distribution of the materials.
Dr Gonsalves said there would be cases where additional assistance for some individuals will be considered.
https://news784.com/local-news/ministry-of-housing-distributing-building-materials-to-residents-of-svg/

The giveaway does not usually stop at the purchased amount; there are untold millions of dollars’ worth of materials in government yards. Last time they gave away that as well. When they had finished, they had given away every piece of building material, perhaps 50 to a 100 million dollars. Then conveniently a fire took place at the government storage yard offices which destroyed the distribution records. People had unneeded building materials stored in their gardens, sheds, and under their houses. Cement went hard and was unusable. Some who will be receiving again this time either sold what they got last time or still have the unused last bribery donation stored and deteriorating.

After reading this if CARICOM does nothing, it means they condone election skulduggery.

Ralph Gonsalves takes the CARICOM Chair soon; the other leaders should object, and Vincentians should sign an international petition against him being chair to CARICOM.

Not that it will do any good because the rules are designed for country leaders to be appointed on a revolving basis, little to do with ability or worthiness. CARICOM is being used as a personal private club for Caribbean leaders; they enjoy every minute of it so that none will rock the boat.

Peter Binose wrote about SVG’s election fraud several times, starting in 2014:

Saint Vincent’s electoral law is very clear on the matter of bribery:

I have written about it many times:

Ralph Gonsalves has read these articles many times and has never uttered a word.
In fact, he pays people to read everything that I write.

CARICOM and its leaders have read these articles many times and have done nothing.

CARICOM may well be described as the dirtiest party in these matters because there are so many learned people involved who sit on their hands and say nothing.

Mass Corruption in Saint Vincent

Submitted by Nathan ‘Jolly’ Green

Firstly, what is corruption? Often, we use expressions or terms without having a clear understanding of their meaning or implications. In most dictionaries, corruption is described as dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.

Is corruption merely the reflection of a lack of integrity? I suppose it can be described as that, but it can also be described as a breach of Christian values, theft of decency and society led by corrupt officials using corrupt means to stay in power.

So where does election corruption come into the equation? In most countries, democratic elections have been assumed to play a crucial role in curbing corruption among public officials. Normally voters, due to their general distaste for corruption, are expected to sanction politicians who misuse public office for private gains. But not in Saint Vincent where a large proportion of the voters are more than willing to accept bribes to vote in favour of the Unity Labour Party [ULP].

Integrity is another term we often use but without realizing its implications. For instance, when the 2001 elections took place in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Mr Vincent Beach MP, said if we do not have integrity legislation within a hundred days, I will be gone. The ULP had championed integrity legislation before it came to office in 2001, saying while in opposition that it had a draft law. But once in power, it turned out that it was the last thing they wanted because it tied their hands.

Integrity is defined as: ‘honest’, ‘uprightness’, ‘soundness’, ‘completeness’, ‘wholeness’, ‘incorruptible’. Evangelist Billy Graham, said, ‘When we speak of integrity as a moral value, it means that a person is the same on the outside as he is inside. There is no discrepancy between what he says and what he acts, between his talk and his walk.’
But this moral model cannot be found in the current government of SVG.

February 24, 2009, in a historic moment in Parliament, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves seconded a motion raised by Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, bringing the motion on Integrity Legislation to the floor. That draft included the establishment of a Commission to oversee the execution of the legislation. It was recommended that this Commission include the Director of Audit and four other persons to be appointed by the Governor-General from among persons who could include retired judges, persons who have served as Director of Finance, Comptroller of Inland Revenue or in the position of Director of Audit.

Parliamentarians will declare their assets, liabilities, and income from every source to this Commission within three months of their election. They will then make a fresh submission by December 31 every year, while they serve in parliament.Eustace said that Commission must also have the power to report any illegal or suspicious findings to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

If a person fails to make the mandatory declaration, they should be reported to the parliamentary leaders, namely the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader.

Persons on the staff of the Commission are also going to be held to the strictest of confidence, and if they leak any of the information declared to the Commission, they can be fined or jailed for any unauthorized breach.

Dr Gonsalves obviously did not like the legislation at all, he raised questions about the demands of such legislation, saying that it could create difficulty in attracting persons to public office, who may find it difficult to submit themselves to that.

By 2016, the integrity legislation was still not gazetted and made law; it appeared to be abandoned. Gonsalves made a statement “The question is to enlarge those things and to go particularly for the matter of declaring assets and liabilities. And the difficulties with it, are you going to do it for ministers and not doing it for permanent secretaries?” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Legal Affairs. He said the difficulties that arise with the various integrity legislation drafts include senior public servants wanting exemption because they must submit not only their returns but also that of their spouse and children who live with them.

“They say, ‘Listen, I am not going to take on this burden. I am a permanent secretary, and my husband is a businessman. I have to do that?’’’ Gonsalves said.

Gonsalves said there is already a difficulty in getting people to serve as members of boards of directors of state companies. But we the Vincentian people know there is no difficulty in awarding such jobs to the boys, who are paid such huge fees they would have no cause to turn down such a position when offered. Legislation or no legislation they will take the jobs and take their salaries to the bank in wheelbarrows.

So, no integrity legislation, and what appears to be a licence for a free for all within the government departments to steal as much as possible as quickly as possible, just like before.

On Thursday, June 28th 2018, Gonsalves speaking in parliament said he has been in discussion both in CARICOM and OECS and would like countries to fashion integrity legislation more particular across the OECS where there are more significant similarities, and where the integration is tighter.

In July 2018 Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, leader of the ULP Government of St Vincent, told CARICOM that he wants to tackle integrity in public life from a CARICOM standpoint. “I would like us to have a model piece of legislation regionally to addresses matters in relation to quote and quote Integrity legislation”.

Most who have followed the situation in SVG will say Gonsalves spoke untruthfully when he made such statements; that he has no intention of introducing into law any integrity legislation. He dares to blame the NDP when he told parliament that the opposition is not serious on the issue and noted that an integrity commission was included in a proposed new constitution which they rejected. “The new constitution was far superior to what we have now, and there were no downsides in term of democracy and transparency. However, an opportunistic political position was taken by the opposition”.

So Gonsalves claims that because the NDP and most Vincentians rejected the new constitution, that is the reason we have no integrity legislation today.
Yet when you look at the elections, it is allegedly the ULP that is giving away before each election twenty million dollars plus in building materials in return for the recipients to vote ULP.

Corruption is a complex phenomenon, often deeply rooted in the cultural and political practices of societies. It has become so deep-rooted in Saint Vincent that it will take international help to break the cycle.

Although the precise costs of corruption are hard to quantify and vary significantly from country to country, research suggests that corruption is bad for economic and social development (e.g., Rothstein 2011). Corruption has been shown to have a detrimental effect on tax revenues (Pani 2010), investments and economic growth (Mauro 1995, Del Monte & Papagni 2001), equality and poverty (Chong & Calderon 2000, Gupta et al. 2002, You & Khagram 2005, Uslaner 2008), and overall subjective well-being and life satisfaction (Tay et al. 2014). Moreover, corruption is said to erode political trust and undermine political legitimacy in a variety of institutional settings (Della Porta 2000, Seligson 2002, Andersen & Tverdova 2003, Chang & Chu 2006).

In other words, the backwardness of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines can be directly attributed to the corruption brought not just to the ballot box but many different branches of the ULP government.

Remember all left-wing governments in the Americas and the Caribbean need to create a peasant class to keep them in power. Poor ignorant people who gladly accept bribery as the norm. But they often go hungry, no work, massive crime, murders, children with drug habits. The result will ultimately be a situation, just like Venezuela.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines already under the ULP have more people than ever before receiving money from the poor fund. The ULP is proud of that and brags that because there are more being paid from the poor fund, they must be doing a better job. But the truth is more peasants have been created under this government.

Time for a change, time for integrity and decency, time for the NDP.

Quagmire of Incestuous Behaviour by Public Officials

The following was posted to social media by Attorney at Law Douglas Trotman and tagged to Barbados Underground.

David, Blogmaster


It is with mixed feelings that I pen this missive… does relationship bias equate to corruption?

Gollop, Stuart (former AG and PM), P. Cheltenham, and Worrell (judge) are indeed not in a partnership.

They are directors of a company “Harford Holdings” and each joint signatories to a mortgage held by that company.

As it relates to their professional practice over the years, I have knowledge of being involved in a case… involving the Indians in 2006- the Cricket World Cup Kensington redevelopment project… where Hal Gollop and son, along with AG Dale Marshall appeared before Justice Worrell in a hearing related to the 14 Indian workers.

At that time I was unaware of the “relationships” which existed.

There are other matters… the most critical for me is the Sam Lords Castle matter…

Here Mr. Gollop represented a company that made an offer to purchase the assets of Grant Hotels Inc.(the company which held the lands comprising 58.1 acres- including the castle structure; and Harrismith (26 acres)).

That offer never progressed beyond the offer letter stage but was referred to in the substantive case. Justice Worrell was the judge in this case.

I am conducting an investigation into the relationship between Justice Worrell and Mr. Gollop…and have sought international help.

That Stuart was both the AG, then the PM is notable. Meetings with him were unfruitful. I can only now surmise why.

Pat Cheltenham was the attorney who acted for the NIS which brought an action against GHI that triggered it’s Insolvency process…thus forcing the subsequent closure.

On discovering the above, and being warned by friends about possible danger to life and limb for “exposing” this type of information I have been very cautious to date.

I am throwing caution to the wind and I put my life and lime squarely in the hands of my ancestors and destiny.

The question is whether “relationship bias” affects the outcome of cases before the law courts in Barbados.

If so, whether the resulting delay which affects clients and attorneys in financial ways, possibly causing them to lose their business.. is actionable against the parties creating the bias.

This is but an introduction to some of the work that I am doing and the work that needs to be done across the board if we are to right size our judicial system.

A relationship analysis with a look at cases is a start. This too may reveal reasons for the backlog of cases in the system.

It is clear to me that the government will not pursue an investigation such as this and so this comment on Facebook is meant to draw feedback from you the public.

Consider the scenario presented… ask yourself if you were the client or attorney…caught in a relationship web, totally unaware…but wondering how you could possibly have “lost” that case… only to find out afterwards that a situation like what exists may have contributed… for sure..one can only know if there is a probe.

Judges and politicians are not beyond investigation or reproach… they seem to think so.

“…………………..
I have also had a look at corruption…

The other issue lies in blatant corruption as it relates to the procurement of works, goods and services. The government bought procurement software in 2013.

That software… the data contained within needs to be audited from then up to present.

That would capture a 5 year period for the DLP led government and an 20 month period for the current BLP led government.

I am looking forward to chatting with the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to see if such an investigation falls within his remit.

Here is the link to Facebook:

Jumbling Guns, Drugs, and Corruption.

grenville-phillips

Submitted by Grenville Phillips II,

There are many pieces to our drugs, guns and corruption puzzle.  Reviewing various documentaries about the drugs trade in the wider Caribbean region, can show us what the finished puzzle may look like, and therefore, why it is not being solved.

Interviewed gang leaders admitted to bribing: customs officials, police, judges, and politicians.  Bribes were paid to guarantee the uninterrupted flow of guns and drugs, and to frustrate any investigation if someone was caught.

Gang leaders normally employed assassins to kill those who did not cooperate.  They also tended to care for the poor in their communities.  Sometimes, the US pressured the Governments to arrest gang leaders.  If those next in line were also arrested or killed, the leadership void was sometimes filled by the assassins.  When assassins became gang leaders, no one was safe.

How close to the edge are we in Barbados?  With the pieces kept conveniently jumbled, the true picture has always remained speculative.  We now have 30 years of jumbled evidence to assemble.

When the gangs were fighting for turf in Barbados during the 1987-1994 DLP administration, former Prime Minister Sandiford declared that there were no gangs in Barbados.  The following BLP administration (1994-2008) acknowledged that there were gangs, but noted that there were simply killing each other.

After some gruesome murders, legislation for illegal guns was passed.  We were told that convicted persons would receive 25-year sentences for possession of an illegal gun or bullet.  Soon after that announcement, a person was convicted of a gun offence, and received a comparable ‘slap-on-the-wrist’.

In 2008, former Prime Minister Arthur revealed that he left an FBI report, on his desk, for the new Prime Minister.  Former Prime Minister Stuart claimed that he never saw it, on his desk.

In 2008, Barbados reported to the OAS that we had 150 gangs, with 4,000 members.  For comparison, in 2010 the Jamaican police reported they had 268 gangs with 3,900 members.  That same year, the Bajan Reporter published a shocking report of how gangs recruited our school children.

In 2017, Small Arms Survey found that 1,675 guns were used by the Barbados military, and 2,000 by the police.  The number of unlawfully held guns was estimated at 7,000.

In 2017, the DLP reported that gang leaders were operating without fear of prosecution in Barbados.  They noted that kidnappings, executions, drug trafficking, and legitimate businesses were part of their normal activities.  They further noted that prominent members of Barbados society were linked to the importation of illegal guns.

In 2017, the DLP proposed anti-gang legislation, with gang members being liable for 20 years imprisonment, and gang leaders, 25 years.  In 2018, the new BLP administration decided not to pursue anti-gang legislation, noting that it will only be used as a last resort.

In 2019, former BLP politician Atherley, revealed in Parliament, that politicians had connections to gang leaders.

In 2020, the BLP passed an Integrity in Public Life bill, that contained glaring loopholes to protect persons who received bribes.  For example, section 65.4 states: “An inquiry or investigation shall not be commenced after 2 years from the date on which the person involved ceased to be a public official.”

The increasing number of unrestrained shootings in Barbados, suggests that whatever restraining influence ‘prominent members of Barbados society’ had, has faded.  If we are on a similar trend as the wider Caribbean, then bribes have already been paid, and the uncontrollable sicarios or assassins have taken control of some gangs.

For the past 20 years, after every shooting that the media gave prominence, we got the same tough political talk, and no meaningful action.  We have now come to a very familiar junction – to jumble or not to jumble.

The BLP recently announced that we are paying a UK law firm to go on a fishing expedition – to look for corruption in Barbados.  This suggests that we have chosen to jumble.

We can easily ask the FBI for a copy of their 2008 report – at no cost.  We can also ask them for an updated version.  Perhaps it is time to ask why we have not done this simple thing for the past 12 years.

We have foolishly courted disaster for the past 30 years, and they do not tolerate break-ups.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Donville Inniss Case Points to Endemic Corruption in Barbados

The blogmaster found the Patrick Hoyos article to be – without prolix – a good summary of the Donville Inniss matter. Especially as it pertains to the inference other payments were made to Donville Inniss and that bribery by elected officials was commonplace in Barbados. Although we have the Attorney General et al saying that local laws would not have permitted prosecution of Inniss this position was challenged during the Inniss trial.

The blogmaster’s wish is that we have a dispassionate debate in Barbados and a call to action by our officials regarding the honest prosecution of public officials. It is ironic former Speaker of the House MICHAEL CARRINGTON and Adriel Brathwaite, former Attorney General showed support for Inniss by attending the trial in New York. CARRINGTON’s legacy will be that a High Court judge had to issue a court order for him to release monies due his client 70+ John Griffiths, the blogmaster will remember Brathwiate for promising to report to parliament the status of Mia Mottley’s qualification (LEC) to practice before the Courts of Barbados. He never did.

The time has come to arrest the moral and ethical rot- add criminal. We have started to experience the negative fallout of pushing our heads in the sand.

Time for the authorities to do a job.

Time for the Prime Minister, Attorney General and stakeholders to lead the charge.

Importantly, time for John Citizens to hold officials accountable.

David, Blogmaster

PS. Blame the blogmaster for paragraphs highlighted blue.


patrick hoyos

Patrick Hoyos, journalist and publisher specialising in business

Four little words that spell prison

It was a four-word text that probably took only a few seconds to write and send, but the events it set in motion led to a guilty verdict on all three counts for former Minister of Industry and Commerce, Donville Inniss.

A United States jury last Thursday found Inniss guilty of two counts of money laundering stemming from two money transfers to the bank accounts of a dental office in New York, and one count of conspiracy to launder money. Prosecutors said Inniss arranged for the money to be transferred through the bank accounts to conceal the bribes. According to the Wall Street Journal, Anthony Ricco, a lawyer for Inniss, didn’t dispute the money transfers, but argued the government’s evidence didn’t support its view that there had been bribes in 2015 and 2016.

According to the Nation newspaper’s Maria Bradshaw, US Prosecutor David Gopstein, in his summation to the jury, said that Inniss was not performing consulting services for Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited, but was taking bribes and laundering money.

The prosecutor said that up to 2014, ICBL held 50 per cent of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation’s (BIDC) insurance contract, while Consumers’ Guarantee Insurance had 30 per cent and Trident Insurance 20 per cent.

When the time came for renewal in 2015, the BIDC board of directors recommended that the contract remain the same way, but on June 30, 2015, Alex Tasker, who was the senior vicepresident of ICBL, sent Inniss a text message saying: “We have to talk”.

This four-word message, the prosecutor told the jury, led to the bribery, which was arranged in a week and a half. The day after that text message, Inniss sent a letter to Sonja Trotman, chief executive officer of BIDC, inquiring about the insurance renewal.
As a result, ICBL increased its share to 70 per cent share, leaving CGI with 30 per cent, and Trident Insurance with zero.

The Wall Street Journal said that ICBL, which allegedly paid the bribes, “received a publicised letter in 2018 from the US Justice Department saying it was closing a probe into whether the company had violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”

That letter said, in part, that “the Department’s investigation found that ICBL, through its employees and agents, paid approximately $36 000 in bribes to a Barbadian government official in exchange for insurance contracts resulting in approximately $686 827.50 in total premiums for the contracts and approximately $93 940.19 in net profits”. The WSJ’s Dylan Tokar wrote in Friday’s edition that “ICBL had voluntarily disclosed the bribes, enhanced its compliance program and fired the individuals involved in the misconduct, the Justice Department said.”

He added that the Justice Department had sent the letter to ICBL under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act’s Corporate Enforcement Policy which, he said, “offers leniency to companies that disclose potential foreign bribery violations to prosecutors”. This means that Donville, Ingrid [Innes] and Alex had their conspiracy exposed by the parent of the company on whose behalf the latter two were working to increase sales, or at least make budget.

Isn’t it ironic?

It is also a different version of how the story got out than what our own Attorney-General said last Thursday after the verdict was handed down. He said: “It is significant that the conviction came about because individuals who had knowledge of the events were prepared to speak out and to give evidence about wrongdoing.” The AG added: “This is something that is required at all levels in Barbados’ society whether dealing with the scourge of corruption or the scourge of gun violence.”

Meantime, Tokar noted that the Justice Department last year charged ICBL’s former chief executive officer, Ingrid Innes, and its former senior vice- president, Tasker, “who prosecutors said acted as Mr Inniss’ co-conspirators. The two remain at large, a spokesman for the department said.”

As far as I can see, the response in Barbados among the average citizen has been that it’s about time somebody was charged for all of the perceived corruption that went on under the last administration. I haven’t heard much, if any, sympathy for Inniss or his alleged co-conspirators.”

Patrick Hoyos is a journalist and publisher specialising in business. Email: bsjbarbados@gmail.com
Patrick Hoyos

 

Barbadians Carrying the Weight of Cahill Waste

Who is Quantum Energy and are they new beneficial owners of the Cahill Waste To Energy idea. Who owns the Garbage in Barbados? …

Kammie Holder (posted to Request to Remove CAHILL blog 2018)

At some point on Day 3 during the just concluded Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Annual Conference, Prime Minister Mia Mottley referenced that the controversial Cahill agreement may potentially cost taxpayers millions. It seems the agreement was crafted to permit the transfer of ownership to other parties who have signaled to the government there is a high expectation said agreement must be honoured.

The Cahill matter is near and dear to the BU blogmaster because Barbados Underground played a small part in the dissemination of confidential documents that exposed the less than transparent manner then Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government consummated the agreement with Clare Cowan and Cahill Energy Barbados.

Another reason: in the Upper Chamber of Parliament then leader of government business Maxine McClean and Verla De Peiza (now leader of the Democratic Labour Party) described BU blogmaster as a traitor for posting Cahill confidential documents which exposed the DLP Cabinet as less than transparent with the electorate of Barbados. Some will say the electorate is enjoying having the last word given the result of the May 2018 general election. The blogmaster respectfully disagrees.

It is long passed the time to satisfy public expectation to hold public officials accountable. If there is a whiff of evidence the stink of malfeasance permeates, we must move to a stage where elected officials pay the price. In Barbados former ministers et al routinely transition to private sector to benefit from rotten seeds planted while in government. Why should ordinary citizens be expected to tighten the belt and others be allowed to go scot free all the Rh time?

There will be a price to pay if social justice issues are not factored into the way we manage our affairs. Especially during this period of austerity we are struggling to negotiate. It is ordinary people who have seen retirement investments in government securities negatively devalued, ordinary citizens have seen fees charged rather than interest credited to savings accounts at financial institutions. In the interest of all that is good we must not allow members of the political class to conspire with the economic class to the detriment of ordinary people.

How on God’s earth the people of Barbados- taxpayers, will remain silent to the pronouncement by the prime minister of Barbados  Barbados stands to lose millions because of the Cahill “frustrated contract”?

What manner of people are we to allow a class of  people to continually rub the brown stuff in our faces and every where?

 

 

 

The Phartford Files: The Sutherland Dynasty & Bertoldian Betrayal

Submitted by Ironside

The rhetoric of the Barbados Today 29th October editorial entitled: No time for Party. Not now is as silky and as sanitized as an educated Barbadian can get. I suppose that as an “above-ground” newspaper, the Barbados Today editor has no choice. And to be fair, the editor did as good a job as he /she could…in the circumstances.

But in this country, I doubt that the sanitized rhetoric of the article, replete with biblical parallels, will get the attention of the intoxicated, money hungry faction of this country that calls itself the BLP and the government into whose hands stressed and reactionary Barbadians committed the next five years of its life back in May 2018.

So, dear BT editor, let me help you…let me take a crack at these SOBs here on BU, no holds barred!

Corruption Endemic
One of the critical issues in the last election was the matter of corruption in government. The BLP promised integrity legislation. (See:
https://www.barbadosadvocate.com/news/blp-promises-new-integrity-legislation).
As I expected, the BLP government went through the motions of passing integrity legislation knowing full well that that would not hinder corruption where it mattered most.

Corruption is endemic to Barbadian society. Translated, this means that all of us practice and tacitly support corruption…every day! You beg to differ? OK!

  • In general, how many of us ask for favours knowing well we were not qualified to receive them?
  • How many of us have asked for exceptions to be made to the entry of our children to schools where they are not qualified to enter?
  • How many of us feel no compunction in jumping the queue of people waiting in line for a service?
  • How many of us rely on friends “in high places” to bale us out of trouble rather than throw ourselves on the mercy of those in authority?
  • How many of our “business people” bribe customs officers to get reduced charges or illegal items out of the port?
  • How many of sold our vote to the first bidder during the last election…and the one before?

What do you call those practices? Still beg to differ? Go phart on yourself…in the mirror!

Corruption is so endemic in Barbados that we have a motto that expresses it all; “Boy yuh got to have a grandfarder to get by in Barbados!

We, the so called masses, are as guilty of corruption as the relatively few demagogues that we elect to rule this land from time to time. Therefore, the logical and ethical solution to the problem of corruption in Barbados lies in dealing with our own corruption FIRST.

Time to Repent

My submission is that we ordinary people need to repent of the corruption in ourselves. And I mean REPENT and in the biblical sense. Until we do so, we are in no position to wield any moral power to demand the end of corruption in government.

And make no mistake about it; the politicians know this; they know that we ourselves are as corrupt as they are. That is why the Sutherland Dynasty is laughing all its way to the bank. The Sutherlands know that sooner or later some self-despising, mentally enslaved, “corrupt” Barbadian will knock at their constituency office door and beg for the crumbs that fall from their table while they and their family, close friends and bodyguards continue to dine sumptuously and travel lavishly. On OUR blinking taxes!

BERToldian Betrayal (With Impunity)

Imagine that: we are asked to pay a 2.5% health levy on top of all the other taxes and the first thing that the BERToldian Labour Party – they can’t be Barbadians, right? – spend it on is a $200,000 plus salary a year (over $16,000 per month) for a minister’s wife – IN THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH.

Do you know that this salary is just circa $1,000 shy of a Minister’s salary? An eighteenth minister without a ministry? What a betrayal of trust! What gross disrespect for Barbadians! Did we vote you in with this understanding in mind? Or are you “overstanding” the matter as Rastafari would say?

But I wonder: how many votes is the Sutherland Dynasty worth in the next election? You know, there is a kind of arrogant “pharticidal” idiocy about nepotism and cronyism that really boggles the mind!

But look at it…there are no protestors in the street, far less rioters! Today is indeed a very funny night! And that is because too many of us are full of existential shiite!

So, where are all the new garbage trucks promised? Don’t be surprised if Jose and Jose gets a contract to “do the garbage” in Barbados! If you don’t know who really owns Jose and Jose (We are No1 in the No.2 Business) get off this frigging island!

Proportional Representation Now

Excuse the hell out of me; but this political system that we have needs to be drastically reformed or dismantled! I don’t know that there is a fundamental flaw in the concept of democracy itself but the political system – meaning the number of parties, system of representation, elections rules etc – is a bare joke.

It should never have been possible for one party to win all 30 seats! Under proportional representation this would have been virtually impossible! So there goes your first reform….if we are going that way!

It is time that Barbadians called for a referendum on the matter of the implementation of proportional representation and let’s see what this government will do with it. I think I know how the Bertoldians will react but screw them!

2023 Ah Coming!

In the meantime, let us prepare, come next election, not to forget how the Bertoldians are pharting on us now with the acrid smell of heartless corruption. Let us prepare to help MAM make more history …the first woman PM in Barbados with a one-term government!

P.S. Perhaps, I will speculate on how we can ensure this in the next edition of the Phartford Files.

A Heather Cole Column – Why Not Due Process? – Part 1

The Attorney General of Barbados continues to make some utterances that makes one raise their eyebrows. His statement that persons made confessions of having taken part in bribery during the tenure of the previous Democratic Labour Party Administration should make us all concerned.

Based on his own admission Mr. Dale Marshall, the person who serves as the Attorney General of Barbados listened to confessions of bribery which one may presumed occurred in his office. As far one is aware the Attorney General is not an ordained priest or a Catholic one at that and neither does his office hold a confessional. Placing the absurdity aside, the maker of the present Laws of Barbados should not have been entertaining any such matters in his office. Upon being informed of the purpose of the visit, he should have done either of 2 things. Picked up the phone and call the Commissioner of Police and await his arrival or advise the persons to visit the nearest police station and confess their crime. He has subsequently not informed the public what he did with the information except to gloat. It is unlikely that he has made a complaint to the police as no arrests have been made.

If persons unknown to the public ended up confessing in the Attorney General’s office, that is not mere speculation but admission to crimes of bribery. This means there are some guilty politicians out there as well, the other half of the coin.

This is now a precedent that has been set by the Attorney General; that the well to do and persons from the upper echelons of society and whoever else were bribers during the tenure of the last administration will not be faced with criminal charges. Just think about it, the persons who are partly responsible for the wastage of the funds of the taxpayers of Barbados, loss of jobs and the economic turmoil that the island currently faces will never even get a slap on the wrist.

We have a situation where crime is spiralling out of control on the island, the police are continuously asking persons to come forward with information on crimes that have been committed and yet the Attorney General has information and is not sharing it with the police. He has set a low standard to the youth by not leading by example. Due process was not followed, and the Attorney General’s lack of action has placed some persons above the confines of the Laws of Barbados and ultimately, is this not dereliction of duty?

However, in addition to the fore-mentioned, it has exposed that the Attorney General was making a political statement as a member of the Barbados Labour Party and was not speaking as an Attorney General of Barbados. He is somewhere in the grey area of the boundaries of proper conduct for an Attorney General. While we are all human and subject to error, this is becoming a pattern.

One may recall that the previous Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite of the Democratic Labour Party refused to admonish his party and his inaction while in office exacerbated social decay. Herein lies the reason why it may not be a good idea to have a member of the Cabinet or an elected person as the Attorney General but to retain an attorney who is without political allegiance to provide legal advice to government.

The Grenville Phillips Column – Power Can Corrupt Very Good People

Solutions Barbados recently held their Annual General Meeting.  All Executive positions are for one-year terms, and Grenville Phillips II was re-elected to serve another term as President.

Politicians in all of the political parties, who participated in the last general election, know that politics is not only a very dirty game, but a cesspool of some of the worst types of behaviour.  The public gets a glimpse of how vile politics truly is, by the constant accusations of gross corruption that our Members of Parliament regularly accuse each other in our House of Assembly.

All politicians constantly face two main temptations, and the public always pays a very high price if politicians surrender to them.  Solutions Barbados Candidates are also aware of the significant harm to their professional reputations and their families if they fail in this manner.  Therefore, we have taken drastic steps to protect the public and our families, by willingly restraining ourselves.

The first temptation is accepting bribes, and politicians facing severe financial challenges are most vulnerable.  Politicians who cannot afford their mortgage payments are extremely vulnerable to accepting bribes.

To address the bribery temptation, all Solutions Barbados Candidates willingly sign a binding contract, to go bankrupt if they accept bribes.  Each Candidate’s contract is terminated at the end of each election cycle if the Candidate is not elected.  Once terminated, the contract may be renewed.

Of the 28 Solutions Barbados Candidates in the 2018 General Election, 17 chose to protect the public by renewing their contracts.  Of those who chose not to, approximately half found the cesspool of politics to dirty to continue, while the remainder chose to continue their quest with other parties, but unrestrained by our contract.

The second temptation is far more sinister – and permanent.  It is the corrupting influence of power.  British politician, Lord Acton, observably wrote over a century ago, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

From our last general election experience, it appears to be the craving for power that can corrupt previously decent people very quickly and very easily.  It also corrupts them stealthily, so that persons are unaware of how far they have fallen.  It is this craving for power that led Judas to deceptively betray Jesus.  Deception and betrayal are the two obvious symptoms of persons corrupted by craving power.

To address the corrupting influence of craving power, Solutions Barbados Candidates have deliberately chosen not to become career politicians.  We offer ourselves to the public for two simple reasons.  The first is to bring relief to Barbadians who have had enough of the gross mismanagement and political corruption that both established parties regularly accuse the other.  The second is to actively help all Barbadians to prosper.

If voters have had enough of what they have been forced to tolerate from both established parties, and want prosperity for their households, then they are welcome to support Solutions Barbados candidates – for their own benefit.  Our economic growth plan, which was independently favourably assessed, and which the Prime Minister promised would be allowed to contend (a broken promise), can still be used to bring prosperity to Barbadian households without austerity.

We are committed to offering ourselves to properly manage the public affairs of Barbados, whenever the next general election is called.  Unlike the last election when voters felt that they needed to vote against the DLP, this time, they can choose to actually vote for something good.

If voters have not yet had enough of the dirty political game by then, then we will accept their decision as final for us.  To continue to offer ourselves to an unwilling public after the next general election, is for us, to crave power.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Fighting Corruption at the Port Authority and Grantley Adams Airport

Several times this blogmaster has listened to Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith share with the public his perspective that corruption at our ports of entry is a big reason illegal guns enter the island. Every time Griffith makes the statement, trade unionists feel compelled to defend the public workers fingered.  Griffith has been targeted in his criticism by naming the Bridgetown Port and Grantley Adams Airport.

It boggles the mind why Customs Officers and the Police appear not to have a close working relationship given a common national security mandate. To quote Commissioner Griffith :-

The reality is that where there is corruption, there will always be problems. And so, if the system is corrupt, then we are not going to get the information and support. You have to work together to break the back of those crimes. And so, even though the intelligence says that, you are not going to get that tip that breaks it…There is corruption. There must be some form…there must be corruption if you are going to have the number of firearms that are coming onto our shores illegally…then there has to be corruption

One has to give credit to Commissioner Griffith that his public criticism is based on credible  intelligence. After all, it is what he does. There comes a point when country must come first and those in charge must demonstrate the leadership required to get the job done.

Against the foregoing a recent court martial case against David Harewood of the Barbados Coast Guard amplified the concern shared by Commissioner Griffith.  Without rehashing the transcript of cellphone conversations between Harewood, a senior Coast Guard official had with some unsavoury characters- this blogmaster is satisfied those responsible for guarding national security interest have been compromised.

The BU household has been cautioning Barbados authorities for many years we are in a bad place and must change the way we have been managing our affairs. The same lack of leadership that has seen the growth of a sub culture in the transportation sector has propagated to every facet how we do business on the island.

The World Bank chronicled the “corrosive” impact corruption has on the ability to exercise good governance.

Most importantly, corruption breaks the trust between the citizens and the state that is critical for development to work. We know bad governance is one of the four major drivers of poverty, alongside conflict and violence; unchecked population growth; and the effects of climate change and natural disasters – Fighting corruption: the importance is crystal clear

The government and much of civil society seem to be consumed with confronting the unprecedented economic challenges of the times. We should not lose sight of the fact that a society is more than an economy.

The country waits on the operationalizing of anti corruption and freedom of information legislation promised top the electorate 50 years ago by a Tom Adams government.

 

 

Planning Unplugged

On Tuesday 22, 2019 the government continued with the review of the the Planning and Development Bill 2018. All agree that modern and relevant town planning laws are necessary to effectively and efficiently develop land space and related activity.

The average Barbadian can list any number of examples to show a lack of ‘planning’ because the system has been compromised due to political interference and corrupt practices. The blogmaster recalls the change in land use for a property in St. James under an Owen Arthur administration which benefited in the millions David Shorey and a few others. Let it be said the draft Bill addresses many other aspects of town planning.

The focus of this submission is the more visible signs that there is a lack of town planning being executed in Barbados.

Example 1

Traffic flow between the Graeme Hall and Kendall Roundabout has been effected by commercial development with the establishment of Popular Supermarket and other businesses in the area. Massy Supermarket is to be established in the area soon. The result is that on our major highway traffic is restricted to a crawl during business hours. Anyone intending to catch a flight at GAIA must avoid using that stretch of the highway if they want to be ontime.

Example 2

Traffic flow through the ‘Bussa’ roundabout is severely affected during business hours because of activity at the Sky Mall and other commercial businesses established in the area.

Example 3

Clearly the Warrens roundabout was redesigned as an afterthought given the explosion of commercial activity in the area in recent years. We know Warrens is a large residential area.

There are several other examples we could have cited to prove the point that our planners do not know what they are doing and or they are not being allowed to do the job.

If it is the latter we are perplexed why the professional associations they are members would not have voiced a public concern.