BU posted the blog Former Owen Arthur Bagman in a Jam earlier this month. Today local media reported that the police has taken a man into custody for questioning. The latest development follows and earlier report that a key person of interest in the car scam investigation was allowed to leave the island. BU cannot confirm or deny if the person taken into custody today is the bagman (Rodney Wilkinson) of former Prime Minister Owen Arthur.
Of interest to BU is why the sudden interest to prosecute the individual at the centre of the car scam involving Globe and Nassco at this time. BU has been made to understand this is not the first time financial institutions in Barbados have been ‘taken’ by this prominent individual. Also BU is interested to know why all the supporting actors who colluded with the prominent individual have been allowed to go free. Yes, we want to see ‘nailed’ the big fish BUT all those players at the financial institutions, government licensing authority and the third party entity that supplies financial institutions with the service of searches of bills of exchanges need to be investigated and prosecuted as well. As prominent as the former bagman is he was not able to perpetuate fraud by his lonesome. There obviously has been deep collusion between several players to have been able to perpetrate a scam of this magnitude.
A reaction to the unravelling car scam Minister of Transportation and Works (MTW) Michael Lashley announced on the weekend that a shake up at the Barbados Licensing Authority is in the offing. To quote a local newspaper, “Lashley explained that he was shocked to discover that all a person needed to license a vehicle in Barbados for use on the road for a year was a cover note from an insurance company, which usually provided insurance coverage for one month”.
While I can see the attraction of corporate Barbados offering Caribbean cruises as competition prizes or sales inducements, it is difficult to accept what if any real benefit the country gleans from the exercise. Payment almost certainly would ultimately be made in foreign currency (FX) to ship operators who legally avoid any significant taxation and largely employ extra regional crew.
We have been heartened at the initial response to recent launch of re-DISCOVER REWARDS vouchers by local companies, especially as many of those who have responded are looking at it from a national perspective. These businesses have made a considered decision to help protect Barbadian jobs, whether directly in the hospitality industry or sub-sectors like agricultural, food and wine distribution. Many of the participating restaurants have also made a conscious effort to use locally available produce which again helps retain the FX and hopefully spread earned revenue right across the society.
While not wanting to use this column for propaganda or promotion, I just wonder how many people have figured out that this initiative is, to the best of my belief, absolutely unique across the Caribbean. It is a point that has not gone unnoticed by both our tourism planners and potential visitors to Barbados. It was truly heart warming to receive a social media posting from a professor in Canada recently, who stated that one of the deciding factors why they chose us over another Caribbean island was the fact they could eat every night of their stay at a different affordable restaurant, even over a three week stay.
Barbados needs to protect local food production
BU commenter Colonel Buggy responded to the question on the blog Tourism Sector a Cadre of Beggars – what is the answer for food security and the reduction of the food import bill in Barbados …?
First of all we have to instil in our people the need to eat what we grow, and not to hanker for the fast foods, whose raw materials are mostly imported. Or, as the Dipper would have said, we have to take back the hearts and minds of our people from the Confederate Colonel of the South.
Free up some of the hundreds of acres of former productive lands, now in bush, to persons interested in farming.
Allow farmers, who so wish to live on the land, even if they are restricted to chattel homes only, as this is one measure that will minimise the incidents of praedial larceny. And all farmers living on and working their lands should be exempt the impost of this increase in land tax,which came in the guise of a solid waste tax.
Many countries give meaningful concessions to farmers, i.e. duty free equipment. In Barbados, concessions are so petty and bureaucratic that many farmers prefer not to bother with them. During the last war, and subsequently in National Service, in the UK, many farmers and farm workers were exempt military service, as farming was seen as an essential National Service of its own.And this is still true today.
Chris Sinckler, Minister of Finance – Fyi
There is also the question of whether global reforms could disadvantage Canadian-based multinationals, which have increasingly looking to offshore jurisdictions, most notably Barbados, as conduits to invest overseas. More than $60-billion flows through or is kept in Barbados, where the corporate income tax rate is 2.5 per cent. While some of that is private wealth being stowed offshore, much of the money is being used by Canadian companies doing business in other countries around the world – Global watchdogs take on the corporate tax dodgers
There was a time when tax treaties with little islands like Barbados gave the opportunity to foreign companies (captive insurance) to exploit tax structures to secure profit. In a post OECD active world, developing countries including Barbados, have had to withstand the piercing glare of the most powerful countries in the world. In is instructive this weekend finance ministers from the world’s 20 largest economies have gathered in Australia AND the main agenda item if you are curious? “ To to squeeze billions of dollars more in taxes from the world’s largest companies … to plug the gaping loopholes in the international tax system that allow multinationals to slide substantial profits into tax havens or low-tax countries, depriving governments of badly-needed revenue”.
It is an open secret the opinion OECD counties hold for countries like Barbados who use double taxation treaties to lure multinationals from developed countries. Minister Donville Inniss, as is his wont, has voiced his displeasure at the OECD moving the ‘goal post’. The world’s powerful countries are intent on blocking flight of capital from their jurisdictions and Inniss can continue to utter his usual high level of political rhetoric, there is not one iota he can do about it.
Submitted by Bentley
This [Stockholm Syndrome] explains the very strong connection that people of (recent, since all humans are) African descent have with religion. Religion (Christianity, Islam) has been consistently and unrelentingly forced on Blacks from the time of slavery to the point where the vast majority of black people are now adherents to one or the other. This is almost always to their own detriment. As a group blacks are the poorest, most downtrodden people on earth and it all started with
Submitted by Douglas
Peter Wickham – CADRES
Does it sound familiar? Just rewind to 2013 and the Barbados general election. A particular pollster/political guru had the DLP to get whitewashed; or as we would say in local lingo – ‘catspraddled’. Well, we all know the outcome; the DLP was returned to office, and that pollster/pundit, who had egg all over his face, now spends every waking hour excoriating the government on air and in print. Big Joker!
Heard him a week or so ago pontificating that the Scottish people deserve better and a ‘Yes’ vote would shake-up Whitehall. However, when a caller tried to put him on the spot and asked him to predict the outcome, he was somewhat non-committal and hedging; probably remembering how he and the Belle Tower made a fool of themselves in 2013. I am waiting to hear that pollster on last night’s result. I am sure he will do a volte-face; that is his accustomed mo.
Scotland’s Referendum is an object lesson for the self-righteous. People Power always wins out. For the record, I was hoping and wishing for a ‘No’ result. It makes sense. Alex Salmond wanted to have his cake and eat it too – aka- the best of both worlds.