The following was extracted from the Forensic Audit of CLICO International Life Insurance Ltd (under Judicial Management): Report as of December 5, 2011
“Included in the balance owing by CHBL is a payment for $3.333mm made by CIL to the law firm of Thompson & Associates (legal advisors to CIL and CHBL) in January 2009, pursuant to an invoice dated December 2008 purportedly for fees or retainers related to various legal matters involving CHBL. Mr. Leroy Parris, the former Chairman of CIL and CHBL authorized the invoice for payment. We have been advised that although payment was made to Thompson & Associates, it was in fact to the benefit of Mr. Parris as partial payment of a “gratuity”. We note that this transaction was not disclosed in the Minutes at that time but was discussed by the Board following the appointment to the Board of the Government representative in mid-2009.”
Mara Thompson M.P.
… for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me – Exodus 20:5
BU admires Afra Raymond’s contribution to public service in Trinidad. His indefatigable and strident calls for transparency by government and wider society is an approach which needs to take on momentum across the region. His recent blog Everything but the Truth highlights his battle with the government over the controversial CL Financial, parent company of CLICO. Afra’s challenge is made all the more interesting by the fact freedom of information laws are in force in Trinidad. CLICO was a pan Caribbean entity and it makes sense given the complicated mess which has been created by its collapse there would have been a greater effort for advocates to collaborate MORE to ensure the rights of policyholders are addressed. Equally as important citizens have an obligation to insist those elected are held accountable.
The CLICO debacle continues to lay in abeyance. Politicians continue year after year since the collapse to roll out the promises how they propose to remedy this mess for policyholders. With respect to June Fowler and her group the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA) they have become comfortable in the role of information takers. Clearly the group is not respected for the pressure it threatens to exert on the process. BU and others are acutely aware regional government – Trinidad the exception – are cash strapped and will be for the foreseeable future there promises are the best politicians are able to deliver.
George C. Brathwaite
At the 2007 Annual Delegate’s Conference of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), the then Leader of the Opposition, David Thompson, began his featured speech by invoking a few disclaimers. It was revealed that there were groups within civil society actively speaking out against several perceived ills. Freedom of expression prevailed in Barbados under the political sacrosanct of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) that was being led by the economically acclaimed and intellectually gifted Owen Arthur, in spite of mounting and troublesome criticisms against the government.
David Thompson, in his address, said then that the situation in Barbados had reached a stage wherein there were pronounced “signs of frustration and despair.” Thompson goaded the public into thinking that it was inconceivable why the BLP had become “so indifferent and disconnected from the people it was elected to serve.” Thompson’s utterances were glazed in flowery language and buttered with a mischief to exploit weaknesses which appeared in the seemingly invincible Arthur-led team. The DLP, through its leader, promised to “imbue new hope and optimism” into Barbadians because Barbados was on a “slippery slope of division,” and it had become infested by “stagnation and malfeasance in public administration.” One wonders how necessary was this charade at the end of 2007 when now compared with those things have been evidenced this year at the end of 2013?
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Reynold Austin, president of the Democratic Labour Party Canada branch
It seems like yesterday, although it was June 2010, when a frail David Thompson turned the the ceremonial sod to announce the coming of the Pickering Housing and Town Centre development project. Depending on which local media outlet is sourced for information about the project the figures 800 million or 1.7 billion are mentioned . BU cannot remember so many projects going ‘bellyup’ in such a short time period when compared to the last 3 years. Have we compromised on our due diligence method for recognizing quality foreign investment? Have a read of the lofty words uttered by the late Prime Minister Thompson to describe the Pickering Housing and Town Centre development.
Prime Minister Stuart and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) need to explain the stench wafting from this project which appears to be stillborn 3 years later. Before the fowls begin to cackle, here is why. In the Nation article Not Jolly a Canadian businessman is reported to have invested USD750,000 in the Pickering project after being approached by a Reynold Austin who was and still is the president of the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) Canadian branch. It seems a sordid affair that Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart is being advertised as guest speaker at the 6th Annual Errol Barrow Memorial dinner being planned by the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) Canadian branch. One wonders what the late Errol Barrow would have to say to Reynold Austin if he were to be reincarnated at his memorial function – see DLP Canada website.
George C. Brathwaite, founder and interim president of BAJE
Given the political issues, crises, machinations and shenanigans impacting on Barbados over the last three years, and especially with the types of defences made by and for PM Stuart and his, the two poorest
performing Cabinets in living memory, several observers have concluded that the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is superior to the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) regarding the use of shaded innuendo, political ‘spin’ and crass propaganda.
Noam Chomsky presents the view that “even though people have the freedom to make their own decisions, they must guard themselves against powerful influences that intend to direct what they think and do in an attempt to maintain power.” Barbadians have to be very mindful of the indistinguishable moles and figurative mules that are antithetical to the interests of working class Barbadians and their offspring.
David Thompson speaking at the first DLP annual conference after he became prime minister in 2008, reminded a DLP audience still basking in its long-awaited electoral victory that “we are a family and we have a duty to look out one for the other.” As if that was insufficient, David Thompson coached his followers directing them to understand that in no uncertain terms should they shy away from commitment to the DLP because, “your duty is to play your part in maintaining the honour and dignity of this institution, especially now when it forms the government.”
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Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart
There was a time not too long ago when Barbados was looked to for leadership on the regional front. We were told we were a country fighting above its weight. There was a time when a president of the USofA, or two, would visit our shores, today they pass us by. Sadly in recent years we have lost our way spiritually, economically, politically, morally…
Barbados Underground does not agree with the view that because the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) won the last general election it means all citizens, which includes the BU family, should agree with all policies being enunciated by the government. Rubbish! The DLP won the last election by a two seats margin and a little over four thousand votes made the difference in the total vote recorded at 152, 593. Of growing concern is also the large group of Barbadians who continue to ignore the right to vote.
In the lead up to the 2008 general election what led BU to be supportive of the David Thompson opposition was his promise to communicate with the people and to lead a government committed to being transparent.. Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur had assumed a dictatorial approach to managing Barbados which offended the BU household. Sadly Thompson died in office before he was able to achieve anything of note.