Tag Archives: Leroy Parris

Open Letter to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) about the CLICO (Barbados) Scandal

Walter Blackman - Actuary and Social Commentator

Walter Blackman – Actuary and Social Commentator

Dear Mr. Leacock,

I am a citizen and taxpayer of Barbados. I am also a pension actuary.

My fundamental responsibility, as an actuary, is to provide services skilfully and competently, to operate with integrity, and to uphold and protect the public trust. I believe your chosen profession has imposed similar responsibilities upon you. By definition, therefore, whenever the public trust is involved, your objectives and mine are always convergent.

For the past couple of years, I have watched in dismay as pieces of information doled out for public consumption revealed how a major life insurance company operating in Barbados was stripped of almost four hundred million dollars of its assets.

Barbadian observers have recoiled in sheer disgust and anger as evidence from reliable sources suggest that our laws were systematically and disdainfully trampled by a group of persons, some of whom masqueraded as executive managers of the ill-fated insurance company, and some of whom pretended to be statesmen.

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CIBC First Caribbean International Bank Instructs Leroy Parris to Take a Hike

Court Order: Professional Services Inc AND CIBC FICB

Court Order: Professional Services Inc AND CIBC FICB

CLICO: Is and Therefore

The CLICO mess thickens

The CLICO mess thickens

In the business section of BBC of 19 June 2013 there was a headline Deloitte gets one-year New York ban In the world of global finance it represented a routine report given the vagaries of how business is done today.  Then it dawned on the author to question – why is it regulators in Barbados are never driven to censor the entities which they regulate? Is the corporate climate in Barbados so  principled as to avoid the censure from those with oversight?

Then there is the association to be made between Deloitte,  who is the Judicial Manager of CLICO and PriceWaterhouse (PWC), who acted before as external auditors for CLICO Barbados. Why have we not been asking robust questions of PWC?   It seems all of the focus has been directed at Leroy Parris, and yes he should be held to account given his fiduciary role. However, if we want to fully prove what led to the demise of one of the largest privately own conglomerates in the Caribbean, we need to cast the net far and wide.

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Update: Leroy Parris v BLP, Nation and Barbados Advocate

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice of Barbados Designate

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice

In the interest of sharing all information received about any matters which BU has reported on, we have been advised and updated on the issue of the Parris v BLP and Nation and Barbados Advocate as follows:

Mr Hal Gollop QC filed an action for defamation against the Nation which pre-dates the Parris action. The law firm of Carrington and Sealy acts for the Nation and Mr Vernon Smith QC is acting for Mr Gollop.

The essence of the complaint is that on January 07, 2013, the Nation captured and published the photograph which is the subject of dispute. Reasonable conclusion, the Nation was the author and the holder of copyright of the photograph. The BLP subsequently used the photograph and caption in their campaign. Thus, Mr Gollop has also advanced a claim of conspiracy against the Nation and the BLP.

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Leroy Parris v BLP, Nation and Barbados Advocate: Chief Justice Gibson Produces a What the Hell Moment

Barbadians were treated recently to the news that the enigmatic Chairman of CLICO Holdings Barbados Leroy Parris who was deposed when the bottom fell out of the CLICO parent company in Trinidad has filed a legal action against the Nation, Barbados Advocate and Barbados Labour Party (BLP). Parris would not have made the top 200,000th popular person list in Barbados prior to his recent court action. Now that he has filed the action his position is likely to slide to 250,000th.

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A Case of Massaging News

Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica - photo credit Dominica News

Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica – photo credit: Dominica News

On 27 April 2013 Barbados Underground (BU) posted the blog Who Are the Local Partners in Cost-U-Less?. Although the Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit has denied the word making the rounds that he is a local shareholder, BU defends our right to ask questions of Skerrit or anyone in the interest of providing clarification.

In the interest of providing further clarification it should be noted that the Companies Act Cap 308 places sole responsibility of managing the company in the hands of the Directors. What this means is that unless a shareholder choses to be a Director the public is left to speculate who are the shareholders. The Act is drafted to protect the Shareholder who  – if not a Director – has no say in the conduct of the company.

BU reiterates our position taken in the original blog, in the interest of transparency the other names mentioned (Hartley Henry, the Estate of David Thompson and Leroy Parris) should state publicly whether they have an interest in Cost U Less (CUL).  The government has approved significant concessions to CUL and given the names mentioned the public has a right to know. It should be noted that Pricesmart has since denied receiving similar concessions. Also at the time of launch it was widely reported that David Staples represented local shareholder interest. Perhaps in the interest of protecting its goodwill CUL should make a public statement stating who are the local shareholders.

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Who Are the Local Partners in Cost-U-Less?

Former Prime Minister David Thompson (l) Former Chairman CLICO Holdings B'dos Ltd rumoured to be local partners in Cost-U-Less

Late Prime Minister David Thompson (l) disgraced former Chairman of CLICO Holdings B’dos Ltd rumoured to be local partners in Cost-U-Less

We do not charge membership fees and believe we can offer low prices to Barbados shoppers, just as we have in our most recent store opening in the Cayman Islands, which was also a partnership with local business people

NorthWest Company trading as Cost-U-Less July 2008

It has been almost five years from the time of the announcement Cost U Less Maybe Coming To Barbados that it launched in Barbados. However, based on consumer feedback the wait has been in vain.  It has been two months since launch and Barbadians continue to wait for the low prices promised. Before the coming of Cost-U-Less the Trinidadians, who now have a vice grip on our food retail and distribution channels, had promised Barbadian consumers the same, that is, we would benefit from economies of scale created by a larger T&T market.

Barbados now finds itself in a situation where we have a new entrant to an already competitive retail food sector.  And it has not demonstrated any appreciable price differentiation in its offering. Sad to say the inevitable must follow.  We created 200 jobs with the coming of Cost-U-Less but SuperCentre and DacostaMannings, owned by the Trinidadians, continue to send home employees.

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