Submitted by Suck Salt blog
The restart of works at the Harlequin property in Christ Church has set tongues and tails wagging. See the back page of yesterday’s Nation (Mar/21/2016), or click here for the short version of the article. The story features Simmons Electrical and their difficulties in getting payment for their work at Merrick’s and Harlequin Boutique Hotel as a result of H’s sudden departure from Barbados a few years ago.
Since then, Alvin Simmons is still indebted to his bankers and has had to lay off several employees. Simmons was not alone, as were other businesses, Government entities and ulitmately, the Barbadian tax payer.
Simmons believes that his company’s experience illustrates “the need for measures to protect local companies when they partnered with overseas investors.” He went further and said: “I would hope that going forward our Government puts in place the necessary infrastructure to prevent or to protect people like myself in the industry, and to ensure that certain securities are put in place to mitigate that, because at the end of the day the Government of Barbados is a direct beneficiary of all investment that comes into Barbados.”
A few questions come to mind:
Mr. Simmons, had you not been “burned” by Harlequin, would you still be calling for these Government measures?
Mr. Simmons, are you also not a beneficiary of investment that comes into Barbados, either directly or indirectly?
Mr. Simmons, you’ve worked on several contracts before, large and small, local and foreign, what level of due diligence did you carry out before deciding to get into bed with Harlequin et al?
Mr. Simmons, are you not aware that in any business, from selling sno-cones to your own, that there are risks involved and that you as a business person should try to calculate and mitigate them as best as possible?
Mr. Simmons, do you recognize the potentially negative signal that you are sending to the overseas investment community when you call for Government measures and infrastructure to protect local entities from the risk of working with overseas investors?
Mr. Simmons, can you expand on what sort of measures and infrastructure you would have Government put in place to protect people like yourself in the industry? Do you mean a bail out fund? And if so, funded by whom, the Barbadian tax payer?
Mr. Simmons, we truly hope that justice will be served and served swiftly. We are especially sorry to hear about the staff that were laid off as a result of the Harlequin affair. But to call on Government to put measures and infrastructure into place to protect businesses from the consequences of their own actions and decisions is asking a tad bit to much. This is a moral hazard.
One final question, Mr. Simmons, whilst researching this article, we came across this. What was the outcome?