Letter: The shame of more corruption

11

Dear Sir:

When prime minister Ralph Gonsalves said, “I am here to finish the work of Maurice Bishop.” Some asked him what he meant. One of those was Peter Binose, and that question has been asked since, over and over again by others. This is ultra important.

Letter: Regarding finishing the work of Maurice Bishop

Maurice Bishop, Grenada’s [fortunately very dead] Marxist revolutionary, told his finance department to keep two sets of books. One set of dodgy accounts to fool the International Monetary Fund (IMF), bankers, bondholders, investors, etc. The other real set for his and the central committee records.

Cameron Balcombe (pet-named “Dinky”) is CEO of Saint Vincent’s ‘Bally & Bally Investments Limited.’

Cameron and Bally and Bally had bad luck with the Harlequin Buccament Bay Resort project. They supplied the project with trucks and machinery and carried out a contract and never got paid. They also supplied the resort with fresh prime produce from Georgetown farmers and never got paid. As a protection for Harlequin at that time of financial crisis, to give what we now consider undue, untruthful and unfounded confidence to suppliers, contractors, and workers, Julian Francis of the Francis/Gonslaves family dynasty, owners of the plantation known as Saint Vincent,  began bragging of being mister fix it.

He said, “if you have any problems with Harlequin [trouble getting paid], come to see me, and I will sort it out for you.” He never did, not only did local contractors, and suppliers not get paid, but dozens of decent skilled, hardworking Vincentian resort workers were left being owed months of wages [never to be paid, and never will be] when the Harlequin project collapsed. Had Francis not backed Harlequin at that time Vincentians, resort investors, and the government would have lost less, and Harlequin would have folded sooner. I suppose we should ask why he did that, what did he or others gain from that?

What was further mud in the eye, everyone knew that the prime minister’s wife got paid for furnishing the first handful of beach side sheds which they called villas for an obscene, some say an inequitable amount of money? Unlike most others, Mrs Gonsalves got paid and went to the bank with her wheelbarrow full of money.

A minister regularly took away food from the resort with his car boot filled to the brim, for parties at his house.

Furthermore, a ULP minister got a house built by the later defamed Harlequin contractor ‘ICE’ at upper Prospect. ICE and a firm of accountants were successfully sued [not in this matter] by Harlequin on a matter of fraud.

An article in the Vincentian Newspaper [VN] which alerted us to the latest corrupt matter. Today after the news of this matter broke last night on SVG’s airwaves, the VN internet page mysteriously disappeared. Here is where it was at: http://thevincentian.com/cdb-revokes-contract-withdraws-funding-p17529-1.htm

Now we learn that these latest corruption possibilities and what some may view as being crimes committed under the Prevention of Bribery, Money Laundering, and Corrupt Practices Acts, may very well apply to the scheme that was being funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

When Julian Francis once told us he had bypassed the SVG Tenders Board and he would do it again, most Vincentians did not understand the implications of such a statement.

The CDB should never allow governments to administer such funds and issue contracts without extremely up-close scrutiny by the bank of every single step. The British, EU, US, and Canada give CDB funds in good faith; in the belief, they can be trusted to do the right thing in distributing them. Cancelling the project and calling back the funds is a step in the right direction.

What one may ask is bankrupt Venezuela doing listed as a none-receiving adviser to the CDB, were they placed there by Gonsalves? Funding countries should demand their removal. What a stinker folks, what a stinker!

For years ULP tame contractors, supporters financially and politically of the Unity Labour Party [perhaps ministers bribed even] were awarded contracts while others were left out in the cold, the Vincentian people did not realize or begin to understand what was going on. But the public should realize that SVG runs on corruption seeing as most Unity Labour Party (ULP) supporters have received stolen government building material as a voting bribe prior to every election.

Letter: Have the ULP, Dr Gonsalves and Vincentian police turned themselves and half of the citizenship into criminals?

The ULP is following closely the steps and formats used by Hugo Chavez, and now Maduro when robbing Venezuela blind, which made every Chavez family member a billionaire. It’s happening in Saint Vincent right now and has happened for close on 20 years, robbing the public purse that is.

The CDB has now not only revoked the contract awarded for River Defence Works at Yarabaqua River (Belle View) because of accusations, but it has also withdrawn funding for the project altogether. One can be sure they looked carefully into the allegations before taking such drastic action.

The revocation was indicated to the ‘Bidder,’ the party to whom the contract was awarded, in a letter dated 27 June 2019, signed by Allister Campbell, Chief Engineer (Ag) of the ministry of works, the executing agency on behalf of the Government, to whom the funding was allocated.

Remember also Julian Francis, the minister of works who should have given final approval is Ralph Gonsalves cousin [and a member of the dynasty], who has been promoted to that position for years by Gonsalves. What a stinker folks, what a stinker!

The CDB letter explained that upon receipt of a letter of objection via the Chief Engineer (Ag), mounted a “review” (read investigation) of the procurement of the contract, and “… declared mis-procurement for the contract for the River Defence Works at Yarabaqua.”

As a result, the CDB, according to the Chief Engineer’s (Ag) letter, informed the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines that it was cancelling funding for the project, and that it expected that money already expended on the project would be repaid with interest by “the Recipient,” i.e., the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines. What a stinker folks, what a stinker.

The letter of objection which prompted the CDB into action was submitted by Bally & Bally Investments Ltd., which was an unsuccessful bidder for the project.  Bally & Bally Investments pointed to what it said was the successful bidder’s inability to undertake gabion wall construction, reinforced concrete construction and river training, which was basic requirements/criteria for qualification for the contract.

So Bally and Bally were rejected through inadequate knowledge and inadequate experience. While the party to whom the contract was awarded and from whom it was withdrawn, Reliable Construction Ltd, whose bid amounted to $1,421,577.00., had perhaps even less knowledge and experience.  What a stinker folks, what a stinker.

Bally and Bally Investments in its objection went as far as to say that to the best of its knowledge, Reliable Construction Ltd. “has not done any Gabion baskets or river training works of that magnitude (what is required by the Project) or at all in this State or elsewhere….”, and further that “it is utterly unfair that contractors expend resources and time to bid on those projects, only to be unfairly treated.”

The Yarabaqua River Defence Works was one of several projects to be undertaken under a Rehabilitation and Upgrade Works Programme of EC $8.5 million, to be funded by the CDB.

Some of the other works included were: River Defence Work at Caratal River; Roads at Gracefield, Roway, Bower, Fergusson Mountain Road, and Overland/Magum.

Bally and Bally and its CEO Cameron Balcome have suffered for years with being beaten at the post by ULP favoured contractors for many projects. But they have kept trying and stayed loyal to the Vincentian people, only to be robbed so many times of their rightful winnings. They had one or two [let’s keep them quiet] contracts awarded them, which they finished on time, on budget, and to a high standard of competence and workmanship.

Enough is enough this nasty corrupt government behaviour has to stop. Let’s just see if the dynasty owned police and DPP come forward and press some charges for the latest debacle. Of course, realistically we all know they will do nothing because they are already bought and paid for. No one will even ask the questions required to be asked.

What a stinker folks, what a stinker.

How many other projects have been swindles on the Vincentian purse? How much veered left, for the left, at Argyle airport?

One thing you can be sure of, the ULP spite tactics will now kick in, Cameron Balcome will never get another government job. Most probably will not even be asked to tender.

They will probably harass him by sending a police raid at 5 am one morning. Watch your back Cameron, you already know the play dirty.

Remember Bigger Bigs, he was less of a thorn than Cameron Balcome and was almost destroyed by them.

Letter: Bigger Biggs is still enduring spite and hatred; it continues in a revised form

Often heard, never seen, dwelling in the in-between.

Jolly Green

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Now this really is something quite special, it will be interesting to see if SVG’s dirty police act on this information.

  2. Many in SVG have always known, and for eighteen years what was going on in our country, but those principally affected, quite apart from the nation generally, were always too afraid to speak out against those shocking abuse, for fear of reprisal and victimisation.

    I for my part have seen first hand such gross abuse of power and privileges, as it had affected my own family member, a member who had no power whatsoever to challenge the gross abuse, and neither could I do anything to help.

    There again, can we ever forget the recent Brazil debacle, where Odebrecht perpetuated their now well known corruption the world over? For Odebrecht had admitted to paying bribes across Latin America, including $98m in Venezuela – its biggest payoff outside Brazil with contracts going where they should not have gone.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/14/odebrecht-scandal-ecuador-vice-president-given-six-years-jail

    That corruption scandal surrounding Odebrecht, Latin America’s biggest construction firm, had stretched across a dozen countries in Latin America and two in Africa, with the company implicated in handing out cash to win lucrative public contracts. Now was Brazil’s Government involved? well the ex-president is now locked up and his replacement impeached.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/11/brazils-corruption-scandal-spreads-across-south-america

    What therefore are we to make of our own so-called socialist dynastic family regime, should we expect any difference in behaviour?

    • Just goes to prove that political corruption is a global phenomenon and that little SVG is no better nor worse than other countries in this regard contrary to what Peter Binose would like us to believe.

  3. How can you call this “the shame of more corruption” when it is simply business as usual not only across the Caribbean but around the world.

    Even in America and Canada, countries low on Transparency International’s (TI’s) corruption index, government contracts are heavily influenced by both the work of professional lobbyists and by political considerations regarding gaining votes and seats in certain critical parts of the country.

    It is very unfair of you our struggling country — which is also low on TI’s index — to chronically but speciously single it out as somehow being the worst of the worst when it comes to corruption.

    You are personally and compulsively biased against a regime that has acted no differently than its Vincentian political predecessors, especially the New Democratic Party, in allocating contracts on the basis of political and other considerations.

    It speaks volumes about your mentality when everything you write proves that you hate Ralph Gonsalves more than you love St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

    • This is not about me Harry, nothing at all to do with anything I have done. In fact its more about someone like you who supports this kind of corruption and instead of acting like a decent citizen and objecting expose yourself as a scoundrel and a scumbag.

      This is not normal behaviour it only happens where scum bags are leaders and they get the support and backing from scum bags like you.

      I have not done any of the things listed in what I wrote I am just the messenger. But I have made sure that everyone abroad who should know, now knows. They will also be able to read the disgusting supportive rubbish that you have written as a comment.

  4. I think David does not like you Jolly, every time you write something he writes silly unfounded comments.

    He must be eaten up with jealousy for some reason. It is so obvious he is jealous of what you write and the amazing in-depth stuff you keep managing to pull up.

    Do you have any more information on whom the house was built for?

  5. Speaking on radio on Sunday about the CDB rescinded project Loan, Ralph Gonsalves was totally unrepentant about what his administration is accused of doing and said that, he didn’t care that the CDB had rescinded their Loan because of noncompliance, as the SVG Government will foot the bill for the same from the SVG Treasury, adding that the said chosen contractors will be retained.

    Just how disgraceful of us can he get! What arrogance! Does not the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines deserve much better behaviour from their Prime Minister and his administration?

    Is it not high time we get rid of this egotistical man and his self-righteous extended family who treats us like plantation fodder? How much more disdain must we take from these people who have such little respect or regard for us?

    • It may be time for CDB to sanction SVG, they simply can never trust SVG again whilst the present regime is in place.

      CDB should now send in forensic auditors and inspectors and look at every transaction with SVG over the last seven years.

      It would be appropriate for the minister of works to comment now, he always stays ultra silent when the shit is flying around him.

      Who are the owners and directors of the company awarded the contract? and who is their attorney?

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