AUDIO: Interview on The Power Breakfast – 24 October 2018

power102fmAfra Raymond was interviewed Wednesday 24th October 2018 by Rhoda Bharath, Wendell Stephen and Richard Ragoobarsingh on the Power Breakfast Show on Power 102 FM. The discussion was about the financial stability and sustainability of the State Enterprises and Public Utilities and their usefulness in our times. Audio courtesy Power 102 FM.

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Property Matters – Sandals Splinters

Property Matters – Sandals Splinters

#finefinefine

In writing on the extent to which Public Money is stolen or wasted and the need for proper standards, I offered this equation for the reality check –

               EXPENDITURE OF PUBLIC MONEY
Minus    Transparency
Minus    Accountability
EQUALS CORRUPTION

My previous articles have been focused on the gaps in the available information on the current proposals for the large-scale Tobago Sandals/Beaches resort,. This article will examine those proposals from the other perspective, by listing the facts which we do know. Continue reading “Property Matters – Sandals Splinters”

VIDEO: Interview on Business Edge – 21 October 2018

tv6_logoAfra Raymond is interviewed by Asha Javeed on the “Business Edge” show on TV6, along with Procurement Regulator Moonilal Lalchan, to look at Transparency within the Government’s proposed game-changer projects for transformation and a sustainable local economy in the recent 2019 Budget presentation. Video courtesy TV6.

Programme Date: 21 October 2018
Programme Length:  00:10:00 and 00:08:06

Property Matters – the Sandals case

Property Matters – the Sandals case

I applied to the High Court for a Judicial Review of the refusal of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to provide the Tobago Sandals MoU under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA). On 11th October 2018, I was granted leave to proceed with the Judicial Review and the Case Management Conference is set for 29th November 2018.

Does the public have the right to know what are the terms and conditions of the various large-scale projects being done by the State?

The twists and turns in this episode seem to be ‘Carefully Crafted Confusion‘ – a phrase I coined during the Invaders’ Bay imbroglio under the previous PP administration. Large-scale projects on valuable public land, expected to require heavy public investment, all being done for the benefit of the public of course, yet the details are kept under covers.

The State’s shifting positions on Tobago Sandals are striking. For example, Minister Stuart Young gave these interviews on CNC3 TV –

  • Wednesday 28 February 2018 – in which he insisted that there was no secrecy or any reluctance to engage with the public on this mega-project.
  • Wednesday 17th October 2018 – in which he stoutly defended the need for secrecy of the MoU. Of course, having been sued for the refusal to provide the not-secret MoU, an entirely different position is now adopted. With ‘a straight-straight face’, as David Rudder would say. Well I tell you.

Continue reading “Property Matters – the Sandals case”

Does Size really Matter?

Does Size really Matter?

The anti-corruption discourse in our country usually rationalises the failure or refusal to prosecute any important persons for corrupt acts as being a result of our small size. After all, everyone has a friend who will see for them. Those friends will warn them, lie for them, forget for them or even lose a file or two for them. We have all had these frustrating discussions and wondered if we can ever muster the will or the wits to lock-up the important people who regularly commit acts of grand corruption.

corruptionWhen one considers the global news on this anti-corruption struggle, it is clear that in some substantial way the tide has turned. In a variety of countries, the citizens have become so outraged at the damage that large-scale corruption has done to their societies that the authorities there have now started to take decisive action against this scourge. It all makes me wonder when is the Caribbean going to catch-up with the rest of the world in punishing these destructive acts. Continue reading “Does Size really Matter?”

Property Matters – the PETROTRIN case

Property Matters – the PETROTRIN case

The impending closure of Petrotrin has virtually captured the major part of our national debate in a swift and serious way. Many commentators seem to have taken strong stances in which their loyalties are displayed and there is a distinct lack of the basic facts.

petrotrin-refinery
Petrotrin refinery at Point-a-Pierre

This is no essay on the oil & gas aspects of the Petrotrin closure as those are areas outside my understanding. In this article, I will examine three of the most serious governance issues now emerging as this seemingly-unstoppable process rolls onward.

The issues I will be delving into are:

  1. the information asymmetry on display here;
  2. the enhanced offer to workers and finally,
  3. the issues arising in relation to Petrotrin’s huge land-holdings.

Continue reading “Property Matters – the PETROTRIN case”

CL Financial bailout – a summary

CL Financial bailout – a summary

 

This article summarises the total Public Money spent on this CL Financial bailout and also outlines some further concerns.

CLF BAILOUT PAYMENT SUMMARY

COST DETAIL AMOUNT
CLICO $15,833,458,958.00
CIB $1,870,659,526.00
BAICO $1,637,387,140.00
CMMB $736,079,577.00
Interest & Finance $5,802,921,235.96
Accountants $15,212,319.62
Attorneys $37,459,864.43
Bankers $7,934,991.40
Stockbrokers $6,624,173.58
Services & Supplies $2,410,000.57
TOTAL $25,950,147,786.56

Source – Correspondence with Finance Ministry PS

Various payment summaries and the CL Financial Management Accounts (unaudited) for 2015, 2016 and 2017 were provided thus far in response to my requests for information of 4th May 2018. Notwithstanding those details, the Ministry is yet to respond substantively to my requests, so I have instructed my attorneys to take the necessary steps to settle this request for information.

In January 2009, this bailout started with a $5.0 Billion estimated cost. In October 2010, we were told that $7.3 Billion had been spent and that a further $7.0 Billion was needed to pay all the claims – a total of $14.3 Billion. A compilation of the Ministry’s summary data, on which I am relying, show a total of $25.95 Billion in Public Money spent at this stage, taking no account of unsatisfied creditors.

What could possibly have accounted for this staggering increase in expenditure?  Continue reading “CL Financial bailout – a summary”