In a previous post, I dealt with violent threats that followed criticism of high-level people in Barbados. While violent threats are worse, in this post I will restrict myself to non-violent forms of persuasion carried out through official Government agencies. Over the years, we have heard of many abuses, like the wrong political affiliation costing you your job. We will not reveal everyone involved, as many expect retaliation.

Unexpected Phone Call

The phone rings. Is it business? Is it a friend? No it is a top Barbadian politician making a highly emotional and abusive phone call. Two people who received one of these calls even thought that the caller was intoxicated. The context of the call is, “How dare you ask questions!”

Next day you go to make a complaint, but the officials brush you off with:
“Ha, ha! He does that to everybody!”

Later the Nation News appears to make an oblique reference to one of these incidents. They treat it: as a joke, as expected and as acceptable!

Personally, we know of three similar calls made by the same gentleman. If you have received an abusive call from any politician, we would love to hear the details.

Income Tax Audits

What could be more official?

  1. Dare to criticize the Government? Then you may get a series of these intensive Inland Revenue audits. You’ll get one every three years as this is the maximum allowed. You might argue that this cannot be shown to be an intentional abuse. However, this is a glaringly inconsistency. For 13 years Kingsland Estates Limited, with it’s billion dollar assets, did not file the mandatory audited reports. To the best of my knowledge, KEL was never audited by the Government. During this time frame, small companies were given the works. KEL is linked to several people with government connections.
  2. Do you have a respected, qualified professional accountant do your returns? Don’t bother, it won’t help. There are no official guidelines, so, like quicksand, the shifting rules can swallow you. When the Government has you in their sights, it can disallow any valid business expense. Government is the sole arbiter, it’s no use moaning. Just grin and bear it, as it is part of life in Barbados.
  3. Nitpicking. You actually file some obscure documents, but the Government auditors complain that they have not been filed. They try to exact penalties, even after a receipt proving timely filing is produced!

Planning Permission Games

Want to rezone that piece of land that you own?

  1. Hope you did not criticize the Government recently! However, if you have good connections, the Government can change the zoning for you. Rezoning information can be given to the OAS, your auditors can omit it from the financial statements, and yet you will not have to worry about a tax audit!
  2. On the other hand if you do criticize, Government can rezone your property - without notification. You get a big surprise when the tax bill comes due!
  3. Even if you keep quiet, you may be refused planning permission. Don’t worry, someone connected with the Government may give you a call to buy your property. You lose, but you don’t lose everything.

Mail Tampering

We already suspect wire and phone tapping. More surveillance?

  1. Your sensitive mail is received opened. It is apparent that someone has read it. This happens repeatedly. The Postmaster is contacted, but this crime is never solved.
  2. The address to which your bank statement is sent is suddenly changed, but not by you! Your bank statements are redirected to someone that you are suing. Government may not be involved in this instance, but this is allowed to go on.

Courts

Perception of impartiality?

  1. A Barbadian court may apparently penalize you in one case because you lost a different case.
  2. A Barbadian court may fail to enforce proper execution of a will. It might say that no accounting is due to a beneficiary from the executor of the will.

Documents Lost in Registry and Other Govt Offices

Most think these losses are intentional.

  1. Want to find out who owns/owned a company? You might be out of luck. Certain paperwork is always lost. Walk into the registry and try asking for some sensitive documents. Look carefully and you will see that person in the background frantically making a call. You are about to get a visit!
  2. You are the PM and don’t want anybody to know the lucrative financial details your divorce. No problem! It’s real easy to lose paperwork.
  3. At the wrong end in a criminal incident? Evidence can also disappear, or witnesses can be persuaded. Besides, Bajans will soon forget you were ever charged!

Most of us Fear our Government but …

There are some people who have had enough, and are prepared to tell of their experiences. In my next post, one brave man reveals his experiences of Government harassment.


Next: The Chicken Farmer who is not Chicken