Two Good Friends

On January 17, 2008, the Barbados Nation Newspaper published this article on the occasion of David Thompson’s success in the general election:
Family, friends proud of new PM

In the article, Leroy Parris, chairman of CLICO Holdings (Barbados) Limited, is described as “another long-time associate”.

The following words are attributed to Mr. Parris:

It was a very good feeling to be here to celebrate with a very good friend of mine.

A lot of people do not know this but David is the godfather of my son and I am the godfather of his last daughter so there is not only a political relationship, but a personal relationship as well. Also, David is my attorney-at-law.

As you know, over the last 15 years I have been battered in the media for my relationship with him, but I have continued to stand by his side because a friend is a friend and friendship means a whole lot to me, not just as a political friend but a real friend.

I am therefore very happy to be here to see him in his moment of victory. I will give him my full support as I have given successive prime ministers I have worked with (as a member of the business community) over the years.

I have emphasized the words that show Mr. Parris is a personal friend of Mr. Thompson.

Private and Public Business Dealings

In addition, David Thompson was the attorney for CLICO Holdings (Barbados) Limited. Source: M4 Investments vs. CLICO Holdings (Barbados) Limited (March 12 & 31, 2004)

On the “Thompson & Patterson” web page, David Thompson is “Thompson”. In the “Clients” section of the same page, Clico International General Insurance Ltd. and Caribbean Commercial Trust Company Ltd. are listed. “CMFC was originally incorporated in 1984 as the Caribbean Commercial Trust Company.” Source: CFMC online Both are subsidiaries of the company of which Leroy Parris is Chairman.

Shortly after Thompson became Prime Minister, he appointed Leroy Parris as Chairman of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). (A year later, Mia Mottley has expressed concern that Parris may be responsible for CBC not broadcasting news critical of CLICO.)

A year ago, there were reports of Prime Minister David Thompson traveling  with CLICO’s Leroy Parris on a private jet. Opposition leader Mia Mottley has also referred to a private jet owned by CLICO.

A Question of Accountability

Mr. Thompson is entrusted with public funds, which are acquired by collecting taxes from the people. Mr. Thompson bailed out the Barbados Turf Club, and now he has bailed out his former client the CLICO Mortgage and Finance Corporation (CMFC). 

The Barbados Central Bank falls under his portfolio as Minister of Finance. Did Barbados Prime Minister and Minister of Finance David Thompson appear to act correctly? Who decided that the Barbados Central Bank should bailout his former client, CMFC? Was there a conflict of interest involving public funds and a company with connections to a long-time personal friend and private sector business associate?

There is another matter. Is it a good practice for the Prime Minister to take on additional Ministries? Since the Ministry of Finance reports to the Prime Minister, I hold Prime Minister David Thompson doubly responsible for his actions as Minister of Finance.