Controversial building contractor Al Barrack has finally been paid in full, nine years after a High Court ordered the then Owen Arthur Administration to shell out $34 million for his part in completing the Warrens Office Complex in St Michael.
Barrack received the final installment sometime last year, but the information was only confirmed by Minister of Housing and Lands Dennis Kellman this evening.
Kellman revealed to Barbados TODAY that the total paid to Barrack was more than twice the original judgment, due to the interest that accrued over the years.
The minister said the contractor was paid approximately $73 million, $13 million of which he received last year as the final disbursement.
He explained that of the $13 million, eight million had been for arbitration costs. However, the minister disclosed that the attorneys in the case were still to be paid and the matter was currently before the courts.
“The only thing to be settled with the Barrack case is the lawyers and that is because they are waiting for a final assessment. This has to be decided through the court because of the request, but otherwise, you know . . .
“He is now one of my best landlords,” the minister said of Barrack who owns the building which houses a number of Government departments, including the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.
Over the nine-year period, Barrack had repeatedly called on Government to pay him what was due to him and he had not been quiet about it. In August 2014, he placed two massive locks and chains on the doors of the building preventing scores of civil servants from the various Government departments from entering.
“I have legal possession of this building. The Government gave me possession of this building in 2009. The Cabinet of Barbados gave me the building in 2009 and they told me it was irreversible. I sat there and waited for six years . . . so I lock it,” a frustrated Barrack had said at the time.
He had complained of not receiving the money Government owed him for the construction of the building or for rent. He also threatened at the time to keep the building locked until he had a cheque
However, he removed the chains and locks following Kellman’s intervention.
During a telephone conversation with Barrack back then, Kellman told the contractor he was “quite surprised” by his actions, to which Barrack retorted: “I took it because I told you I would do it and you told me I wouldn’t do it. So I did it.”
“I didn’t want to do this but I had to do it because you all doan care if I eat or not. This is all I work for in my entire life. I am almost 80 years old and you playing games with my life. Y’all messing me up. How I gon eat,” he asked the minister at the time.
An official source has told Barbados TODAY that Barrack now spends much of his time on his yacht, trying to keep out of the limelight.
“He is trying to keep out of confusion and he also is trying to make sure his building looks the best in the world,” the source said.