The following statement was issued today by Deputy Chairman of the UPP Lynette Eastmond:
There are those who believe that during the COVID-19 crisis one must question nothing.
This is of course a naïve and dangerous position for the people of Barbados to take. Since the Cabinet of Barbados has now been given sweeping powers to make any order whatsoever and there is still no integrity commission for oversight, those who are vigilant amongst us must sit up and pay attention.
Recently the incorporation documents for a non-profit company named COVID-19 Relief and Recovery (Barbados) Inc. were circulated. Along with these documents were two letters, one which purported to be from Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the other from Chairman of the non-profit Andrew Mallalieu. No one has disputed these documents.
Aside from Andrew Mallalieu, the other directors according to the documents are Mark Maloney, Sir Paul Altman and Barry Gale Q.C.
The purpose of the non-profit company is stated to be:
(a) To raise and provide the funds for the purchase of equipment and supplies needed to test for and to treat the COVID-19 virus in Barbados;
(b) To provide financial assistant (sic assistance) to persons in Barbados affected financially by the COVID-19 virus;
(c) To reimburse the Government of Barbados for expenses directly associated with COVID-19 virus; and to provide for the establishment and maintenance of hospitals, healthcare centres and generally to promote healthcare in Barbados generally.
These are all laudable objectives which have been endorsed by the Government of Barbados.
The United Progressive Party (UPP) is optimistic that all three objectives set out above are met. We look forward to Barbadian families and eventually small businesses benefitting from the millions being collected by this non-profit.
In order to ensure that all Barbadians have access to the funds in whose name the money is being raised, there must be a high degree of transparency.
We know very little about this non-profit except that it has started to attract large sums of money. This is according to the Barbados TODAY story of April 10, 2020; and that the Prime Minister of Barbados has personally nominated the Director of Finance and Economic Affairs to sit on the Board.
One wonders at the power of a Prime Minister to nominate a public official to the Board of a private non-profit. But then we have seen in the past with the Four Seasons debacle that Government sometimes does not understand what its relationship with the private sector should be.
In recent times non-profits have come under scrutiny internationally because they have been the subject of abuse in circumstances where:
(1) The funds are not allocated in a transparent fashion and benefit those with a personal connection to the non-profit whether directly or indirectly;
(2) The funds are not used for all of the objectives approved by the Government;
(3) There is no tendering for the procurement of goods and services and the seller or middle man for the supplies are connected to the directors and their associates; and
(4) The items purchased by the fund are inflated in order to benefit the seller or middleman who is connected to the directors or their associates.
It is the recommendation of the UPP that to ensure the highest standards that firstly the public should be advised of the means of accessing the funds; and secondly that an Auditor, a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados, be appointed immediately to examine the non-profit’s financial statements and that the said audited financial statements be published monthly. We would wish for the Auditor to be paid. Assurances from Mallalieu do not suffice.
Deputy Chairman – UPP