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Investor Dave Ames. (Internet photo)
Dave Ames, chair of Harlequin. (Internet photo)

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, March 20, IWN – It seems that the BBC team making the Panorama programme about Harlequin does not reserve its door-stepping and on-board aircraft tactics for leaders of “third world” countries.

Two BBC journalists working on the programme visited St. Vincent in February and had an encounter with Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves on board a landed aircraft in Barbados.

Gonsalves said that the journalists — Paul Kenyon and Matthew Hill — accosted him.

But, two separate sources told I-Witness News last week that the Panorama team dished out the same treatment to Dave Ames last week.

One source said on Thursday that Ames was confronted on a London — Dublin flight that day “in a similar respectful way as our Prime Minister, Mr. Gonsalves, was approached”.

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“I think it’s hilarious that … Ames was on his own, … unable to answer any questions at all, aggressive on camera, sweating in [the cold] temperature,” the source said.

“Ames continually said, ‘Check our accounts’, even when told, ‘They can’t be checked as you haven’t submitted them for seven years.’”

Buccament Bay Resort Ltd., Harlequin’s main resort, has blamed its former UK auditor for not filing its financial statements or annual returns for the period from 2005-2012.

A January 17certificate of status, from the Registrar of Companies, has revealed that Buccament Bay is in “default of its obligations” under the Companies Act and is likely to be struck off the register.

“Ames continued, ‘Check our accounts.’ Other passengers were laughing at him as it continued. Good sport for them. Will make good viewing,” the source said.

The Panorama programme, dubbed “The Great Savings Wipe Out”, is scheduled to be broadcast on BBC One at 20:30 GMT (16:30 Eastern Caribbean) on March 25 and at 04:30 GMT (00:30 Eastern Caribbean) on March 28 on BBC News Channel.

In the show promo, the BBC says, “A twice-bankrupt, former double glazing salesman from Essex has collected an estimated quarter of a billion pounds from investors, which is now at risk. In one of Britain’s biggest ever pension scandals, he promised to build luxury rental homes in the Caribbean, some on the island of St Vincent, where the film Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed. Wimbledon tennis champion Pat Cash and golfing legend Gary Player helped promote the property scheme. However, reporter Paul Kenyon finds most of the planned properties have yet to be built and there are disputes over planning permission and land ownership.”