Buccament Bay Resort. (iWN file photo)

By Patrick Ferrari

Same as my last piece, I want to make this point clearer than pellucidly: “Ralph and company” (R&Co.) is allegorical — every time you see it.

Considering that this is just barely just the beginning of A&A’s tenure, it is already starting to look like Buccament. Lordy, we are again the middle of a Government-Investor schit sandwich. Poor us. (I did not use “bs” because it is an abbreviation that you reflexively unabbreviate. It makes no sense until you do, so, I spared you the righteous self-deception.)

It is either that the irreverent Royal Mill lot, A&A Capital Inc., the people doing the hotel up Ratho Mill, are short of moolah (hardly, just yet) or that they are rogues and scoundrels whose genes share the same abnormal genetic coding as the Ames-Buccament ignominy that preceded them. The former, “short of cash,” might (might?) come in good time, but the latter, “rogues and scoundrels” is now. To paraphrase the Sage of Baltimore: we are here, and it is now, and the rest is moonshine. So now, I am not businessing myself with what is to come. I’m out. Once is enough for me.

It is unfortunate that Ralph and company are so desperate and lickerish for hotel room that they would allow room-building investors to walk all over us — like they allowed Ames. By the way, was due diligence done on this motley bunch?

Two months ago, A&A imported 75 containers of cement and I was one of several contracted to haul the containers from Campden Park to Glen. It was a frenzy because they had to get the containers out of the port as quickly as possible to avoid paying excess storage; and to return the containers quickly to avoid paying demurrage. Fair enough.

Over nine days we worked our butt off. Sometimes, not all the time, as late as 9 p.m. When done, we submitted our bill in the first week of March. On March 25, the treacherous hustlers dispatched a pompous Neanderthal man (I think the capo dispatched himself) with a cheque to pay us. Pay? Ha! Pay like Ames. The morally impoverished weasel struts into our office like a courier sure of government protection, plonks down a cheque accompanied with the decree that he is paying only for the transport from Campden Park to Glen. Just so. Nothing more. No discussion. They did not pay for overtime — which was approved by an A&A carpetbagger. Nor did they pay for the additional work; work, that is, done on top of what we were contracted to do: sticking around for extended hours to shuffle containers around on site; removing containers from the off-loading position when they became empty and re-positioning full ones in their place. Some of which was done in normal time and some in overtime hours.

Fifty-three unpaid hours. Seven days’ work. We made good to reduce their excess storage and demurrage overheads, and the stinking avatars of slave labour refuse to remunerate us. That authoritarian impulse rests on knowing that their project floats R&Co.’s boat. And knowing, too, that they have the “backing” of the Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which has also acted as “a principal collaborator”. A&A’s losses, then, to a remarkable degree, will belong to all of us. R&Co. is beholden to them. And they could smell it. They will be given a wide berth to ride roughshod over us. Another project that’s too big to fail. Ugh. Poor us.

Sounds familiar? It has happened before and don’t doubt,thecontemptuous sleazebags at A&A are aware of how Ames and the government played ball.

None of our extra work counts because, like Ames with his Buccament calamity, they think we are uninformed natives. They say they are not paying overtime and we must go, “Okay, massa, thank you please.” We must accept and be grateful for what they hand out. They know when things get worse, and it’s going to, R&Co. could easily arm the paramilitary, dogs and all, and send them up Ratho Mill to take care of the ugliness that will come. Just as they served it up for the (then) mighty Ames. Royal Mill could sense, if only by osmosis, that they would be able to oppress us into submission. And that is what I meant when I said, “how Ames and the government played ball”. (They are testing the move on three of us.)

Ralph Gonsalves, just so you know, I am not the only one that A&A has shafted. These swindlers take your invoice and don’t pay what they don’t feel like, then assert a right to act in a world they created. That’s how they keep school.

The prime minister better don’t do like the Orange Oaf in the White House has done with COVID-19: when time come, say how he didn’t know. The Oaf was told early on about COVID-19 and I-man is telling Ralph early on that the folks at A&A Capital Inc., is exploiting Vincentians — already. It may be only three of us, but that is today. We are just the first victims of the second wave of the virus.

Comrade, study your head good; the writing is on the wall. These unscrupulous scamps are starting where it took Ames a whole heap longer to reach. Now watch how he has you and Kelly Glass. Prostrate. Remember in June 2018 you expressed high expectations Buccament would be opened in six months? It was closed in 2016, and today you and Kelly are not two inches ahead — in real life.

Prime minister, read the writing on the wall. Don’t let the virus second wave catch you, us, you know. You are one side of the sandwich. Don’t forget that. This is a chance to redeem your resort-at-any-cost, room-centric government. Act like a responsible steward of — Vincentians. (As elections approaches, we might get lucky there. Briefly — till he win five.) It would be naïve and short-sighted to ignore these early, unmistakable warning signs. You know the saying, “fool me once …”

Meanwhile, some enterprising boat person might want to invest a pirogue to park down Chateaubelair; the pox at Ratho Mill might be in need of its services one day. Else they could use a LIAT — like Tamara Marks.

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

8 replies on “Coming: The second wave of the Ames-Buccament virus”

  1. This is one more among the thousands of cases where SVG workers don’t have any rights only duties and nothing to back them up. Ralph always coming up skanky cause he don’t know what he is doing. How could a man with such a record be left to run the country? The egomaniac narcissist PM will continue to miscalculate.

  2. It is always fascinating to read Patrick Ferrari. Of course the reader has to be at least somewhat informed about past events in SVG and I am sure I miss much of the hints Patrick makes. In my opinion the system we have here attracts these scoundrel investors. Instead of having FAIR financial policy we have a concessionary system where the “chosen ones” get an unfair advantage over the rest. I comment about this all the time in a hope that SVG can develop into a place like where I grew up: where entities like Amazon, Safeway, Nintendo, Starbucks, Microsoft, Costco, etc… all started. Those with the best ideas and work hard win! Instead we have a system that attracts those that seek to exploit for short term profits. It does not work so government resorts to creating government jobs, (possibly the per capita biggest Customs Department on earth) and continued tax increases to pay for them in order to avoid statistics of more UNemployed than those employed. Patrick is one of the few that has the courage to come out and tell it how he sees it and he has been “punished” for it in the past. We need more people of conscience, willing to speak-out in today’s world.

  3. BlackMadGuru MAD- Mystically Adept Divinity says:

    Patrick Ferrari – Persons in Svg need to read my book, Buccament Bay resort and the messenger. Plus my other 8 books. To help them to wake up. And this is coming from someone who don’t deal with politics peroid!

  4. So many Vincentians were ripped off at Buccament Resort by Dave Ames Harlequin Co. People supplied road transport, on-site trucking, plant and machinery, fruit and vegetable, labour and service, and in a few cases, even their lives.

    Remember how it all came about. The government part of the site was sold to Harlequin or whoever by the intervention of PM Ralph Gonsalves. It is now assumed that little or no due diligence was carried out on Dave Ames. Harlequin Co was a new corporation, so there was little to learn about them.

    But Dave Ames was a double glazed window salesman from Essex in England, the home of most of London’s crooks. More than one of his UK companies had suffered bankruptcy. He had an easily traceable business past, he had no money of his own to talk of, certainly not enough to build a single villa at Buccament.

    He was like most conmen, a glib talker, and glib talkers are very attracted to glib talkers, so I suppose he and Ralph got on like a Vincentian building on fire. By that, I mean no one could put that fire out, certainly not Kingstown fire service which to date have never saved a building from a fire.

    Shortly after the project started, it must have been evident that things would not be going right because the engineering procedures for the site were changed. Nothing was how it should be. There were shortages of money during all stages. To be fair to Ames, he was promised an international airport at Argyle that should have been finished in 2012, but instead of being finished in three years it took nine years. That airport, if completed on time, may have made a difference between the success and failure of Buccament.

    Then we discovered during the build that the wife of Ralph Gonsalves had been awarded the furnishing and fitting out of the first handful of villas [sheds]. When was she awarded that, at what juncture? We Joe public do not know, but it was not useful for what most of us know as transparency, not good at all. It is said a lot of money was involved in the contract. From there, everything that could go wrong went wrong. The dynasty was also involved in other ways with Julian Francis, who became Mr. Fixit for Buccament, saying if anyone had any problems with Harlequin, let him know, and he would fix it.

    Employees looking for salary and suppliers and contractors looking for payment were often met and turned away at the office by hoards of police either dressed in black or with big guns and dressed menacingly in army camouflaged uniforms. Buccament Resort had police protection from Vincentians owed money, can you just imagine that.

    If I write any more, it will be a book, so perhaps another time.

    See also https://www.ieyenews.com/opinion-is-the-reopening-of-buccament-a-second-chance-of-an-earner-for-someone/

    and https://www.iwnsvg.com/2018/10/16/vincentians-among-new-buccament-resort-investors/

    which I chose for its rather in depth comments

  5. Sorry for the babble Patrick, your piece above brought back so many memories I just couldn’t help myself.

    But you may well be right, it is history repeating itself.

  6. A labour dispute in SVG usually ends with the workers get […]. The cards are stacked against ordinary people.

    1. But Patrick I doubt the Ratho Mill projects will ever complete in our lifetimes. COVID 19 will see to that. Hotel groups all over the world are in trouble and most will end up going broke. Tour companies, airlines and individual hotels, we will see the majority of them going broke also. Nothing will ever be the same.

      Its elderly folk who tend to be Caribbean tourists and most of those will be dead.

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