Tread carefully

Arthur warns Skerrit about appointing Avinash Persaud

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur is urging Dominica prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit to tread carefully with the appointment of Barbados-born economist Avinash Persaud as his senior economic advisor amid the devastation already caused to the hurricane-battered island.

Persaud, who was seen accompanying Skerrit to the United Nations (UN) in New York over the weekend, where the Dominican leader delivered a speech pleading for assistance for his hurricane-ravaged country, has since confirmed to Barbados TODAY that  he will be playing a major role in  Dominica’s rebuilding.

“Yes, I was in New York with prime minister Skerrit assisting with his meetings at the UN and others. I am prime minister Skerrit’s senior economic advisor tasked with helping the economic recovery and rebuilding,” Persaud, who  served as the economic expert on the UK government’s advisory panel on public sector information between 2005 and 2009 and also on a number of other distinguished and senior positions around the world, told Barbados TODAY earlier this week.

Dominica’s prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit (right) with his senior economic advisor Avinash Persaud (left).

However, given Persaud’s role in the failed Four Seasons project (otherwise referred to as the Paradise development) in Barbados between 2010 and 2012, Arthur has called on Skerrit to think twice about putting his country’s future in the hands of the ex-Paradise executive chairman.

“Any basic due diligence would tell you that . . . Paradise is mangled and the job of reconstruction of Dominica is massive. It is urgent and will be complex and priority should be given to people who have experience and skill sets to manage complex reconstructions,” Arthur told Barbados TODAY this morning, adding that “there is no evidence of the exhibition of such capacities on the Paradise project”.

Not mincing his words on the matter, the former prime minister further warned that while the wreckage caused to Dominica so far could largely be blamed on category five hurricane winds and rains, “you cannot explain it [wreckage] in the case of Paradise” where Persaud was part of a team trying, but failing, to raise money to pay creditors.

Amid the ongoing storm recovery efforts from Hurricane Maria which claimed at least 27 lives in the country, the former prime minister and Barbados Labour Party leader, who now sits as an independent in the House of Assembly, suggested that if Persaud were serious about assisting Dominica at this most difficult time, he would do as the rest of the region has done and volunteer his services.

“The devastation is so real that it is important that the financial contributions go to the relief of the people rather than finding their way into the pockets of high priced consultants. There is always that danger when you have these kinds of catastrophes,” the former minister of finance said.

Arthur, who said he had been approached by a group of business people here to help to put together a package of assistance for Dominica, was adamant that “people who want to genuinely help Dominica should volunteer their services as far as possible and pull their weight to help rather than to profit”.

In this vain, he said: “I hope he [Avinash] is a volunteer and will continue to be a volunteer.”

31 Responses to Tread carefully

  1. Michelle Griffith
    Michelle Griffith September 28, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Lol I know someone would come out and say what I was thinking, this man was a disaster in advising the government on the Four Seasons project, so now he have moved on to another target.

    • Angus Benn
      Angus Benn September 29, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Which government. You need to say .If it was the BLP or DLP.

    • Michelle Griffith
      Michelle Griffith September 29, 2017 at 9:54 am

      Angus wasn’t he a consultant under this administration?
      And you know that too.

  2. Breadfruit. September 28, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Owen After was a disaster with the Greenland landfill project and before that the Jamaica IMF project.

    • Leroy September 29, 2017 at 9:21 am

      You dont know what you speak of, go do your research about Jamaica, we all know greenland should have never started.

  3. Epaphras D. Williams
    Epaphras D. Williams September 28, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    “The devastation is so real that it is important that the financial contributions go to the relief of the people rather than finding their way into the pockets of high priced consultants. There is always that danger when you have these kinds of catastrophes,” the former minister of finance said. (BT)

    • Gillian Skeete
      Gillian Skeete September 29, 2017 at 7:03 am

      Let’s hope not or he will be toast. Hope he is carefully watched!

  4. Sue Donym September 29, 2017 at 12:59 am

    Wuhloss! That was a takedown that The Rock would be proud of. But cuh dear, some people still must put in a few more years – and a few more dollars – to secure the pension.

  5. Rowena Small
    Rowena Small September 29, 2017 at 4:48 am

    Whats in the pie for them?

  6. Barbados2.0 September 29, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Now my memory may not be the greatest, but wasn’t Mr. Persaud hired AFTER the project was already in a mess? It’s one thing to be blamed if you caused the mess, it’s another to be blamed if you tried and failed to fix someone else mess!

  7. harry turnover September 29, 2017 at 6:31 am

    Owen Arthur ,wha da in you business.Look you doing the same thing…advising Skerrit not to take in Persaud.

  8. Donild Trimp September 29, 2017 at 7:42 am

    The former PM is absolutely correct.

    Let the fraud (my words) Avinash volunteer his services.

    Enough said.

  9. Barbados 2.0 September 29, 2017 at 7:56 am

    My memory might be failing me, but wasn’t Mr. Persaud hired AFTER it was already a mess? It’s one thing to be blamed for a problem you created, it’s another to be made a scapegoat for trying to fix a problem you didn’t create.

    • Leroy September 29, 2017 at 2:04 pm

      He may ride in to save the day but end up smiling wide, day un saved.

  10. Ziggy Blessed
    Ziggy Blessed September 29, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Good point PM

  11. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn September 29, 2017 at 8:57 am

    It doesn’t not mean because you fail on one project that you will fail all the rest. Some times you have to fail before you get it right. DO YOU know how much people get killed by doctors every day. But they still continue do what they are doing.

  12. Blogg September 29, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Dominica has one of the best ecomonic advisors in Dr. Thomson Fontain, who is currently employed by the UK government in South Sudan advising this Government on its economic development policies and programs. Skerrit always sees it fit to engage expensive overseas people at the expense of the local tax payers. This man has a history of marginalising home grown talent to push his political gains. Who is best to develop Dominica after such destruction than Dominicans? It such a shame that he is calling for the country to unite while he is cunningly dividing the country with his divisive actions. A real shame that.

  13. Mark My Word September 29, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Barbados need to tread carfully with Marla Dukharan advice also she not giving her home land Trinidad & Tobago advice but wants to meddle in the affairs of Barbados

    These Big head no it all Economist is who have the world economy in a mess

  14. archy perch September 29, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Persaud is a fraud. But he sells himself real good as an “expert”. Expert monedy grabber charhing big fees for being an adviser. And we fall for it beccause he uss that English accent that we love. That makes us feel he knows what he is talking about. Strupse

  15. Big Brown September 29, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    If Mr. Arthur is so concerned, why did he not communicate directly and confidentially with Prime Minister Skerritt. This smacks of another attention seeking outburst on Mr. Arthur’s part.

    While he is at it, perhaps Mr. Arthur can shed some light on whether any of the Bajan businesses who are supplying aid now will be the beneficiaries of contracts to supply the items they are currently giving away as the rebuilding of Dominica gains steam.

  16. Native Bajan! September 29, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Economic advisor at what people’s of Dominica costs. It’s time to volunteer my brother!

  17. Ann Thomas September 29, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    This is a most despicable outburst by the former Prime Minister of this country. If you have something to say about Four Seasons and Mr. Persaud, put the facts on the table. From all reports, Four Seasons was not a shining light under the BLP either.

    It is unfortunate that a person of the status of Mr. Arthur should wish to warn a sitting Prime Minister publicly instead of privately and worse yet by suggestion, innuendo and other means seek to cast doubt over the professional reputation of another highly qualified Barbadian.

    Persaud’s record of international duty speaks for itself. He is and has been associated with well known and credible institutions – the IMF, Cambridge University, the London School of Economics and served on the UN Commission of Experts of the President of the United Nations on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System to name a few. He was the winner of the Institute of International Finance’s Jacques de Larosiere Award in Global Finance.

    Surely this speaks to the competence of Persaud. Perhaps this is the real problem, that because of his competence the Prime Minister of Dominica turned to him and not to somebody else.

    Shame on you Mr. Arthur. It is such a great pity that the epithet of great statesman will continue to elude you

  18. Carlton Dumas September 29, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Where does a 14 year prime minister get off giving advice to a 16 year prime minister?

  19. Donild Trimp September 29, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    @ Ann Thomas –
    Blah, blah, blah, just go away.

    Avinash is a fraud. He messed up Paradise Development big time..

    All who should know, know this for a fact and the former PM is in a position to know what went on.

    • ebaje September 29, 2017 at 6:27 pm

      Donild Trimp/Divad Thompson

      Sinckler and the Dems are responsible for the Failed Seasons. Full stop! The Avinash attack is all about Mia.

  20. Ann Thomas September 29, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    @ Donild Trimp ebaje knows of what he speaks. You should listen to him. The failure of Four Seasons lies squarely at the feet of this government and their inability to act in a timely manner on anything. That has nothing to do with Persaud.

    No scapegoat here. Nuff said

  21. Belfast September 29, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Old Bajan saying. ” Do fah do ain’t obeah!”
    Was it Tom Adams who was given similar advice from JA when Owen return to Barbados from Jamaica?

  22. A Boyce September 30, 2017 at 6:40 am

    Not only Four Seasons, he was also involved in the Harlequin project where people lost their money.

  23. Helicopter(8P) September 30, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    I agree to being a voluntary advisor non-salaried at this Recovery time with meals ,travel room and board exempt.

  24. Seaweed October 1, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    The better option for those who genuinely wish to help the people of Dominica is to give money to highly rated and trusted NGO’s such as Food for the Poor, or Salvation Army. These organizations bring in badly needed goods duty free and with no government involvement, They distribute goods directly to those who are in need.

  25. Samuel Shank October 2, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Have you researched Food for the Poor. The CEO has a big boat and big house in Florida. Were these paid for from the charitable contributions?


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