Saturday, March 10, 2007

Bush Texas crony "Sir" R. Allen Stanford, and GOP corruption

Antigua assault by Texas billionaire now engulfing other Caribbean nations. The story about Bush Texas crony "Sir" R. Allen Stanford buying up land in Antigua and attempting to take control of Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT) is having repercussions beyond Antigua and Barbuda. The Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of the Unity Labour Party, a one-time Marxist professor at the University of the West Indies who is nicknamed "Comrade Ralph," has provided details to Stanford's attempt to acquire LIAT:

-Mr. Stanford and the Stanford Financial Group Limited has given a US$55 Million loan to liquidate the liabilities of LIAT, among other things. The other things include buying out Stanford's Caribbean Star. Essentially, Caribbean Star is loaning money to LIAT to buy out Caribbean Star and pay off all of its debts as well as LIAT’s.

- The loan will be repaid to an international entity of the Stanford Financial Group. One of Stanford’s companies will be handling the Initial Public Offer (IPO). Therefore, one of Stanford many companies could easily buy the loan, which his own company is handling, i.e., Stanford would fully own LIAT under the disguise of one of his companies.

- Repayment /interest will be handled by London Inter-bank interest rates rate plus 1% and must be repaid within 24 months. So the governments of the Caribbean are hoping that things will go well and the loan will be bought off.

- To guarantee the loan, the Barbados government will provide a US$30 million guarantee, Antigua and Barbuda government a US$20 million guarantee, and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines government US$5 million guarantee.

The optimum outcome for the Caribbean nations is that:

- Caribbean shareholder governments will have 60% of the new entity;

- Stanford Financial Group Limited 35%; and

- LIAT Employees 5%

However, political leaders in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are already smelling a rat. WMR previously reported on Stanford's ties to Bush and the GOP and U.S. ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Mary Ourisman, being a professional board member and wealthy contributor for the Bush administration. We have also learned that Stanford flew members of the U.S. Congress to Antigua on his private jet for junkets.