VICE PRESIDENT of the New Democratic Party (NDP), St Clair Leacock is questioning the due diligence procedure that was used to allow convicted British businessman, Dave Ames to invest in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
Leacock raised the question last Wednesday October 12, as he spoke on the NDP’s New Times programme.
He wondered “What is the extent of the due diligence that was conducted on Mr Ames, and his source of funds” for the failed Buccament Bay Hotel project.
The 70 year old Ames, who fled St Vincent and the Grenadines in 2016, is now serving a 12 year jail sentence in a UK jail.
Ames was convicted on two fraud charges on August 3.
Ames, who was the founder of Harlequin Hotels and Resorts, the parent company of Buccament Bay Resorts, had obtained Vincentian citizenship.
However, during a news conference on Tuesday, October 4 Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that Ames was never issued a St Vincent and the Grenadines passport.
He also said that Ames was eligible to be stripped of his Vincentian citizenship.
On Wednesday, Leacock pointed out that through his “wicked and worthless ponzi scheme”, Ames deprived many tax payers in the UK of “their hard earned pension monies.”
The Central Kingstown representative also expressed the view that by his actions and subsequent conviction, Dave Ames has managed to tarnish the name of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
“I am putting it to you, that the name and reputation of St Vincent and the Grenadines, is stained as a consequence
that was perpetrated,” Leacock said.
He added that he thinks the Ames situation “has not been a good thing for us.”
During his sentencing in the UK, Judge Hehir told Ames “You are a menace to anybody unfortunate enough to do business with you.”
Ames fled St Vincent and the Grenadines in 2016, after failing to show up in court here, to answer tax evasion and theft charges.
“We had problems with Nano in this country, and Nano fled St Vincent and the Grenadines.
“We had problems with a Mr Wise…and he also fled St Vincent and the Grenadines.
“I talking about big money people, you know,” Leacock commented.