Our Readers' Opinions
December 9, 2016
Allen Stanford loses his final bid for freedom

Editor: Allen Stanford, the man who spent tens of millions of dollars to promote the shorter version of cricket in the Caribbean, has lost his final bid to be released from prison, after he was convicted and jailed for a ponzi scheme in which he fleeced hundreds of millions of dollars from investors.

The US Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, has denied him the petition for a writ of certiorari; his prior District Court conviction and sentence were affirmed by the Fifth Circuit.{{more}}

Stanford’s date of release from prison is April 17, 2105, meaning that he will spend the rest of his life in custody, unless he is pardoned. He was knighted by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda for his heavy investment in the twin island state, but after he was charged and later convicted, his knighthood was revoked. He has contributed significantly to cricket, from Bermuda to Guyana and had retained more than a dozen former West Indian cricket stars, like Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Vivian Richards, Sir Everton Weekes, Richie Richardson, Lance Gibbs, as legends and advisors.

He contributed significantly to the improvement of cricket facilities in the region and paid out millions to the legends and players. He created and funded the Stanford 20/20 Cricket Tournament in the West Indies, for which he built his own ground in Antigua and Barbuda. The first tournament was held in July and August 2005. The second took place in January and February 2008, with a global television audience of 300 million.

In June, Stanford and the England and Wales Cricket Board signed a deal for five Twenty/20 internationals between England and a West Indies all-star XI, with a total prize fund of US$20 million to be awarded to the team that won the championship. It was the largest prize ever offered to a team in a single tournament. Stanford superstars, under the leadership of Chris Gayle, won the $20 million and each player, including Guyanese Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul received $1 million each. Unconfirmed reports state that Sarwan and Chanderpaul decided to invest their winnings in the Stanford investment programme. I interviewed Gayle after the game and he said to me that he was not investing, that he needed the funds to pay his ailing father’s medical bills.

The Texan owned two newspapers in Antigua and Barbuda and St Kitts/Nevis. He also owned a bank and two aircraft.

Oscar Ramjeet