Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland and Madame Justice Jacqueline Cornelius listen attentively to Chief Justice, Sir Marston Gibson, at a meeting on Barbados’ Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, at the Accra Beach Hotel this morning. (GP)

Since the passage of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act in 2002, Barbados continues to see the grave impact of insolvency on our local landscape.

This was disclosed today by Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, at the start of a meeting on the island’s Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, hosted in conjunction with IMPACT Justice and the Government of Canada, at the Accra Beach Hotel.

In elaborating, the Minister said: “In recent times, we would have seen the case of the Harlequin Group of Companies, who, on their entry into Barbados, would have offered what appeared to be excellent investment opportunities.

“These companies have closed their operations, leaving employees unpaid and a large number of creditors both here and abroad, anxiously awaiting word on whether they will be able to recover any part of their investment. Some of these creditors include local small businesses, who having positioned themselves to undertake contracts with these companies, now find their own businesses impacted, having to deal with the financial fallout.”

Another example cited by the Minister was the case of Airone Ventures Limited (also known as Redjet). He explained that having sought protection under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act in 2011, this entity remains a matter before the court.

“This delay has left a number of creditors, and close to some 100 employees, unsure as to whether they will be able to recover any of the debt owed to them by the company,” Mr. Sutherland added.

Bankruptcy and insolvency issues, he stressed, have serious implications, not only for investors but for employees and the medium, small and micro enterprises (MSME) sector, which falls under the Minister’s portfolio.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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