|Robert Stanford going to Court|
Stanford was born and raised in Texas, but as a young man he relocated to the Caribbean where he founded the Stanford Financial Group, which became the vehicle for his criminality. Stanford’s modus operandi was similar to that of the more notorious Bernie Madoff. Both men paid their investors such impossibly high rates of return on investment, year in year out, that anyone with half a brain should have smelled something fishy from the outset.
Stanford’s Caribbean odyssey began on island of Montserrat, where he opened a bank in 1985. Following a regulatory crackdown there, he swiftly moved his operations to the nearby island of Antigua where he was very popular with the authorities for over twenty years.
Queen Elizabeth II is still the head of state in Antigua and is sovereign of the Order of the Nation which, on the recommendation of local politicians, grants an Antiguan version of a Knighthood. Through such a recommendation, Stanford eventually became ”Sir Allen”. This Knighthood was revoked when his misdeeds came to light.
Leaving aside his alleged bribery and money laundering activities, Stanford’s popularity sprang from something very unusual, namely he was a Texan who loved cricket and understood the game. He was very generous in his sponsorship of international cricket on Antigua and even had his own cricket ground on the island, known as Sticky Wicket Stadium.
Stanford was shrewd enough to realize that the way to the heart of an Antiguan is cricket, which is treated by the islanders almost as a religion. The main cricket ground on the island is the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, which was built in 2008 at a cost of $60 million. Most of that money came in the form of a grant from the Chinese government, which had doubtless learned from Allen Stanford’s activities that generosity to cricket is the way to gain influence on Antigua.
|Bob "at bat" in Antigua Cricket Stadium|
In early March, this stadium was the site of a test match (an international match) between the West Indies and Zimbabwe. The West Indian team is drawn from all of the formerly British Caribbean, not just Antigua. I wish that I could have arrived on the island two or three weeks earlier and attended the match. Nevertheless, I much enjoyed my visit, because the climate was perfect and the local people were delightful.
|Turquoise water in Antigua|
|Road in Antigua|
|Halcyon Cove Hotel|
|Daughter Anna Patten and Bob visit English Harbor in Antigua|
The harbor itself is well protected from the ocean, so much so that British ships in the harbor would survive undamaged, when ships outside the harbor were being destroyed by hurricanes.
Admiral Nelson made it his headquarters in the West Indies from 1784 to 1787. When dying in 1805 from wounds suffered in the Battle of Trafalgar, fought in the stormy Atlantic with winter approaching, how the admiral must have yearned for the warmth and tranquility of English Harbor, Antigua.
This piece, written by Bob, was originally posted on our website on April 24, 2013.