Pannell Kerr Forster loses out at Hubbards

It’s being described as a coup against a local company by a Bajan conglomerate that had the backing of a few Grenadians.

That’s the conclusion of one Grenadian businessman who is peeved at the way in which local accounting firm, Pannell Kerr Forster was replaced as the accounting firm for Jonas Browne and Hubbards by Ernst & Young which has its regional head office in Barbados.

According to a well-placed source, the successful move against Pannell was done at the  annual general meeting of the shareholders of Hubbards which was held last week Thursday at the Conference room of the Flamboyant hotel in the south of the island.

He said that the Barbados-based Goddards Group of Companies used its majority shareholding interest “to literally dump a local accounting firm” and to give the work to foreigners.

He described as “shameful” the action of a small shareholder with Hubbards to vote alongside Goddards to get rid of PKF which is run by local accountant, Henry Joseph.

He feared that the former Managing Director of Hubbards, the late Fred Toppin who was Barbadian by birth and who became a naturalised Grenadian citizen would be turning in his grave at the latest turn of events.

“Mr. Toppin was Barbadian but made sure that a lot of Grenadians were able to buy into Hubbards and became shareholders and put the company firmly in the hands of Grenadians. Today it is shameful to see some Grenadians turn around and vote with the Bajans to kick out a Grenadian company”, he remarked.

The source said it was despicable to see this particular small shareholder who has one single share in Hubbards to rise and second the motion put forward by Goddards to appoint Ernst & Young as the new accounting firm for the local company.

Goddards sprung the resolution after Joseph had presented his report to shareholders on the financial status of the company that is managed by Allan Bierzynski.

The source said that Joseph quickly excused himself from the meeting when he realised that a vote was to take place among shareholders to appoint the new set of Accountants.

“I was present at the meeting and can tell you that Mr. Joseph was given a loud round of applause from many local shareholders for what he did”, he added.

He spoke of Goddards informing the meeting that it had a “competitive bid” from someone else for the job of accountants thus forcing a vote.

THE NEW TODAY understands that PKF fees was in the vicinity of EC$64, 000.00 and Ernst & Young was offering to do the job for EC$1200.00 less.

According to the source, the first vote was done by a show of hands and the local shareholders were able to defeat Goddards on the PKF vs Ernst and Young motion.

He said the representative of Goddards then turned on the screws by requesting that a poll vote be done in which the count would be based on individual shares.

“It was clear to us that Goddards will win because they have the majority shares. It was not a foregone conclusion that Goddards was using its might to over power all the other minority shareholders”, he remarked.

The source indicated that a local female shareholder rose on her feet and put forward the suggestion that the other local shareholders boycott the vote but it was ignored by the Grenada Ports Authority (GPA) and the lone shareholder who had earlier seconded the motion to change accounting firm.

He stated that Goddards was quizzed and gave assurances that awarding the job to Ernst & Young would not result in Hubbards having to pay extra dollars to accommodate the accountants who would have to travel from Barbados to Grenada to do the work.

He said that the Bajan outfit indicated that the parent company will bear that expense on behalf of Ernst & Young and it will not be a financial burden on Hubbards.

THE NEW TODAY was also told that one local shareholder reminded Goddards that it is illegal for the majority shareholder to act in a manner prejudicial or against the interest of the minority shareholders.

“It was good to see Grenadians come together to defend a Grenadian Company (PKF) except for this one individual who seems to hate everyone in this country and most likely every other human being on the face of this earth”, the source said.

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