Sunday, February 25, 2018

All good scams must come to an end



After having failed for seven months to lodge their Annual Return, the promoters of infamous "Cocomo Village" finally had their company de-registered on 1 February 2018. No more company, no more scams!

Good, I thought, although perhaps they'll fix things up and lodge their long overdue Annual Return, and continue with the charade of "selling" their fantasy of a tropical island to dreamers from around the world.

After all, according to Item 27 of this Schedule of Fees, it'd only cost them $599 (and that's Tongan dollars!) to have the company restored to the register - and what's that when compared to the more than US$600,000 already extracted from this sc.. - ahem! - scheme?



And so I kept checking. After one week, it was still de-registered!



After two weeks, it was still de-registered!



After three weeks, it was still de-registered!



And as I write this post, it is still de-registered!



I'm torn between wanting it re-registered so I can keep writing about it, and wanting it stay de-registered so no more people can get ripped off.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Has HUNGA ISLAND ESTATE LTD been re-registered?


It's been de-registered since 1 February 2018 and has stayed that way but keep coming back. As Alexander Pope wrote, "Hope springs eternal" - of course, good ol' Alex had never heard of Cocomo Village.

Presumably the company was struck off because of non-compliance; again, presumably because it failed to lodge its Annual Return, although it could also have been because it failed to meet its tax obligations.

The Ministry of Revenue and Customs has previously shut down businesses for non-payment of tax - see here. I am no expert on Tongan tax laws but, according to my Tongan business friends who ought to know, it's likely that tax is payable on the "sales" of leasehold allotments on Hunga Island which have so far netted the company over US$600,000, not counting the ongoing monthly fees.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

I've just received a message from one of the foolish Cocomo Village investors


As you can see, I helped as much as I could.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Wipe your mouth, Robert!


Even the directors have decided to let "Hunga Island Estate Limited" die an undignified death by not renewing its lapsed registration but the mastermind behind it all, good ol' Robert Bryce, still peddles his wares on and and (found any more? let me know!)

Here's your final medal for being the biggest bullshitter, Robert, even though I suspect you've got so many of them already that you look like one of Kim Jong-un's generals - see here. Perhaps you should give us a medal for having put up with your bullshit all these years? Just an idea.

No need to thank me for it; I'm full of good ideas just as you're full of bullshit. Wipe your mouth, Robert; there's still a bit around your lips!


Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Mosquito Coast of Hunga Island


If you read Paul Theroux's book and saw the movie with Harrison Ford, you can now create your own jungle paradise in Robert Bryce's Cocomo Village (if they still sell 'shares' in what is now a deregistered company).

You wouldn't be the first who's moved into unimaginable darkness in this diseased and dirty Eden. Another German nutter did in 2016 but left a year later which is how long it took him to raise the money for his fares.

A second nutter took over in late 2017. He also brought his wife and children, even a washing machine! The wife and kids are safely back in civilisation but the nutter and his washing machine are still there - see above. Not that he would need a washing machine right now as every-thing is washed out anyway, while the island stoically endures the rainy season with zillions of mosquitoes bringing in the deadly dengue fever.

For more photos of this dystopian lifestyle, click here. The words are in German but the pictures scream for themselves.


Monday, February 5, 2018

Lucy Irvine at Cocomo Village?

The movie "Castaway", filmed in 1986, is the fictionalised version of the book "Castaway" by Lucy Irvine, which was published in 1983, and which in turn is a fictionalised version of Lucy Irvine and Gerald Kingsland's one year spent on the unhabited island of Tuin in 1980, which is something of a fiction in itself as, according to the locals, they spent more time hanging around the store on Badu Island, a mere 10 minutes away, than on tiny Tuin Island


Lucy Irvine, the author of "Castaway", turns 62 this month and now lives a reclusive life in an old caravan in Bulgaria where she cares for stray and abandoned dogs and other animals - see here - , an unsurprisingly unconventional sequel to an unconventional lady's unconventional life.

I had first heard of Lucy through my involvement with Pigeon Island in the Solomons and rushed out to buy her book "Faraway" without even realising that our paths had almost crossed as she, too, lived for a year in the Torres Strait, albeit a few years later.

Photos from her book 'Castaway'

She and her 'husband-for-a-year', Gerald Kingsland, lived on the tiny island of Tuin (aka Barney Island) - the usual 'your own deserted island, palm trees swaying in the breeze, all the fish you can catch' bit gone sour - about which she wrote a book, "Castaway", which was made into a film in 1986.

What happened after her "Castaway" year? As she writes, "After my farewell to the island I loved – and which came close to killing me – I arrived a few days later in ‘civilisation’ (Brisbane, Australia) wearing nothing but a sarong. My feet were bare and I had a tobacco tin on a string round my neck containing only a few coins."

More photos from her book 'Castaway'

Gerald Kingsland remarried twice after a painless divorce from her, bringing his total of wives to five. His first post-Tuin marriage was a shotgun affair with a Catholic lass of 19 in Chile. Later he married a Western Samoan girl, when in his sixties. He left behind nine children when he passed away from a liver condition, aged 70. No ordinary life.

To now live in an old caravan in some god-forsaken village in Bulgaria seems an unlikely sequel to Lucy's time on Tuin and Pigeon Island but she's never done the conventional thing.

Would Lucy have been happy to live at Cocomo Village? I don't think so - she might be unconventional but not that unconventional!


I'm famous now!

The only link between this clip and Cocomo Village is that both are figments of Robert Bryce's imagination. I include it here because it is so tantalisingly beautiful - and I use the adverb advisedly because, like Tantalus who was made to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches, with the fruit ever eluding his grasp, and the water always receding before he could take a drink, none of Robert's clients will realise their dreams


Robert Bryce, the father of his illegitimate brainchild "Cocomo Village" - plus two other alas stillborn ones, Go Native Fiji and Cocomo Lodge - has toned down his spruiking and finally admits that "Cocomo is not for everyone" even though "the project was originally targeting retiring or retired people" (retirees fighting their way through dense jungle? ☺).

I like to think that this blog had something to do with this, and good ol' Robert seems to acknowledge it via this rather backhanded compliment: "Peter Goerman, of German extraction living in Australia on a bend in the river is behind a personal assault on Cocomo. Why, no one can ascertain, but it must be very personal for he has gone to EXTREMES to defame the place. Judging from the material he must have taken months to post reveals his illogical obsession. He never wanted to buy a lot there, doesn’t personally know anyone who has bought a lot and has never been to the island."

Extraction sounds a lot like a visit to the dentist. Actually, I was born in Germany which I left for Australia half a century ago. I love Australia because here people don't tolerate bullshit of the sort that Robert has been defecating with his paradisical stories of life in Cocomo Village.

Personal? Nothing could be further from the truth! I like the man. I just don't like him ripping people off. With his writing skills, he could be working for READER'S DIGEST, even THE NEW YORKER, so why risk having bricks (or coconuts) thrown through his windows by ripping people off? (not to mention the risk of being investigated by the taxman for the more than US$600,000 this scheme has netted the promoters so far).

He's correct when he writes that I've never wanted to buy a lot in Cocomo Village despite his repeated attempts to sell me some. I used to be a German but I'm no Colonel Klink ☺! But he's totally incorrect when he writes that I've never been to the island. In my extensive Tongan travels, I've been there TWICE - and I still wonder why, because a more depressing place I can't imagine - which is perhaps more often than Rob has been there, because he likes his creature comforts of which there are none on the island (in fact, there's nothing on the island except for a few comatose locals who are either too young or too old to leave).

As for not knowing anyone who's bought a lot, I got to know two who'd bought - and wished they hadn't - through email exchanges, and I know of three others who are trying to sell theirs at any price but are in stiff competition with Robert himself who was last heard offering two lots for the price of one! Is it legal to sell shares in a de-registered company? That would be real Alice-in-Wonderland stuff, wouldn't it, Robert?

Thanks for making me famous, Rob! Better being famous for warning people off "Cocomo Village" than infamous for getting them into it!