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Pressure mounts on government to stop payment to CLICO former directors

Montserrat interests and individuals continue to ask questions as to the standing of their monies

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T&T Opposition Leader, Dr. Keith Rowley

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The main opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) has called on the government to prevent the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT) from paying nearly TT$50 million (One TT dollar =US$0.16 cents) to the former directors of the cash-strapped Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO).

Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley said payment to the former directors would “facilitate and encourage the wrongdoing” that almost caused the collapse of this country’s economy.

CBTT Governor Jwala Rambarran said he would “not be commenting on the dealings between an insurance company and its customer”.

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CBTT Governor Jwala Rambarran

President of the CLICO Policyholder’s Group, Peter Permell, has also raised objections to plans to pay TT$48.5 million to 10 former directors and their companies.

Permell, responding to media reports that CLICO had allocated the funds to pay the former directors and their companies, said the minority shareholder group is “not only flabbergasted, we are appalled as this has to be the height of insanity.

“For it begs the question: how in good Heaven’s name could anyone, in their right mind, particularly the Central Bank Governor and the Minister of Finance, allow 10 individuals, comprising former CLICO directors and senior management along [with] their private companies, to be paid any money, let alone $48.5 million ahead of the 15,000 bona fide ‘assenting’ third-party policyholders who were promised but are yet to be made whole?” he added.

President of the CLICO Policyholder’s Group,

President of the CLICO Policyholder’s Group, Peter Permell

The Sunday Express newspaper reported that the money will be paid without interest from 2009. The newspaper said that the only director who will not be paid will be CL Financial (CLF) corporate secretary Gita Sakal because the Central Bank has instructed CLICO to withhold payment because of an ongoing civil matter.

Rowley has described the proposed payment as “improper.

“I have noticed that it has been put in the media, apparently from the Central Bank with the authority of the Government, that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago either is taking or has taken steps to have CLICO directors paid sums of money with respect to CLICO’s liability to these directors,” Rowley said.

“I want to go on record as saying that when the CLICO collapse took place, the saving of that company and its holding company was done by taxpayers’ money through the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago. Since then the Parliament has had virtually no involvement in the management of the affairs of this portfolio and this Government has made a career of misleading the public on this matter.

“A few weeks ago we were told that one of the government’s achievements was the settling of the CLICO matter…we will come to that in the election campaign when we have more time to discuss that,” he said.

Rowley said the announcement of the payment to the CLICO directors while taxpayers’ are “still exposed” was unexpected.

“What we did not expect is that part of this settlement of the CLICO matter was the payment of monies to the directors of CLICO while taxpayers’ monies are still exposed at CLICO,” Rowley said, adding “that being so, it is the position of the PNM, the country’s opposition, that it is improper, it is unwarranted, it is unexpected that the government of Trinidad and Tobago will make payments to CLICO directors who are persons, many of whom up to this day have not answered for their involvement in the collapse…that this Government on its way out of office will seek to make payments to CLICO directors while taxpayers’ monies are exposed.”

The former directors of the company had opted to pay a TT$2,000 fine instead of testifying before Sir Anthony Colman’s commission of enquiry into CLICO.

Meanwhile, Rambarran said that six years after the collapse of CLICO, the company’s creditors and policy holders will finally have relief from their “traumatic experience”.

He said CLICO had made its first payment of just over four billion TT dollars to its single largest creditor—the Trinidad and Tobago Government—and is currently processing around TT$950 million to some 1,500 policy holders who have endured “unimaginable hurt and pain”.

He said both creditors are receiving an equal 85 per cent payout in the first distribution, while the remaining 15 per cent will be paid in two subsequent distributions, pending the sale of certain CLICO assets.

The CBTT governor said that during this year government stands to receive some TT$10 billion from CLICO which can be used to reduce public debt, over half of which was incurred due to the CLICO bailout.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Montserrat interests and individuals continue to ask questions as to the standing of their monies

Untitled-1

T&T Opposition Leader, Dr. Keith Rowley

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The main opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) has called on the government to prevent the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT) from paying nearly TT$50 million (One TT dollar =US$0.16 cents) to the former directors of the cash-strapped Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO).

Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley said payment to the former directors would “facilitate and encourage the wrongdoing” that almost caused the collapse of this country’s economy.

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CBTT Governor Jwala Rambarran said he would “not be commenting on the dealings between an insurance company and its customer”.

Untid-1

CBTT Governor Jwala Rambarran

President of the CLICO Policyholder’s Group, Peter Permell, has also raised objections to plans to pay TT$48.5 million to 10 former directors and their companies.

Permell, responding to media reports that CLICO had allocated the funds to pay the former directors and their companies, said the minority shareholder group is “not only flabbergasted, we are appalled as this has to be the height of insanity.

“For it begs the question: how in good Heaven’s name could anyone, in their right mind, particularly the Central Bank Governor and the Minister of Finance, allow 10 individuals, comprising former CLICO directors and senior management along [with] their private companies, to be paid any money, let alone $48.5 million ahead of the 15,000 bona fide ‘assenting’ third-party policyholders who were promised but are yet to be made whole?” he added.

President of the CLICO Policyholder’s Group,

President of the CLICO Policyholder’s Group, Peter Permell

The Sunday Express newspaper reported that the money will be paid without interest from 2009. The newspaper said that the only director who will not be paid will be CL Financial (CLF) corporate secretary Gita Sakal because the Central Bank has instructed CLICO to withhold payment because of an ongoing civil matter.

Rowley has described the proposed payment as “improper.

“I have noticed that it has been put in the media, apparently from the Central Bank with the authority of the Government, that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago either is taking or has taken steps to have CLICO directors paid sums of money with respect to CLICO’s liability to these directors,” Rowley said.

“I want to go on record as saying that when the CLICO collapse took place, the saving of that company and its holding company was done by taxpayers’ money through the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago. Since then the Parliament has had virtually no involvement in the management of the affairs of this portfolio and this Government has made a career of misleading the public on this matter.

“A few weeks ago we were told that one of the government’s achievements was the settling of the CLICO matter…we will come to that in the election campaign when we have more time to discuss that,” he said.

Rowley said the announcement of the payment to the CLICO directors while taxpayers’ are “still exposed” was unexpected.

“What we did not expect is that part of this settlement of the CLICO matter was the payment of monies to the directors of CLICO while taxpayers’ monies are still exposed at CLICO,” Rowley said, adding “that being so, it is the position of the PNM, the country’s opposition, that it is improper, it is unwarranted, it is unexpected that the government of Trinidad and Tobago will make payments to CLICO directors who are persons, many of whom up to this day have not answered for their involvement in the collapse…that this Government on its way out of office will seek to make payments to CLICO directors while taxpayers’ monies are exposed.”

The former directors of the company had opted to pay a TT$2,000 fine instead of testifying before Sir Anthony Colman’s commission of enquiry into CLICO.

Meanwhile, Rambarran said that six years after the collapse of CLICO, the company’s creditors and policy holders will finally have relief from their “traumatic experience”.

He said CLICO had made its first payment of just over four billion TT dollars to its single largest creditor—the Trinidad and Tobago Government—and is currently processing around TT$950 million to some 1,500 policy holders who have endured “unimaginable hurt and pain”.

He said both creditors are receiving an equal 85 per cent payout in the first distribution, while the remaining 15 per cent will be paid in two subsequent distributions, pending the sale of certain CLICO assets.

The CBTT governor said that during this year government stands to receive some TT$10 billion from CLICO which can be used to reduce public debt, over half of which was incurred due to the CLICO bailout.