Dying in deafening silenceJune Fowler, Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance president.
By Ricky Jordan | Sun, April 15, 2012 - 1:08 PM
HOW MANY MORE must die?
That’s what CLICO policyholders’ advocacy group is asking after the recent passing of one of its members.
The Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA) told the SUNDAY SUN that in the two months since the official release by the court of the judicial manager’s forensic report on CLICO International Life (CIL), a policyholder had died without having had the opportunity to enjoy the life savings he invested in a policy that matured last November.
“BIPA extends sincere condolences to the family of one of its most eloquent members, 90-year-old Coleridge Pilgrim. Many will recall with great affection his articulate contributions at BIPA meetings,” said president June Fowler, noting that Pilgrim’s dividends remained unpaid like those of thousands of others.
“How many more policyholders are to die before a timely solution to this national disgrace takes priority over the continuing and deafening silence to which the highest offices in the land are holding firm despite all the information requested being fully available to them?” she asked.
Noting that this week would be two months since the February 20 release of the forensic report, she said it also marked two months since Prime Minister Freundel Stuart refused “to acknowledge the availability to him or his ministers of the report, let alone any kind of constructive response so desperately awaited by the 25 000 CLICO policyholders and their families”.
Wondering how many more lives were to be “destroyed by unnecessarily prolonged uncertainty, anxiety, depression and hopelessness”, Fowler said the time for sitting back and listening to “long talk” of deadlines, delays, platitudes and empty promises was long gone.
She also reiterated BIPA’s hope for a solution soon, while referring to a concern raised by Pilgrim about the proposed time frame for solving the debacle for “those of us in the departure lounge of life”.
“Whether in the departure lounge of life or still hoping to have time to enjoy the fruits of our labour and savings, let us not forget that we can never know what tomorrow holds for each of us. Let us hope it is a timely solution . . . and not an obituary,” she said.
Late last month, Stuart insisted that the judicial manager had delivered a copy of the forensic report to the respective insurance regulators in the territories where CIL operated, and that no copies were provided to any person or organization other than the regulator.
“The regulator is not the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance or Minister of the National Insurance Scheme and Social Security. It is the Financial Services Commission (FSC),” he said, adding that based on the court’s instructions, no one else should be in possession of the report.
Meanwhile, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler said a settlement of the near half-billion-dollar debacle should be announced by June, but noted that any resolution must reflect not only the interests of policyholders but the other 240 000 people living in Barbados.
CLICO Barbados Holdings suffered financial woes in February 2009 when its Trinidad parent company CL Financial collapsed. Three Barbados operations have since been sold: CLICO Mortgage & Finance, CLICO General Insurance and CMMB Money Market Brokers. (RJ)
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