ROSEAU, Dominica, Nov 23, CMC – Policy holders with the failed Trinidad-based British American Company (BAICO) and the Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO), may start to receive refunds under the Executive Premium Annuity (EPA) by Christmas, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has announced. Gonsalves, who is also Chairman of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), said the issue had been discussed at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Monetary Council meeting that ended here on Thursday night ahead of the OECS summit that begins later on Friday. “We have sourced a US$100 million from Trinidad and Tobago, US$24 million is to come from the CARICOM Petroleum Facility, which strictly speaking is not Trinidad’s money, but which is our money which is in that fund through an arrangement that has been established some time ago. “Then Trinidad is providing a further US$36 million from its own resources and US$40 million from the Caribbean Development Bank,” Gonsalves said, adding that the total liabilities exposure of BAICO amounts to 16 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the nine-member OECS grouping. The OCES groups the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts-Nevis, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands. “We are hoping that we will get the first tranche of the money from Trinidad and Tobago sometime soon. If we do we are going to be able to assist immediately just over 5,000 policy holders of the EPA’s under EC$30,000 (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) and we hope we can pay those out before Christmas if the money comes in the next few days”. Policyholders in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) say they are owed in the region of two billion dollars in liabilities in CLICO Trinidad, CLICO Barbados and also British American. Gonsalves said that while they are awaiting the release of the money, some matters would have to be addressed before other policy holders receive their funds. He said there would be a “Phase Two and Phase Three” of the payments rising to “policies up to a US$150,000. “Those who have flexible EPAs above that figure and it is a large amount of money but it a small number of people you will have to wait until we have sorted out (legal matters). We have a suit against a number of persons connected with CL Financial (the parent company of the two insurance companies) in Miami of US$75 million”. Gonsalves said CL Financial had given the sub-region a “note of US$48 million” and he added “we are suing on that too”. He said in the case of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, “our insurance regulator is suing a regional bank which had held out that they had a custodial arrangement relating to certain assets which were to put inside the Statutory Fund in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. “But it turned out that they did not have that custodial relationship. So we are suing on the basis of the negligent mis-representation by them to us in the sum of EC$145 million,” he added.