“ Clico initiative welcomed ”

keithmitchell

Grenada’s Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Mitchell says he is pleased that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders have agreed, as a matter of priority, to deal with the matter of compensation for policy holders of the financially strapped Trinidad-based Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) and the British American Insurance Company (BAICO). Mitchell, a former prime minister, described the move as being “better late than never” adding “I certainly would like to see the regional leadership together with the financial institutions in the region, together with the CLICO subsidiaries, and together with the government of Trinidad and Tobago, examine this issue to see how you could come up with a formula”. Regional leaders at the end of their two-day inter-sessional summit in Grenada last weekend said that a new mechanism had been brought to the deliberations and that further discussions would take place. “We have settled basically what will happen to the health insurance part of BAICO, the regular insurance part is going to be recapitalised out of funds that we have remaining, funds that were established within the OECS called the Petroleum Stabilisation Fund. “We had close to 50 million US dollars at one stage, they are going to use two million to take care of the health insurance part and the balance would be used to recapitalise if possible the regular insurance part of BAICO,” St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas told reporters. But he said the “matter of CLICO is still unfolding” with the leaders looking at the possibility of judicial management of the insurance company in the sub-region. Over 33, 000 policy holders in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have been affected by the financial problems of CLICO and BAICO, totaling US 500 million. Mitchell, a statistician by profession, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that initial figures show that in Grenada alone, there was a reduction in the financial capacity by at least US$222.22 million because of the lost suffered by local investors in CLICO and BAICO. “If that figure is correct, as it appears to be, it must have enormous impact on any serious development of the country because the people who invested money there is usually the people with initiative.” He said with such a loss they would be less able to take other initiatives and investment activities in the country. Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, who is also the CARICOM Chairman said the leaders are fully committed to find a solution to the problem but added ”it is going to take some time.. “It is a work in process and we are working on it. There is cooperation among the countries involved, including Trinidad and Tobago.” (CMC)