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Wade Gibbons

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WILLIAM LAYNE IS BEING RIDICULOUS, says former CL Financial chairman Lawrence Duprey.
That’s his response to Layne’s call for executive chairman of CLICO Holdings Barbados Limited (CHBL), Leroy Parris, to return all monies obtained from subsidiary, CLICO International Life Insurance (CIL).
On May 18, Layne wrote CHBL’s president Terrence Thornhill requesting that money paid to Parris and his private company, Professional Financial Services (PFS), for management services, be repaid with interest. Layne also instructed Thornhill that money given to Parris by CIL as vacation pay be repaid with interest.
But in a letter dated May 30, sent to Layne and copied to Thornhill, Duprey said Layne’s request was without “substance or foundation” in law or fact. Duprey also indicated that Layne clearly did not understand what was going on in the matter. Layne is head of an Oversight Committee born out of a memorandum of understanding between Government and CHBL to manage the sale of three subsidiaries: CIL, CLICO Mortgage & Financial Corporation (CMFC), and CLICO International General Insurance Limited.
“In all the circumstances, I suggest that you have wholly misunderstood the relationship between Leroy Parris and PFS on the one hand, and both CHBL and CIL on the other, and that you will, upon receipt of this letter, recognise that position and thereafter confirm in writing to Mr Thornhill that you withdraw this ridiculous claim for repayment,” Duprey said.
Parris has come under the committee’s radar after withdrawing more than $250 000 in deposits from CMFC. A payment of $876 000 by CLICO to another of Parris’ company’s, Branlee Consulting Services, has also been the subject of recent public debate.
Clarifying the relationship between CLICO and PFS, Duprey said that through PFS, Parris provided management services from as early as February 1, 1989, when the company entered into a contract with CLICO Barbados.
He said this relationship extended to all of CLICO’s businesses in the Eastern Caribbean.
He said the contract between CLICO and Parris’ PFS was “without limitation of time” and subject to changes in the level of payment.
He noted that additional benefits for the delivery of such services remained unchanged until a CHBL board decision to terminate the contract.
He added that termination even raised compensation issues.
Duprey’s announcement followed a decision by CHBL’s board to stop making further payments through CIL to PFS on the grounds that PFS was not in a direct employment/services contract with CIL.
“Although I doubt that this issue would ever arise, there is no doubt that any court forced to determine a claim by CIL against CHBL that would then necessarily include PFS and possibly Leroy Parris being joined into such an action would be defeated on a quantum meruit [reasonable value of services] basis,” Duprey said.
He added that PFS delivered services for 21 years and would be entitled to receive compensation for those services.
CLICO’s local operations have been faced with financial difficulties over the past 17 months, following the near collapse of CL Financial, its parent company in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Trinidad and Tobago government took full control of CL Financial, removing Duprey from the helm of the insurance and real estate conglomerate.
He had transformed CL Financial from a small Port-of-Spain insurance group to a multibillion-dollar conglomerate that owned 65 companies in 34 countries.