Let the chips fall
WILLIAM LAYNE makes no apologies for his handling of the CLICO issue and says he will not be intimidated.
Layne, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance, has clashed publicly with Leroy Parris, CLICO Holdings (Barbados) executive chairman, since being appointed chairman of a Government-established Oversight Committee last year to find buyers for three CLICO subsidiaries.
CLICO is a member of the C L Financial Group in Trinidad that collapsed last year, resulting in a billion-dollar bailout by the Trinidad government.
In an interview with BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY, Layne said he was prepared to do his job “without fear or favour”.
Furthermore, he said any relationship between Parris and Prime Minister David Thompson was “not a concern of mine at all”.
According to Layne, “I am a public servant and the reason why I am called a permanent secretary is because I am there to protect the public’s interest and I will do that even if it kills me. I am not afraid of anybody. I don’t care who they are or what connections they have in this country.”
Layne said “if I did not have the guts” to handle the job as chairman of the Oversight Committee, “[I] would not have taken it”.
“I am charged with doing a job and I will do it to the best of my ability.”
Layne, who represents Government’s interest on several boards, including the Barbados National Bank, denied he had any grudge against Parris, adding, “I don’t even know the man.”
“I was given a job to do and I will do the job to the best of my ability without fear or favour . . . . I will do my job and where the chips fall, they fall,” he added.
The permanent secretary spoke following the signing of a sale and purchase agreement between officials of CLICO Holdings (Barbados) and the Barbados Public Workers’ Co-operative Credit Union Limited at the credit union’s headquarters on Belmont Road, St Michael, on Wednesday.
He said the planned sale would “bring back much needed confidence to the financial sector” and should bring benefits to credit union members and the wider financial system.
“I think the CLICO Mortgage & Finance was well managed by Mr [Andrew] St John, but it suffered from the contagion as a consequence of C L Financial and its operations in Barbados.
“I have no doubt that as long as the credit union applies a board [of directors] that is competent and will observe the principles of good corporate governance, I am sure the instituion will do well,” the long-standing permanent secretary noted.