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Owen’s call

Maria Bradshaw and Geralyn Edward.

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OPPOSITION?LEADER?Owen Arthur yesterday called on Government to take the “sternest action” possible to prevent people at the centre of the CLICO debacle from benefiting their own delinquency.
Terming the situation facing thousands of aggrieved policyholders and investors a “total disgrace” and a “strategic mistake”, Arthur called for the matter “to be pressed” to the hilt so that “people should not just feel that they can walk away with a golden parachute while the rest of society suffers”.
The CLICO matter was first raised in the House of Assembly yesterday by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, who was critical of both the Opposition and the media’s handling of the issue.
“I urge all parties, including the media . . . all that is whipping up in a frenzy; I?appeal to them – analyse if you will, probe if you must, but be absolutely careful not to inflame passions and incite actions that could be to the extreme and eternal detriment of the interest of those we claim to protect,” said Sinckler, as he launched debate on Government’s 2011 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.
“Since becoming Minister of Finance, I have deliberately tried not to engage in excessive public discourse on this matter,” he added.
But Arthur, in a stinging rebuttal, stated that he would have handled the situation differently today were he the minister of finance.
He went on to say that maybe if politicians were to move to defend the public interest in respect of financial institutions that “perhaps we would have a better economy”.
He pointed out that the CLICO?matter was not just an emotive one but a “troubling issue in respect of equity”.
On the CLICO matter he further asked: “Can somebody say where the matter is? Is a judicial manager in place? And furthermore to the extent that the Government has given assurances, are those assurances to bind the judicial manager in respect of the financial settlement that eventually may have to be paid for by the Government?”