EDITORIAL: CLICO solution some miracle in the making?
The prospects for full refunding – at least, in principal – to CLICO policyholders and investors keep ebbing and flowing.
After the justifiable wailing over and advocacy against the CLICO collapse, the Barbados Investors And Policyholders Alliance (BIPA), representing aggrieved CLICO clients, would finally learn from Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler late last year that the Government was “working on a solution” soon in coming.
We would be told subsequently that the “solution” was still in the works, but that Mr Sinckler had given himself a June 2012 deadline.
It was still music – of sorts – to the ears of BIPA members, who had rejected any proposed option that would give them back less than all of their money from the failed Caribbean operations of CLICO Life.
It will be recalled that the CLICO judicial manager Deloitte Consulting’s options were not all that appealing to BIPA members, and hence their declaration that they were ready for a “David and Goliath battle” that they might “get back what is rightfully ours – all our money”.
Mr Sinckler’s statement was therefore encouraging, mysterious as his “solution” was.
Now the president of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr William Smith, is painting a much less scintillating picture.
BIPA chairperson June Fowler and her army of soldiers will unlikely be happy. They have always maintained that they did not want fifty cents on the dollar, ten cents on the dollar or no cents on the dollar; they wanted everything that was owed to them – their hard-earned dollars that was due to them, including the interest.
The Barbados Investors And Policyholders Alliance regrettably may just have to change its tune after all.
CDB’s Dr Smith says the Barbados Government simply cannot dig deep enough to bail out its own CLICO operations far less those in the Eastern Caribbean where the Barbados subsidiary of CL?Financial has sold millions of dollars in policies and investment instruments.
“It’s a real difficult problem, and I am not sure there is going to be any solution that is going to be generally accepted,” Dr Smith suggested.
“That is the unfortunate bottom line.”
And herein lies the challenge for BIPA – and more so for the Minister of Finance and the Government of Barbados, who have committed themselves to not leaving the victims of the CLICO and British American Insurance Co. stranded.
But let’s not panic, shall we? We have until June!