Don’t invest blindly
Just stopping short of saying that CLICO did not satisfy its statutory requirements, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler said that it is the job of the Supervisor of Insurance to whisper to the management of a company that something is not in place, so fix it.
Sinckler issued this clarification this afternoon in the House of Assembly while wrapping up the debate on three money Resolutions to repay CLICO policy holders and investors.
He told parliament that the Minister of Finance comes in if the Financial Services Commission instructs a company to fix the problem and it does not carry out the instructions.
Sinckler said the Supervisor of Insurance could ask the Minister of Finance to revoke the company’s licence.
“That did not happen because the Supervisor of Insurance did not ask the Minister of Finance to revoke the licence. There was no recommendation made to revoke the licence of CLICO. But we are not blaming the Minister of Finance. His job was not to get into CLICO spying around, peeping around there to see who is doing what and who is selling what. That was not the Minister of Finance job. His job was not to drive past Leroy Parris’ house looking for someone in there, that was not his job. We have to get serious with these matters because people’s lives are involved,” Sinckler said.
He pointed out that in industrialised countries the government bails out the company and leaves out the investors.
Sinckler said: “When the 2008 crash came, none of the people who invested in those companies got back anything. They lost 4O1Ks, they lost insurance policies, they lost everything. Barbados has an admirable record as a people and as a government of intervening to help people. We do it all the time and it comes at cost. As a small vulnerable economy with limited financial space and subject to external shocks, we cannot keep doing this.
“People have to understand if something is too good to be true, it probably is in fact too good to be true. I say to all Barbadians before they make investments that they do not know anything about, seek advice. Ask a question. Get a good lawyer or get a good financial expert. Don’t just let somebody push something in front of you [and you] see a fancy interest rate. Be careful because you may be buying yourself into serious financial difficulties. (BARBADOS NATION)