Sir Frank blasts report
“Wicked and despicable.” That is how chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), Sir Frank Alleyne, has described a December 18 article by online newspaper Barbados Today which asserted that a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had hinted that a “failure or near failure” of insurance giant Sagicor could be much worse than the CLICO fallout across the Caribbean.
“I am not surprised, but I grieve for Barbados. I never thought any institution in Barbados would publish [something] as grievous as the one published about the FSC and Sagicor.
“It is replete with [inaccuracies] and sets out to injure people’s reputation and damage institutions,” Sir Frank said in a hastily called media conference at Accra Beach Hotel in Hastings, Christ Church, yesterday.
The article stated that while “a brief review of Sagicor’s financial statements and actuarial reports did not reveal any untoward or serious financial or risk-related issues, the IMF warned that the Sagicor Group poses systemic risk for Barbados and the Caribbean region”.
According to Sir Frank, since the publication of the article, Sagicor had received numerous queries, not only from the Caribbean, but North America, the United Kingdom and other countries.
“I hold no brief for Sagicor. They in due time will put their case if there is one that is needed to be put. I want the public to understand that, in my view, this is the most destructive development in my years of public service in Barbados . . . . I have never come across something as wicked and despicable as this particular incident,” said the civil servant of 47 years.
Sir Frank emphasised that he had great faith in the FSC, which he described as one of the best-run statutory bodies in the country. He added that the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) had held the FSC’s hand through its formative years.
“I know, and fair-minded people across the Caribbean know, that FSC has made great strides in its seven years of existence. I can tell you that CARTAC has been very kind to the FSC. They have held our hands in the early years, and we very much appreciate their assistance,” he said.
Sir Frank noted that Sagicor was a significant institution, with business spanning many financial sectors, and as such, it was of systemic importance to Barbados, the region and further afield, as it contributed to the region’s economies.
“The FSC monitors Sagicor on an ongoing basis, and any lack of clarity presented by the article regarding its supervision may stem from a lack of the full understanding of the complexity of the process,” he said of the information provided in the story.
Sir Frank called on the media house to apologise.
“Nobody who knows how the FSC operates will make the kind of slanderous statement which appeared on Barbados Today . . . . [It] owes the FSC and the country an apology, and Sagicor should be able to sue Barbados Today for damages,” he said, adding that no one called him or CEO Kester Guy for comment on the matter before publication. (RA)