Make or break meeting for CLICO policyholders next week
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday June 28, 2012 – The financial fate of thousands of CLICO policyholders across the region hinges on next week’s CARICOM Finance Ministers’ meeting at which proposals by the Judicial Managers are to be presented and discussed.
And Barbados Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler is predicting that unless a collective agreement can be reached on a way forward for the failed insurance company by he and his regional counterparts, devastation could ensue.
This was strongly expressed by Minister Sinckler as he updated the nation on the government’s position on CLICO during a near four-hour delivery of this year’s Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals.
The deficit between the fair market value of the total assets of CLICO and its liabilities to policy holders is just over US$200 million, with St Kitts and Nevis being the only territory where the assets exceeded liabilities - US$6.59 million in assets owned versus US$4.49 million owed to policyholders; while St Vincent and Grenada showed the deepest deficits of $US42 million and US$43 million, respectively.
Sinckler boldly stated to the House of Assembly and general public that:
“It is important to appreciate Sir that, should this effort at a resolution fail, the likelihood of a disorderly and separated resolution on a country-by- country basis will ensue with likely devastating consequences for thousands of policy holders including those in Barbados as the company will be forced into liquidation and become entangled in myriad legal suits.”
The finance minister said therefore that it was hoped that when he and a team from his ministry participated in the regional meeting on July 3, that “at the end of those deliberations these proposals or some amended version of them will be given broad support and receive the general endorsement of all of the affected regional Governments, with each accepting and agreed share of the responsibility for the execution of the proposal.”
Sinckler stated that “a shared responsibility” was critical, since it would ensure that “policy holders in each country will be given the only reasonable solution to their predicament, and regional Governments a responsible and palatable burden to carry. A regional technical Committee made up of official and regulators from all of the affected countries together with the Judicial Managers in the different jurisdictions who have been working assiduously on examining options for a resolution of this matter have also surmised that this proposal seems at a broad level to be the most orderly option for a resolution of this very sad and unfortunate debacle,” he said.
He added that he and his team would seek to secure the best interests of all Barbadian policy holders and investors affected by this matter and will not give a final commitment to any solution unless and until an appropriate consultation is held with them to present and discuss such so that their views might be incorporated. He also assured the opposition members across the floor the House would also be given an opportunity to examine the proposed solution before in is fully implemented so that they too may input into the crafting of the final solution.