GRENADA’S British American Insurance Policyholders Group is poised to take legal action to resolve the issue of payments owed to them by CL Financial (CLF) following the TT Government’s bailout of Clico (Trinidad) policy holders, but not them.
“This will come as no surprise to the authorities in Grenada and to the authorities in Trinidad and Tobago,” said the policyholders’ group representative and Grenada’s Ambassador to TT Dr Patrick Antoine.
Speaking at a CLF/Clico symposium on Sunday at St Mary’s College, Antoine said two pre-action protocol letters have been issued by the group. British American Insurance Company and Clico were subsidiaries of CLF. Government pumped billions into CL Financial following its collapse in 2009. Appealing to Caricom to find a regional solution to the issue, Antoine said, as policyholders who had been following the issue over the years, they are convinced that CL Financial has sufficient assets to cover the liabilities of all policyholders and creditors.
“We are prepared, failing that, to continue in the legal path that we have taken two years now and which have been accelerated in light of recent developments,” he said. The group, he said, believes that “a definitive intervention” is long overdue after the Heads of Government failed to come up with a proper resolution for the problem. Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell raised the issue earlier this month with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the last Caricom Heads of Government meeting in Grenada. Representing some 400 policyholders in Grenada amounting to EC$600 million in executive and flexible annuity payments, Antoine said, 90 percent have not received a cent.
This was despite commitments given to a regional entity from a country that was aspiring to become the financial capital of the region, and a Caricom Revised Treaty that provided for non-discrimination, he said. In discussions on CLF, which has been under Government’s control since 2009, he said, the Duprey faction has admitted that significant funds from the Eastern Caribbean flowed into TT.
He said that a Trinidadian taking out an insurance policy in Grenada was compensated, but he as a Grenadian taking out a policy in TT was not compensated.
That affects, he said, “the core of our morality as a Caribbean people.” Civil society advocate, Afra Raymond in his presentation said the assets of CLF and its liabilities grew because of financial contributions from policyholders from TT and across the region, except for Jamaica.
The shareholder's agreement and the memorandum of understanding signed between Government and CLF in 2009 excluded repayment to anybody outside of TT. “Philosophically, as Caribbean people,” he questioned whether the agreement was legitimate, equitable and fair to all concerned.”
SOURCE: T&T Newsday