The Opposition Barbados Labour Party has declared its willingness to hold hands with the Freundel Stuart Administration in bringing a speedy resolution to the CLICO debacle.
In her contribution to debate on the 2014-2015 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure in the House of Assembly yesterday, party leader Mia Mottley said her political grouping would support the Government in its efforts to settle the reimbursements of policyholders and investors, because it recognised the serious implications on the lives of thousands of people.
Mottley observed that about 55,000 people were being impacted by the collapse of the insurance company in which they invested millions of dollars.
“The minister of finance was resolutely silent in his speech about the CLICO proposal for the purchase of CLICO assets. I just want him to tell me one thing and one thing alone,” she pointed out. “Is the proposal received by the Government of Barbados for CLICO a real proposal, or is it another set of brokers flying a red flag?”
“The minister is saying there is none, so therefore we can dismiss what we saw in the front page of the newspaper; I just wanted to know that, that what was carried in the paper as a viable offer to purchase CLICO assets is not real nor true and I understand that and I can’t hold the minister accountable for that and I thank him for the clarification,” the opposition MP conceded.
However, she insisted that the Government did not have time on its hands.
“And in June . . . this is a matter the opposition under the previous leader and myself have pledged cooperation for a CLICO day. The implications are too dire. We are talking about $375 million, as I understand it in contingent guarantee in order to secure the approach that the judicial manager wants to take,” added Mottley.
She recalled that the permanent secretary in the ministry of finance, last June or July, wrote a letter to the judicial manager, which was shared with the court that indicated the cabinet would review and give directions as to their support for that contingent liability.
“As I understand it, the judicial manager has written the ministry of finance at the beginning of this month again saying it really needs an answer within 30 days, if not it will proceed to petition the wind up of the company.
“And as I understand it, the ministry has written back indicating that it is awaiting the other CARICOM countries and is asking for more time in order to deal with it,” submitted the opposition leader.