Opposition Leader Mia Mottley has sounded a warning to policyholders in CLICO International Life (CIL) that the value of their investment in the collapsed insurance company is fast disappearing.
“In the last two, three months, what was 60 cents two years ago has now come down to 22 cents in the dollar before expenses,” cautioned Mottley as she addressed a BLP meeting at the weekend.
“Six years after the fact, you [policyholders] are now being told that if the Government does not honour its promise, you are going to get back 22 cents before expenses, and once expenses are taken out, chances are you will get back 12 cents in the dollar for every dollar that you had with Clico in savings,” she said.
Noting previous promises “by two prime ministers and a governor of the Central Bank” to ensure a return of a high percentage of the dollar to policyholders, Mottley said Government’s apparent inaction places the entire country in a dilemma.
“The taxpayers of Barbados would have to find hundreds of millions of dollars to be able to allow the Government to honour its promises,” she said, pointing to an earlier presentation to the meeting by BLP economic advisor Dr Clyde Mascoll that illustrated Government’s already high debt burden.
“Therefore the people of Barbados cannot accept that the Government will bail out CLICO without trying to recover some of their money that it now has to find from the taxpayers to bail out the policyholders,” she said.
The Opposition Leader reverted to a call made weeks ago at a party meeting in St Philip when she said Government must follow the trail of the money that left CLICO as recovery of such funds could subsidise what had to be paid out to policyholders, thereby making it easier on taxpayers.
“They have a duty to follow the money and recover it because if they don’t, it is us the taxpayers of this country who would now have to carry the biggest debt.”
Mottley said it was possible to trace the missing CLICO funds because, “most of the money had to pass through the banking system, and so long as the banks have records, there is a way to follow the money”.
She said failing that recovery of missing CLICO money, Barbadians would face the burden.
“If the Government doesn’t follow the money, and it chooses to bail out the pensioners as has been promised, all falls on you and me, to a level that is not fair.”