The senior public officer who headed Government’s special oversight committee on CLICO yesterday dismissed a recent pronouncements made in Parliament by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart in support of embattled former CLICO boss Leroy Parris.
Speaking during debate on a no confidence motion brought by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister reminded that the former CLICO boss had been his friend for many years, as he described Parris as “a man of integrity”.
Stuart also declared that he would sooner put his trust in the ex-CLICO head honcho than in the Opposition Leader, even as he made it clear that no favours had been exchanged between him and Parris for the duration of their friendship.
“Let me say this for the record tonight in the Parliament of Barbados. I prefer to have the former CEO of CLICO as my friend than the member for St Michael North East. I trust him more than I trust the member for St Michael North East,” the Prime Minister said then.
In response, retired Permanent Secretary William Layne told Barbados TODAY: “I don’t think it is worth commenting on.
“I don’t think anything of it,” he said, even though critics have deemed the Prime Minister’s remarks to be a slap in the face of thousands of investors and policyholders who have been waiting to recoup their investments in the collapsed insurance company.
However, when it came to recent comments made by the man who was ultimately responsible for CLICO’s collapse, Layne did not mince his words.
In fact, he described the latest plan mooted by former CL Financial boss Lawrence Duprey to repay Trinidian taxpayers and all stakeholders who are owed billions by the now Government-controlled financial institutions, as “the ramblings of a senile old man”.
In a telephone interview with the Trinidad Express Newspaper from Florida earlier this week, Duprey said he was awaiting word from Minister of Finance Colm Imbert on what he saw as a credible proposal for CLICO.
However Layne was dismissive of Duprey, who he said was reported to have said many things.
“I am not paying any attention to him. I don’t think it is worth me commenting on him. I just think Mr Duprey want to grab attention again,” the outspoken retired Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance said, while suggesting that Duprey should be held criminallly responsible for the failure of the CLICO group.
Meantime, the umbrella organization which represents thousands of CLICO policyholders in Barbados also weighed in on Duprey’s statements saying as far as it was aware, Duprey’s ‘offer’ did not apply to them.
In any event, Public Relations Officer for the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA) Michael Goodman said to the best of BIPA’s knowledge, the reconstruction plans for CLICO here were progressing as planned, adding “we hope to have some further news on that shortly”.