It is commendable that June Fowler and her group of CLICO policyholders are seeking to recover all funds they have invested in CLICO. One gets the impression that she has placed all responsibility for satisfying policyholders claims on the ‘treasury’. The lawyer for the group – a Mr. Tariq Khan – supports the Fowler’s position by attributing blame to the failure of the Office of Supervisor of Insurance.
One of the issues BU has with their position is what about the rest of us who avoided investing in CLICO’s risky investments and observed the legal doctrine caveat emptor? What is funny is that many of the CLICO investors who bought the disputed Executive Flexible Premium Annuity (EFPA) product had no difficulty making fun at Leroy Parris and his green verbs.
Another issue we have with the claim, what about the rest of Barbados and our ability to survive in the harsh economic environment if government has to shell out three hundred million dollars to settle EFPAs coming due and asset shortfall? Yes in an ideal world we would want investors to be indemnified. This is especially true when culpability can be found in the negligence of the regulator. However no one can fault government’s obligation if it maintains a macro-view. Its primary job must be to manage the national resources for the good of all. Government’s tight cashflow which has persuaded it to violate a court order to pay Al Barrack 70 million is a case in point.
One of the peripheral issues BU has with this CLICO business has to do with Tony Marshall, retired banker and VOB talk show host and Senator Jepter Ince. Both gentlemen held senior positions in CLICO Holdings Barbados Ltd although it must be stated they both left CLICO before the meltdown. Tony Marshall is listed as being a director in CLICO Holdings Barbados Ltd and he was also a director of the CLICO Balanced Fund going back to 2003. BU does intend to cast aspersions on the two gentlemen but we intend to put our position for consideration.
Ince is a former Chairman of the National Insurance Fund (NIS) and Marshall is its current. To be honest BU would feel comfortable if Chairman Marshall would demit the office of Chair of the NIS for obvious reasons. He has been ‘tainted’ by association with CLICO and he should stay as far as possible from the most important fund in Barbados. If he is unwilling to resign then Minister Esther Byer-Suckoo, who has responsibility for social security, should help him along. Senator Jeptor Ince for appearances sake should not have been appointed Chair of the NIS in the first place.
Barbadians need to start questioning decisions more not to defame anyone but to ensure there is transparency in decision-making. It simply does not make sense to the simple minds of the BU household to appoint a former director of CLICO Holdings Barbados as Chairman of NIS. The appointment of Jepter Ince as Chairman appears to have been tampered with after only a year.