Submitted by Cherfleur
SOCIAL JUSTICE NETWORK & CLINICS
CBC Pension Scandal
In the High Court of Judicature – CV 2550 of 2002
In September 2000 CBC paid out the proceeds from a CBC/ICB Group Non-contributory Pension Policy to a named beneficiary. The 2nd Claimant is the rightful heir to the deceased assets. The named Beneficiary, Dawn Abrams-Grazette (defendant), first told the Claimants and their attorney Dr Haynes Blackman that everything belonged to the 2nd Claimant. Upon instructions by Dr Blackman that his Clients would be taking charge of the Estate, the defendant became acrimonious. She claimed she meant everything in the estate.
Pensions are Trusts and are part of a deceased estate under protection. I started from this trajectory. Thus ensued two decades long search and battle to bring these proceeds back to the rightful beneficiary.
The defendant claimed that since the named beneficiary was her it was hers and was for
her only. You can learn a lot from a dummy!
The 1st Claimant would have none of this. Court proceedings were initiated using the Succession Act. Dr Blackman died, the second Attorney became a judge then Rositta Babb died, Carolyne Herbert died. All these attorneys agreed that the second claimant had priority to the beneficiary as per the Family Law and Succession Act.
Between 2002 and 2015 a dozen attorneys were consulted and all reiterated that once a
named beneficiary is noted that is that.
CBC for their part and as Administrator/Trustees of the Group Life Pension Plan did nothing, like claw back or rescind the payment since they had that authority under a non-contributory Pension Plan. It was the CBC’s Plan not the insured/deceased. Instead the then General Manager hid behind a veil claiming the CBC carried out the deceased wishes. Not forgetting it is a non-contributory pension plan. The GM is now Chairman.
Between 2015 and 2018 the claimants retained a new attorney and was told that they had to prove that it was intended for the minor by way of the specifics of the plan. The attorney tried to get information from the CBC regarding the terms of the Plan. Though information about the kind of Plan and when it was effected was provided CBC refused to give any information regarding the operation of the said plan and who intrinsically is entitled to claimor benefit from it.
At a deadlock the 1st Claimant suggested that if the attorney could not by authority get CBC to hand over the information she would take over the case and so the attorney pulled out. This signalled apparent blood dripping and the defendant’s attorney jumped at the opportunity to strike out on the grounds of an abuse of process but the 1st Claimant argued differently. The matter was adjourned to March 2019 for submissions from both parties. The 1st claimant took charge and reread all the information received for CBC and ICB’s Members’ Handbook and proceeded. Listed in the information was the fact that the policy was effected in 1996 (the year before the new Insurance Law which states a named beneficiary is final)
A visit to ICB met with more stalling because the Letters of Administration had expired. They too refused to cooperate. However the Members’ handbook had clearly stated that benefits were for dependants only. It also stated that the Master Plan for this Policy was lodged with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) which was originally the statutory body handling Pensions and Insurance.
Submissions were filed within the deadlines but the matter (because the claimants were
self represented) were being adjourned and adjourned until red-phone calls began to fly.
During all that time the Claimant visited four locations of the IRS now BRA only to be told
Pensions and Insurances are being handled by the Financial Services Commission (FSC).
In October 27 2019 the parties met before court for pleadings. The Judge was unwilling to
hear from the ‘unrepresented’ party. However pleadings proceeded and the matter was adjourned to January 27 for a Decision and Claimants to seek counsel. There was no need
for counsel since all submissions were already filed. The adjournments were working in the Claimants’ favour.
A visit to FSC and discussions and explorations revealed that the two instruments are very different. In the words of the Officer: Pension is not Insurance. Dumbfounded the Claimant asked to clarify that statement and was told each has its own legislation. Armed with this new information the Claimant filed further submissions to include this detail as well as new independent submissions for the second claimant reinforcing the right to maintenance and priority…
On January 27 there was no decision forthcoming. New pleadings erupted about the further submissions and the erroneous defence of using the Insurance Act to defend a Pension Plan.
The matter was again adjourned to April 1st for decision. There was a national lockdown
from March so nothing came of that, although some sectors were functioning virtually,
including the Judiciary. The courts resumed operations since May 18th but no decision yet forthcoming.
From May to now is four months where decisions are due within three months.
From January 27 to now is eight months.
Barbados is a twilight Zone.
Even the Judiciary where justice is sought is of questionable behaviour. Its rank of incompetence and other odiousness. It is no wonder the cases are backed up. Judges playing the A********* all the time. Clogging up the system with cases that need only be heard once and discharged but rather adjourning and adjourning and
adjourning. Its a scam.
As long as it takes, a decision one way or another has to be made. It cannot be made in favour of a defence on the Insurance Act.
- The 2nd Claimant has priority as per the Succession Act
- The Pensions Act and ICB Handbook and Master Plan dictates benefits for
dependants only. The 2nd Claimant is the sole issue and dependent of the deceased.
Me, just me and my statistician and secretarial skills was able to unravel a rather
straightforward case in effect. No mystery no intrigue. Just common sense.
Twenty RH years. Paying attorneys that were spewing more RH. I could have decided to defend this case since 2002 and be over and done with it. But nothing happens before its
The claim before the courts is for:
- Return of the Policy proceeds and interest and multiplier (% devaluation of each $1)
- Damages for duress and opportunity cost
- Devastavit of estate
- Disgorgement (seizure of all gains made from the proceeds).
I do not know how attorneys are learning or how they are serving clients but they are just not impactful and or knowledgeable in uncommon areas of the law. One attorney, number 13, with a PhD was adamant that I didn’t stand a chance because there is a named beneficiary. None of them noticed (or perhaps they were representing the defendant or protecting CBC), that the particular policy went into effect before the amendment to the Insurance Act (1997).
My advice to employees of CBC is that they check and update their beneficiaries to their Pension Plan regularly to ensure that who they want to have it gets it. Do not depend on the Administrators of the Plan. It is either they do not know or understand their responsibility or the operation of the Plan or it was a grave duck up.
Secondly, mothers who have children with workers at CBC and are eligible for Pensions (10years service) should ensure that the beneficiary form is completed properly and where necessary an added notation (on the Form) expressing who the proceeds are for where there is a named beneficiary other than the children.
All is well that ends well.