Trinidad based Afra Raymond continues to be the strident voice in the region asking for transparency concerning the bailout of CL Financial the parent of CLICO Holdings Limited and several other subsidiaries. Listen to Afra Raymond being interviewed by Rennie Bishop on 107.7FM on Sunday 12, June 2016 after the intervention of Lawrence Duprey, and the Auditor General’s 2015 report.
The following statement uttered by the leader of government business Senator Maxine McClean in the Senate yesterday [7/09/2015] sounds an ominous warning […] Continue reading
The FIFA corruption scandal has confirmed the nature of humankind and our ever present fallibility. The epicentre of the investigation struck close to home with key decision makers in CONCACAF – including former Vice President Jack Warner[…] Continue reading
The Deloitte CLICO Forensic Report exposed to the world that a cheque for 3.333 million dollars was paid to Thompson & Associates by CLICO for legal services rendered. The invoice to support the payment was found to be a ‘false invoice’. Maurice King (lawyer) is listed on the fake invoice as providing a watching brief in matters related to Abarco versus Grant Hotels Limited for $250,000. Maurice King is on record denying he provided the service itemized on the (fake) invoice.
Further, in the Forensic Report which was recently unsealed by Justice William Chandler, the former group financial controller, and at the time of the audit, President and CEO of Clico Holdings Barbados Limited Terrence Thornhill confirmed to the Deloitte Auditors the following – “He believed that the creation, approval and submission for payment of a false invoice to facilitate a significant payment from CIL to Mr.Parris’ benefit (via PFS) and to conceal its true nature was an acceptable transaction” (Deloitte’s Forensic Report p.14).
Barbados Underground (BU) sincerely submits there is enough information for Director of Public Prosecutions to ACT!
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has done the unthinkable by breaking his silence on the CLICO mess. To quote him: “. . . Wait. There is going to be a lot to be said on this. Do not mistake my silence for an incapacity to speak. The time will come when all things will be made clear and explained. I ain’t saying anything yet” He added: “I have a list . . . of all of the persons who invested in the Executive Flexible Premium Annuity [EFPA], but I ain’t saying nothing yet. I know all the people who earning quick money, who were entranced by the lure of attractive interest rates. I know them, I have all of the names”.
Given the pace – or lack of it – at which Stuart moves Barbadians should not expect to hear from him anytime soon. Instead CLICO policyholders would prefer to hear the government enunciate a plan to resolve the plight of the policyholders.
So what if the Prime Minister has a list of Barbadians who bought the EFPA? Of course we agree with him greed played a part and high interest rates offered by the Parris led company resulted in the predicament many EFPA policyholders find themselves. The question we want the prime minister to answer is why was CLICO allowed to sell the EFPA and who should ultimately be responsible.
There is a heavy focus on the role former Chairman of CLICO Holdings Barbados Limited Leroy Parris played in the demise of the company. The revelations to be found in the CLICO Final Forensic Report UNSEALED should make sensible Barbadians feel ashamed. A listen to the contribution of Edmund Hinkson to the 2015-2016 Estimates Debate would have cemented the feeling. Hinkson was relentless in his assault of the Speaker of the House Michael Carrington by highlighting the immoral act of withholding client’s monies for several years until ordered recently to pay by a Barbados High Court. During the assault Michael Carrington occupied the Chair. What a farce!
The other embarrassment Barbadians have to suffer is to observe prominent members of society who served as directors on the Board of CLICO Barbados allowed to go about their business without being called to account. One of many functions a Board of Directors has, is to ensure a robust governance framework is established to guide quality decision-making by the management team. Reconciling the findings of the recently unsealed forensic report and the role of the Board of Directors continues to be a challenge if the CLICO mess is to be viewed through a corporate governance lense.
The CL Financial/CLICO saga continues to occupy the news space in Barbados and regionally. Many have predicted it will take years to unravel if not resolve. And given the sloth of the Barbados Court system and the interlocking interests of politicians and prominent others there is good reason for those with material interest in the matter to batten down for the long haul.
One individual who has had a prominent role to play and a lot to say about the CLICO/Parris matter is William Layne. He is a retired permanent secretary in the ministry of finance appointed to Chair the CLICO Oversight Committee established by the late prime minister David Thompson. Another little discussed role Layne held was Supervisor of Insurance. Layne in a hard hitting CLICO exposition titled RECENT FINANCIAL FAILURES IN THE CARIBBEAN – WHAT WERE THE CAUSES AND WHAT LESSONS CAN BE LEARNT? delivered a few interesting observations on what lessons we can learn about the demise of CLICO in Barbados.
In May 2012 BU posted on the matter Everton Cumberbatch Versus Leroy Parris, Larry Tatem and Breakers Investment Inc Case number”2008/770. Arising from the law suit one gleans that Leroy Parris has access to monies which he is the beneficial owner lodged in offshore accounts totalling in the million of dollars.
In todays Sunday Sun we learned of a case where Leroy Parris has applied to the High Court of Barbados to overturn an order freezing his assets and those of his company Branlee Consulting Services Inc. In his Affidavit to support the application Parris listed assets as a residence at #8 Dayrells Heights, St. Michael valued $3.5 million; property at #243 Crystal Heights, St. Michael $1.5 million; Lots #’s 403, 404, 601, at Crystal Heights valued at $1.5 million; Lot 7 Dayrells Heights valued at $450,000; three lots at #’s 17,18,19 at Sentinel Gardens. Barrack, Christ Church; and lot 15 at Westmorland, St. James valued at $2.2 million. In addition accounts were listed at Scotiabank and the Central Bank totalling $12 million dollars.
The following was posted as a comment on the CLICO – A Rape Victim But Who Are The RAPISTS? blog. BU believes the submission captures many of the issues which will be distilled on political platforms in the upcoming general elections.
Current Opposition Leader Owen Arthur says that the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government has a moral obligation to fix the CLICO mess. Arthur and the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) perhaps have forgotten that the Barbados Water Author (BWA), a government owned corporation and sole provider of water services in 2009 was near bankruptcy. David Thompson and the DLP inherited the BWA problem from Arthur and the BLP. Arthur and the BLP were morally responsible for BWA problems totalling thirteen years. BWA problems FIRST appeared during the ruling of Arthur and the BLP, also Al Barrack.
The Al Barrack mess FIRST appeared during the ruling of Arthur and the BLP. The court ruled in favour of Al Barrack, a little less than thirty five million, $34,490.518 to be exact. Barrack in 2008 received 2.5 million from the David Thompson administration. Al Barrack, since 2008 has not received payment from the Barbados government in any form or fashion. Building Contractor, Al Barrack built the government office complex in Warrens (St. Michael) but yet unpaid. The total amount NOW owed Al Barrack is far above 34, 490, 518. The Barbados national debt also is far above the 34,490,518 amount.
Just recently, Arthur reported to Midweek Nation that “the REDjet Airlines might still be flying if the Barbados Government had honoured its financial commitment to the collapsed airline”. Well Mr. Arthur, if the government during your rein had honoured its financial commitment to Contractor Al Barrack, Barbados NOW would not owe him seventy five million.
BU received the following communication where the author seeks to warn about the CLICO chess matched being played in the game which BU has labelled The CLICO Mess. We take this opportunity to advise BU will continue to guard the identity of our many sources.
Barbadians need to look at substance over form: Is Mr Toppin not of adequate skill and competence to perform in the role of Judicial Manager? Kindly note that it was Deloitte Consulting that was appointed as Judicial Manager with Oliver Jordan and Patrick Toppin as representatives. Ironically, of the two representatives it is Mr Jordan who has been the person leading these efforts thus far.
The Court approved of Deloitte Consulting as Judicial Managers in Barbados, The courts in the majority of the OECS territories were CLICO International Life operated appointed Deloitte Consulting as well. Does this tell you that the courts in all these territories were also deficient/negligent in their duties in appointing Deloitte Consulting as Judicial Manager??? I do not believe this to be the case.
The following has been delivered from a usual reliable BU source. BU has taken the decision to publish in the interest of pursuing transparency and truth in what can be labelled The CLICO Mess.
It has become public knowledge that the Judicial Management team has compiled its Report on the CLICO matter. However, BU has been alerted that this Report might not see the light of day because of a very fundamental legal obstacle. It has become known to Mr Parris’ legal advisers that one of the Managers charged with the production of the said said Report pursuant to the work it has been doing is MR PATRICK TOPPIN .
This is a very significant fact. Mr Toppin was a former employee of CLICO until he was DISMISSED by the Company then under the management of Mr Parris . It has also become known that there was a subsequent legal battle between the two. The informed view now being expressed is that against this background, Mr Toppin should have recused himself from acting as an official in ANYTHING to do with CLICO far more to act as a member of a judicial management team which could possibly pass judgment on the company . We have been advised that at the heart of the matter is the requirement for any such body like the Judicial Management team to observe the RULES OF NATURAL JUSTICE ; the particular rule being the RULE AGAINST BIAS .
BU has made the call already but sometimes one has to be as strident as one can be to be heard above the din. BU is absolutely clear in light of recent events that Leroy Parris must resign from the board of directors of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) with immediate effect. Each day that passes his tenure represents an embarrassment to the people of Barbados. The fact he was forced to resign as director of CLICO last week would have come as a surprise to many. Commonsense if nothing else should have guided all right thinking people to have viewed his retention on the CLICO board as a stupid.
More than most BU has defended Parris and CLICO in the past for what both have achieved, often times having to confront severe challenges. The failure of the Office of Supervisor of Insurance and politicians positioning personal above national interest has seen the demise of a regional (and international) company which has been a beacon of success. The achievement would have been all the more satisfying to many in the Caribbean because it was built because of the vision of a Black man, Cyril Duprey. While the focus is on the financial implication of the CLICO, there is a psychological factor which has not even been discussed by social scientists.