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Insensitive, Mr. PM

Am I the only person who was staggered by the insensitivity of the comments made by the Prime Minister in his recent address at the opening of the Second Barbados Network Consultation stating that he had chosen “not to impose unnecessary suffering on Barbadians”?

‘Unncessary suffering’

I am at a loss to understand how the Prime Minister could be so dismissive of the “unnecessary suffering” of 35,000 Clico and BAICO policyholders resulting from the continuing inertia of his Administration, especially following their open admission in January of 2012 that they “dropped the ball in many respects” and must therefore be considered responsible, at least in part, for the plight of holders of ordinary life insurance policies and annuities issued by those two companies. It is nothing less than a national disgrace, made worse by the fact that it is now approaching its fourth year without resolution.

Earlier this year, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler promised policyholders a resolution in June 2012 which has turned out to be little more than a proposal by the Clico Judicial Manager, dating back to October 2011, being presented to other countries in the Eastern Caribbean with no timetable set for their response.

Frankly, I am bewildered that no action has yet been taken following the Interim Forensic Audit Report completed by the Clico Judicial Manager in December 2011 and wonder if the Prime Minister has any idea of the “unnecessary suffering” of tens of thousands of Barbadians, not to mention the effect on the economy itself.

$850 million

Some $850 million dollars of policyholders’ money is tied up in this mess. The non-payment of proceeds to policyholders has a devastating effect on the policyholders, their families, local businesses they can no longer patronise, and thus the country’s economy and jobs.

It is time for the people to start demanding answers to the plethora of questions surrounding this fiasco and for the announcement of firm, specific, timely and satisfactory plans for the payment of every last cent that is owed.

— Michael Goodman

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