Stand up and fight for all of the millions of dollars you are owed.
That’s what thousands of Barbadians who own CLICO life insurance policies are being urged to do by their counterparts in Trinidad and Tobago.
Chairman of the CLICO Policyholders Group, Peter Pernell, has issued that call on the heels of last Friday’s announcement from Judicial Manager Deloitte Consulting Ltd. indicating the Barbados High Court had approved its pursuance of a restructuring plan in which CLICO International Life Insurance policyholders and investors would receive just a portion of what they are owed.
“It is clear that these Barbados policyholders are the innocent victims, the sacrificial lambs now being hauled kicking and screaming to the slaughter, on the altar of financial and political expediency in order to bring the CLICO debacle to a cheap and seemingly judicious, but painful, resolution,” Pernell said.
“The CPG wishes to let our Bajan brothers and sisters know that we remain steadfast in full solidarity with them as our hearts and prayers go out to them at time.
“We encourage them not to give up the struggle because, like ours here in T&T, theirs is a just and noble one and remind them of the old maxim ‘the race is not given to the swift nor the battle to the strong but he who endures to the end’,” he added.
The Trinidadian said his organisation was “very disappointed but not surprised by this unfortunate turn of events with regard to our counterparts in Barbados as this is clearly your classic case of ‘Peter pays for Paul and Paul pays for all'”.
“There are some interesting parallels to be drawn with what has happened in Barbados and what could have happened here in T&T and which on sober reflection, thank God, we were only able to avoid because of the CPG’s robust and unyielding representation on behalf of policyholders,” he said.
“The T&T policyholders must never forget that we would have suffered the same fate as Barbados, with perhaps, at best between 50 to 60 cents on the dollar, had we not been able to ‘stridently persuade’ the government to change/upgrade its original offer of $75,000 and zero-coupon bonds over 20 years to include the soon-to-be-launched CLICO Investment Fund,” he added.
In its own response, the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance said it was “staggered” by the turn of events.
“The so-called proposal, which will result in a substantial loss for all CLICO policyholders which, without consultation or discussion with stakeholders, Judicial Managers Deloitte have slipped through the court system in the last seven days and for which they have received sanction, despite only having filed their report last Friday, October 19, is at the very least unconscionable, and most certainly unacceptable in the extreme,” it said.
“What stands out for BIPA is the fact that Deloitte claims that their proposed restructuring plan is the best option available for policyholders at this time and yet includes no contribution whatsoever from the Government of Barbados, despite their admitted culpability in allowing the affair to escalate to its current proportions.
“It is also interesting that BIPA met with the Leader of the Opposition and his team on September 28 and a proposal was presented which, after further consultation with BIPA represented a most acceptable and viable plan and one which the alliance is confident would meet with the approval of all 25,000 policyholders,” it added.
BIPA said it was “committed to taking whatever action necessary to secure an acceptable solution to this debacle and will encourage its members and all policyholders to support its plans”. (SC)