Committed to CLICO
The Minister of Finance has assured CLICO policyholders that the Government of Barbados is committed to ensuring they got back, at least the principle, of their investment in the insurance company.
Chris Sinckler, the incumbent candidate for St. Michael North West, reiterated the position of the Freundel Stuart Administration while speaking last night at Clevadale Road, Black Rock in support of his neighbouring Democratic Labour Party colleague in St. Michael West Central, James Paul.
Sinckler was seeking to convince the electorate not to believe recent promises made my Opposition Leader Owen Arthur that a returned Barbados Labour Party government, would give back the policyholders “all” their money.
“Owen could only be intoxicated with ignorance to think he could give back the people all their money,” declared the Cabinet minister.
The St. Michael North West candidate reasoned that the only thing certain right now, was that CLICO owed people $837 million.
“All the rest is mere speculation,” he added. “We want to pay the policyholders. That is our commitment. The question is, how you are going to get it done.”
Sinckler went further to explain why the 30,000 policyholders, some of whom live in other Caribbean countries, may not be able to get back principal and interest.
His explanation was that in St. Lucia alone, people there were owed over $100 million.
“You believe we can break for Barbados and leave them? They would not stand for it,” he reasoned. “You think we could take up CLICO assets and sell them like that?”
He observed that the book value of the insurance company’s assets had been placed at $700 million, but the fair market value was $441 million.
“You see the write down. Almost in half,” he pointed out.
His other argument was that if one went to the market now to sell CLICO, considering its liabilities, no one was likely to buy the company at its book value. Sinckler reminded Barbadians that all the “sweet” promises Arthur was making, somebody would have to pay.
“What sweeten goat mout’ does bun he in he bam bam,” said the St. Michael North West candidate, citing a Bajan proverb which meant that everything which seemed glamorous on the surface, may not necessarily be so.
In another of his unflattering quips, the finance minister said he felt that “the Barbados Labour Party needs a bush bath…”, a further reminder to the voters not to be fooled by the Opposition’s short term “goodies”.
Sinckler also addressed the issue of a law suit brought against him by Arthur for claiming that the BLP planned to send home 10,000 public servants under its proposed privitisation programme, if it regained power.
“My lawyers responded and said to Arthur, not one cent,” he declared.
He also told the meeting that his colleagues Stephen Lashley and Dr. Denis Lowe had their lawyers write to Arthur. Sinckler did not elaborate. Before heading off to speak in Silver Hill last night, the message he left with the voters was that this election was about their future, and the future of their children and they needed to chosen wisely. (EJ)†††