Attorneys appeal to Fowler to give up the fight
Two prominent attorneys-at-law last night sounded the unofficial death knell of the embattled CLICO International Life, while calling on the head of the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA), June Fowler, to give up the ghost.
Addressing a combined branch meeting of the Barbados Labour Party’s Christ Church constituencies at St Lawrence Primary School last night, St James Central MP Kerrie Symmonds and Queen’s Counsel Ralph Thorne both praised Fowler for waging a brave fight on behalf of CLICO policyholders over the past five to six years.
However, they strongly warned that the company from which Fowler has been seeking to salvage money for policyholders was now dead, along with at least one previously associated legal firm – Thompson & Associates.
Symmonds, however, reiterated his view that there was a legal means of getting back some of CLICO’s money and this could have been done by the Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite.
“If he [Attorney General] was worth his salt, he would have moved to the court and said, ‘Let me follow this money… the paper trail … so that I can see exactly where the money went, to whom and why, but that was never done’,” the Opposition MP argued.
He lamented that it may be too late now given that Thompson & Associates – the law firm of late Prime Minister David Thompson – through which millions of dollars in CLICO funds were reportedly funneled, had been wound up.
“God bless June Fowler . . . she is fighting a mammoth battle, and though the company may be dead, the spirit of resistance in Barbados must never die. It is a cause that needs resistance,” he added.
Thorne declared that issues surrounding CLICO were for those seeking to pick the flesh off the dead.
“This royal mess, this unholy mess has now been reduced to a job for scavengers. That is what CLICO is,” Thorne asserted.
He said that since the CLICO’s collapse many insurance companies had shown interest in buying the company but found it not worthy, declaring it dead.
“The people of this country must know this. And the policyholders must be told this, and Ms June Fowler must stop fooling herself, and if she is fooling herself – this is no personal attack – spare the policyholders of the folly,” Thorne added.
Both speakers promised that the BLP would have more public pronouncements to make shortly on matters surrounding CLICO and that there were more revelations to come.
In the context of “ruses” and “trickery” surrounding the matters of CLICO, Thorne referred to reports that Government planned to set up a company to replace CIL and assume all its functions with funding of $30 million.
“This is no job for a Minister of Finance with $30 million,” he warned.
“Everybody in Barbados knows that an insurance company that traded in billions of dollars over the course of a year can’t be run with $30 million. It cannot start with $30 million. After you pay staff, and pay benefits every month, $30 million cannot take you past a few months.”
Repeating a charge made by other BLP speakers in recent weeks that illegal activity had occurred at CLICO and the police should intervene, he said, “we want re-assurance that our interest is being protected, not because we want a man locked up, but we want our rights”.