BLP told to apply pressure on Govt

Political scientist Peter Wickham is advising the Opposition to keep Government’s feet to the fire on the CLICO debacle to get relief for thousands of affected policyholders.

He has also suggested that Mara Thompson, the widow of late Prime Minister David Thompson who represented CLICO as an attorney before becoming the country’s leader, owes the affected policyholders an explanation.

It has been rumoured that the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) MPs plan to bring a no-confidence motion against the Freundel Stuart administration, but Wickham said the Opposition, which is staying away from Parliament over issues related to the Speaker of the House, needs to “apply pressure on the Government for them to come up with a solution”.

Peter Wickham
Peter Wickham

“I am concerned, not about how the Opposition will get back [in Parliament] I am concerned about how the people who are shareholders and who have taken out annuities and other policies are going to get back their money. That is what I am concerned about,” Wickham said in an interview with Barbados TODAY.

“They [the DLP] didn’t debate the last [no confidence motion] so I don’t see how it would make a difference . . . They will say this one is as irrelevant as the last one.”

He insisted that Government had to be held to the promise it made to take action for the benefit of CLICO policyholders who lost out significantly when the company collapsed.

“They need to fix the problem. They made a commitment in the last election that they would ensure that the matter is resolved and they need to resolve it. And I think they need to do it sooner rather than later,” he said.

“The Prime Minister has made a commitment consistent with the fact that he has an intention to ensure that people at least get their principle back. I think he needs to make good on that sooner rather than later.”

Asked if he believed the legacy of late prime minister Thompson had been tarnished, Wickham said the jury was still out.

“What I can tell you is that I don’t think that the DLP has done a whole lot to salvage his legacy. I feel that they could have certainly been more proactive in terms of dealing with his legacy and this issue,” he said.

Wickham said he believed Thompson’s widow, who also succeeded him as St John MP, should explain “the nature of her relationship” with the CLICO “mess”.

8 Responses to BLP told to apply pressure on Govt

  1. Epaphras D. Williams
    Epaphras D. Williams February 14, 2015 at 6:50 am

    The DLP government has shown that it is unfit for the highest office. If yuh can’t do ordinary, yuh expect to do extraordinary??

  2. Ryan Bayne
    Ryan Bayne February 14, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Don’t worry, Wickham. Mia Amor Mottley and company getting there.

  3. Glenn Damon Clarke
    Glenn Damon Clarke February 14, 2015 at 8:43 am

    I didn’t see that part in the article…don’t you want the policy holders get compensated? Or just forget them?

  4. Michael Goodman February 14, 2015 at 8:50 am

    We don’t need to go as far back as the ‘promises’ of the last election; not even as far back as PM Stuart’s repeated assurances that policyholders would ‘get back their principal’.

    The Cabinet gave written approval in April last year (2014) to a detailed proposal made by the Judicial Manager to restructure CLICO, thus preserving the policyholders’ funds, and preparing the company for resale as a going concern.

    This proposal included the company receiving a relatively small amount of cash to cover the first annual shortfall in funding since the Judicial Manager took over management of the company 4 years ago. The cash would ensure that the payment of pensions could continue and work could commence on the first phase of the restructuring process.

    As the months passed, the cash injection approved by Cabinet kept failing to materialise. At the same time, the remaining few who were continuing to pay premiums based on the promises of a solution, lost confidence and stopped paying, and so the company finally ran out of cash in December 2014 as projected in the proposal to Cabinet.

    None of this need have happened, and any pressure should be aimed at immediate action to fund the continuance of the Cabinet approved plan to be executed by the Judicial Manager and/or the newly formed NLICO.

    And ‘immediate action’ means immediate, because the alternative is liquidation, which will result in a maximum of 20 cents on the dollar for policyholders (whatever happened to ‘get back their principal’?) and more likely something closer to 10 or 12 cents on the dollar.

  5. Hue February 14, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Nonesense. Deflecting attention from the fact that there is really no opposition.

  6. Michael Goodman February 14, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Glenn Damon Clarke, the pre-election commitments and promises, and later commitments by the Prime Minister mentioned in the article are all very well, but cannot be relied upon to materialise. However, written approval by Cabinet to a specific plan is something else altogether. Had the Government of Barbados made available to the Judicial Manager the funding approved by Cabinet in April 2014, not only would the pensioners still be getting their pensions, the restructuring of CLICO would already be underway and the future for all policyholders would look considerably brighter than it does now. But it was not made available and so now the policyholders face almost certain liquidation unless dramatic and urgent action is taken.

  7. Alec Pierre February 14, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    What Michael Goodman has said is absolutely correct and can VERY EASILY be confirmed. The Government can attempt to deny everything Michael has said by simply releasing certain documents which a number of us have. The Government should show some degree of transparency also releasing something which is still being held under Seal, namely the forensic audit report by Deloitte


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