Tuesday, September 21, 2010


There are several problems associated with the Finance Minister's proposal for dealing with that huge CLICO hole. But probably the biggest one is the absolute lack of transparency and information surrounding this terrible mess. Nobody (outside of, I suppose, the directors, the Minister and certain Central Bank and Finance Ministry officials) seems yo have any idea of exactly what the state of affairs is in that troubled conglomerate, nor does anybody really seem to know exactly what happened.

And this is a very important question. What the @#$%^& happened? How did this huge financial monolith fall so hard and so far? Was there fraud, as some people have suggested? If so, why haven't there been any charges laid? It's been almost two years for crying out loud! But if there was just bad management, where were the regulators? What was the Central Bank doing? Is it true that for several years before the collapse that warning signals were being sent out? What were the auditors saying? Were they giving the group a clean bill of health right up to the end? If so, what is being done about that? And, if they (the auditors) were sounding warning bells, then where were the regulatory authorities?

With the dearth of proper information there are millions of ugly rumours and even more ugly speculations swirling around ... the sum total of which is that absolutely nothing is going to be done to deal with the men and women responsible for this disaster and depositors are just going to have to "suck salt".

But the Minister cannot continue to treat the depositors with what appears to be scant courtesy and great contempt. It's simply not good enough. In a first world country he could never get away with this. But he is getting away with it here. Tells you something, doesn't it? Why can't we be told the whole truth? Is somebody being protected?

And what about the rumours that the prime assets (like the Express and Republic Bank shares, etc.) being quietly sold to "the boys"? Is there any truth in these rumours? Are deals being quietly done? Is this why the Government has come out with this $75,000 cash offer plus a 20 year no interest bond? To clean up the balance sheet and allow the assets to be sold off to "the boys"?

No. there is something smelling here. What it is, I don't know. But everything that has happened with the CLICO affair points to something going on under the surface that we aren't supposed to know about. And the question has to be asked: Why?

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