Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Probably the biggest problem that exists for the general public (both the taxpayers as well as the CLICO depositers) is the absolute dearth of information about the true state of affairs in the felled behemoth. Let's face it: We just don't have any real information. For example, does anybody (besides the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank) know the answers to any or all of the following questions?

- What exactly caused the collapse? Is it true that the collapse was caused by the
Manning Administration pulling $200 million out of the CLICO bank?
- If so, who made that decision and why? If not, what caused the collapse?
- Was CLICO insolvent for a long time? When did CLICO become insolvent? Was it 10
years ago as alleged by then Attorney General Ramesh Maharajh? If so, what
responsibility does then Governor of the Central Bank Winston Dookeran (now Finance
Minister) and then Finance Minister Gerald Yet Ming (now placed in charge of CLICO
by Dookeran) have for the present debacle? Could /should they have done something
then? If so, what?
- What responsibility does the present Central Bank Governor have for the mess?
- What responsibility does the former Finance Minister, Karen Teishera, have?
- Did the last Finance Minister have inside information about CLICO's imminent demise
which caused her to take her money out mere weeeks before the collapse?
- What did Patrick Manning, who was not only Prime Minister but Finance Minister for
five long years, know?
- CLICO's reach extended deep into both the PNM as well as the UNC. We know, for
example, that CLICO gave the PNM $5 million in 2007 for its election campaign. Did
these political contributions efffectively prevent the regulatory authorities from doing
what they were supposed to do in the first place?
- If the answer to the above is 'yes', is this not a form of corruption?
- If the answer to this is also 'yes', what politicians are likely to be charged?
- Why does the present Minister of Finance who campaigned for two years on the
promise of more open government and transparency not tell the public exactly what
has happened and give the public all the information concerning this disaster?
- Why after almost two years do we have little more information than we had at the
- Is there a cover-up? If so, why? Who is being protected? Why are they being
- Why have the assets of the principal "players" in CLICO not been frozen? When the
Madoff and Stanford scandals hit the first thing that the American Government did
was to freeze the assets of the leading players before any criminal charges were ever
- Has there been fraud? Is there evidence that suggests fraud? If so, why has nothing
been done for almost two years? Is this part of a cover-up? How long does it take to
figure out if fraud has taken place?
- According to the newspaper reports some $7 billion of public money was poured into
CLICO. What happened to it?
- Why has there been absolutely no accounting to the public by the Minister of Finance
concerning the public money already spent and planned to be spent in this company?

I could go on, but you get the point. We have no information concerning CLICO. It was unfair (and not a little insulting) for the Finance Minister to make that infamous $75,000 offer and say in essence 'take it or leave it'. You ought not to treat people that way. And if he really believes in his own rhetoric and is not a hypocrite he will agree without equivocation. We need information.

The Government of Trinidad & Tobago made a promise that it would see the depositers paid. The credibility of the Government now hangs on that thread of a promise. As to whether that promise should ever have been made in the first place ... well, that is a different story!


  1. Part of the government's modus operandi. Divulge as little information so as to make their case and prevent people from making informed decisions and/or arriving at reasonable conclusions. Take for example the BAE's Systems contract where there is evidence of an enhanced settlement between the contracting parties which was available to the government to facilitate an informed decision. Instead they elected to withhold this information from John Public and give spurious reasons for the cancellation of the contract. Now they have been exposed, where do we go from here.

  2. What concerns me is the great disconnect between what Dookeran used to preach about transparency and what he is actually practising now. I am very disappointed. And to think that I voted for him!!