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Joint CLICO bailout statement: The more we know, the more we know we don’t know!

“After eight years and a half of expensive governmental control, the population is now being told that the government did not know what was being done or how taxpayers’ monies were spent while government appointees were ‘in the saddle.’

“What other surprises remain hidden?”

The following joint media statement on the perceived lack of transparency in the CL financial bailout was submitted by CLICO Stakeholder Alliance president David Walker, Disclosure Today CEO Rishi Maharaj and former JCC president Afra Raymond:

Photo: Former Clico chairman Lawrence Duprey.
(Copyright Jamaica Observer)

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.

This quote seems to epitomise the current scenario the country is facing regarding the CL Financial fiasco. Over the past eight and a half years, each of us in our own capacity has made several requests for financial information regarding the bailout.

Afra Raymond has gone so far as to petition the court for access to that information. Having won, he is still facing an expensive and drawn-out appeal by successive administrations seeking to withhold the information from the public. David Walker and Disclosure Today also have made a series of requests that have been either ignored or denied.

What this clearly demonstrates is that, across the political divide, there is a clear policy of denial of information to the public.

The Prime Minister’s recent statement on the CLF legal actions also raises some interesting questions. Was the Government also denied access to these critical pieces of information or is it that they inexplicably did not request it? What reporting did the Cabinet and the Ministry of Finance demand in support of these huge advances?

We heard from the Prime Minister that they have only “just discovered” a number of things that would have been obvious had they ever bothered to seek the information that we sought.

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley gestures on the election campaign platform.
(Courtesy Caribbean News Service)

After eight years and a half of expensive governmental control, the population is now being told that the government did not know what was being done or how taxpayers’ monies were spent while government appointees were “in the saddle.” What other surprises remain hidden?

In the best interests of protecting taxpayers, it is clear that the government should immediately lift the veil that they erected around their appointees’ actions and respond positively now to every one of our very basic requests. The nation might be surprised at the results.

By way of example, David Walker requested intra-group balances as far back as 2012 via the Freedom of Information Act. Had that simple report been received on a monthly basis, then Cabinet and the Minister of Finance would have known about the malpractice they have only just discovered.

Additionally, under the bailout arrangement, not only did we give the appointees over twenty billion dollars of taxpayer dollars, we also made them immune from any legal action without requiring prior court approval. The only reporting demanded was an unspecified quarterly report that in practice said nothing.

Even then, it was only supplied to Parliament on four occasions when there should have been more than a dozen. Asleep in the saddle, nobody in Parliament noticed. The response to David Walker’s request to Parliament for same is attached.

Photo: Finance Minister Colm Imbert.
(Copyright i95.5FM)

Afra Raymond’s request for audited statements and management accounts would, if provided, have shown that CLF itself was insolvent. We still need to know when it first became insolvent. Was it prior to or during the bailout? These are important matters and should be the minimum of information demanded by Cabinet and Parliament. It also begs the questions:

  1. Has the government been running an insolvent company in defiance of our laws, and;
  2. Did we advance money to CLICO/BAT based on assets in an insolvent CLF?

There now seem to be more questions than answers after the Prime Minister’s statement but at least we have made a start. Over the next few days, we shall be re-submitting all our previous requests for information. The government would do itself and the country a favour if it responded positively.

Respectfully,

Rishi Maharaj CEO Disclosure Today rishi@disclosure.today

David Walker  d.walker@alcindorwalker.com

Afra Raymond  afraraymond.net

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29 comments

  1. Let’s ask Kamala I fine she real quiet open mouth the population not hearing you Skamala

  2. Only in T&T could the main players escape scotch free . No consequences? They play a mas wit taxpayers money.we smart governments clueless. Free ride & they want back dey company. I guess its a Black thing?

  3. I’ll give ya a dose
    But it’ll never come close
    To the rage built up inside of me
    Fist in the air, in the land of hypocrisy

  4. Hmmmmmmm it will be interesting to know when the Government got wind that CLF is insolvent??
    And why haven’t the financing seized then and there??
    Why did the Government keep pouring tax payers money into an Insolvent CLF?

  5. Full transparency needed as it is is taxpayers” money involved !!!

  6. After two years in office,they cannot find a solution,as Stalin say they went to big university

  7. I believe there is a lack of transparency from both sides of the coin, each is only looking after their own interest.

  8. This is why political parties are perceived to be operating in their own interest and that of the population. As well as the public sector are seen to be easily influenced to do the biding of the political party in control of Gov’t and be seen as independence and function with accountability and integrity.

  9. And now Sir Anthony Coleman has died and we are yet to bring people to justice based on his findings at the CoE .

  10. Both sides is set of dishonorable 4th world thinkers in jacket and tie that only care about themselves and not T & T .

  11. I will help them sort it out . Have no fear

  12. I support the governments aim to get my money back Duprey and his boys have been relying on numerous “Shareholders” placed strategically placed in different walks of our society to return the company to the man who caused its downfall.

  13. Shows he should stay within his bleeping field: studying big stone and volcanoes.

  14. and, btw, before the PM opened his mouth on the issue last week, he should’ve got the facts…lots of misleading statements made, to begin with and he had no reason to take offence and lecture people about he’s the blackest man in T&T..shows how defensive he was

  15. I really don’t understand why anyone is surprised at the goings on. Haven’t you all realised that Duprey had supporters on both sides? Andre Monteil was PNM treasurer. Oma Panday received $1M to send her daughter to school – no questions asked…Ewart Willaims, who was Governor of the Central Bank at the time of the bailout, the same one who cashed in his policies, is now an adviser to the MoF…and that’s a few off the top of my head…allyuh really good yes

  16. I want to see who braking ah jail