Come clean on CLICO assets
By MIRANDA LA ROSE Tuesday, June 17 2014
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TELL IT ALL: Diego Martin Northeast MP, Colm Imbert at yesterday's Opposition Leader's press conference on Charles Street, Port-of-Spain. In backgroun...
The People’s National Movement is calling on Government, Finance Minister Larry Howai and Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran to come clean on the disposal of CL Financial assets, because it was hearing of backroom deals for family and friends.
The party is also against the appointment of former Guardian Holdings Limited actuary, Neil Dingwall, being appointed a consultant to the Central Bank, to oversee the sale of the Clico (US)$20 billion portfolio.
It is also questioning Government’s decision to scrap the company, Atrius for which a board was established and appointments made. Atrius was supposed to absorb the 400 staff, including agents of Clico. Addressing the media yesterday at a press conference held at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, were MP for Diego Martin North East, Colm Imbert, and PNM Senator, Dr Lester Henry. According to Imbert, the people want answers on what are Government and Central Bank’s plan on the disposal of the CL Financial assets which are worth billions of dollars.
“Are you giving them away to your friends and families? That is the question we are asking,” he said.
If they do not get answers, the PNM, he said will escalate the issue because $20 billion of taxpayers’ money have gone into bailing out CL Financial Group.
The Governor of Central Bank, he said, was now in control of the assets which include Angostura, Home Construction Limited, Millennium, One Woodbrook Place, Methanol Holding, Colfire, and the Clico portfolio — all worth “billions of dollars.”
“We want to know what they are doing. They have no right to keep this a secret. They must tell us what they are doing,” Imbert said adding that if they do not say anything, the PNM will be justified in coming to the conclusion that something is irregular and illegal, and deals were being done in secret, because general elections are due.
Questioning Dingwall’s appointment to oversee the sale of Clico insurance portfolio, Henry said that it was “a possible conflict of interest.” He noted that on the same day Dingwall left Guardian Holdings, his appointment as consultant to the Central Bank to oversee the sale of the CLICO portfolio, set off alarm bells.