Property Matters – Affordability and Legality

The previous three articles, I, II and III exposed counterfactuals, those being baseless claims, hypotheses or beliefs. In those cases, I dealt with large-scale toxic untruths, shamelessly promoted by those who know better. All that is in it.

Showing Trinidad and Tobago A New Way HomeThis week I continue my Season of Reflection, turning to T&T’s Housing Policy and Program. The Housing Policy (2002) was implemented via the National Housing Authority (NHA), which was succeeded in 2005 by the Housing Development Corporation – established by the HDC Act. This week’s counterfactual is that our housing policy and the HDC are dedicated to producing affordable housing.

This article will establish just how small is the HDC output of affordable homes and go on to locate these operations within the legal obligations governing that Public Institution. Continue reading “Property Matters – Affordability and Legality”

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Property Matters – the Cost of the Candle

The previous articles, here and here, delved into the meaning of counterfactuals, those being baseless claims, hypotheses or beliefs. In those cases, I dismantled the dishonest discourse of some of our thought leaders, who should certainly know better. The prior examples were rooted in the sobering racist beliefs expressed by too many educated and responsible people, that is my view.

This week I continue my Season of Reflection by delving into the almost-forgotten Tobago Sandals MoU litigation which forced publication of that important document. This article will be dealing with the issues relating to the legal fees paid in that matter, so it does not repeat the points in the MoU or anything like that.

Legal-fees-1

Continue reading “Property Matters – the Cost of the Candle”

CL Financial bailout – restating the Case, part two

The previous article delved into the meaning of counterfactual, that being a ‘baseless claim, hypothesis or belief’. I started my Season of Reflection by confronting the false narratives of certain thought leaders who are seemingly oblivious to the irrefutable and considerable achievements of the CL Financial group.

The size and scope of the CLF group make it impossible to really discuss business, investment, finance or real estate at a national or regional level without that group being a significant element in that discussion. To discuss those important topics at a national or regional level and be silent on CLICO and the CLF group is to literally ignore the Elephant in the Room. You see?

Considering that the CLF group was established, managed and owned by an African-descended group, it is mind-boggling to hear these repeated claims of Black non-achievement from people who ought to know better.

About a year ago, one of these eminent people published an article making those points about the decline of Black business in T&T and so on. When I wrote to remind him of the existence of CLICO and CLF as a fact, irrespective of what one thought of that company, his response proposed that there were many truths and so on. Postmodernism is a broad field of philosophy, but even that one was way beyond the boundary.

This week, I will examine the second counterfactual in this series – that is the ‘baseless claim, hypothesis or belief‘ that East Indian people are especially corrupt, especially those who are Hindus. We have all heard it, the love of money and the love of land and so on and so forth. Up to a few nights ago my ears twitched as a well-regarded Minister in the current administration confided those views to me, I am not sure if he recognised the sheer disbelief on my features, but he was called away before my response could be delivered.

The case I am making in this article is that the CL Financial bailout is the single largest and most corrupt act in our country’s history, if not the entire region’s history.

clf-bailoutThe CLF bailout is the hugest loan ever of perpetually-scarce Public Money to the wealthiest people in the Caribbean on the most generous terms. Sweetheart Deal does not even begin to describe this level of access to our Treasury, our Cabinet and our very Future.

That agreement is recorded in the 30 January 2009 Memorandum of Understanding and the 12 June 2009 CLF Shareholders’ Agreement, both of which are publicly available.

Consider these points about the CLF bailout –

  1. Amount

    No limit or ceiling was ever set, so the State effectively agreed to write a blank cheque to the CLF shareholders. As we are now told, the total cost is in excess of $25 Billion. By way of comparison, the Wall Street bailout in 2008 was estimated in December 2010 by the USA Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, to cost about 1% of GDP. The CLF bailout cost more than 10% of our GDP, according to the Ministry of Finance in the 2011 Budget Statement.

  2. No repayment period

    Neither of the two agreements contain any provisions to cover repayment period. In the event, the shareholders’ agreement was extended seventeen times.

  3. Interest

    Neither agreement contains any provisions as to the interest to be paid on this huge loan of Public Money. As it unfolded the first $4.9 Billion, which was paid to CLICO was done via issuing a 4.5% preference share. On the basis of a weighted average cost of capital analysis, the interest payable for that loan of over $25 Billion in Public Money is less than 1%. Yes, that is the real interest rate. In comparison, companies bailed-out on Wall Street paid over three times the prevailing base-rate to get Federal funds.

    One of the questions I was examining in getting the details of this bailout is the cost of interest and financing to the State. You see, the State had to borrow heavily to lend the CLF shareholders. That sum is $4,830,506,986.33, as at 30th June 2018. By my analysis, the monthly cost of interest and financing escalated from $30,640,697.82 per month between 30 January 2009 and 30 April 2016 to $85,895,308.99 per month between 30 April 2016 to 30 June 2018. You see?

    On this single aspect of interest, the loss of Public Money has been huge.

  4. Rationale for the bailout was what, really?

    The public was sold the CLF bailout by appeals to the plight of pensioners and the stability of the economy and so on.

    bailoutcheque1The first estimates of cost were about $5.0 Billion, but when the PP won the May 2010 election it was reported that some $7.3 Billion had been spent. The proposal made by then Finance Minister Winston Dookeran in his inaugural budget was to offer 20-year bonds to ease the burden on the Treasury. The protests and rapid organisation which followed that announcement were epic, with various Policyholders and Depositors groups being formed. When then PM, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, addressed the Parliament on 1 October 2010, her question was pregnant –

    …Because if it is today after the $7.3 Billion, all these EFPA people, the policy group and so on, they are out there, where is their money? Where is their money? Did you have a priority listing of who should be paid? Why did you go—and you are now crying crocodile tears about trade unions, credit unions, the poor man and the small man—why did you not pay them first? Why did you not pay them first? Where did that $7 Billion go?…

In closing, ask yourself who were the Chiefs in negotiating and agreeing to this epic toxic deal? How many of them were East Indian, or Hindu, for that matter? It’s a straight case of ‘Nearer to Church, further from God‘, as the old people used to say.

CL Financial bailout – restating the Case

“…Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories…”
—Amilcar Cabral, 1924-1973

counterfactual (plural counterfactuals)

  1. A claim, hypothesis, or other belief that is contrary to the facts.

This is the start of my Season of Reflection, my two-month period of deeper and hopefully more fruitful work. This article will appear on Wednesday, 31 July, the next day being Emancipation Day (1 August 1834), the real start of the Season, the next point being Independence Day on 31 August (1962) and the third is Republic Day on 24 September (1976). The meaning of those events is deep, as they denote the outlawing of slavery of African people to the end of British colonial rule and then the birth of our Republic, crystallizing real equality amongst humans, at an aspirational level at least. The special sequence of those holidays adds to the Season as part of our efforts to build a civilisation.

This special Season of Reflection, I am going to be taking a fresh look at the CL Financial collapse and bailout to see how those can cast a certain light. Continue reading “CL Financial bailout – restating the Case”

CL Financial bailout – After the Judgment

frank-seepersad
Justice Frank Seepersad

On 4th July 2019, the High Court (with presiding judge, Justice Frank Seepersad) ruled in my second lawsuit to get the remaining details of the CL Financial bailout. In the first lawsuit, I was able to get the details of the $10.823 Billion in Public Money paid to 13,200 named EFPA claimants within this massive bailout. CLICO sold the EFPA, which comprised most of its liabilities at the time of the CL Financial collapse in January 2009.

The ruling specified that my full costs be paid by the State, so that showed the case ended overwhelmingly in my favour. That said, there was a significant disappointment in that the ruling also specified that the payees’ names for British American Insurance Company (BAICO) and CLICO be omitted from the details to be provided within 28 days.

Continue reading “CL Financial bailout – After the Judgment”

VIDEO: Interview with i95.5 FM on FoI, etc. – 16 July 2019

i95.5fm logoAfra Raymond was interviewed by Ralph Maraj on i95.5 FM on Tuesday, 16 July 2019 about the Freedom of Information Act in Trinidad and Tobago in light of Mr Raymond’s win in court to get further information in the CL Financial bailout. Following on from that victory, he also discusses research conducted on public housing using information gleaned from prior Freedom of Information requests. Video courtesy i95.5 FM

Programme Length: 00:42:43
Programme Date: 16 July 2019

Property Matters – Social Housing notes

The Rotary Club of Penal invited me to speak at their handing-over ceremony on Saturday 29th June 2019. My presentation summarised recent findings of my research into national policies and programs for social housing. I started that research in 2004 and the officials at the Housing Ministry and the NHA/HDC have always been supportive of my work over that period. I again thank them publicly – it is important to say that.

Showing Trinidad and Tobago A New Way HomeThe national housing policy (18th September 2002) states the provision of affordable housing for low and middle income applicants as its main objective. Having carefully examined the housing market and the details provided from the public officials, it is clear that the national program for social housing is not proceeding in conformity with the actual housing policy. I have closely examined the 16 years in which the housing policy was in effect 2003 to 2018.

This article will be light on my analysis of those figures, because sometimes the facts can be more effective than anything I could write, this is one of those times. Continue reading “Property Matters – Social Housing notes”