This is my second application, under the Freedom of Information Act, for access to a vital document in this CL Financial bailout. The first application was made on 18th November 2009 for the Agreement dated 12th June 2009 between our government and the CL Financial group – it can be accessed here.
On this occasion I am applying for access to the letter written by Lawrence Duprey, Executive Chairman of the CL Financial group, to Ewart Williams, Governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad & Tobago, on 13th January 2009. That letter was read into the records of our Parliament on 4th February 2009 by the Minister of Finance as featured in ‘Finding the Assets’‘. My reading of that letter is that CL Financial stated its asset value to be $23.9BN at the time of writing. Given that the asset value of the CL Financial group was stated to be some $100.7Bn as at the end of 2007, this is a central part of the riddle we need to solve.
The Central Bank is exempted from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and it is likely that this immunity will be cited to deny my application. My point is that the Minister of Finance, having deliberately removed that letter from the legal cloak of secrecy enjoyed by the Central Bank and read the letter into the Parliament’s records, can hardly claim that providing me with a copy is in any way inimical to the resolution of this matter.
It seems to me that a refusal to provide the copy of Mr. Duprey’s letter will only deepen the atmosphere of suspicion and distrust.