This is my interview with Rennie Bishop on 107.7 FM on Sunday 16 July 2017 to discuss the Eden Gardens debacle now come to light and continuing CL Financial bailout. Part 1 and Part 2. Video courtesy TTRN -Trinidad and Tobago Radio Network Limited.
The CL Financial bailout fiasco is headed towards an epic legal mangle as Lawrence Duprey and his cohort aim to regain control of the Caribbean’s largest-ever commercial/financial group. In swift response, the Minister of Finance is making legal moves to put CLF into liquidation.
At the root of this dispute is the actual sum of Public Money spent on this immense bailout and when, or if ever, it is to be repaid. I have been involved in extended litigation to get the details of the bailout from the Ministry of Finance and the High Court ruled in my favour in July 2015, with that result now being contested in the Appeal Court.
This is my 17 July 2017 ‘Morning Brew’ interview with CNC3’s Hema Ramkissoon on the continuing drama that is the CL Financial bailout. The “chess game” for control is active at this moment, but the propriety of a wholesale return of the group to those chiefs who brought the company to its knees in the first place is still to be debated. Video courtesy of CNC3 Television.
Programme Date: 17 July 2017 Programme Length: 00:26:14
In today’s world of ‘Alternative Facts’ we have to be alert to the special dangers posed by ‘False Equivalence’. False Equivalence arises when two arguments are presented as being of equal relevance, but in fact one is solidly fact-based and the other is mere speculation or invention. Those dangers are especially present in matters of public importance, as recent events have shown.
I do not think that any law or rule was broken by Mr. Coppin representing Mr. Duprey in that Court case, but my feeling about that situation is one of deep unease. It seems to me that there is a likely conflict between Mr. Coppin’s sworn duties to represent the public interest as one of our Parliamentarians and his equally serious duty to wholeheartedly represent Duprey in that litigation, given the serious negotiations between the government and Duprey.
Of course we do not pay our Parliamentarians to attend to their public duties on a full-time basis, so they are allowed to continue with their professional lives. That potential for conflict and the real needs of proper governance by our Parliamentarians speaks to the strong case for full-time terms of engagement to be agreed so that no other employment is allowed. This proposal was raised by Dr. Rowley during the 2015 election campaign and it should be pursued in my view.
That opening stanza is my tweet of a witty friend’s remark at Ferdie Ferreira’s booklaunch and 85th Birthday celebrations on Wednesday 14 June 2017. It was not surprising to see Lawrence Duprey and Carlos John sitting together at that event. We may be seeing Duprey more and more, the way this fiasco is unfolding. There were some media reports that John was suing Duprey for some money owed, but the case now appears to have been resolved by agreement. I took little note of that case, except for one aspect, explained in the sidebar.
By now, we know that Duprey intends to regain control of the CL Financial empire which was bailed-out by the State after its failure in January 2009. There have been reports about Duprey’s legal demands that the State remove its Directors from the CL Financial board, with the State having asked for more time to respond. That contest for control of CLF is not the topic of this article, I am concerned here with the apparent failure and/or refusal of the Central Bank to apply its fit and proper regulations to the CL Financial chiefs.
Two criticisms of my position on the fit and proper regulations are that:
nobody has been convicted of, or even charged with, any criminal act, and that
I am placing too much reliance on the words of various politicians.
I actually base the fit and proper case against Duprey and the other CLF chiefs in the CLF letter of 13 January 2009 to the then Minister of Finance, Karen Nunez-Tesheira. That letter, signed by Duprey as CLF’s Executive Chairman, admitted that the group had failed and requested ‘urgent liquidity support’ from the Central Bank, as ‘lender of last resort’. CLF owned and controlled three banks – Barbados National Bank, Clico Investment Bank and Republic Bank – yet was forced into in an illiquid situation. Just imagine that. Continue reading “CL Financial bailout – Fit and Proper action”→