CL Financial bailout – False Equivalence?

tony fraser article

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.

Tony Rakhal-Fraser’s Sunday Guardian column on 25 June 2017, titled Appointing ‘Fit and Proper’ People, made me wince, despite his usual high standard of writing. My reaction arose from what appeared to be an attempt by the Central Bank Governor to promote a new discussion on the fit and proper rules. Continue reading “CL Financial bailout – False Equivalence?”

CL Financial bailout – Fit and Proper action

I: #tobepooristhecrime


SIDEBAR: Representation Riddle?

Several media reports of the Carlos John vs Lawrence Duprey lawsuit named one of Duprey’s lawyers as Michael Coppin. According to the ttparliament.org website, E Michael Coppin is a Government Senator, appointed on September 23rd 2015, at the start of the 11th Republican Parliament. Coppin is also Chairman of the PNM’s Heliconia Foundation.

rowley and coppin
Michael Coppin is on Dr Rowley’s left, the smiling, tieless chap in the blue jacket. Photo courtesy Lime.tt

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:

  1. nobody has been convicted of, or even charged with, any criminal act, and that
  2. 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”

CL Financial bailout – the endgame

Lawrence Duprey and the other CL Financial chiefs could soon be regaining their positions, which is a public concern at this time. I consider that to be an unacceptable prospect and that was stated in my joint open letter to the Central Bank Governor on 31 January 2017. Both Anthony Wilson and Mary King took issue with those views of mine in the Business Guardian of 27 April 2017.

The arguments coming from Wilson and King emphasise Duprey’s property rights as the major shareholder of CLF. Wilson, who is the Business Guardian editor, appears to agree with me that the CLF chiefs could not satisfy the central bank’s ‘fit and proper’ rules which apply to those who direct, manage and hold controlling shareholdings in financial institutions. He also made the important point that there are companies in CLF which are not financial institutions and therefore Duprey ought to be able to regain control of those, provided the bailout sums are recovered. The main non-financial companies in the CLF group are Home Construction Ltd., Angostura, CL World Brands and CL Marine. I am still unclear, from Mary King’s article, whether she holds the view that the CLF chiefs are still fit and proper persons. Continue reading “CL Financial bailout – the endgame”