CL Financial bailout – Charting the Ruins

…We have to make that honest assessment…Our society has become despondent, a resignation to decadence, where everyone owes everyone else a favour it seems… (1981)
…Who will rechart the ruin?… (1970s)

—Quotes from Leroy Clarke’s MACO interview 20 February 2016


Then they fill yuh head with all kinda story
Until truth becomes a mystery…
Now is time to Boom Up History!

Boom up History (3canal) © 2008 Machette Music

Correction

In my previous article, Camille Robinson-Regis was incorrectly named as a member of that Cabinet, when she was in fact serving as our High Commissioner to Canada.

The voices of our leading Artists urge us to search for meaning, if we are serious about building a civilisation out of the lies and ruin we inhabit. That kind of serious building requires a solid foundation which must contain sober reflection and acceptance of responsibility by both the people and the leaders. This is the Season of Reflection, so this week I am looking backward to go forward. A Sankofa pause to delve into these sobering CL Financial events to try to derive some meaning. We have now passed Emancipation, so the series is moving onward to Independence.

In this article I will examine the positions taken by various leaders as the CLF crisis gathered force, culminating in the declaration of the bailout on 30 January 2009. There is either a sobering naivete or a lack of rectitude in the highest chambers in our Republic.

4ministers

The main persons dealing with the crisis were the Cabinet, the CLF Chiefs and the Central Bank. The former Cabinet members from whom we need to hear are – Colm Imbert, who is the current Minister of Finance; Mariano Browne, then Minister in the Ministry of Finance; Conrad Enill, former Minister of Finance and Chairman of the PNM; Karen Nunez-Tesheira, then Minister of Finance. Continue reading “CL Financial bailout – Charting the Ruins”

Advertisements

CL Financial bailout – the Tangled Web

tangled-web

…The official also pointed out that no interest was ever charged on the amount of money that was loaned to the CLF group…
—Quote from an anonymous ‘Government official’ in this newspaper on 21 July 2017.

Well yes.

A bold-faced snatch-and-grab is now being attempted and our total vigilance is now required. According to the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protestors I saw at Zuccotti Park in 2012 –

‘If you are not Outraged, You haven’t been paying attention!’

Last week I spoke to the epic legal mangle which was about to engulf us all in relation to the CL Financial bailout fiasco. It is important to know that it does not matter if you had an investment in CLF or were a shareholder. It does not matter at all. This issue is so huge that every citizen has skin in the game. That includes the unborn ones and those CARICOM citizens who are not citizens of T&T. Continue reading “CL Financial bailout – the Tangled Web”

CL Financial bailout – Nitty Gritty

#afteronetimeistwotimes

Artwork by NiCam Graphics

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.

One of the details requested by me was the audited accounts of CLF since the bailout started. This presents two serious issues for consideration. Continue reading “CL Financial bailout – Nitty Gritty”

VIDEO: Morning Brew interview on fight for control of CL Financial

CNC3 LogoThis 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

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 – Marooning the Pirates

wilson-king-symmetry
The Wilson-King Congruence.  Graphic by NiCam Graphics.

Recent events have forced a further re-examination of the proposition that Lawrence Duprey and his chiefs could regain control of the CL Financial group. The Public Interest has been betrayed or badly delayed at every stage of this matter, which is the only reason we are forced to have this painful conversation.

papersIn the BG of 27th April 2017, both Anthony Wilson and Mary King took aim at my assertion that Lawrence Duprey and his chiefs should not be allowed to regain control of the CL Financial group. Last week I responded to them, but subsequent statements from the CLF chiefs show that regaining control of the entire group is the target. Those events include the abortive meeting between Lawrence Duprey and the CLICO Policyholders’ Group, led by Peter Permell; the several press statements from Duprey and his spokesmen, Carlton Reis and Claudius Dacon and the Mid-Year Budget Review from Finance Minister, Colm Imbert.

Despite the apparent agreement between Wilson and I on the scope of the fit and proper rules, that is just academic, since the CLF chiefs seem to want to regain all their former positions. Continue reading “CL Financial bailout – Marooning the Pirates”