Afra Raymond chats on the show ’Forward Thinkers‘ with David Walker on 104.7FM, dealing with the CL Financial bailout and my lawsuit against the Minister of Finance to get at the detailed information as to how the $24B in Public Money was spent. 24 October 2013. Audio courtesy More 104.7 FM. Listen here.
Programme Date: Thursday 24th October 2013
Programme Length: 0:45:41
“In my view the failure and or refusal to account for the colossal and unprecedented expense of the CL Financial bailout is indicative of a ‘Quiet Coup‘ against our Republic. I am deliberately borrowing Simon Johnson’s potent phrase, used to describe the coup of Financial Capital against the USA published in a fascinating and essential article from The Atlantic. The fact that two successive administrations have remained bound to these arrangements and the low priority given to transparency and accountability in this matter all speak to the potency of the plotters.”
Afra Raymond gives ‘em hell with The Treasury Scandal
At least Trinidad and Tobago has a Freedom of Information law!
What is being pursued here is our right as citizens of a modern republic to the details of these huge expenditures of Public Money – the CL Financial bailout is costing some $24Bn, about $3.5Bn USD! – and the background to how critical legislative support is obtained. It is my view that S.34 was not the first time and that the spectre of ‘regulatory capture’, which underlines much of the discourse around the Great Depression 2, is in fact founded on a sinister degree of ‘legislative capture’.
Having had a series of ‘cat and mouse’ exchanges with the Ministry of Finance since my Freedom of Information Act application made on 11 May 2012, this is my pre-action protocol letter sent to them by my attorney on Thursday 7 March, seeking their proper reply in 7 days…that time expires at midnight today, Wednesday 13 March.
So stay tuned, because we are going to the High Court after that…
CL Financial bailout – without rhyme or reason
by Afra Raymond
The last month or so has spoilt us for choice when it comes to amazing scenes being witnessed in relation to the CL Financial bailout and the ongoing Colman Commission.
As I wrote in July 2010, in criticising the appointment of Jack Warner to the Cabinet -
“…We need to be mindful of the relationship between morals, ethics, law and of course, that scarce commodity, good sense. Obviously, law is the paramount authority, because we live in a republic ruled by laws, not men. No one should break the law and there are penalties for doing that.
But we also know that in life we make many important decisions without referring to any laws. Those are sound decisions, which form norms, eventually described as custom-and-practice or culture. There are many acts, which are at one and the same time both deeply offensive to right-thinking people (and I think that most people are right-thinking) and in breach of no particular law. Many acts, with no need for examples, since this is a newspaper any child could pick up and read…”
Attorney Seenath Jairam’s serious lapse of judgment…
The main talking point was the decision of the Law Association President, Seenath Jairam SC, to accept the Ministry of Finance brief for the Colman Commission after the dismissal of Michael Quamina and Fyard Hosein SC. Apart from our friendship, Seenath Jairam is an attorney in whom I have utmost confidence in these areas. That said, his acceptance of that brief was a serious lapse of judgment, since in my view a leader cannot behave the same as the ordinary members of an association. A leader who is unable to realize that his role demands unique sacrifices will soon exhaust his supporters’ loyalty. Continue reading
“It is a wonder that you are continuing to write these articles Mr. Raymond. Have you received any pressure to stop? If only our Bajan journalists had your integrity and courage.”
Barbados Free Press reader WSD comments on Afra Raymond’s article CL Financial bailout “a major failure on any scale”
In response to a reader’s concern for his safety, journalist Afra Raymond replies:
I am going to continue on my course, this is an epic crisis, being the single largest episode of corruption in our region’s history, so it is essential that the few of us keep on informing the public and agitating for Economic and Social Justice in this matter.
I am independent enough to maintain these efforts – no one is ever absolutely independent in our small societies – and it is a painful reflection in this, our 50th year of T&T’s Independence, that our leading institutions, academies and thinkers have remained resolutely silent in the face of this tidal wave of ‘commesse’ and ‘bobol’. It does make me wonder what was the ultimate purpose of all the sacrifice of our foreparents who struggled for liberation from colonialism, education and self-determination. What was that all for?
It is a disturbing measure of the depth of the corruption in all the western democracies that so few of the main players in this global meltdown have actually been imprisoned, but that is an issue for another column in this series.
My rallying call is -
SILENCE IS THE ENEMY OF PROGRESS!
Thanks for your support
“The region’s largest privately-held group of companies is now under State control, in a situation of huge insolvency, with no proper accounts and no declarations being filed by the Directors…
This development is a serious peril to our Treasury. It must be a matter of the gravest possible concern to all right-thinking people that our fundamental Integrity safeguards appear to have been circumvented or ignored in a matter of this size and consequence.”
A call to order
by Afra Raymond
The CL Financial bailout continues to be a major failure on any scale, both in the causes of the fiasco and especially the manner in which it has been handled. This is my update on what has been the progress in this campaign.
First… A Reality Check
The equation for our reality check is –
Expenditure of Public Money
Minus – Transparency
Minus – Accountability
Equals = CORRUPTION
In May 2009, I wrote that the Directors and Officers of the CL Financial group should be required to file declarations under the provisions of the Integrity in Public Life Act (IPLA). According to the IPLA, the Schedule detailing those persons is at page 31 – one of the classes of person required to file declarations to the Integrity Commission is –
“Members of the Boards of all Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises including those bodies in which the State has a controlling interest.”
I have put the last part of the sentence in italics to emphasize the deliberate choice of language by the legislators. The drafting of legislation is a painstaking exercise of strategy, debate and sometimes compromise…my point being that the inclusion of that last phrase must mean that the legislators intended to go beyond merely saying ‘Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises’, which would be the obvious, to specify that the IPLA must also apply in situations where the State has a controlling interest.
The CL Financial Shareholders Agreement (the Agreement), of 12 June 2009, which I obtained by using the Freedom of Information Act, specifies at clause 3.1 that the Board of Directors of CLF shall consist of seven Directors, four of which shall be nominated by the Government. The government has been exercising its rights under this clause, so it is clear that the State’s controlling interest in the CL Financial group is effective. Continue reading
Dear Barbados Free Press,
I don’t pretend to be knowledgeable about high finance or corporate affairs, and therefore I have to look at situations on a simple level. I’m having difficulty understanding something about how the powers that be handled the CLICO debacle. Here is my observation and questions:
In the current issue of Barbados Today, the news article “Upturn” says,
“One year after being rescued from under the beleaguered CLICO Holdings umbrella, Capita Financial Services, formerly CLICO Mortgage and Finance Company, is projecting a profit of just over one million dollars at March next year.”
Barbados Today Upturn
Why would the trustees of the CLICO mess sell off a profitable operation?
To my mind it would make more sense to hang onto it. The profit from this successful operation could have been used to shore up the rest or at least reduce the damage to policy holders who were ripped off.
That is unless the vultures saw an opportunity to grab a profitable piece of the company at the expense of the already-victimized policy holders.
Can someone please explain why this selling off of a profitable piece of CLICO was necessary and how it was good for the victims of Mr. Leroy Parris and Mr. Lawrence Duprey?
A fellow victim