Tag Archives: CLICO Bailout

The ‘Grand Corruption’

afra raymond CMMB

by Afra Raymond

The recent scandals at LifeSport, Eden Gardens, THA/BOLT, CAL, CL Financial and of course, the Beetham Water Recycling Project, all show the extent to which the Treasury is being targeted by well-connected parties.

There is a constant stream of allegations of ‘Grand Corruption’, which is little surprise in our society in which an unsupported allegation is so often used to discredit an opponent. There is no comfort to be had in that observation, since the other reality is that thorough investigations and prosecutions are only done against ones political enemies, inside or outside the ruling party. That is the sobering reality in our Republic, in which we should all enjoy equal rights and be held to common standards. Different strokes for different folks, just like back in the ‘bad-old-days‘.

It seems to me that the defining question, in terms of whether the various financial crimes are taken seriously, is whether the accused persons are ‘members in good standing‘, so to speak.

The extent to which our Treasury is protected from being plundered by criminal elements is a serious question which should concern every citizen, given that the Public Money in the Treasury belongs to us as citizens and taxpayers. The frequency with which these financial crimes are overlooked is nothing less than scandalous, as any of the Auditor General’s Reports in the previous decade would attest. Permanent Secretaries approving payments in breach of financial regulations; payments made with no documents (leases, contracts or agreements) on file; failure or refusal to produce documents as required by law upon the Auditor General’s request and so many other types of lawbreaking. The same types of conduct is also rife in State Enterprises, which is why so many of the larger ones are unable to produce accounts as required by the very Ministry of Finance which sets those rules and continues to fund them.

The wicked part is that these Public Officials are virtually never charged with breaking the law or made to face any other serious consequences for their misbehaviour in Public Office. We need a new beginning in terms of how we handle the reality of our country’s wealth and its intentionally-degraded laws for controlling how our Public Money is used. A big part of that would be a political dispensation in which full investigations and prosecutions were the norm, especially when key members of the ruling party are the target of allegations.

Our budgeting process now shows all the signs that our system of Public Financial Management is ineffective in dealing with the seasoned criminals who are hard at work helping themselves to our money, whatever the political party in power. At that level, at least, there is little evidence of discrimination.

… read the full article at Afra Raymond’s blog For a Few Dollars More

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Filed under Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

Afra Raymond reviews the CL Financial – CLICO fraud

CLICO Fraud

Afra Raymond chats with Fazeer Mohammed on the December 10th Morning Edition show giving a year end wrap up of issues including the Colman Commission and The CL Financial bailout. Video courtesy TV6

…click on the photo or here to get to the video

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues

CL Financial bailout “a major failure on any scale”

“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

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Freedom Of Information

Profitable sections of CL Financial sold off… fair price or not?

CL Financial sells Jamaican rum maker Lascelles – Appleton Estate

by Poor RRRicky

The dilemma faced these days not only by CL Financial investors, but by all investors, is that we don’t know who to trust anymore. Recent history is rife with leaders, government institutions and businesses that stole from ordinary people: destroying people, families and lifetimes of work and saving. The CL Financial – CLICO debacle is only one example of many.

As the assets of CL Financial are sold off it is natural to wonder if this is only another method of raping shareholders for their equity. How do we know? Especially when profitable sections of the bankrupt CL Financial are sold, how do we know this isn’t just more of the same going on?

Leroy Parris and Lawrence Duprey are doing alright – their friends in government looked after them. But how do we know that the same government friends aren’t continuing to strip shareholder value under the guise of bankruptcy management?

I don’t trust them anymore. I did once and look where it got me. I just don’t trust them anymore. Can you blame me?

Campari to buy Jamaican rum maker Lascelles

By Antonella Ciancio and Maria Pia Quaglia
MILAN | Mon Sep 3, 2012 7:31am EDT

(Reuters) – Italy’s Gruppo Campari (CPRI.MI), maker of the eponymous red aperitif, is buying Jamaican rum maker Lascelles de Mercado & Co LAS.JS to boost its presence in growing American markets, as sales in recession-hit Italy lose fizz.

Campari, also owner of Glen Grant whisky, said it agreed to buy an 81.4 percent stake from ailing Caribbean state-owned conglomerate CL Financial, valuing the target at $414.8 million, or around 330 million euros, making it Campari’s third-biggest acquisition behind Skyy vodka and Wild Turkey bourbon.

… continue reading this story at Reuters Edition USA: Campari to buy Lascelles spirits unit

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues

Prime Minister Stuart won’t talk about this Clico issue…

Leroy Parris and good friend Finance Minister Chris Sinckler share champagne

The DLP protect Leroy Parris because they have to… or else!

Had former Prime Minister David Thompson lived to lead the Democratic Labour Party into the coming election, it would have been a very messy fight indeed… because Thompson was Clico’s lawyer when so much wrongdoing happened, and he knew about many contentious activities.

“It gets worse, much worse. Former PM David Thompson was in the thick of it in August 2007, prior to being elected. Thompson’s law firm took 4% of the purchase of CLICO’s new business jet for ‘legal fees’. We told you so, folks. We told you.”

… from BFP’s Former PM David Thompson law firm money-laundered millions from CLICO to Parris: How much came back to Thompson & DLP?

Voters remember that it was David Thompson who during the 2007-2008 election campaign voiced the DLP’s promise to bring integrity to government, and transparency in the government’s dealings in every area. He promised new laws and government rules to stop the abuses. It was David Thompson who held up a campaign cheque for $75,000 that Owen Arthur illegally deposited into his own personal bank account. Arthur stole that money from the BLP election coffers and Thompson proved it to Bajans and the world. (No one asked where Thompson got the cheque – it was, of course, stolen from banking records by a DLP supporter!)

So Thompson and the DLP were elected to provide integrity legislation, freedom of information, conflict of interest rules and to generally clean up what had become a government and civil service rotten to the core with corruption, injustice and nepotism.

PM Thompson Says His Use Of CLICO’s Business Jet Is None Of Your Business

Clico perks were cheap for the DLP, expensive for policyholders

Unfortunately though, it was also David Thompson who (once elected) spent days on end enjoying perks from his friends at CL Financial, including free business jet use. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Politics

Trinidad Express to publish Afra Raymond… after T&T Guardian shamefully caved to political pressure.

When the history of the CL Financial / CLICO fraud is written, one courageous journalist will stand out: Afra Raymond.

There is no one else in Trinidad or Barbados who has damned the torpedoes and charged straight ahead with the entire truth. No one.

Afra Raymond is a T&T journalist whose effective investigation and analysis on the CL Financial scandal has continually exposed the unethical and illegal actions of many of the main players in the financial debacle. His work has aided the small investors who were abused and deceived. Afra alerted the taxpayers who were being set up to be raped again by politicians more interested in cover-ups than in asset protection and recovery. He is feared and despised by the wrong-doers because he is capable of so clearly and simply describing what the crooks did.

If your last name is Parris or Duprey, you undoubtedly consider Afra Raymond to be a dangerous man.

Afra has paid the price for his defense of the ordinary people, the people who trusted the financial elites like Leroy Parris and Lawrence Duprey. At the end of 2011, the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian who then published Afra’s work decided that they would secretly send his articles to politicians to preview and vet his writing prior to publishing! This was a breach of basic media ethics.

Upon hearing that the editor was secretly sending his unpublished articles to selected politicians and big-ups – Afra, in very civilized terms, told the T&T Guardian to stick it where the sun doan shine. He resigned as any journalist of integrity would.

Here we are six months later and the Trinidad Express has hired Afra to write a column. Good for the Express: the paper clearly stands head and shoulders above the Guardian.

What does the CL Financial and CLICO scandal boil down to for Afra? In a phrase: “Privatized profits. Socialized losses.”

That is what Duprey, Parris and the rest of the CLICO – CL Financial clan are still doing to you and to me.

Can’t wait for Afra’s first column at the Trinidad Express. It might or might not be on CL Financial – we haven’t been informed. But whatever the subject, we’re looking forward to once again seeing Afra Raymond in the traditional news media.

Further reading and listening

Check out AfraRaymond.com where you’ll find some media interviews of Afra from June and May just passed. You’ll get angry as Afra Raymond chats in ‘The Barbershop‘ with John Wayne Benoit on i95.5FM about the CL Financial bailout and Public Procurement issues and other topics on June 30, 2012. Then go to May 4th on Early Morning with Hema Ramkissoon where Afra discusses ‘Government fails to deliver?’; a question on the minds of the construction industry.

Well worth your time!

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

Why was a profitable division of CLICO sold off?

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?

Thank you,

A fellow victim

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Offshore Investments