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
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
“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
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
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.”
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.
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
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!
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
Forget about ‘Investing’ in the Four Seasons project
Contributed by ‘Hocus Pocus’ in two comments…
If the government is looking for an investment for NIS money, why doesn’t it invest in restructuring CLICO as has been recommended by the Judicial Manager? At least this would benefit BAJANS, many of whom are retired and in dire need. There was never anything wrong with CLICO as a company – it always “did” very well indeed. The only problem with CLICO was the “teefing” hierarchy and with those persons gone and a new directorate and management in place, together with mindful marketing strategy, a restructured and renamed company should be successful and beneficial to all.
Sure, I have money invested in CLICO and, obviously, I need return on it so I can eat and lead the modest life I had planned for my retirement. I am over 60 with virtually zero likelihood of employment. There are many in similar positions.
Before investing in CLICO (2005) I carefully read the Insurances Act and understood that government regulatory control made sure that if a Life Ins. Co. was not it compliance, as set out in the Act, it would be shut down; that mandated statutory funds would ensure protection of policyholders’ investments should the company go “belly up”; that regular inspections by Department of the Supervisor of Insurances would ensure statutory funds were at required levels using approved instruments.
There is no way I expected to be betrayed by government flouting the laws of the land as it appears to have done.
In 2005 I could have got 6.75% if I had invested with another company – a mere 1.25% less than the 8% I got at CLICO. I would hardly call this greed – something CLICO policyholders have been accused of! CLICO was also an old (60-70 yrs), established institution. If it had been a 10-year-old company, for instance, then one might not have ventured there. In addition, CLICO financials appeared to be in order giving no reason to suspect that anything was amiss. Continue reading
Big Shot lawyers try to limit Afra Raymond’s testimony before Colman Commission
Look at them squirm, my friends. The one thing they don’t want is ordinary folks to have the chronology of the CL Financial fraud simply laid out as Afra did in his PowerPoint Presentation. The lawyers for the Central Bank, Lawrence Duprey, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Andre Monteil want thousands of papers, annotated with footnotes, references, circles and arrows, indexed, crossed-referenced and filled with phrases like “NOTWITHSTANDING LACK OF NOTICE TO THE PARTIES OF THE PROPOSED BUT UNFULFILLED ACTIONABLE EVENT…”
They sure didn’t want Afra’s simple PowerPoint presentation.
Yup, big shot lawyers love boxes and boxes of materials that make a simple series of individual frauds look too complex to get a handle on. Anything to obscure facts that show their clients’ intent, involvement, negligence or crimes.
Big shot lawyers hate a simple chronology that shows what their clients did, how they did it, and provides a few choice quotes that show their clients are Guilty as Hell. Lawyers hate the simple, the understandable.
PowerPoint: “What did they know and when did they know it?”
Afra Raymond has his full PowerPoint presentation up at his website AfraRaymond.com, along with some new videos and posts about what’s happening at the Colman Commission into the failure of CL Financial.
No wonder the lawyers aren’t happy about having Afra hanging about the Colman Commission – he makes it all so clear and easy to understand. Swing by Afra’s website for an eyefull, but if you are a CLICO or CL Financial victim make sure you’ve taken your blood pressure meds today. You’re gonna need them.
As part of the family that owned Sam Lord’s Castle before the Marriotts, and as a current landowner at Castle Close, I find the whole CLICO subject to be somewhat ridiculous.
Isn’t it obvious what is going on??? CLICO came into Barbados with the support of powerful people in government, and proceeded to pillage our fair Island.
One of the obvious and terrible casualties was my family home (and what our family had raised to equal status with then-nacent Sandy Lane in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a premier resort hotel) that was part of our national heritage. Apparently nobody cares about tradition any more, but Barbados has a long and honoured tradition of respecting the rule of law and more particularly English common law and equity principles of how to conduct business with the people in your community. All of this has been apparently lost in the fight for political power, but I will make a prediction that sooner or later the people of Barbados will rise up and demand an explanation for what has been done in their name.
I can only pray that the burned-out shell that used to be my family’s and this Island’s delight might one day be reconstituted, unlike the sad arson memorial that is Farley Hill. Only time will tell.
Victor E. Stewart
Castle Close, St. Philip
BFP: October 22, 2010 Sam Lord’s Castle as an over-valued asset in the CLICO – CL Financial pyramid fraud
BFP: October 21, 2010 Sam Lord’s Castle burns to the ground thanks to Barbados DLP, BLP, CLICO, Leroy Parris
BFP: April 11, 2009: How CLICO Ruined A Barbados Heritage Site: Sam Lord’s Castle
My friends, you should go to Trinidad and Tobago Newsday to read this article, AND PLEASE DO!
But just in case it disappears from the net as happens in the Caribbean, we’re going to reprint the entire article here. But please… go to Newsday first to read the whole thing, okay?
WARNING: If you’re a CLICO victim, you’re going to be mad as hell after the first paragraph!
‘Clico fronted $38M in Indian business’
By ANDRE BAGOO Monday, October 3 2011
CLICO fronted $38 million in Indian business carried out by a Miami-based broker without the approval of the Central Bank, according to documents disclosed to the Commission of Inquiry into Clico which paint a picture of an insurance company with a long history of breaking the law and hiding key aspects of its operations from its books.
The documents disclose that $29.4 million in interest payments on a secret $302.4 million Home Mortgage Bank loan to Clico for the Lascelles de Mercado transaction was dressed up as “an amount receivable” from parent company CL Financial. Additionally, the company had “significant off balance sheet exposures” to connected companies totalling $2 billion, according to Central Bank estimates. Continue reading
by Michael Goodman
As a former Director of the Board of The Barbados Association of Retired Persons and a Clico Policyholder, I am absolutely horrified to read in the Saturday Sun of October 1st, that Douglas Skeete, apparently speaking on behalf of 27,000 BARP members (without having consulted them) suggests that liquidation of Clico is a preferable solution and that it would be “far better” for policyholders to settle for the likely return of just over 40 cents on the dollar from liquidation, than to wait five years for a new company and a promise of 100 per cent returns.
The Government of Barbados has already subjected thousands of Clico policyholders, many of whom are BARP members, to two and a half years of anxiety, depression, silence and arrogant dismissal, something about which BARP did absolutely nothing, until ‘joining forces’ with the active and effective Barbados Investors & Policyholders Alliance a few weeks ago…
… continue reading Mr. Goodman’s thoughts at Bajan Reporter’s What is going on at BARP? Former Director of BARP stressed at New CLICO Suggestion
Photo courtesy of Bajan Reporter
“A Commission of Enquiry can only make findings on the evidence submitted to it, so it would be very important for some people to have certain evidence omitted.”
The Colman Commission – Balancing the Scale
The Colman Commission into the failure of CLF Financial and the Hindu Credit Union is just about to move into its second round of Hearings and the public can expect to have further testimony on the losses suffered by people who deposited monies with CL Financial.
I have made several submissions to the Commission and have been invited to give evidence.
I am reliably informed that there have been strong and unanimous objections to my participation in the Colman Commission. It would seem that only the Commission itself is interested in having my testimony go onto the record.
It is not surprising to me that objections of that sort would be arising now, but readers need to have a context.
The Colman Commission was established to find out how this fiasco occurred, recommend methods to stop a recurrence and also to identify responsible people who are apt for lawsuits or criminal charges. The main parties can be expected to give self-serving evidence, designed to exonerate themselves from any blame.
We can also expect to hear more attempts to put the blame onto Wall Street, despite the claims in the CL Financial 2007 Annual Report – this is from the preamble -
“…“The Next Wave of Growth” is the theme of this annual report, highlighting, to quote our Chairman, “that out of any crisis opportunities will emerge and our progress during the year under review prepares us to seize those opportunities and unlock value.” We have confidence in our ability to not only navigate this financial storm but to find fresh and profitable opportunities within it…”
That Annual Report was published on 23rd January 2009 – yes, that is 10 days after Duprey wrote to the Central Bank Governor for urgent financial assistance and one week before the bailout was signed on 30th January.
The Colman Commission is a Public Inquiry into a matter of major importance; it was approved by the Cabinet and installed by the President of the Republic. A Commission of Enquiry can only make findings on the evidence submitted to it, so it would be very important for some people to have certain evidence omitted. Continue reading
Sinckler: “Bajans aren’t mature or intelligent enough to see raw or incomplete data. They might draw conclusions different from what the government wants.”
How else should voters interpret Mr. Sinckler’s recent statement that the 30-day judicial manager’s report on CLICO International Life Insurance Limited should be kept hidden? Mr. Sinckler wants the big-ups and elites to put everything together in a tidy little report that directs Bajans to whatever conclusion the elites want to sell us.
“Let’s get this straight, Mr. Sinckler: Bajans don’t trust you or your government to tell the truth about CLICO.”
The late Prime Minister Thompson was way too close to CLICO’s Leroy Parris. David Thompson was also CLICO’s lawyer when proper financial statements weren’t filed for ten years. And when it all hit the fan for CLICO and CL Financial, Thompson used the power of his Prime Minister’s office to deny judicial oversight. Not to mention the cushy job he gave to Leroy Parris at the CBC that allowed the government to control the news about this fraud.
“We know now that on May 15, 2005 while acting as CLICO’s lawyer, David Thompson signed a secret contract between CLICO and Leroy Parris’ private company that in effect deceived shareholders into believing that Parris was being paid less than he really was.”
…from the BFP article Leroy Parris’ defence of Prime Minister David Thompson rings hollow now
Friends forever: Finance Minister Sinckler & Leroy Parris chatting over champagne
Finally, the DLP received big money from CLICO in the form or political donations and who knows what else on the side, including executive jet use for free when the cost was tens of thousands of dollars or more per ride. The DLP was brought into power in good part through the big money of CLICO.
That was OUR MONEY that was given to the DLP. The money that policy holders and investors placed with CLICO in good faith and it was sucked out of the company into phony land purchases, mansions in Florida and who knows how much into YOUR POLITICAL POCKET MR. SINCKLER.
Answer the policy holders this Mr. Sinckler, or sit down and shut up:
“How much did the DLP Democratic Labour Party and the candidates receive from CLICO and associated companies and persons in the last 15 years?”
Until you answer that question Mr. Sinckler, just sit down and shut up. We’ve heard enough of your opinions on how this fraud should be investigated, thank you.
A policy holder and a victim.
You should go to Barbados Today to read the story about Sinckler, but we’ll reprint the entire passage here because the Barbados news media has a habit of re-writing history and deleting stories, and that includes staff at Barbados Today who used to be at The Nation.
So read the story at Barbados Today, but if it’s gone, then read it here… Continue reading
Shareholders not told about billions in missing assets
by Afra Raymond
CL Financial’s final Annual General Meeting was the most interesting meeting in the saga of its collapse.
That meeting took place at the Trinidad Hilton on Friday 23rd January 2009, so consider the timeline –
Given that the normal function of an Annual General Meeting is to inform shareholders and stakeholders of a company of its performance and prospects, that timeline raises some intriguing questions.
For whatever reason, there have been no published reports of that final CL Financial Annual General Meeting, so I posed these questions to a CLF shareholder in an email exchange – Continue reading
CL Financial & CLICO Scandal
At the last sittings on 6th and 7th April, five new parties were announced and Afra Raymond was not among them. It doesn’t look like the Colman Commission wants someone so knowledgeable to have official standing.
Can’t have someone like Afra Raymond asking questions because who knows where that would take the Commission. Why, the big boys would lose control and we can’t have that!
Here’s Afra’s latest article…
CL Financial bailout – A crucial choice
There were several important developments in the Colman Commission at its sittings during the week of April 6th, with the widely reported appeals of Sir Anthony Colman QC for the Central Bank to change its position with respect to the presentation of accounts to the Enquiry.
From my own attendance at the opening session of the Colman Commission on Friday 11th March and the various reports, it seems that there are various moves afoot to restrict or stop the enquiry. I expected this sort of scenario in declaring the main players to be part of a ‘Code of Silence’ – it is no surprise to me. Continue reading
VIDEO: Morning Edition Interview – 11 Apr 2011
Afra Raymond sits with host, Fazeer Mohammed on the Morning Edition television show to discuss further developments in the Colman Commission into the CLICO/HCU collapse. Video courtesy TV6
Programme Air Date: 11 April 2011
Programme Length: 0:32:40
Ten days to produce The Duprey Letter, CL Financial’s 2008 audited accounts
After a year of breaking the Freedom of Information law, Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Finance is still ignoring Afra Raymond’s Freedom of Information requests for the January 13, 2009 “Duprey” letter and the December 31, 2008 accounts for the CL Financial Group.
Afra has given T&T 10 days to produce the documents or off to court they go.
It just shows how even at this late date the evil forces of corruption are still trying to hide the truth from the taxpayers and the victims of Duprey, Parris, the auditors and the rest of the crooks. Continue reading
Afra Raymond digs deeper…
“The 325 (CL Financial) shareholders are listed alphabetically, as at 7th September 2008, with details of their occupations and addresses also supplied. Of course, that list shows, at #289, the then Minister of Finance – Karen Nunez-Tesheira – as Karen Tesheira, Attorney-at-Law – holding some 10,410 shares.”
“Another thing that is striking is that Lawrence Duprey would appear to have only three blocks of shares in his ownership -
I am taking that to mean that Lawrence Duprey had under his direct control a maximum of 3,701,313 shares – i.e. 49.35% of the group’s entire shareholding…slightly less than half.”
Afra Raymond posted a story with CL Financial’s Annual Return filed 2009 and as usual he’s like a terrier worrying a bone: he won’t let go. Good for you Afra! Keep at ‘em!