Regular readers are familiar with BFP contributor Afra Raymond (photo above) and his tireless efforts to shine sunlight into every dark hole and crack in the CL Financial – CLICO debacle. There’s no hyperbole with Afra: he digs for the facts and then presents those facts, along with some conclusions or questions. His agenda seems to be nothing more or less than discovering the unvarnished truth about what happened along with other basic questions like who, where, when and why.
When stonewalled Afra submits Freedom of Information requests and when those get ignored he submits them again and again, perhaps following up with a lawyer’s letter. He is a terrier who will not let go and will not be deterred by the occasional kick. We need more terriers acting in the public interest for no other reason than the truth needs to be set free for the good of all.
Afra’s stories usually read something like: “Fact #1, Fact #2. Conclusion: More billions of dollars unaccounted for. Question: What happened? Where is the money? Why didn’t the regulators see this? Why must an ordinary citizen raise this issue?”
Simple truths, exquisitely researched and powerfully presented: no wonder some folks didn’t want Afra writing in the news media or hosting television shows in Trinidad. It’s not an exaggeration to say that without Afra and others like him there would be no Trinidad and Tobago Commission of Enquiry into the failure of CL Financial.
Now Afra Raymond is seeking to be made a party to the Commission of Enquiry into the failure of CL Financial Limited et al.
Will the Commission certify Afra Raymond?
They should. Afra’s independent research and knowledge will be a great resource to the Commission. His independence, lack of private agenda and tireless advocacy for the public interest will enhance the Commission’s credibility in the eyes of the ordinary citizens.
If the Commission is truly serving the public good, they will welcome Afra Raymond and make good use of his knowledge and analysis. If the Commission is concerned with the truth and transparency, they will welcome Afra Raymond and other independent citizens just as the Commission has allowed special interest groups to participate.
What will the Commission do in response to Afra Raymond’s application for status?
We don’t know, but like many others we’re watching this one closely…
16th March 2011
Afra Raymond’s submission seeking to be made a party to the Commission of Enquiry into the failure of
CL Financial Limited
Colonial Life Insurance Company (Trinidad) Limited
Clico Investment Bank Limited
Caribbean Money Market Brokers Limited and
The Hindu Credit Union Credit Union Co-operative Society Limited
My name is Afra Martin Raymond and I am a Chartered Surveyor, being a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. I am Managing Director of Raymond & Pierre Limited – Chartered Valuation Surveyors, Real Estate Agents and Property Consultants. I am also the President of the Joint Consultative Council for the Construction Industry (JCC), an umbrella organisation which represents the interests of Engineers, Surveyors, Architects, Town Planners and Contractors in this Republic.
This submission is being made in my personal capacity and does not represent the position of either Raymond & Pierre Limited or the JCC.
My work on this vital issue has all been based on the public record and can be seen at www.afraraymond.com.
I am willing to give oral evidence before the Commission.
I have been conducting a campaign in the public interest on this important matter. My work is unfunded and I have no assistance. Indeed, I have no legal adviser at this Enquiry.
Having followed the issue so closely and attended the opening session on Friday 11th March, I am of the view that the parties thus far identified in this Enquiry are all seeking to advance their own interest.
I am here seeking to be made a party to this Enquiry, in seeking the interest of the silent majority, the taxpaying public, who have had to pay for this huge financial fiasco.
I am making this submission under rule 2. of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure, as a person whose “…participation in the Enquiry may be helpful to the Commission in fulfilling its mandate…”
I await your reply.
Afra M. Raymond B.Sc. FRICS