Who is your leader? Ask this question to taxpayers and they may answer anything or anyone or no one. Ask it to the Prime Minister and he seems sure he is. In a recent Post Cabinet Press Conference ( I don’t look at many but viewed this one) the PM without a doubt declared himself as the defender of public interest and pulled out all the stops to inform taxpayers of same with regard to “their money” and CLICO.
So why was government silent over the past fortnight or so before the PM spoke, simply because this government seems (painfully so at times) to give regard to court matters and the consideration of due process.
In case you missed it here is my review/analysis…with commentary.
Just so that you clear from the start Clico/CLF/CL Financial or whatever you want to call it (I will use CLICO) are private entities operated to make profits for the benefit of their stakeholders. FACT
They came to Government aka tax payers (we the people) for financial help frequently referred to as a bail out. FACT (in case you not sure taxpayer = you and me/we)
Since they borrow the only money we get back (2 payments) is:
- A payment from the sale of one of the Methanol Plant – 7.5 billion
- A Payment of approx. 500 million from Angostura
Both payment evidently by VAPS and not by, through or from any structured payback plan. The first one because of the courts the second via a discovery that some mystery company (CC World Brands) where profits from Angostura were going. (Never mind they are PART owners who were “claiming” FULL ownership and wanting ALL profits).
Then…then in the middle of all of this they attempt to pull the ole stuff the Board trick. How does this work. If you have a Board of 12 whom you feel you can’t control or fire appoint another 12. Yes it seems Clico try that on we.
Since our taxpayers money jumping up (3 years and 5 billion was the original bail out and Government was on the Board as part of the deal) the agreement of bail out has been extended 17 times, and the government has always had Board interest and oversight. All of a sudden they (CLICO interests et al) do not want to extend the agreement for same it seems.
Evidently one Prof. Watson (a gentleman I know and respect…not because of this pronouncement) says it/Clico was a Ponzi – and all who invest should stand your loss. In other development along the way our government has made a further 11 billion tax payers injection WITH NO INTEREST.
So what is the current debt? Approx 23 billion
What are the CLICO books saying or what have they been saying over the period. Past and present Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors should answer.
What the Prime Minister did say in not as any words is that there will be no dereliction of duty by the current Government.
Face with declining revenue from Oil and Gas and declining people on the streets for carnival somebody have to mind we business. Moody’s will want to know how we plan to recover that debt. Take them to court? Yes. This is about Trinidad and Tobago, our economic well-being and tax payers. Should a private company trump the tax payer for taxpayers money? It’s a hard question and no single individual can or should have to answer. Civilization has progressed based on many versions of arbitrators whom we surrender out trust and sovereignty to.
The time sometimes never seems right, but now is always the time. Now for the government to see about the business of the people, business of the taxpayer, that is you and me. If you borrow you must have a payback plan or the bailiff comes. That is my reality. Tell us then how you plan to pay back the government the money you borrow so that we don’t have to borrow from the IMF.
If Clico is making money we should be happy, they should be happy, and pay back the government. If not then the route of the provisional liquidator who will be an agent of the court – Not of the Government has to be explored to determine the best way forward.
And yes. I have an annuity with CLICO.
No Malice, No Conspiracy, No Avarice.
Note: I am open to comment or correction.