ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Finance Minister Harold Lovell has said he is confident that ongoing negotiations with Trinidad & Tobago will see results for BAICO/CLICO policyholders whose investments have disappeared in the collapse of parent company CL Financial in 2009.
Lovell met with more than 200 policyholders in St John’s late Wednesday to provide an update on efforts to recover approximately EC $400 million worth of their investments.
The finance minister sought to reassure the audience, telling them that the current administration in Trinidad & Tobago “appears inclined to make a genuine effort to assist.
“We are therefore pursuing the matter by discussing with the government of Trinidad & Tobago in good faith, and we have every reason to believe that progress is being made and that there is a likelihood of a resolution,” the minister, who also has responsibility for the economy, said.
Lovell said if talks fail, the government would then move to Plan B “which would involve direct litigation.”
BAICO’s judicial manager and the government came under fire from policyholders over the length of time the matter was taking to get resolved. One policyholder even called for sanctions against Trinidad & Tobago, the home base of CL Financial.
Lovell said legal action has already been instituted against some members of the now defunct CL Financial Group in the United States.
In addition, the minister said action was also being taken against CL Financial in Trinidad by the judicial managers of BAICO.”
The idea, he said, was to recover as much money “so that there would be a full pot or a substantial amount available for distribution.”
Some policyholders told Wednesday’s meeting, four years on, some of their relatives had died without having received their monies back. Officials say the process of recovering the funds could take years.
Since 2009, Antigua & Barbuda, along with the other OECS countries have been dealing with the fallout from CLICO’s parent company CL Financial, which was the largest privately held conglomerate in Trinidad & Tobago and one of the largest privately held corporations in the Caribbean.
CL Financial held investments in more than 65 companies in 32 countries worldwide with assets totalling about TT $100 billion.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)