The minister was at the time responding to a question poised by BAICO policy holder Patricia Thomas, who wants Antigua & Barbuda to reduce imports from the oil rich twin island Republic, in a bid to recover her investments.
Responding to the question Lovell said, “This is something I have taken to the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, with a view to having action taken, not only at the Antigua level but at the OECS level.”
However, Lovell hastened to add that this option should only be used as a last resort, if negotiations and other litigation presently ongoing prove futile.
Nevertheless, the minister said if a decision is taken to go the route of trade sanctions the necessary procedures will have to me followed.
Lovell told over two hundred policyholders that he wants to give the current efforts on the way to resolve the issue, a chance to work.
He said once sanctions begin on that southern Caribbean country “they will turn their faces away from the negotiation table.”
In addition, Lovell said he wasn’t sure if Trinidad as a state could be liable for sanctions based on the action of a company operating within its border.
A better option, the minister said, was to use the private sector, “to put pressure on the government and other interests in relation to this matter.”
He said, “It is something that should be looked at very seriously.
“It is something that we have to look at the timing very carefully because if you are negotiating you don’t call a strike,” Lovell who also has responsibility for the economy added.
He stated, however, that there was no guarantee that such a move would work and might instead serve to aggravate the situation.
The minister said negotiations were progressing smoothly with Trinidad and expressed confidence of an amicable outcome.
The country is also considering other legal options in the ongoing matter. 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.
Antiguans and Barbudans have invested in excess of $300 million in the two companies.