Symmonds calls for transparency

OPPOSITION Member of Parliament for St. James Central, Kerrie Symmonds, is calling for greater transparency in relation to the assets of CLICO.

Leading the Opposition response in the Lower Chamber on Tuesday night on the CLICO International Life Insurance Ltd. Guarantee Amendment Act 2017, Symmonds called for clarity on the transferring real estate for CLICO Life.

According to Symmonds, “This Opposition would wish to serve notice that that matter cannot be undertaken lightly. And I don’t want us to have as close as possible to unseemly brouhaha if it could be avoided.”

“The fact of the matter is that we are talking about real estate assets, which we do not know whether or not they are encumbered. We do not know if they are encumbered, the extent of the liability; and if in fact there are liabilities and I suspect there are, whether those liabilities are being honoured and paid.

“These assets, many of them have been left almost abandoned for several years now. The truth of the matter is, this also gives rise to other issues which Government must make abundantly clear to this House,” he said.

Symmonds is also calling for the book value of the assets under CLICO. “We need to understand what we are being asked to commit the people of Barbados to. In addition to that, to the extent that there are any potential investors, then I think the assets should have been valued and we would need to know the expected market value of these assets.

“…We have to ensure that in simple terms we are getting value for money and not just merrily going along to hold of Government to bring resolution to a matter which has been long in coming and we want to see resolution in the name of the policyholders. But at the same time, it has to be done in keeping with the best prudential norms and expectations.

“This Opposition would at this time want to serve notice to Government that those issues need to be made abundantly clear whenever this matter is raised. Not that we are going to be uncooperative, but we are going to need to have that information.

“If we can’t have that information, then there will be issues. Because the reality is there has been an abundance of time within which this matter could have been dealt with in such a way as to make sure that those financial and legitimate concerns would be able to be expressed in the interest of the people,” Symmonds said. (JH)

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