What is going on at BARP? Former Director of BARP stressed at New CLICO Suggestion
As a former Director of the Board of The Barbados Association of Retired Persons and a Clico Policyholder, I am absolutely horrified to read in the Saturday Sun of October 1st, that Douglas Skeete, apparently speaking on behalf of 27,000 BARP members (without having consulted them) suggests that liquidation of Clico is a preferable solution and that it would be “far better” for policyholders to settle for the likely return of just over 40 cents on the dollar from liquidation, than to wait five years for a new company and a promise of 100 per cent returns.
The Government of Barbados has already subjected thousands of Clico policyholders, many of whom are BARP members, to two and a half years of anxiety, depression, silence and arrogant dismissal, something about which BARP did absolutely nothing, until ‘joining forces’ with the active and effective Barbados Investors & Policyholders Alliance a few weeks ago. Hardly an example of BARP’s commitment to its founding principles of ‘promoting the independence, dignity and purpose in life of its members; representing and giving effect to their views, and promoting or opposing measures affecting members’.
Under pressure from others, including The Barbados Investors & Policyholders Alliance, but excluding BARP, the Government finally acted by placing Clico International Life Insurance under the Judicial Management of Deloitte, an internationally recognised company with particular expertise in this area. In the main, their proposals finally offer hope to policyholders, something which has been completely absent for two and a half years.
If Mr. Skeete has concerns that the timeline might make these proposals less than wholly attractive, then his efforts and the interests of BARP members would be better served by BARP keeping up pressure on the Government, the Court, the Judicial Manager and the lawyers involved to move with a swiftness of which they are perfectly capable.
As for concerns about whether Government will agree to make a financial contribution to the rescue plan as proposed by the Judicial Manager, again, BARP would be better advised to remind the Government of its culpability in the form of its lack of adequate and appropriate regulation, the negligence of its agencies, such as The Supervisor of Insurance, and in taking so long to take positive action which might have averted, or at the very least limited the damage done to policyholders’ interests.
The Barbados Association of Retired Persons that the late Kathleen Drayton believed in with such fervent passion would likely have taken to the streets long before now, metaphorically, if not in actual fact, and would have done whatever it could to make sure its members got everything they were owed in a timely manner. It would most certainly not be advising its members to ‘take 40 cents on the dollar and go.’
- Michael Goodman