CLICO policyholders monitoring reports of Duprey takeover offer
The CLICO Policyholders Group says it is "closely monitoring" reports that the former executive chairman of CL Financial, Lawrence Duprey, is making an attempt to reclaim the company, which collapsed in 2009 and was rescued by the government of Trinidad & Tobago.
Local media reports over the weekend indicated that Duprey had made an offer to repurchase the company into which successive governments have pumped billions of dollars. The rescue included two insurance companies - Colonial Life Insurance Company and British American Insurance Company.
Some of the assets taken over by the Trinidad & Tobago government have since been sold, including the spirits business in Jamaica, the former Lascelles deMercado & Company, now J. Wray & Nephew Limited.
The Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago are said to be "looking very closely" at the proposal to reclaim CL's assets put forward by a group led by Duprey.
"If and/or when the ministry forms the view that the offer is realistic, a submission will be made to Cabinet," said Finance Minister Colm Imbert, who reported that discussions are at an early stage.
Carlton Reis, a spokesman for Duprey, said the former executive chairman had returned to Trinidad & Tobago last month and met with officials of CL Financial subsidiaries amid reports that the required funds to repay the Government have been raised.
CLICO Policyholders Group chairman Peter Permell said his group is "closely monitoring these developments with the understanding and expectation that if and/or when Mr Duprey settles CLICO's debt to the Government, and, by extension, the taxpayers of Trinidad and Tobago, in full, the next key stakeholder group to be settled or paid the balance of money owed to them is the over 15,000 assenting CLICO policyholders".
Permell said that based on Duprey's previous statements that he wants to take back his company, "the CPG has already signalled to Mr Duprey that there is absolutely no way that the former CLICO executive chairman can ever hope to be taken seriously by the investing public of Trinidad and Tobago again if he does not ensure that these policyholders, who have endured tremendous financial hardship and suffering over the past eight years, are paid their hard-earned money".
Permell said the policyholders would "continue to pay close attention to these negotiations and recommit ourselves to ensuring that all policyholders must be paid all monies contractually due to them".