Private Sector Meeting Ends with Presentation on CLICO/BAICO debacle

Minister of Trade and Commerce, Dr. Timothy Harris, told this publication that Nurse has approximately 20 years experience in the financial sector and has worked at the Chief Executive Officer at the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange. He said Mr. Nurse has provided advice to the Central Bank and Ministry of Finance in Trinidad and Tobago in relation to the BAICO/CLICO matter and was able to share some perspective on the issue with the delegates of the private sector meeting.

“I think the main theme coming out of the address by Mr. Nurse on Saturday night, was that this was a complex matter involving many many parties and that ultimately, resolution of it would require the harnessing of the best of technical advice on this matter…because many of the countries, particularly those of the OECS, are looking to Trinidad and Tobago to take on a substantial portion of the exposure. His point is that, it would mean the Trinidad and Tobago government, and all governments would have to find a way to commit to this project if the policy holders are not to suffer from a 100 percent loss of their investment. It was an interesting address.”

Dr. Harris noted that the EC$2.2 billion stands to be lost by OECS territories as a result of the collapse of British American Insurance Company (BAICO)/ Colonial Life Insurance Company Limited (CLICO). He said this constitutes “about 16 percent of the collective GDP in the OECS sub-region. So this is a significant amount of money that is at risk for which there needs to be a resolution.”

Dr. Harris named the entire meeting a success and indicated that according to the participants, they were pleased with the event.

“The participants were very vocal in their praise for the quality of the event organised, and the arrangements which my ministry had put in place for the 6th annual Private Sector meeting, met the expectations of the participants. They would have left the country on Sunday and Monday with a positive experience of the Ministry and the country. We were pleased by the high level of participation we had – not only at the opening ceremony on Saturday – but also by the fact that high participation rates were sustained from morning until after 6:00 p.m. when the session finally came to an end. We were able to return on that night and had a very successful dinner event, again more praises were showered on the ministry for the proactive role that it has played….”

Senior Minister Harris said the “partnership” theme which was at the heard of the meeting resounded well with the delegates.

“Overall we were extremely satisfied that the event went well, it attracted high interest, it received good coverage in the local media and the message about partnership resonate d well. It featured strongly in my remarks to the 99th meeting of the Board of Directors which took place on Friday and in my feature address on Saturday and I think that left to alot of comfort, alot of sense that the new beginning that the private sector is looking for, that kind of message, that kind of support for locals, and in particular indigenous private sector, that that support is being brought about by the government.”

The 7th Annual Private Sector Meeting is likely to be held in St. Maarten and according to Dr. Harris, “it is expected that we, the host country, will work with them in attempting to put on a very good event.”



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