Kamla wants answers from Imbert on Clico

The war of words be­tween Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad- Bisses­sar and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert about the sale of Cli­co poli­cies con­tin­ues with Per­sad-Bisses­sar now claim­ing that since she first raised the is­sue in her Bud­get re­sponse last Fri­day, more al­le­ga­tions have sur­faced.

Per­sad-Bisses­sar said yes­ter­day that while she orig­i­nal­ly asked the min­is­ter whether or not the Cen­tral Bank’s pre­ferred bid­der of­fered a quar­ter of a bil­lion dol­lars less than the win­ning bid, new in­for­ma­tion “com­ing at hand to­day al­leges that the sum is ac­tu­al­ly three quar­ter of a bil­lion dol­lars (750 mil­lion dol­lars).”

 

The Op­po­si­tion Leader has called on Im­bert “in the in­ter­est of trans­paren­cy and ac­count­abil­i­ty,” to tell the coun­try if “this is true.”

She not­ed that when she made the ini­tial state­ment last Fri­day, “the min­is­ter was so rat­tled by my de­mands for trans­paren­cy on the sale of Cli­co/BAT as­sets, that he was busy re­fut­ing state­ments no one ac­cused him of, while ig­nor­ing the very spe­cif­ic ques­tions.”

Im­bert is­sued an al­most im­me­di­ate state­ment last Fri­day re­fut­ing the claims made by the Op­po­si­tion Leader that he had giv­en writ­ten di­rec­tions to the Cen­tral Bank to sell the tra­di­tion­al port­fo­lio of in­sur­ance poli­cies of the Colo­nial Life In­sur­ance Com­pa­ny to a lo­cal in­sur­ance com­pa­ny, “there­by in­sin­u­at­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ty and wrong­do­ing on the part of the Min­is­ter.

The Leader of the Op­po­si­tion al­so de­mand­ed that the min­is­ter dis­close these al­leged in­struc­tions. The al­le­ga­tion is false,” Im­bert said through a me­dia re­lease is­sued by the Min­istry of Fi­nance.

 

In the re­lease, Im­bert said that con­trary to the “false state­ments made by the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion in the Par­lia­ment,” he had “giv­en no such di­rec­tions to the Cen­tral Bank re­gard­ing the sale of the tra­di­tion­al port­fo­lio of Cli­co poli­cies, or any di­rec­tions at all.

The Fi­nance Min­is­ter in­sist­ed that all that was hap­pen­ing was that the Cen­tral Bank is con­tin­u­ing to ex­er­cise its pow­ers un­der Part VA, Sec­tion 44D of the Cen­tral Bank Act with re­spect to man­ag­ing the af­fairs of an in­sur­ance com­pa­ny that has been un­der its su­per­vi­sion for the last 10 years.

As a re­sult, he said, there are no in­struc­tions to dis­close with re­spect to this mat­ter, be­cause none ex­ist.

Yes­ter­day, Per­sad-Bisses­sar re­it­er­at­ed her call for the Fi­nance Min­is­ter to di­vulge the ex­tent of his role and his di­rec­tions with re­spect to the Cli­co BAT as­sets.

She said if there is noth­ing to hide then there is no rea­son for the min­is­ter to avoid the ques­tion.

In ad­di­tion, she called on the min­is­ter to an­swer “the three quar­ters of a bil­lion-dol­lar ques­tion,” Per­sad-Bisses­sar said.

Reporter: Rosemarie Sant

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