31 Jan 2009

Clico collapsing?

Despite all the assurances, and reassurances, from Papa-tricks and his pot hound followers, that the economy is safe, that there will be no adverse effect from the recession that started in the good old USA, we can see differently this morning.

One of the biggest, if not THE biggest, conglomeration in the Caribbean, CLICO is falling. And the government is ready to bail it out of hot water.

There is a certain sense to this. Clico has so many assets, so many fingers extending to so many pies that the effect of its collapse will be felt throughout the economy. It makes a certain sense to support Clico and try to hold on to assets, jobs etc.

However, I can’t help feel that there is certain things going on behind the scene that we will never know about. Especially considering the relationship of PNM treasurer Andre Monteil has with Clico. It appears I am not alone in my concern.

Former Central Bank governor Winston Dookeran said: "In stunned amazement, we listened to four of the main players in the management of the T&T economy engage in a startling expose of the ills afflicting our economy and the depth of their mismanagement, as illustrated by the sad tale of Clico's failure."

He said the Central Bank governor, the CEO of FCB, the Clico chairman and the Finance Minister delivered "a damning indictment of their collective stewardship, while trying to distract the nation with a pathetic display of self-congratulation at their ability to speak with the same forked tongue."

"Clearly, the impact of the global economic crisis on T&T is deepening and the Government's response is partial and superficial," Dookeran said.

"Sadly, the only clear element of their plan will be to effectively nationalise the Republic Bank, through the distressed acquisition of 55 per cent of its shares.

"While such a sale might be a viable way to address Clico's liquidity problems, we must be concerned and vigilant in the way this sale is handled by this administration that gave us the as yet unresolved Monteil affair."