You are here
Vexing for Treasury to fork out $300m for Clico policyholders
Isn’t it true those Clico annuities can only be encashed out of taxpayers’ money because Clico went under? At least, that’s the perception.
I’m therefore stunned how the gavel banged on March 12 in the lawsuit initiated by several Clico policyholders. For the Treasury now to fork out more than $300 million is vexing to the point of being unbearable. But, if what we experienced in the 1980s is taken into account, it doesn’t necessarily have to be so.
In the 1980s I was employed as a public servant. The Government adopted a position it couldn’t increase our pay by more than six per cent, but our foolish union leaders wanted much more. Negotiations dragged on and on with no end in sight. Then, in 1986, the Government changed from PNM to NAR and Arthur NR Robinson came in as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. Right away the union rushed to see if it could wring a favourable settlement from Robinson, claiming it was the least NAR could do, seeing the union movement had supported them.
NAR didn’t fall for it. Faced with the harsh reality of an empty Treasury inherited from the PNM, Robinson stood his ground and said the Government couldn’t even pay what we already getting.
He then promptly invoked Section 5(2) of the Exchequer and Audit Act and slashed our salaries by ten per cent. Not a damn dog whimpered! It was, krik, krak, eat your biscuit and walk out!
With a powerful precedent like that, why didn’t Finance Minister Winston Dookeran trump and follow suit to stave off the big hit on the Treasury with these Clico annuities? He was a Cabinet minister when NAR lopped off our ten per cent. He can’t say he didn’t know what NAR did. If he had invoked the Exchequer Act, maybe the Government wouldn’t have landed in this predicament. He dropped the ball before with the curriculum vitae issue.
Lightning doesn’t strike the same spot twice except if the spot’s unduly inviting. I say, disinvite him from Cabinet to pre-empt another fearsome strike.
La Seiva, Maraval
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.