Last update: 13-Dec-2013 3:20 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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What is the national interest in the Howai Plan?
In everything that has been written in this space on the CL Financial issue, the focus has been on what constitutes the national interest.
The budget for the 2011 fiscal year was presented by former minister of finance Winston Dookeran on September 8, 2010.
In that budget presentation, Mr Dookeran accused the former administration of misdiagnosing as a liquidity issue a financial problem that turned out to be a solvency issue and accused the regulators (which would have been the Central Bank) of failing to provide adequate oversight of the issue.
Mr Dookeran told Parliament in the first budget speech of the People’s Partnership’s term of office that he was stopping the interest payments on all Executive Flexible Premium Annuities—the short-term insurance product called EFPAs or short term investment products, STIPs, that Clico and British American sold to people seeking above average investment yields.
He also proposed to pay all those with EFPAs whose principal balances exceeded $75,000 through a Government IOU amortised over 20 years at zero interest.
“This Government IOU would be structured in such a way that it could be traded on the secondary markets, thereby creating a measure of immediate liquidity for the depositors,” according to Mr Dookeran’s 2011 budget.
Under the headline “Is the Dookeran Plan in the national interest?” which was published in this space on September 23, 2010, some 15 days after the presentation by the finance minister, the following questions, among several others, were asked:
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