The Central Bank's statement to the media, published as a full-page advertisement in yesterday's newspapers, was misleading. That is how the deputy chairman of the Clico Policyholders Group Peter Permell described the statement issued by the Central Bank on Wednesday in the media where it denied that the institution gave any assurance that Clico policy contracts would be honoured in full. "It is a pretty comprehensive statement, but unfortunately it is misleading. It is fallacious, not in total but in many respects it is fallacious. We find it egregious and offensive to the policyholders," he said. He said this yesterday at a news conference at Cascadia Hotel, St Ann's. Permell referred to a document from the Central Bank which quoted Governor Ewart Williams speaking on February 13, 2009 who said that,"Clico has the full backing and commitment of the Government of T&T and the Central Bank."
According to Permell, this document proves that the Central Bank should honour the contracts of policyholders. Permell went on to say that they do not care where the Central Bank gets the money from once they guarantee the policyholders' contracts. He quoted from the Central Bank Act, Section 44 D, section C 3 which states, "To take all steps it considers necessary to protect the interests and preserve the rights of depositors and creditors of the institution...and to provide such financial assistance to the institution as it considers necessary to prevent the collapse of the institution." He said this shows that under the Act, the Central Bank has to provide financial assistance to them.
"Where they get that financial assistance from is not the business of policyholders. That is between themselves and the Central Government. The statement that they made in the press release that the Central Bank has no funds of its own or money to pay anybody is misleading. It is really inaccurate," he said. He said if the Central Bank does not act then as a last resort the policyholders are prepared to take legal action. Notwithstanding the statement that the Central Bank issues or what statement we make, this matter ultimately, and assuming it gets there, will be decided by the court," he said. He also asked where was the Central Bank when the Finance Minister, Winston Dookeran, made his budget statement in September.
"Since that time we heard nothing from the Central Bank but lo and behold yesterday we are hearing that the Central Bank had no authority (to act)," he said.