Friday 26 April, 2019

CL Financial shareholders: 'We want to pay'

Chairman of the CLICO Policyholders Group Peter Permell addresses the media on Government's decision to liquidate CL Financial

Chairman of the CLICO Policyholders Group Peter Permell addresses the media on Government's decision to liquidate CL Financial

CL Financial shareholders are willing to repay taxpayers for the bailout of the conglomerate.

Representatives of the Clico Policyholders Group (CPG) and the United Shareholders Limited (USL) representing CL Financial (CLF) shareholders, met in emergency meeting on Thursday over the proposed liquidation of CLF, following which a joint media conference was held on Friday.

Government has filed a petition in the High Court to liquidate the company, as it said it is unable to pay the $15 billion debt. 

Speaking at the joint media conference on behalf of CL Financial shareholders, Carlton Reis, said shareholders are grateful for the assistance of taxpayers in the bailout, and are in a position to repay them.

He claims, however, that this has been conveyed to Government and they have been “ignored”.

“The shareholders at all times, we have tried to negotiate with the government, we have made numerous attempts from 2013 to now.

We have never even been acknowledged, we have been ignored, we have been oppressed by the government and we are ready to pay, we have always been willing to pay back the taxpayers.

At no time have the shareholders said: We are not going to pay back the taxpayers of this country. We are very grateful for the move that Government made in bailing out CL Financial/ CLICO and we believe that we are in a position right now to repay the debt and I want to emphasise – we want to pay.”

Reis said the shareholders stand prepared to bring the company back to a place of profitability.

“And we want to get back our company, we want to get in the driver’s seat. We have plans where we can stimulate the economy and we could create jobs and help develop Trinidad and Tobago’s economy in this depressed state.

We believe that we have the expertise, we have the people we could put in place and manage this company and take it forward.”

Also speaking at the briefing was Chairman of the CLICO Policyholders Group Peter Permell, who said the move by Government to liquidate CL Financial is an unsurprising, unfortunate and unnecessary act of desperation, which is not in the best interest of the taxpayers, policyholders, employees and shareholders of CL Financial and CLICO.  

He said the matter needs to be resolved and called on Government to come back to the negotiating table to ensure that things are done properly and above board.

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