CLICO legal action still on the agenda, says Nicholas

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne
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By Carlena Knight

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It has been almost five months since Prime Minister Gaston Browne threatened to take legal action against Trinidad and Tobago over outstanding settlement payments by the British-American Insurance Company (BAICO) and Colonial Life Insurance Company Limited (CLICO).

And it seems as if nothing will be done on that front until the new year.

That is according to Information Minister Melford Nicholas who assured residents that although the PM’s focus has been placed elsewhere, the matter will be addressed.

“Ultimately, if he has sounded and given an indication that that is the approach that he wishes to take, it is likely that follow-on actions will take place.

“One can be assured that he is marshalling resources and marshalling forces to be able to get back to the public, but I think that the lion’s share of his and our attention is on elections at this particular point in time, but I am assured that upon our return to office that that is a matter that will be moved from the backburner to the front burner.

“They can be assured that if the PM makes the determination that he will go to war for you that is exactly what is going to take place,” Nicholas said.

BAICO and CLICO were among companies owned by Trinidad-based CL Financial Group which collapsed in 2009, causing Trinidad and Tobago to pledge US$100 million alongside other regional governments who pumped billions into a bailout to deal with the fallout.

According to PM Browne, about 60 percent of that pledge has yet to be fulfilled by the government of Trinidad and Tobago.

If this legal action goes through it will be the second lawsuit of its kind that Trinidad and Tobago will face.

Back in October 2021, a group of British American and CLICO policyholders in the Eastern Caribbean filed a lawsuit at the Caribbean Court of Justice against the T&T government.

According to the St Kitts and Nevis Observer, the appellants argued that the T&T government’s rescue plan to protect the funds of policyholders of the locally based conglomerate discriminated against policyholders on the basis of nationality.

They are also contending that the government contravened certain articles of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, where Caricom countries agree to not allow for discrimination on the grounds of nationality, among other things. 

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