CLICO looking to do business in Guyana again

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Apr 4, CMC – With the Trinidad-based CL Financial, the parent company of the financially troubled Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) seeking to renew its relationship with Guyana, the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) says it must not be given a clean slate to do business here.
Last week, the Ministry of Finance issued a statement following a meeting between Finance Minister Winston Jordan and CL Financial chairman, Lawrence Duprey indicating that the Trinidadian businessman “would like to renew his relationship with Guyana as well as publicly apologise to its people for the collapse of CLICO Guyana”.
CLICOBUilCaribbean countries, including Guyana, have said their citizens lost millions of dollars in the collapse of CLICO and they have been moving to establish new entities to provide services that the Trinidad-based regional insurance giant had been providing.
The Trinidad and Tobago government pumped billions of dollars (One Guyana dollar =US$0.16 cents) to keep CLICO, which collapsed in 2009, floating.
The Ministry of Finance statement quoted Duprey as saying that CL Financial has promised to try to make amends for the approximately US$40 million debt owed mainly to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
“Duprey, the majority shareholder of CL Financial also informed Minister Jordan that his company is interested in investing in several areas here including providing solar energy at competitive prices, affordable housing, clay brick and solar for housing as well as introduce a financial model that will generate savings and alleviate poverty” the statement said.
Jordan has informed Duprey that he will apprise Cabinet of their discussions and advised that future engagements could be conducted on parallel tracks: discussion on recovering monies owed by CL Financial and investment in Guyana.
But speaking at a news conference here Monday, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said that “we always welcome investors into this country but we can’t deal with the CLICO matter anecdotally”.
He told reporters that the government has at its disposal in excess of US$30 million to settle all outstanding debts owed by CLICO.
“The money sitting there can be used, they (CLICO) may not have to put in much more,” Jagdeo said, noting that the former administration had managed to secure e funds by disposing of CLICO assets.
Jagdeo said that the company must pay off its debts here before being allowed to do business here and also urged against the practice of interlocking directors, which contributed to the collapse of the company in the first place.

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