One of the country’s most prominent business entities, the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association (GMSA), is calling for an urgent resolution to the CLICO issue.
GMSA, in expressing its serious concerns via statement yesterday with regards to the length of time being taken in the determining of the status of CLICO (Guyana), said that “member companies of the association and employees, corporately and personally, have been severely affected and inconvenienced by the unfortunate developments of last year.”
As a body representing the interests of these private sector companies, the GMSA in its statement said that it cannot ignore the rising hopelessness being expressed and called for strong and meaningful intervention.
“The association’s concerns are particularly with the most vulnerable group, those employees who, having given of service over the years, have reached the age of retirement but are unable to receive the benefits which they have earned and are due to them.”
The situation, GMSA said, is made worse by the slow pace of the liquidation process and the uncertainty over the time required by the judicial system to have the situation resolved fairly.
“While these activities are taking place, in and out of the courts, the sad stories can be heard about the unnecessary suffering being caused by the unavailability of health insurance, motor insurance and the pension. Suffering employees now have to find out of pocket monies for medical attention and, diabetic and hypertensive patients now have to pay, suffer or attend the public health facilities.”
GMSA urged that the suffering and inconvenience must not be allowed to continue and, in the circumstances, called on “the responsible officers and functionaries in the various agencies and institutions to pursue whatever course is necessary to resolve the issue and to bring an end to the anxiety being experienced by those who deserve much better at this stage of their lives”.
In February 2009, the Guyana government took steps to protect policy holders of CLICO Guyana, placing the running of the company under the watch of Maria Van Beek, Commissioner of Insurance, to act as the Judicial Manager.
President Bharrat Jagdeo had made the announcement at a news conference, which was also attended by Van Beek and Dr Ashni Singh, Minister of Finance.
He had stated that the legal move followed the financial market developments in parts of the Caribbean, and The Bahamas in particular.
That country’s Supreme Court had only a few days before that announcement granted a winding-up order and appointed a liquidator for CLICO Bahamas Limited.
President Jagdeo had given asurances that a comprehensive assessment of the local company’s finances would be obtained and greater protection would be offered to policyholders.
“Government intends to work towards recovering the sums outstanding from the Bahamas, and to protect the interests of all policyholders of CLICO (Guyana). In this regard, policyholders will be contacted and provided with further information shortly.”
He acknowledged that there had been sizable claims on CLICO (Guyana) following the news from Trinidad, resulting in a liquidity strain on the entity.
According to Jagdeo, while the company had up to that point managed to meet its claims, it had been forced to dispose of some of its investments including its shares in the Berbice River Bridge, which amounted to some $2 billion.
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