Winston Ramalho, a former Director of CLICO (Guyana), has stepped forward to clear the air on what he calls ‘insinuations of insider training.’
He was at the time referring to a letter written by Business Columnist and Lawyer, Christopher Ram, in the September 16, 2010 edition of the Kaieteur News. Titled, ‘The CLICO (Guyana) Fiasco’, the letter reads in part: “While the collapse of the company cannot be divorced from the demise of its Trinidadian parent, the directors of which are probably equally culpable, the taxpayers of this country will bear a huge cost as a result of the illegal transmission of US$34 million the local company shipped out to its sister company, CLICO (Bahamas).
“It is one of the most costly corporate crimes ever to have been committed against the people of this country and in keeping with the principles of relevant law it is the directors of the company including Ms. Gita Singh-Knight and Mr. Ramalho, who should be held culpable. And on top of this, all this took place while we boasted about the quality of the Insurance Act and the supervision by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance.
“We understand that Director Ramalho and his wife surrendered their policies to the tune of $45 million even as the CLICO ship was fast sinking. He has denied receiving any money but the question remains whether he acted based on inside information.”
Yesterday, Ramalho said, “I want to clear my name because people have put their confidence in me as an individual and my integrity is on the line.”
While CLICO (Guyana) was put under Judicial Management on February 25, last year, Winston Ramalho was appointed as a Director on March 20, 2009.
He claims that before that date he had no involvement or role to play in the corporate matters of CLICO (Guyana). This was by virtue of the fact that until the company was put under Judicial management he was an agent for the Colonial Life Insurance Company.
According to Ramalho, the company’s constitution provides that no agent may act in the capacity of Director as long as he remains an agent. His contract as an agent came to an end when the company came under Judicial Management, he said. At the same time the terms of his contract was breached.
To that end, he pointed out that there was no way for him to be privy to any ‘insider information’ before the date of his appointment as a Director. Further, he questioned, how he could possibly be held culpable for events that happened before his tenure as Director began?
Ramalho noted that his appointment as Director served merely to facilitate the legal process and gave him signing authority to act as a legal representative of the company during court proceedings.
Ramalho also produced stamped statements from CLICO (Guyana) for all of the policies which show that CLICO still holds monies for him and his wife as at January 25, 2010.
He said that they surrendered their policies on March 5, 2009, just after the company was put under judicial management but before he was appointed Director of CLICO later that month.
He also pointed out that this was a course of action which many of the CLICO (Guyana) policyholders were taking after the company was declared to be under Judicial Management.
Ramalho’s son Calvern Ramalho, filed a policy on February 2, 2009, only to have to surrender it on March 13, 2009.
According to Ramalho, “I’ve been away for three months now and I only got back last week Wednesday but I’ve been hearing that I knew of the impending collapse of the company and that’s not true.”
He said that his clients feel that he has reclaimed his monies and that he has “left them in the lurch”. He contended that this is not the case since like so many other policyholders out there, he is still waiting to receive his funds.
In a letter sent to Christopher Ram dated September 17, 2010, Attorney-at-law, Roysdale Forde, called for a retraction or a letter stating the pertinent facts on Ramalho’s behalf.
Meanwhile, the man who penned the letter that started it all, Christopher Ram, told this newspaper in an invited comment last evening that he received the letter from Mr. Forde and in light of the information contained therein he subsequently responded to Mr. Forde.
He said that he indicated his willingness to work with Mr. Forde on a suitably worded letter of clarification.
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