“Smoke, mirrors and nothing more than a public relations charade!” That is how June Fowler, President of The Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA) now describes the statement made by Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler, on 18th December last, in the light of news that hundreds of CLICO pensioners will now have to suck salt fromthis month.

A Representative of the CLICO Judicial Manager, Deloitte advised the BIPA President today that, effective immediately, those traditional policyholders who have been receiving their pensions on a monthly basis will no longer do so as CLICO has run out of cash and payments can no longer continue because the long promised, Cabinet approved injection of funds to sustain the operations of the company and proceed with the proposed re-structuring has not been forthcoming.

“We are so sick of the stream of false promises relating to CLICO dating right back to those made by the late Prime Minister in 2009 and others since, none of which have been fulfilled,” laments Fowler. “It is nothing less than a national disgrace that the nefarious actions of a small number of people can be allowed to continue to destroy the lives of so many in Barbados, some of whom have now died without seeing or knowing what will happen to their lifelong savings.”

The latest blow would appear to confirm that CLICO has indeed run out of funds and, as claimed by the Judicial Manager, it has no option but to put the company into liquidation. And this despite the Minister of Finance’s assertion in his press release last December that “any attempts to place CLICO International Life or its associated companies into liquidation will therefore be premature, unwarranted and unnecessary.” To date, neither the Judicial Manager, nor BIPA have been contacted by the “newly appointed” Directors of the company the Minister of Finance claimed last December had been set up to co-ordinate the execution of the restructuring plan.

The BIPA President hopes that the creation of the company referred to by the Minister is not simply an attempt to further delay a resolution to the entire CLICO fiasco, adding that she wonders if the Minister, and others, realise that this latest development will not only slash the income of hundreds of pensioners, but will also reduce by over $1 million a month the amount of cash being spent by these pensioners which will now be taken out of circulation in the economy, putting a further strain on businesses and threatening jobs.