Pointless ‘long talk’

Has the Barbados Government all but totally dismissed as a “minor inconvenience” tens of thousands of CLICO and BAICO policyholders who trusted Government agencies and regulatory bodies to do their job properly?

Are they once again admitting that had they acted as they should, they could have prevented the disastrous collapse of these two companies and the devastating consequences throughout the region?

Having already heard Chris Sinckler declare they must “humble themselves and admit they dropped the ball”, we now have Minister of Trade and Commerce, Senator Haynesley Benn confirming the widespread lack of enforcement of the requirement of statutory corporations to submit their annual audited financial statements on time, noting that some are up to seven years overdue!

He too bows his head and accepts some blame. Is he even aware it was that same negligence and dereliction of duty which allowed CLICO to continue without publishing accounts while its affairs deteriorated towards complete collapse?

Adding further insult to injury, we hear Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, stating that “elderly care is not cheap … and Barbadians must prepare for their own circumstances when they get old”.

Excuse me Minister, but would you be including in that statement the 35,000 people who, in the last ten years, responsibly did exactly what you suggest, only for your Government and its agencies to fail so miserably to protect their financial “preparation for their own circumstances”, that they are now left destitute and having to rely on the State for help?

With the officially confirmed record of apathy, lethargy and disinterest in corporate governance, legislation, regulation and enforcement, how much lower can the level of confidence of potential savers and investors sink?

You can debate a Prevention of Corruption Act as much as you like, but while you continue to sit back and allow companies to act with a level of disregard for the law and a lack of supervision and enforcement akin to that of “ZR” drivers, you prove to us all that a Prevention of Corruption Act, or any other legislation or regulation designed to protect the people, is nothing more than pointless “long talk”.

– Michael Goodman