Fresh out of St. Lucia where the CARICOM Heads of State Meeting was recently held, the Honorable Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit revealed to GIS news some of the matters discussed at that assembly.
Of primary concern to the leaders was the issue of the bankrupt CLICO/BAICO insurance companies. The Prime Minister said that progress has been made towards keeping the companies running and honouring members’ claims.
“As we know some years ago those two companies ended up in difficulties and we have several citizens who have invested in BAICO and CLICO and the governments of the OECS in particular have taken upon themselves to seek to save the investments of several citizens across the region. We embarked a couple of years ago on a very comprehensive, very aggressive approach towards keeping BAICO…going so that we do not shut it down and [cause] everybody [to] lose everything. So far we have made tremendous progress. We signed an agreement week before last to sell the life policies to SAGICOR where we saw 17, 300 people covered under that particular sale. We have been able to keep [BAICO going] so that there are no difficulties for policyholders to face.”
The Prime Minister further stated, “with regard to BAICO’s health insurance policies...we have made payments to citizens who have made [claim] requests to BAICO.”
Hon. Skerrit said that on the issue of members’ annuities, Dominica will benefit from a fund which has been developed to reimburse member countries affected by the collapse.
“We’ve always indicated that Trinidad and Tobago in regards to BAICO and Barbados in regards to CLICO will have very important roles to play in assisting the OECS in overcoming those challenges. Consequently, at the CARICOM meeting we had very frank, engaging, progressive and successful discussions in respect to BAICO and CLICO.”
He said that, “with respect to BAICO, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago restated its commitment to making financial resources available to the OECS to…continue addressing the issues of BAICO. They have restated their commitment to providing us with US one hundred million dollars to assist us in that regard. They told us that thirty-six million dollars of that will be made available this week with an additional forty million dollars to be made available through the Caribbean Development Bank underwritten by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. The additional twenty-four million dollars will come later; I suspect from the petroleum funds or other sources within the control of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.”
Prime Minister Skerrit said,”that was very important news. Our hope is that persons who had smaller investments in BAICO- thirty thousand dollars or less- we’ll be able to pay them back their monies. Once we receive that pool of resources from the Trinidad government.”
The Prime Minister noted that based on the total of Dominicans’ investments in the insurance company, the island’s contribution to the fund may be about U.S. 5.4 million dollars.