Saturday, August 19, 2017

Save CLF from State, shareholders


Both the State and the majority shareholders of CL Financial (CLF) have proven themselves to be incapable of managing the affairs of CLF and its subsidiaries. For the latter the recommended and looming criminal action recommended by the Colman Commission and the facts that emerged during its hearing are more than sufficient reason to not have these shareholders placed in charge of the group until one is sure that i) all the money owed to CLICO (insurance) is fully repaid...with interest and penalties, ii) all CLICO’s insurance business (and by extension all policyholders’ and pension fund holders’ affairs) is put out of reach of these shareholders for decades, and iii) the State is fully repaid with interest for the bailout.
It should be always borne in mind that it is the insurance and pension funds from CLICO that created and financed the CLF/CLICO empire and it is these funds and those from the State bailout that have to be recovered and secured before anything else is discussed. But who is there in the public sector with the integrity, competence and intelligence we can trust to see about this...or even oversee it?
The State has demonstrated its inability to manage fairly, competently and with transparency, the affairs of CLICO/CLF. Indeed one could say that the failure of the group, and the trauma, risks and losses that have been experienced by the entire society, has resulted from corruption, cronyism, negligence and incompetence within the public sector. It is quite amazing that many of the same persons making the decisions then are still in the play today—and even pointing fingers at each other.
The minister has recently all but acknowledged that i) he does not know the financial state of CLF and its subsidiaries, ii) boards on which he is directly or indirectly represented have taken decisions to pay out large sums of money supposedly unknown to him or Cabinet, iii) he allowed real estate assets of the group to be acquired by the State and transferred to Butch Stewart without following the requirements of the law with regard to how State lands are to be transacted (with input from the Commissioner of State Lands and the Commissioner of Valuations, the Gazetting of the acquisition, etc.).
What is most alarming in all of this is that the State has been managing and transacting the assets of CLF and its subsidiaries without having prepared accounts for most of these organisations which would necessarily include, inter alia, valuations of their assets.
This madness is typical of how things are done at the highest levels of the public sector and is just one of so many revelations that should serve to tell us how dumbed down we have become and why we are doomed to wallow in the mess we are in until the IMF (our latter-day nemesis and massa) makes its intervention. The pervasive corrupt and incompetent culture of the public sector has been imposed on the CLF and—as with all public sector organisations and the country, it is being taken down a road to ruin.
To right all of these wrongs and ensure justice and fair play to those at most risk some way has to be urgently found to remove/prevent the State and the shareholders from controlling CLF and give competent representatives of the policyholders and pension fund holders the greater say in how the affairs of CLF are managed. That decision unfortunately seems to rest with Cabinet and they are not in the habit of doing what is intelligent, right or just…only what is politically/financially expedient and self-serving. Organisations like the media, the Law Association and others who supposedly make up the validating elites, are supposed to speak out against the obvious injustice in all of this. They are of course in the fray but only to pursue their own interest and/or to feed at the expense of all of us.