CHATTING: Julian Belgrave, centre, IDB operations senior specialist, chats with Central Bank Governor Ewart Williams, right, and Prof Compton Bourne following the opening of the conference yesterday. —Photo: ANISTO ALVES

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...Governor: CLICO bill still rising

By Julien Neaves

THE TREMENDOUS bill of the CL Financial collapse is "still accumulating" and could cost between 10 and 15 per cent of regional GDP, Central Bank Governor Ewart Williams has said.

"That a lot of money," he added while delivering an address at the opening ceremony of the First Conference of Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded project "Financial Risk Assessment in an Integrating Region: The Caribbean" held yesterday at the Central Bank offices in Port of Spain.

He said regional financial systems for the most part "displayed remarkable resilience" to the global financial crisis, but faced their own challenges due to the collapse of the largest regional conglomerate CL Financial.

He said the "CLICO crisis" had "entrapped" this country, Barbados, Guyana, and Suriname via CLICO subsidiaries, and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Bahamas through CL Financial subsidiary BICO Insurance.

He said that insurance legislation was "woefully outdated" in the region except for Jamaica, though the Jamaican financial crisis of the 1990s and the CL Financial crisis originated in the insurance sector.

—Julien Neaves

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