Questions for Ewart Williams
The role of the Central Bank is an important consideration for the Coleman Enquiry as the CLICO empire did not collapse overnight.
The governor, the deputy governors and the board of directors were ultimately responsible for monitoring/ supervising CLICO. Ewart Williams was governor from 2002-2012. This happened under his watch. It cannot only be those being subpoenaed by the commission are the only ones to answer questions.
• Were there no warning signs that CLICO was technically insolvent? Why was an insurance company allowed to transact business and operate like a regular bank, when it had no licence to do so?
• Who authorised CLICO to sell the Executive Flexible Annuity Products (which were in substance and effect a mere fixed deposit)? Did the governor not find it suspicious that CLICO was able to offer such ridiculously superior interest rates as compared to the rest of our financial institutions?
• The Central Bank must be accountable and should not be allowed to hide behind legal technicalities. Mr Williams did not pay Bob Lindquist out of his pockets to conduct any investigation. Taxpayers, who are policyholders like myself, paid for this.
Who really is responsible, Mr Williams?
I need to voice my outrage as my family and I were legitimate investors in CLICO.
The Commission of Enquiry into CLICO was greeted with widespread approval because it remains a mystery how these two institutions suddenly collapsed.
Like thousands of other affected depositors, I have been glued to the television observing the Commission of Enquiry.
Remember how the lawyers for the Central Bank objected to the disclosure of CLICO's audited financial reports and other key documents in the Central Bank's possession?
It was no secret that Mr Lindquist has done a major forensic audit into the operations of the Central Bank in terms of its supervisory relationship with CLICO. The KPMG forensic audit report into CLICO is critical because depositors would have been comforted by the findings of the external audit report for any financial institution.
The Central Bank is a legal entity responsible for supervising banks and insurance companies. The collapse of CLICO is not an overnight phenomenon.
Somewhere, somehow it crept up on depositors like a thief in the night without any serious action or alert by the Central Bank. The concealment of the KPMG forensic report into CLICO is inexplicable.
Now Mr Williams has the audacity to speak about the bleak economic situation we have faced for the last two years (since 2010) and will continue to face.
I ask him, who had a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that financial institutions adhere to regulations and procedures and when they do not take the appropriate recourse?
Someone fell asleep at the wheels and it is clear that the ship is yet to change direction.