Disclosure Today notes the landmark decision of the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago in CV2013-01162 Afra Raymond v The Minister of Finance & the Economy which requires the Minister of Finance & the Economy to publish the details relating to the CL Financial bailout which had been requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
The collapse and subsequent State bailout of the CL Financial group represents the most widespread Caribbean episode of improper financial conduct leading to colossal losses, all facilitated by careless regulators against a background of large-scale political party donations to both parties.
As it stands today, official estimates are that the bailout has cost upwards of $25B of Public Money. By way of comparison, the Wall Street bailout was estimated to have cost the US Treasury about 1% of USA GDP; while our own experience is running at figures estimated to range between 10-13% of Trinidad and Tobago GDP.
Despite this substantial sum of public money being spent by public officials, details of the recipients of the funds and the reasons for the decisions being made remain shrouded in secrecy. Further, the terms of reference of the ongoing CLICO enquiry are crafted in such a manner so as to exclude post-January 2009 events relating to this matter.
The persistent secrecy surrounding the decisions taken in this matter of critical public interest, including allegations of back-door deals in favour of the corporate elite going as high as within the corridors of Parliament can no longer be countenanced by right-thinking citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
The people of Trinidad and Tobago require greater transparency on the CL Financial bailout and to this end Disclosure Today calls on the Ministry of Finance to:
- Comply with the Order of the High Court in CV2013-01162 and in the public interest not to use tax-payers’ funds to appeal said ruling.
- Disclose the list of the creditors of CL Financial existing as at the date of the request for information, the names of the EFPA holders, the dates of the repayment of EFPA holders and the identities of those whose investments have been repaid.
- Publish or cause to be published all outstanding audited accounts of CL Financial for each year from 31st December 2008 to 31st December 2014 including any interim, preliminary, draft or unaudited statements of CL Financial Ltd for the years 2008 – 2011, which were relied upon to prepare the affidavit of Minister Winston Dookeran filed on 3 April 2012 in High Court proceedings CV 2011 01234, Percy Farrell and Others v CLICO and Others.
- Disclose the presentation made to Members of Parliament in September 2011 as a briefing for the debate on The Central Bank (Amendment) Bill & The Purchase of Rights and Validation Bill, 2011 including copies of all slides, power-point slides, tables, charts, schedules, text or other information which comprised that presentation.
- Provide an update on the status of the Commission of Enquiry into CL Financial; and the HCU and an assurance that once the report is completed, its contents are published and made available to the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the media.
Disclosure Today is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization incorporated in Trinidad and Tobago committed to advancing transparency on all matters of public interest.