IF! If the 30,000 policyholders of Clico Bahamas receives a BAILOUT from the government of the Bahamas that would be a great idea for the mothers still crying. Clico Bahamas is now in liquidation. And plenty, PLENTY BAHAMIANS ARE UPSET! LIKE, the father who is sick and cannot get health services. The retiree who retired last week, but all the money gone! And the young high school girl who graduating this year, but her college fees are GONE FOR GOOD!
Last night on a ZNS TV newscast a young Bahamian sent a message out to those 30,000 policyholders suggesting that his company, British American Financial, can possibly consider buying assets in the failed CLICO. Now if this happens it is quite possible some of the 30,000 policyholders can smile again. Yes, that too would be a great fantasy.
British American Financial is said to be 100% Bahamian owned. Its head office sits near the East West Highway and Blue Hill Road. The company unlike Clico Bahamas is chaired by Basil Sands, a Bahamian! Chester Cooper a young Bahamian also heads its management team.
In 2006 British American Insurance Company announced talks of its acquisition by the Bahamian boys from its parent company British American International, which was at the time based in the United Kingdom. The Company had resided in the Bahamas for 80 years.
Back then the company held more than 40,000 individual policyholders and some 400 group accounts, covering some 6,000 employees and 15,000 individuals in total. The company had more than $622 million of life insurance coverage in force. Yes the company appears STRONG, buy why was it sold?
In 2007, February to be exact, the public was made aware that the approval by the Bahamas Registrar of Insurance was given for the sale of the company, and British American became a 100% Bahamian owned company. John Wilson upon that announcement, a partner in the McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes law firm, was made the principal and director in the company. Luciano’s Restaurant on East Bay Street was the venue for the good news.
But here is where our questions begin in this whole ‘love affair’ now being expressed for CLICO Bahamas. During that press conference on that balmy Wednesday evening in 2007, Chester Cooper wined and dined guests present for the announcement. But the head of the company refused to tell members of the press what the cost of the acquisition was and every attempt to find out was denied. Hmmmmmmm?
Cooper then told members of the media that the sale price was an eight-digit figure (?? – 00,000,000 – ??) and that FirstCaribbean Bank International financed a small part of the deal. Hmmmmmmm.
“This is the beginning of an exciting, new era in the company, the insurance and financial services sector in the Bahamas as well as the wider community,” he said.
“It is in this context that this move today is a significant evolution for British American, its cadre of loyal staff, our clients and the public at large. As we embark on a new mission to build on its great legacy, we are enthused to introduce shortly a reenergized brand and a vibrant platform on which we will innovate and on which we will grow.”
Now on Wednesday April 1st 2009 (two days ago), Cooper appeared on ZNS TV 13 news suggesting that BAF just might consider purchasing the assets of CLICO Bahamas. Now knowing what we now know and looking deep into the context of this time we live, this announcement raises some questions for us. In a small tabloid newspaper called The Bugle, which hit the streets of the capital two weeks ago, a headline captured our eyes. It read, “CLICO! The Inside RIP-OFF!” The in-depth article began talking about CLICO and identifying who is who and what is what.
In that article it highlighted the culprits of CLICO (Bahamas) tracing their greedy tracks back to the steps of Trinidad. The article unveiled all of the dirty dealings of the company. In so many words it read, how all the money walked out of the Bahamas, without the Governor of the Central Bank tracing a dime of it. All $70 plus million of the Bahamian people’s investments GONE! It tracked the CHIEF CULPRIT TO BEING A MAN NAMED Lawrence Duprey, head of CL Financial, the parent company of Clico (Bahamas), which was also bailed out by the Trinidadian government.
Bahamas Press was STUCK GLUED to the article. And then came the juices of this story. The Bugle wrote:
“CL Financial has 7.5 million shares in issue and its stated share capital is TT$7.5 million. The company’s major shareholders are: Dalco Capital Management, with 1,947,833 shares; the CL Duprey Investment Trust, with 1,634,335 shares and the employee pension plan of the British American Insurance Company, which is registered here in the Bahamas.“
Now this information was also reported in the national newspaper of Trinidad called the Trinidad Guardian. Bahamas Press wonders, could this be the same British American Insurance Company, bought by our Boys in 2007? Could it be that the company was never sold to BAB/BAF and possibly that’s why no dollar figure was given? What is the current financial state of BAF? Where are its investments held outside the Bahamas? Are there any investment for BAF held in CL FINANCIAL BASED IN TRINIDAD? What is the name of the assurance company that insures BAF insurance policies? And our main question, if what both The Bugle and the Trinidad Guardian wrote about investments on the books of CL FINANCIAL in the Bahamas is indeed so, we wonder whether or not BAF, (the new owners of British American Insurance Company), is indeed that company mentioned registered in the Bahamas?
Bahamas Press attempted to receive a copy of BAF’s AGM report, but was denied access to it? We wonder why? A reply came back saying, “We are not a publicly traded company and therefore, we cannot disclose our AGM report.” Hmmmmmmm! Perhaps these are too many questions, receiving NO answers. BUT WE ARE CERTAIN THE POLICYHOLDERS OF BAF WOULD LOVE TO HAVE THEM SHARED.
Bahamas Press would love to hear that a Bahamian owned company wishes to buy CLICO, as the Prime Minister taunts. However, we simply want to know whether or NOT that company is IN BED WITH CLICO ALREADY!