Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 12th 2015 Contents A5
Monday, January 12, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Accusing the Government of murdering
innocent citizens by refusing to pay the Clico
United Policyholders Group the monies owed
to them, former attorney general Ramesh
Lawrence Maharaj said their continued refusal
has tainted the Government s word which is
"of no use."
Addressing more than 100 policyholders at
Gaston Court, Chaguanas, yesterday, Maharaj
revealed that he had filed an appeal before the
The appeal, which was filed last Friday,
claimed the Court of Appeal erred in several
•Allowing the Government to withdraw its
concession that the group of policyholders had
legitimate expectations based on promises made
by the previous government.
• That the promises made by the last admin-
istration were not clear.
• That the Government was justified in breach-
ing the legitimate expectations of the policy-
• That there was sufficient overriding public
interest to justify government departing from
any legitimate expectation.
•Their ignorance of the judge s finding of fact
and their failure to explain why it did this.
Maharaj said when the former People s
National Movement administration recognised
that Clico and CL Financial were experiencing
financial difficulties, the finance minister, at
the time, made an open statement in the Par-
liament promising policyholders not to remove
their monies and investments as they would
guarantee its return.
Maharaj said based on the announcement
and because they believed the Government
guarantee could be relied upon, "These pol-
icyholders have kept their money in Clico. They
are not asking for money to be paid to them,
that does not belong to them."
Referring to Sections 37 and 80 and of the
Insurance Act, Maharaj said there is a statutory
fund which compels the government of the
day to ensure that an insurance company has
sufficient assets or money in that fund so that
the policyholder would not suffer in the event
that the company goes into liquidation.
While there was an apparent lack of mon-
itoring by the previous government, Maharaj
said, "The holder would get the full sum due
under the policy, that is the law."
Claiming the Peoples Partnership Govern-
ment reneged on this guarantee within months
of assuming office, Maharaj said the 350 pol-
icyholders were never consulted about their
investments before they were offered an
enhanced package in 2011.
Declaring it was a "scandal in the legal pro-
fession" when the Government retained a
Queen s Counsel to challenge the High Court s
decision which was in favor of the policyholders,
Maharaj recounted the facts which led to the
Court of Appeal overruling Justice Joan Charles s
judgment and ruling in favour of the Govern-
ment which is contending that there is no
money to pay the policyholders.
Maharaj, who claims that Clico has approx-
imately $17 billion in cash, has challenged
Finance Minister Larry Howai to provide a
detailed account of the company s assets, its
current value and potential market value during
the time when the reduced offer was made in
2011 and now.
Questioning why the money had not been
placed in the Statutory Fund and used to pay
policyholders as total liabilities would amount
to approximately $1.7 billion, Maharaj said the
Prime Minister needed to take responsibility
for the situation.
Confident of winning the appeal before the
Privy Council, Maharaj said the Government
was also attempting to stymie these efforts as
they were objecting to an early hearing which
could take place as early as March.
Instead, he said the hearing could now be
scheduled for later on in July.
He said: "I am 500 per cent confident that
you will be successful before the Privy Council.
I am telling you today that your judgment in
the Court of Appeal was wrong and you will
win in the Privy Council," Maharaj repeated.
He said the delay in settling this matter had
led to people dying as they were unable to
afford proper healthcare and medication, chil-
dren being "murdered" as their families were
left penniless and others having their education
cut short as they had to be taken out of school.
"What is the sense you putting on a Santa
Claus hat and coat and going all over the country
and you killing children? You actually murdered
them by your policy," Maharaj said.
A former attorney general said yesterday
that T&T has been experiencing a crisis and
that innocent citizens were the ones paying
Responding to questions after yesterday s
meeting with the Clico Policyholders Group,
former AG Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj said the
Clico matter was only one example of bad
"This is just another one of the issues of
bad governance in T&T. It is an abuse and
misuse of governmental power for their own
purposes," he said.
Referring to the matter which is now before
the Privy Council, Maharaj said, regardless of
one s political affiliations, everyone had a duty
to stand up for what is right.
Admitting he was still a member of the
United National Congress, Maharaj drew looks
of surprise from those nearby as he said, "I
must confess I am ashamed for the UNC, what
has happened to governance in T&T and at
what is happening, I am ashamed."
"We cannot call wrongs right, when they
are totally wrong. If this is done, we won t
leave a society for the future," he said.
Referring to other issues such as crime and
poor healthcare, Maharaj said, "We are in trou-
ble in T&T and we have plenty problems."
Contrary to claims that crime was under
control, Maharaj said law-abiding citizens were
afraid to venture out of their homes, whilst
many others fear their loved ones may not
return home when they leave for work at the
start of the each day.
He also referred to the lack of services and
poor delivery of healthcare at public institutions
across the country.
"I see all the problems in T&T which are
happening. I had thought we would be living
in a better society today and I am very dis-
appointed but there is nothing I can do as I
am no longer in electoral politics," Maharaj
He added: "All the institutions in this country
seem to be collapsing as there does not seem
to be any values," the former AG said. "People
do not seem to have the values of honesty and
integrity anymore. People seem to say anything,
people as ministers seem to say anything, get
on any way. Look at the proceedings in par-
liament, it is of such a low behaviour, even
the way the proceedings are conducted so that,
like you, I am disappointed."
Pained by the continuation of such occur-
rences, Maharaj said, "I am sometimes dis-
tressed and depressed but we have to have
faith and stand up for what we believe is right."
Highlighting the crime situation, Maharaj
said, "I listen to all this talk about crime and
what government is doing to fight crime and
crime is under control and I am vex, I am
annoyed because crime is not under control."
Accusing government of "pussyfooting and
fiddling with serious issues," Maharaj added,
"Are we so stupid? Does the government think
we are brain dead? A few months before an
election, they are coming to bring a hanging
bill when hanging is the law of T&T?" ---ALP
How can masqueraders expect free
movement for Carnival if the parade route
remained the same?
That was the question put forward by
National Carnival Bandleaders Association
(NCBA) president David Lopez as he com-
mented on the recently-announced official
parade route for Carnival 2015.
National Carnival Commission (NCC)
chairman Lorraine Pouchet made the
announcement last Wednesday.
Lopez, who has spoken out repeatedly
in the past few years calling for changes
in the routes from expansion to route rever-
sals, did not seem very happy with the
He said, however, the NCBA was willing
to do all in its ability to support the NCC
to ensure a smooth and congestion-free
Carnival 2015 next month.
Lopez said Carnival organisations and
bands had a responsibility to masqueraders
to ensure that Carnival activities had few
"Bandleaders are their own problems,
"The only institution that rejects change
is the cemetery."
"It is the same route but with bigger
trucks, more vendors and criss-crossing
bands on the roads.
Lopez said the NCBA had asked for an
extension of the route into St James to
make the parade longer but the police had
said they did not have enough manpower
to properly secure the route.
"It is strange, though, that they seem to
have the strength to manage Socadrome."
We will support the NCC because we
in the NCBA want the route to work and
we will do anything in our power to ensure
we have a healthy Carnival."
While Lopez main complaint was that
the route had not changed, it was praised
by two other mas organisations, the T&T
Carnival Bandleaders Association (TTCBA)
and the National carnival development
At a press conference on Thursday, NCDF
chairman Mahindra Satram-Maharaj,
seemed a bit unsure about the Carnival
Nevertheless, he stood in support of the
NCC s decisions on the route, including
the decision to allow bands to remain in
the competition as long as they crossed at
least three judging points, giving them the
option to skip the Piccadilly greens.
He said the success of the route was
dependent on effective management by
"We are of the view that we will see a
full improvement in management of the
route," Satram-Maharaj said.
He said this would happen once NCC
implemented the organisation s recom-
TTCBA president Gerard Weekes also
supported the NCC s route.
In a news release Weekes thanked the
NCC for maintaining the traditional
senior route "especially in the face of pro-
posals by NCBA to reverse it once again."
"We are also pleased that the Junior route
has been returned to its original format as
this takes a great deal of stress off the
shoulders of the very young masqueraders,"
Attorney representing Clico United Policyholders and former attorney general Ramesh
Lawrence Maharaj addresses the policyholders at the Gaston Court, Chaguanas, yesterday.
PHOTO: SHASTRI BOODAN
Ramesh on Clico policyholders' move to take Govt to Privy Council:
Appeal Court was wrong NCBA head:
their own problems
Country in trouble says former AG
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