Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 19th 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Thursday, March 19, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
An apology from former Chaguaramas Development
Authority (CDA) board member Jaishima Leladharsingh
has sparked further outrage on the social media site
Facebook, as many have accused him of being a hyp-
However, the man to whom Leladharsingh directed
his attack, Anthony McLeod, is saying he has accepted
On his Facebook page late Tuesday, Leladharsingh
wrote: "I sincerely apologise to the particular individual
for making a statement that was inappropriate and
uncalled for. I did it in anger when he told me that I
will be dead.
"At that point I took it as a threat. It may not have
been but I acted in rage. I am sorry for the pain and
sorrow that I caused others. I want you all to know that
I am truly sorry and I have resigned from the CDA board
of directors effective immediately."
Leladharsingh s offending statements to McLeod
derived from a conversation generated by former prime
minister and former United National Congress (UNC)
chairman Basdeo Panday, on his Facebook post of April
12, 2014, regarding Panday s previous comments to the
media on the death of former president and prime min-
ister ANR Robinson.
Leladharsingh had remarked in the comments section
that he was glad Robinson was gone forever.
This sparked a comment from McLeod to Leladhars-
ingh that all must go forever at some point and the latter
immediately embarked on a racist rant against McLeod.
But after the conversation was reposted by Senator
Clarence Rambharat recently, it was brought to the
attention of Planning Minister Bhoe Tewarie, who on
Tuesday asked Leladharsingh to step down.
Speaking to CNC3 yesterday, however, McLeod said
everyone was entitled to make a mistake.
"I haven t seen the apology as yet, right, but I mean
he apologised and I accept it. No hard feelings on my
He confirmed that the conversation was sparked by
an insensitive comment Leladharsingh had made on the
passing of Robinson but noted that he kept his composure
and refused to stoop to Leladharsingh s level after the
racist attack began.
McLeod said Leladharsingh may have believed he was
of African descent because of his name but noted he
was mixed. With the election season at hand, he called
on citizens not to allow politicians to create racial tension
throughout the country.
"At the end of the day we are all humans. We are
entitled to mistakes but we should not move in that
negative direction," he added.
Fired CDA director
sorry for racist rant
However, many Facebook users questioned
whether Leladharsingh's apology was genuine
saying: "Too little, too late."
"Could anyone imagine the conversation when he
and his pals get together?" one person asked.
Another said: "I once respected this man... now I
am just disgusted by even the thought of him."
When checked yesterday afternoon
Leladharsingh's Facebook "wall" was either cleared
of the contents of or there was restricted viewing
access as the apology and all the comments linked
to the issue were not shown.
Approached for comment on Leladharsingh's
apology at the launch of the National Gas
Company Bocas Literary Festival yesterday,
Tewarie said: "I have nothing more to say on the
matter. I prefer not to. I know I did the right thing."
Addressing the issue at an event in Caroni
yesterday, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
said she was happy Tewarie had fired him. (See
She said the People's Partnership had proven to
be the most diverse Government and would not
promote someone with such views that were not
in the interest of nation building.
At almost the same time that about 30
Clico policyholders marched into the com-
pany s St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain
head office demanding information on
their Executive Flexible Premium Annu-
ities (EFPAs), the insurer yesterday
released its audited 2013 financial state-
ment indicating a $3.4 billion decline in
its after-tax profits, but also a huge
improvement in its negative net worth
Clico s latest audited accounts indicate
that although the company s after-tax profit
declined by nearly 90 per cent in 2013 (See
sidebar), the company was in a much
stronger position in terms of its net worth
in 2013 than in 2012.
Clico s negative net worth (the difference
between its assets and liabilities) declined
from $6.58 billion in 2012 to $1.11 billion
in 2013, with assets totalling $28.52 billion
and liabilities amounting to $29.63 billion
at the end of 2013.
Clico s liabilities include a Government
investment of $4.99 billion in preference
shares and investment contracts worth
$10.84 billion, which represent the EFPA
policies that the State bought from the
insurance company s policyholders in 2012.
This means that the Government s claim
on Clico was $15.83 billion as at the end of
This is important because in 2013, for
the first time, Clico s results were prepared
on the basis that the company "is in the
process of winding down its operations,"
according to auditors, KPMG, in a note to
the financial statement.
This means that Clico, which stopped
selling new business in September last year,
is in the process of valuing all its assets and
liabilities "at values that would obtain in
an orderly disposal" with the assets being
sold to pay off the insurer s creditors.
One of the notes to the financial statement
indicates that Clico s total long-term insur-
ance liabilities still exceeded the aggregate
value of the company s statutory fund assets
as at the end of 2013. The note referring
to the company s statutory fund is missing
from the Clico accounts for the second year.
Speaking last week in a television inter-
view, Finance Minister Larry Howai said
he had been assured by Central Bank Gov-
ernor Jwala Rambarran that the statutory
fund was in the black in 2014.
Speaking on CNMG s morning pro-
gramme last Thursday, Howai said: "The
Governor has told us that we will be able
to meet the requirements of the statutory
reserve fund. We are standing in the shoes
of some of the policyholders right now and
therefore we should be able to get 100 per
cent of what we put in."
Howai said he has asked his technocrats
and advisers to take another look at Clico s
numbers to see if the Government can afford
to settle with all policyholders, including
those who have mounted a legal fight at
the Privy Council challenging the State s
2012 resolution option for the EFPA pol-
"For the Government to receive all of its
money...Remember we did not put all in
Clico. We put in Clico, but we had also put
into CIB for example and that had a few
billion dollars also in it.
"We want to make sure that we get back
not only what we put in Clico, but what
we put in CIB. So while Clico may be fully
solvent, we have a situation in which CIB
is not fully solvent and therefore we have
to put some kind of arrangement in place.
"So we want to make sure that, at the
end of the day, we are fair to everyone,
while at the same time ensuring that we
are fair to taxpayers as well."
The Clico Policyholders Group (CPG)
yesterday welcomed the release of the audit-
ed financial statements, saying it was
pleased the company had cut its deficit.
In a statement, the group s head, Peter
Permell, called on the Government to pay
all policyholders what is contractually due
"The focus must now be on holding the
Finance Minister and by extension the Gov-
ernment to its word that it will treat all
policyholders fairly by ensuring they get
their just due."
Permell also said the policyholders were
pleased to note the company s significantly
improved financial performance, having
cut its deficit by 5.4 billion or 500 per
cent (from $6.5 billion in 2012 to $1.1 billion
Clico profits dip
A group of Clico policyholders gather outside the company's St Vincent Street, Port-of-
Spain, head office yesterday before heading inside to talk with executives about their
investments. Angeli Gajadhar, front row, centre, is part of a group of policyholders
challenging at the Privy Council the Government's 2012 offer. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ.
In 2013, Clico declared profit after
tax of $406 million, which is a sharp
decline from the $3.79 billion the
company reported in 2012. The
company recorded a sharp decline in
the value of its insurance contracts,
which fell to $47.4 million in 2013
from $2.54 billion in 2012.
Clico's net results from investing
activities plummeted to $1.32 billion in
2013 from $6.21 billion in 2012. This
was mainly due to the fact that Clico
realised $3.83 billion on the sale of
Republic Bank shares in 2012.
When the company presents its
2014 accounts, it is expected to
realise $7.5 billion from the sale of its
56.53 stake in Methanol Holdings
In previous years, Clico's financials
were prepared on the going-concern
basis, which means that "the
statements of financial position,
income and other comprehensive
income assume no intention or
necessity to liquidate or curtail the
activities of the company."
In the 2013 financial statement,
the auditors said the going-concern
basis of preparing the financial
statements was not used "because
the company is in the process of
winding down its operations." They
formed this judgment based on the
fact that the company stopped
selling new business from
September 1, 2014, and a result of
the Central Bank's statement last
year that Clico's traditional
insurance portfolio will be
transferred for value to an acquiring
As a result, according to the
auditors, KPMG: "Appropriate
adjustments have therefore been
made in the financial statements for
estimated values realisable in the
event of an orderly disposal."
The audit of Clico's 2013 financial
statement was signed on March 6.
WINDING DOWN PROCESS
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