Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 5th 2017 Contents JANUARY 5 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
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A professional marketing executive, Mr. Olton brings to First Citizens twenty-five years of
experience working at senior levels in financial institutions. His experience in banking,
finance and insurance also range through Marketing, Communications, Product and
International Business Development, Operations & Credit Management
and Strategic Planning.
Mr. Olton is a graduate of the University of the West Indies in Management Studies (BSc.)
and also holds a Master's in Business Administration (distinction) from the Arthur Lok Jack
Graduate School of Business.
We extend a warm welcome to him and look forward to his contributions toward
enhancing the First Citizens brand.
Every day we are faced with decisions.
Some are big, with the potential to
change lives for the better or worse.
Yet the size of the potential impact does
not necessarily make a decision com-
plex or difficult. I have been following
a matter for some considerable time and cannot un-
derstand the decision being made by our government.
Please permit me to use an analogy to illustrate and
simplify the issue. No analogy is perfect but this one
comes pretty close.
A few years ago your neighbour ran into some fi-
nancial difficulties, unable to pay his bills on time. He
offered you his car as collateral against a tidy sum that
you loaned to him to get by. In the intervening years
you now have come to face your own financial trou-
bles. It would be logical to approach your neighbour
for repayment of the loan. You would pursue them for
full or partial payment with vigour. Simple decision.
Contrast that simple decision with one that faces
the government. In fact, it has faced it for all of the
last year or more. Back in 2009, our government de-
cided to rescue Clico in its hour of need. In so doing
we the taxpayers advanced over $20 billion towards
the cause. Some has been repaid but we are told that
at least another $10 billion remains due to us.
Like our friend in the analogy, we have bills to pay
by the truckload. Contractors have to accept bonds
(IOUs), workers are denied salary increases and many
times paid late. Important projects have stalled and
even Carnival has not been funded with less than two
months to go.
The obvious course of action is for the government
to hound the Clico shareholders in order to effect the
rapid repayment of our generous support. A $10bil-
lion injection into the country's finances would be
transformational. It would allow creditors to be paid
in a much more timely manner and workers could
get a fairer hearing at negotiations. Everybody wins.
Bizarrely, the government is not pursuing the
shareholders for the timely repayment of this mas-
sive debt. Unbelievably, the shareholders are the ones
who are pleading with the government to repay the
outstanding amount. In the midst of our current eco-
nomic travails, our government is refusing to even
contemplate the recovery of this huge advance of our
While workers are being offered zero-zero-zero
increases in their wages and contractors stop work on
projects due to late payment from government, our
leaders refuse to take steps to recover $10 billion from
Clico. The shareholders want to repay the money, as
was the anticipated outcome from the outset. Is it
that we have chosen to "cut off our nose to spite our
face" or are there other agendas at play?
Each of us adversely affected by the government's
late payments needs to demand a change of policy.
Why should workers and contractors among others
suffer so badly, when a simple decision would remedy
the situation? The government must move assertively
now to bring this money back into our control.
Not a single one of us should be expected to accept
less than our contractual or bargaining rights when
a very simple decision would utterly transform the
status of the country's economy. Talk of sacrifice in
this hour of need rings hollow. The numbers are large
but the decision is simple. We need the money.
Advice for the Govt...
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