The MCAP Opposition wishes to place on record its disgust with what seems to be the careless attitude to matters of national and regional concerns that are being handled by the PDM Administration.
As the opposition, we are adamantly calling on Premier and Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Hon. Donaldson Romeo too immediately and without further delay place the Uniform Plan of Arrangement Bill (BAICO and CLICO) before the legislative assembly for enactment.
The “Uniform Plan of Arrangement Bill” (BAICO and CLICO) is a Legislation intended to provide a framework to aide in the resolution of the insolvency of BAICO and CLICO by means of a Plan of Arrangement. The said plan of arrangement once enacted would provide the mechanism for local BAICO policy holders to receive a portion of their monies that were invested in the now defunct BAICO. This will take the form of equitable disbursements of funds to the policy holders stemming from a settlement sum reached between the OECS regional governments and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.
While we are not certain as to how long this Bill has been before the Government of Montserrat, we are however aware that the Plan of Arrangement is to be implemented in a uniform manner across the ECCU region and the Bahamas. Additionally, we are also aware that other regional governments such as Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada have already enacted the Bill.
Further, the MCAP Opposition wishes to inform the nation that at the last meeting of the ECCU Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) held on February 12, 2016, held via Video Conference in which Premier Donaldson Romeo participated in, the council urged all regional Governments of the ECCU to pass the Uniform Plan of Arrangement Bill (BIACO and CLICO) by the end of March 2016. As an attentive opposition we have observed with great dismay that Premier Romeo has remained completely silent on this issue. This action by the Hon. Premier as it relates to this matter is appalling due to his knowledge that a number of local institutions and individuals have lost significant sums of monies in the BIACO/CLICO financial debacle.
We are aware and have felt the squeeze that the fallout of BAICO and CLICO in 2009 have caused, and the great anxiety and hardship that was felt by the private sector, individual policy holders, as well as policy holders across the entire ECCU region.
The CLICO/ BIACO financial debacle has been cited on numerous occasions as a contributing factor to the relatively slow financial and economic recovery in the ECCU. In this regard, the MCAP Opposition calls on Premier Donaldson Romeo and the PDM Administration to immediately and without delay bring to the Legislative Assembly the Uniform Plan of Arrangement Bill (BIACO and CLICO), in this regard the citizens and residents of Montserrat who have invested monies in the now defunct BIACO will gain some measure of relief.