By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A well-known Bahamian pastor has urged the government not to forget its promises to assist the thousands of Bahamian policy holders who lost millions of dollars when CLICO (Bahamas) collapsed.
Bishop Simeon Hall, senior pastor emeritus of New Covenant Baptist Church, called on Prime Minister Perry Christie as well as FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis to “right this wrong placed on the innocent, unsuspecting hard working Bahamians caught up in this financial nightmare.”
He also called for all policy holders and interested persons to meet at his church this Tuesday at 7pm to “continue discussions in an effort to help bring a reasonable and realistic resolution to this matter.”
In March, Mr Christie said his administration still considered the CLICO matter as one of importance. At the time, he said that when the government arrives to a “certain period over the next few months” it would be able to “speak comprehensively” about what it proposes to do about the issue.
In a statement released over the weekend, Bishop Hall said there are “some 30,000 CLICO policy holders who are waylaid and sorely disadvantaged by the failure of both PLP and FNM administrations to correct the CLICO debacle.”
“It has been some six years since this financial calamity was allowed to occur in the Bahamas,” he said. “It has become extremely difficult for Bahamians involved in this matter to fully appreciate the government’s new or continued investments in other programmes or sectors of our society (some investments more questionable than others), while no significant progress is being made regarding this egregiously evil financial tragedy.”
He added: “We call on the right honourable prime minister and the honourable opposition leader to right this wrong placed on the innocent, unsuspecting hard working Bahamians caught up in this financial nightmare.”
In March, Mr Christie said his administration has not abandoned its efforts to bring relief to the thousands of Bahamian policy holders who lost millions due to CLICO’s collapse.
He was prompted to speak on the issue after Fort Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins, a PLP backbencher, persisted in raising the matter despite several commands from House Speaker Dr Kendal Major to adhere to the rule of relevance.
At the time Mr Christie said: “It (CLICO) is a matter that the government has of importance.
“It is important for me to say that in a nutshell that when this government came to power we did not have the money in place to deal with that issue because it will require money to bring a successful outcome. Secondly we have given considerable attention to what is a very complex issue involving international creditors in other jurisdictions.
“We believe that when we are coming to a certain period over the next few months we should be able to speak comprehensively about what we propose to do by way of assisting those persons who have suffered as a result.
“So the member raises this matter, it has not been withdrawn, it is a continuation of the process forward and we are working toward an outcome that we hope will be the best outcome for those affected in the country.”
Dr Rollins pressed the issue as he repeatedly defied the Speaker’s orders to take his seat. He went on to remind the government that it promised ahead of the 2012 general election that relief would be brought to those who lost their investments when CLICO was declared insolvent.
Last year, there were calls from policyholders for the government to indicate whether it will honour a $30 million guarantee for CLICO policies.