PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad -- The CLICO bailout has cost the taxpayers of Trinidad and Tobago, US$3 billion to date, according to Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran.
Speaking to banking supervisors at the Caribbean Group of Banking Supervisors 32nd annual conference in Port of Spain on June 5, Rambarran said, “The CLICO fire has so far cost the taxpayers of Trinidad and Tobago over US $3 billion dollars."
Governor, Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, Jwala Rambarran (Photo: central-bank.org)
He added, "Three billion US dollars, that’s more than the size of eight of our neighbouring economies in the Caribbean."
The Central Bank governor sought to put the money into perspective: "In Trinidad and Tobago, that US$3 billion could have built 20 new, state-of-the-art children’s hospitals, or built and fully outfitted 1,000 new primary schools (more than double the existing number of primary schools), or purchased medicine for all our major hospitals for the next decade."
He also noted that the psyche of the populace was affected as well as this country's financial standing.
He said, "CLICO also damaged confidence in the financial sector and left psychological scars on many citizens, in Trinidad and Tobago and in your countries, as well."
In order to avoid another CLICO, Rambarran noted that supervision needs to be improved and he outlined some of these improvements.
"We are aggressively recruiting experienced people from the private sector and placing them in key supervisory positions in the Financial Institutions Supervision Department. We have recruited a second deputy inspector, brought in a highly sought after chief actuary and for the first time we have hired a pension fund specialist, credit risk specialist and anti money laundering expert. The faces are changing. They are moving from middle-aged central bankers who came up through the ranks, to more specialized experienced professionals who come from the private sector," the Central Bank governor explained.