July 6, 2012
ECCU member states await Trinidad’s response to MOA on monies for BAICO policy holders

The member states of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) are yet to hear from Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, concerning a Memorandum of Agreement on monies for BAICO policy holders.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, speaking at a press conference on Monday, outlined that he had drafted the Agreement, which was sent on June 20, based on earlier discussions with the Bissessar-led administration, in which the ECCU members were promised up to US$100 million.

The Agreement was sent for Bissessar’s signature, with the hopes of it being returned by June 28, in time for the ECCU meeting, which took place in St Kitts on June 29.

The Prime Minister said that he was advised by the newly appointed Minister of Finance in Trinidad and Tobago Larry Howai that the document has been received, and is currently with the Attorney General for scrutiny.

According to Dr Gonsalves, the agreement outlines that the government of Trinidad and Tobago will make available the sum of US$100 million to the ECCB on and for the account of the ECCU governments to apply to the regional solution of the BAICO problem in the currency union.

It also says that of the US$100 million, $26 million will be drawn from the accumulated monies due to the Currency Union countries from the CARICOM Petroleum Facility for the year 2011, and the remaining US$74 million is to be paid from the resources of the government of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Prime Minister said that he had requested of Howai that approximately US$75 million be transferred to the Central Bank immediately, in order to make payments of up to $30,000 to up to 80% of the policy holders.

Some money, the Prime Minister said, will be put into an insurance fund.

The Prime Minister said that although the June 28 deadline for a signed and returned Agreement has passed with no response from the Trinidad and Tobago government, he still remains confident that they will keep their commitment.(JJ)