(Trinidad Guardian) “Unbelievable” is how consultant and social commentator Afra Raymond yesterday described the statements of former CL Financial chairman Lawrence Duprey, reported in the last Sunday Guardian that he “doesn’t have one cent.”
However, last year in the Commission of Enquiry into the collapse of Clico, Clico attorney Neal Bisnath said Duprey was paid TT$90 million a year from the deposits of policyholders.
Raymond said Duprey’s comment about the state of his finances raises a few points.
“We need to see the consolidated accounts but this has been made secret. Also, we need to see a list of who got back money as that list would show a who’s who of who are involved. We also need to see who have defaulted on their loans. We would be able to draw a map from these details,” he told the Guardian yesterday.
He also referred to remarks from sole commissioner, Sir Anthony Colman, who is reported to have said that Duprey informed the Commission that he could not attend the Enquiry because of illness. “Colman also spoke about three former PNM Government Ministers who did not attend. I think there is something sinister going on,” he said.
Peter Permell, chairman of the Clico Policyholders Group (CPG) called Duprey’s statement a “rant.” “This recent rant of Mr Duprey is just the latest in a series of inexplicable and bizarre public utterances that he has made within the past few weeks.
“First there was the ‘I did nothing wrong,’ then there was the ‘at all times, I sought the best interests of the company so that the benefits derived would redound to the policyholders, shareholders and employees.’ “Then there was the ‘my health is not as robust as it used to be and I am not able to spend hours concentrating without becoming tired and forgetful.’ “Then the ‘this has been a life-changing and very shocking period for me since January 2009 and I have taken it all very badly,’ and now this ‘I am broke’ declaration.”
Permell said the citizens of T&T are not stupid. “In fact wherever I go, people are meeting in the malls, at the grocery, in the parking lots and asking me: ‘What is really going on here?’ It just does not make sense. Is this some sort or sophisticated ploy by the billionaire and former CLF Chairman to either elicit public sympathy or craft a claim somewhere down the road of diminished capacity or both?” he asked.
He also said Duprey is contradicting himself.
“In light of the Director of Public Prosecution’s (DPP) recent warning, my response is invariably no comment! And by the way didn’t Mr Duprey say he is a philanthropist? “By definition isn’t a philanthropist usually someone, with a lot of money, who gives it away in the form of charity for the good of mankind or humanitarian purposes, so that it seems to me that a ‘broke philanthropist’ would not only be a first it would indeed be bit of an oxymoron,” he said.
Percy Farrell, representative of the Percy Farrell Group of Policyholders said he does not know the details of Duprey’s financial situation and would not want to comment. “I do not know about his finances and I do not know if he is broke, but I can tell you that I am broke,” he said.