Stevedores could lose millions

Hundreds of stevedores who belong to the powerful Seamen and Waterfront Workers Union (SWWU) have been told that they are no closer to recovering their pension fund from Clico which collapsed financially.

Local pension funds, including the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) had invested their members’ contributions with Clico and lost millions when it crashed twelve years ago.

Chairman of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, Technical Core Committee on Insurance, Whitfield Harris met with the executive members of SWWU last week at the union’s headquarters on the Carenage in St George’s.

Harris told the Seamen that there is “no imminent resolution of the matter” and ongoing attempts have so far failed to bring about reimbursement for victims in Grenada and elsewhere in the Eastern Caribbean.

It was the first meeting ever held to update that particular Clico investor and was also attended by Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell, who pledged to continue lobbying on behalf of Grenada’s Clico victims.

The Prime Minister, whose declared assets was at $19-million dismissed his own losses as “nothing, compared to the loss suffered by others”.

The SWWU pension plan with CLICO started in 1962.

The Clico matter remains in the court for now, with a challenge from the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), which is concerned that a ruling by the Barbados courts four years ago favours that country’s policy holders.

Harris explained that the challenge is based on a presumption in the court ruling that treated CLICO offices in Eastern Caribbean countries as subsidiaries, when in fact, they were branches which places their policyholders on equal footing as those in Barbados.

A hearing on this appeal is still pending.

Thirty thousand policy holders in the Eastern Caribbean were hurt when Clico went belly-up.

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