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Rambharath warns of ‘crypto currency’

Published: 
Saturday, May 19, 2018

Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharath has expressed concern about a development on the financial landscape in the country which he fears may one day “grow to a Clico-like situation.”

Contributing to a debate on the Insurance Act in the Senate yesterday, Rambharath said, “As we fix the insurance industry today, we have in this country today something that has developed, this thing called crypto currency.”

He cautioned that the “same men who came selling insurance,” are now going around the country “asking people together in groups of 10 to fork out $8,500 per person for training, your eight to 10 coins valued at $500, and you would get eight per cent interest on a five thousand dollar investment.”

He noted that in March this year the Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission Hayden Gittens had something to say about crypto currency, “but he did not come down on one side,” speaking instead to benefits and risk. Rambharath expressed concern that “we are creating a problem and allowing a problem to fester that would one day grow into a Clico-like situation.”

Both cases, he said, “are driven by human beings desire for greed and the wish to take advantage of the vulnerable and most important at the root of CL Financial and Clico are an abysmal failure of the regulators to do what they were supposed to do,” as he again pointed to the men in “suits and bright lights.”

He said in all the discussion on the Clico and CL situation there had never been any real drilling down into the “men in the fancy suits selling the product knowing the inability of the insurer to pay,” the country, he said, had never focused on those who never disclosed the “difficulty Clico was experiencing in cash flow prejudicing its ability to pay.”

While the Parliament was seeking to pass what he described as “excellent legislation,” he was concerned that it was those outside who must administer and make it work.

The legislation makes provision for fines for directors. But the minister said the strength of the legislation “relies on the ability of the regulators to do what they are supposed to do.”

As he had done once before he again raised concerns about the 2017 report of the Financial Intelligence Unit which attributed $7 billion worth of suspicious transactions to insurance companies and which made the observation that insurance companies were increasingly being used for money laundering.

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