Government objects to Clico, British American lawsuit in CCJ

Caribbean Court of Justice in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Caribbean Court of Justice in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

THE CARIBBEAN COURT of Justice (CCJ) will hear preliminary arguments in November on behalf of the Government against a multi-million-dollar lawsuit from a group of CLICO and British American policyholders from the Eastern Caribbean on its 2009 bailout of CL Financial (CLF).

The group of mainly Grenadian and Antiguan policyholders filed an original jurisdiction leave application at the CCJ, claiming they were discriminated against by Trinidad and Tobago.

In their application, the group said a plan to protect the funds of policyholders of certain subsidiaries of CLF after its collapse discriminated against British American policyholders on the basis of nationality.

They contend TT contravened several articles of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC).

At a case-management hearing on Tuesday, CCJ President Justice Adrian Saunders and Justices Winston Anderson and Jacob Wit set two days in November to hear arguments on a preliminary objection raised by TT that the actions complained of fall outside the scope of the RTC.

November 1 and 2 were set for the hearing of the preliminary objection, and the parties were given dates to file their written submissions long before then.

The regional British American policyholders will also be allowed to continue to “unearth” additional potential claimants until July 31, after which the court will consider how they will treat them.

Lead attorney for TT Deborah Peake, SC, urged the court not to “get involved” by making a court order to allow for further claimants to be added to the challenge.

“Nothing stops them from compiling a register and adding names, but we prefer they not get the stamp of the court by way of a court order.”

The judges agreed and said the claimants can compile their list of names and at a later date, the court will determine how to deal with the list.

Also appearing with Peake for TT are attorneys Tamara Toolsie, Brent James, and Karissa Singh while Simon Davenport, QC, Dr Kenny Anthony, a former prime minister of St Lucia, Robert Strang, Raphael Adjodia, and Miguel Vasquez appear on behalf of the policyholders.

At the centre of the group’s argument is that TT contravened Articles 7,36,38 and 184 of the RTC, which governs the Caribbean Community (Caricom).

Under the treaty, Caricom states agree not to allow discrimination on a number of grounds including that of nationality.

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"Government objects to Clico, British American lawsuit in CCJ"

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