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CCJ proceeds with BACOL case on one ground

“The case is going to go on now, not based on the four grounds that we put up, but on one,” stated Dr Patrick Antoine, chair of British American Insurance Company Limited and Colonial Life Insurance Company Limited Policy Holders Group (BACOL) as he discussed the judgment by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on their legal action.

“They did not dismiss the case,” he clarified, and explained that of the four grounds put forward in their case, the court upheld one, where BACOL argued that “we were not given the avenues of access when there was the meltdown that were adequate or effective.”

Antoine noted that according to Article 184 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas “we have a right as consumers to be treated equitably and to be given the same access as Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) policy holders had. The avenues must be adequate and there must be effective.”

The legal action filed by BACOL represents 2,000 policyholders of British American Insurance from Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines, whose investments totaled nearly $800 million (US$296 million).

This matter was filed almost two years ago and has the possibility of being determined at the Court by the first quarter of next year, Antoine said.

“A two and a half year turn around for a case like this, that’s complex; that’s excellent work. We are hopeful that the case is going to be successful but for us there are several very important markers here; this is the first time that a group of policyholders forming a civil society/NGO group has worked across the borders of the OECS and CARICOM, and themselves taken a big matter like this to court. There’s a tremendous amount of respect to the policyholders of St Vincent and the Eastern Caribbean,” BACOL chair stated in a live television interview.

Reflecting on the journey, he noted “we have come through many hurdles getting to his point. It’s been difficult going but we have encompassed this.”

The case management conference was scheduled for Monday (March 21) where the court was expected to give instructions on how the case is going to be heard.

“We have the opportunity to air the first case before the court and that has not been done in any case of this nature in the Caribbean at all. We are happy that the whole case is going to have a chance to be heard by the court and so we are equally confident as we were before. This is because the grounds are all tied one to the other: removal of restrictions, imposition of the restrictions and of course the grounds that are different in all of this is the one which talks about protecting consumer rights. The consumer rights we are talking about are the rights for us to essentially have adequate and effective redress in instances such as the ones that we are discussing,” Antoine said.

On March 02, the CCJ dismissed three claims brought by BACOL, who alleged that T&T breached various articles of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas in the aftermath of the collapse of CL Financial in 2009.

BACOL argued that the measures taken by the Government of T&T in its intervention in and assistance to CL Financial and its subsidiaries were discriminatory and breached Articles 7, 36, 37 and 38 of the Revised Treaty.

“There are several things that we are looking at. History must never record that we did not try to fight for our rights as we view them in the Treaty of Chaguaramas. History must never record the people of the Eastern Caribbean in that way and indeed it shall not.”

The claimants alleged that the bailout measures were taken to rescue CLF and all subsidiaries registered in T&T. But this same protection was not offered to them as policyholders of British American Insurance Company Limited.

Further, the Central Bank of T&T took active steps to exclude them from the rescue package. They also argued that the measures, imposed restrictions on the provision of cross-border insurance services in contravention of Articles 36, 37 and 38 of the Revised Treaty.

“When they collapsed in 2009, the Eastern Caribbean policy holders were not paid but only those in T&T. We have argued for some time that in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas there are several violations in there of our rights as CARICOM nationals,” Dr Antoine stated.

When T&T filed its defence before the Court, it contended that the actions complained about fell outside the scope of the Revised Treaty.

CCJ proceeds with BACOL case on one ground

“The case is going to go on now, not based on the four grounds that we put up, but on one,” stated Dr Patrick Antoine, chair of British American Insurance Company Limited and Colonial Life Insurance Company Limited Policy Holders Group (BACOL) as he discussed the judgment by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on their legal action.

“They did not dismiss the case,” he clarified, and explained that of the four grounds put forward in their case, the court upheld one, where BACOL argued that “we were not given the avenues of access when there was the meltdown that were adequate or effective.”

Antoine noted that according to Article 184 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas “we have a right as consumers to be treated equitably and to be given the same access as Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) policy holders had. The avenues must be adequate and there must be effective.”

The legal action filed by BACOL represents 2,000 policyholders of British American Insurance from Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines, whose investments totaled nearly $800 million (US$296 million).

This matter was filed almost two years ago and has the possibility of being determined at the Court by the first quarter of next year, Antoine said.

“A two and a half year turn around for a case like this, that’s complex; that’s excellent work. We are hopeful that the case is going to be successful but for us there are several very important markers here; this is the first time that a group of policyholders forming a civil society/NGO group has worked across the borders of the OECS and CARICOM, and themselves taken a big matter like this to court. There’s a tremendous amount of respect to the policyholders of St Vincent and the Eastern Caribbean,” BACOL chair stated in a live television interview.

Reflecting on the journey, he noted “we have come through many hurdles getting to his point. It’s been difficult going but we have encompassed this.”

The case management conference was scheduled for Monday (March 21) where the court was expected to give instructions on how the case is going to be heard.

“We have the opportunity to air the first case before the court and that has not been done in any case of this nature in the Caribbean at all. We are happy that the whole case is going to have a chance to be heard by the court and so we are equally confident as we were before. This is because the grounds are all tied one to the other: removal of restrictions, imposition of the restrictions and of course the grounds that are different in all of this is the one which talks about protecting consumer rights. The consumer rights we are talking about are the rights for us to essentially have adequate and effective redress in instances such as the ones that we are discussing,” Antoine said.

On March 02, the CCJ dismissed three claims brought by BACOL, who alleged that T&T breached various articles of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas in the aftermath of the collapse of CL Financial in 2009.

BACOL argued that the measures taken by the Government of T&T in its intervention in and assistance to CL Financial and its subsidiaries were discriminatory and breached Articles 7, 36, 37 and 38 of the Revised Treaty.

“There are several things that we are looking at. History must never record that we did not try to fight for our rights as we view them in the Treaty of Chaguaramas. History must never record the people of the Eastern Caribbean in that way and indeed it shall not.”

The claimants alleged that the bailout measures were taken to rescue CLF and all subsidiaries registered in T&T. But this same protection was not offered to them as policyholders of British American Insurance Company Limited.

Further, the Central Bank of T&T took active steps to exclude them from the rescue package. They also argued that the measures, imposed restrictions on the provision of cross-border insurance services in contravention of Articles 36, 37 and 38 of the Revised Treaty.

“When they collapsed in 2009, the Eastern Caribbean policy holders were not paid but only those in T&T. We have argued for some time that in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas there are several violations in there of our rights as CARICOM nationals,” Dr Antoine stated.

When T&T filed its defence before the Court, it contended that the actions complained about fell outside the scope of the Revised Treaty.

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