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“I, nor any organisation controlled by me, has been paid to write this article, nor is there any arrangement, verbal or otherwise, to do so now or in the future.” Since it begs the following questions:
Why would the present PNM treasurer, former PNM Minister in the Ministry of Finance and hopeful in the upcoming PNM internal elections be trying on this Holy Easter weekend (or does he think it's April's Fools Day) to defend a Peoples Partnership appointed Chairman and her Board of Directors, particularly since by Mr. Browne’s own admission there are still ongoing investigations into this matter and more importantly he has no first-hand knowledge of what actually transpired because he simply was not there?
Why does he find it necessary to emphasize that “I (Mariano Brown) understand that the board has not seen the (forensic audit) report and is unaware of its contents”?
Shouldn't it be fairly obvious to someone of his experience that certain members of the Board of Directors might have been (and rightfully so) subjects of the investigation; and potentially there may be findings contained in the report that would render it inappropriate to share with them?
When he states that “Financial systems require transparency and certainty of process to engender stability and confidence”, is he attempting to set up a “STRAW MAN” so that at the end of the day that elusive and mythical character known as “D. SYSTEM” will be held responsible as was done by former Minister of Health John Eckstein, some years ago, in the eggnog-food poisoning-scandal at the St. Ann’s Mental Hospital that resulted in the deaths of several patients?
I AM SORRY BUT WHEN I READ MR. BROWNE DIATRIBE ALL I HEAR IS A MERCENARY OR HIRED GUN SINGING FOR HIS SUPPER.
BTW: If my memory serves me correctly, didn’t Mr. Browne’s Political Leader also call for the First Citizens Board to resign?
The question for the First Citizens Board (if I may also borrow a few lines from Shakespeare's Hamlet) is:
"To be, or not to be, that is the question—
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die, to sleep—
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end..."
I suspect that the Board may already be contemplating resignation or “suicide” as they see it. However being the selfish, self-serving bunch of misfits that they are; they know all too well that this is a one-way ticket to the corporate cemetery of history and therefore if they get the judgment call wrong, there's no way back.
My advice to them would then be from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar:
“A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”
I think that Mr. Permell is undoubtedly a game-changer. By his informed, articulate, no nonsense and consistent approach, he has not only caused the paradigm to shift but he continues to shape it.
What this country needs now more than ever are many more good citizens like Mr. Permell who are not afraid to get off the fence, roll-up their sleeves, get involved and take a stand.
And why did the FCB Chief Risk Officer find it necessary to use the services of Bourse instead of his own bank’s brokerage firm First Citizens Brokerage and Advisory Services?
BTW the following are a few questions for the First Citizens Bank Chairman Nyree Alfonso and Auditors PwC:
What exactly is the name of the bank’s Chief Risk Officer, is it Hassan Philip Rahaman, H. Philip Rahaman, Hassan Rahaman or Philip Rahaman?
Does he carry the same name on his various forms of identification (i.e. Drivers Permit, National ID card and Passport)?
Is it true that according to the rules of the prospectus only one application may be made for the benefit of any person or institution and that any application that breaches these rules is a multiple application?
Is it also true that according to the rules of the prospectus all multiple applications and suspected multiple applications may be rejected at the discretion of First Citizens?
What was the procedure employed by the bank to identify multiple applications?
Is it true that each applicant was required to warrant in his or her application that among other things:
- The declarations on the Application Form are true and correct. If they are not, the Purchaser may be making a multiple application.
- Any final allocation notice, Share Certificate or returned application monies relating to a person suspected of making a multiple application may be held (in case of money, without interest) pending investigation.
- The rights and remedies of the Issuer under the terms and conditions of application are in addition to any rights and remedies which would otherwise be available to either of them, and the exercise or partial exercise of one will not prevent the exercise of others.
An application by the Purchaser, any acceptance of that application and the contract resulting therefrom, will be governed by and construed in accordance with the Laws of Trinidad & Tobago.
In the event that a multiple application went undetected and was only discovered after the shares were allotted what would be the implications and/or consequences in such a scenario?
Well said Mr. Permell, go to the head of the class – a brilliant missive. I could not have put it better. You have taken the words out of my mouth.
In fact, there is very little to add except to say that after the exposé on CNC3 last evening your letter is not only timely, but it speaks loudly for the rest of us honest, decent, right-thinking citizens of T&T.
It is high time we start calling a spade a spade and begin to raise the bar once more, for far too long we have been celebrating mediocrity. I think the First Citizens Chairman has been thoroughly called out and rightfully so.
As a taxpayer of this country, I have lost all confidence in the Chairman of this state-owned bank and in my humble opinion she ought do the honorable thing and resign immediately or be relieved of her duties by Finance Minister Larry Howai.
I hope that the answer is NO and that Mr. Howai will reel in his maverick Chairman who by her public utterances have not only brought her own ethics and morals into question but so too her suitability for holding such high office.
The person also sent me the following June 27, 2012 newspaper article which reported at the time that: The board of state-owned bank First Citizens approved the payment of $10 million to its departing chief executive officer, Larry Howai, two days before Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced that Howai would be the country’s new Minister of Finance—a job that gives him as Corporation Sole oversight of all state-owned companies, including First Citizens.
The payment to Howai, who took early retirement from the bank effective June 24, is over and above the pension and gratuity that he is entitled to receive as an employee who worked for 32 years at the bank and its predecessors, National Commercial Bank and Workers’ Bank (1989) Ltd, said the chair of First Citizens, attorney Nyree Alfonso.
She said: “The payment is in recognition of his exceptional service to the organisation as well as for the benefit of the bank in terms of attracting and retaining the best personnel who would be assured that they too would be rewarded if they give long and meritorious service to First Citizens.” Asked if the $10 million was an ex-gratia payment, Alfonso resisted the use of the term, which refers to a sum of money paid when there is no obligation or liability to pay.
But she admitted: “We were not under an obligation to pay, but decided to pay the sum based on precedent and our ability under the Companies Act to make such a payment.” Alfonso said all of the $10 million was based on internal precedent, from calculations going back to 2005, of what three senior managers who left the company received.
Based on his salary at the time of his departure and his 32 years of service, the formula used to calculate the consideration to Howai was not in any way different or preferential than that received by senior managers departing from the bank in circumstances which were not dissimilar to his, she said. The decision was taken by non-executive directors of the bank only, with two directors recusing themselves.
The matter was first discussed at a board meeting on June 11 but that meeting was adjourned pending the receipt of legal advice, which was sought and received from Russel Martineau, SC. “The final decision, which was taken on June 20, was based on both the precedent and the advice received from Martineau,” said Alfonso. The Prime Minister reshuffled her Cabinet on June 22.
Alfonso conceded that the public perception of the $10 million payment “might be awkward,” but she maintained that she “would have made the payment had he received another portfolio. I will take the jabs for saying that I was trying to placate the new boss. It does look a little awkward but only because of the portfolio he assumed.”
Asked whether the decision had the approval of Corporation Sole, which owns 97 per cent of the shares in First Citizens, Alfonso said the role of a board of a state-owned company is oversight and governance.
“As a matter of governance, I don’t need the line minister to direct me on an issue like this, nor would I have tried to seek such approval in these circumstances,” she said, adding that as the chair of a state-owned company, she does not take day-to-day instructions from the Minister of Finance, but that that relationship is governed by checks and balances. Efforts to contact the Minister of Finance proved futile up to press time.
BUT what you have here is a situation where once again the First Citizens Bank chair Nyree Alfonso has either spoken too soon, mis-spoke or spoken out-of-turn in a clearly desperate and foolish attempt by her to clear Phillip Rahaman of any wrong-doing in this multi-million dollar transaction while the forensic audit is still on-going..
It therefore begs the question is the chairman’s SLIP showing? Why is she so defensive of Mr. Rahaman? Does she have a personal interest in the outcome of this matter? Has she pre-empted the audit and can the public now be expected to have any confidence in its findings?
I believe the FCB chair has done neither Mr. Rahaman nor herself any favours by this interview as the prudent and disciplined thing to do would have been to hold her tongue until the audit is completed.
It would be interesting to hear the views of her line-minister Mr. Larry Howai on this interview.
P.S. Mr. Permell is absolutely correct, this situation is NO different from the multi-million dollar purchase of Home Mortgage Bank shares by Andre Monteil's company, Stone Street Capital when at the time he was sitting as the bank's Chairman and PNM treasurer.
Ms. Alfonzo must know that IT WAS WRONG THEN AND IT IS WRONG NOW or does this People's Partnership appointed Chairman subscribe to the ethics of different strokes for different folks? Could anyone help me?
I am certain that you have absolutely NO MONEY in CLICO and NEVER HELPED anyone NOT even an old lady to cross the street.
People like you are know as "HATERS." They are usually SELFISH and live very LONELY and PITIFUL lives.
You criticize CLICO policyholders like myself but obviously you also took the time to read this IMPORTANT, ENLIGHTENING and EMPOWERING article, so it seems to me that this incontrovertible FACT makes YOU either a HYPOCRITE or a FOOL.
And for some strange reason I am more convinced that it's the latter.
So I will end my reply at this POINT because you know what they say about debating with FOOLS.
"First they bring you down to their LEVEL and then they BEAT you with EXPERIENCE."
I feel SORRY for you Shame_ Pastly. Please get some HELP.
Thank you very much for all that you and your group have done and continue to do for us CLICO policyholders.
Just imagine we almost lost our entire life savings.
I want you to know that my family and I are eternally grateful for all your efforts.
You have our full support.
Keep up the good work!
In other words had it not been for OUR BUSINESS/PATRONAGE the BANK would CEASE TO EXIST and the EMPLOYEES would NOT HAVE a JOB.