– eyes new investmentsAlmost a decade after a major financial downfall, leaving behind a debt of some US million to Guyana, the Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) Limited is now looking to resume business here with the promise of settling its debt.This was indicated to the Government when Finance Minister Winston Jordan met with CL Financial majority shareholder, Lawrence Duprey, along with other officials of that company on Thursday last. According to a statement from the Finance Ministry on Friday, Duprey informed Minister Jordan that he would like to renew his relationship with Guyana as well as publicly apologise to its people for the collapse of CLICO Guyana.“He also said that CL Financial will try to make amends for the approximately US$40M debt owed mainly to the National Insurance Scheme,” the release to the media outlined.Additionally, the Finance Minister was told by Duprey that his company was interested in investing in several areas here, including providing solar energy at competitive prices, affordable housing, clay bricks and solar for housing as well as introduce a financial model that would generate savings and alleviate poverty.After listening to the CL Financial officials, Minister Jordan informed the delegation that he would apprise Cabinet of their discussions. Nevertheless, the Minister also advised Duprey that future engagements could be conducted on parallel tracks: discussions on recovering monies owed by CL Financial and investment in Guyana.The statement added that both the Finance Minister and the CL Financial team agreed to a follow-up meeting. In the meantime, the Ministry said the Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Dr Gobind Ganga would be consulted to determine the status of all outstanding matters relevant to CLICO Guyana.CLICO Guyana had approximately $6.9 billion invested in the regional insurance company, when it collapsed in 2009. Among the local investments was $5.2 billion by the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).NIS over the years would have also been experiencing a situation where its annual expenses began outstripping its revenue – a situation compounded by the billions it had invested in CLICO for a number of years.To this end, Government in September last year announced that it would be absorbing the $5.2 billion NIS loss incurred when CLICO Guyana crumbled. The “lifeline” monies are to be paid in tranches over a 20-year period.Minister Jordan had stated at the signing of the agreement to effect this decision that the monies would be returned to Government should the country recover the debt from the company.In addition, CLICO’s liquidator, Dr Ganga at the time had provided an update on the payments being made to policyholders, noting that while a significant amount has been recovered and paid over, the company still had weighty liabilities to honour – almost $6 billion.
1. The rich zooplankton, fish and squid resources on the Patagonian Shelf sustain substantial populations of largely resident seabirds and marine mammals, These habitats are also visited seasonally by similar species from elsewhere but few data exist on their status and origin. Recent studies, using satellite-tracking to determine foraging ranges and feeding areas of seabirds and am marine mammals breeding at South Georgia, have shown that several species make substantial use of the waters of the Patagonian Shelf. 2. Wandering albatrosses use shelf-edge areas year-round with direct observations of both sexes of almost all age classes, including, breeding, pre-breeding and non-breeding individuals. White-chinned petrels and female Northern and Southern giant petrels mainly visit during incubation and post-breeding, particularly to the Falklands Current (White-chinned petrels) and to upwelling areas around the southern shelf-break from the Burdwood Bank in the cast to Staten Island and Diego Ramirez in the west (giant petrels). Northern giant petrel males during incubation and Antarctic fur seals in winter reach inner shelf habitats in the northern sector. In contrast, South Georgia populations of black-browed and grey-headed albatrosses do not appear to use the Patagonian Shelf at any stage of their breeding cycle. 3. Although the use of the Patagonian Shelf by visiting species is now best documented for South Georgia species, recent observational data confirm that seabirds from Diego Ramirez, Tristan da Cunha and Gough visit the southern and northern sectors, during both breeding and non-breeding seasons respectively. Several Antarctic species (notably Antarctic fulmar and cape petrel) winter in the region as do at least two albatross species from New Zealand; other species (especially Wilson’s storm petrels) use it as a staging ground on migration, as do several species of baleen whales and possibly other cetacean species. 4. Three of the seabird species which breed on the Patagonian Shelf are Globally Threatened; seven of the visiting species (and four baleen whale species) also have this status. The Patagonian Shelf is, therefore, not only of global importance for the diversity and abundance of its resident top predators but is just as critical for the survival of many visiting species, some of which are even more endangered. 5. Combining data from satellite-tracking with conventional mapping from direct observations offers the prospect of defining the foraging ranges (and the main feeding areas within these) of a range of key top predator species. Such data should be used, in conjunction with similar information of the distributions of fish, squid and zooplankton resources and of fishing effort, to identify critical marine habitats whose precautionary, multiple-use sustainable management will be vital to protect the interests of both commercial fishers and top predators.