The Opposition is not taking kindly to statements made by Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, blaming the former APNU+AFC for the current financial state of the National Insurance Scheme.
Jagdeo told Berbicians during a visit that the NIS is now in a bankrupt state and that should be blamed on the former government because of its decision to lay off sugar workers.
But Opposition Member of Parliament Volda Lawrence responded last evening and said the Vice President needs to be truthful and ought to be reminded that it was under his tenure as President that the NIS was left in a cash-strapped position because of a number of bad and questionable investments.
“It was Mr. Jagdeo who invested $2.5 Billion of NIS monies in ordinary shares in the Berbice River Bridge. He further invested another $810 Million from the NIS resources into this bridge in order to cover the non-performing assets in this entity. By his actions, this caused the resources of NIS to be further depleted. One must also not forget the CLICO fiasco again involving Mr. Jagdeo and the NIS funds whereby some five-plus billion dollars was invested. And we all know the fiasco of CLICO which was placed under judicial management in 2009 and subsequently was liquidated in September 2010”, Lawrence reminded in her statement.
She also explained that despite the advice from the Board of Directors of the NIS at the time, including from Guyanese with experience in financing and investment, Mr. Jagdeo proceeded to invest the members’ money in the Berbice River Bridge, the CLICO Insurance Scheme, and Laparkan, among other projects which dented finances of the insurance scheme.
“What Mr. Jagdeo should be advising the President and Cabinet on is the provision in the Financial Institution Act of 1995 on how to treat NIS under section 3 of the Co-operative Financial Institutions Act. Let me inform the public at large that a coalition government would seek to utilize monies from the Natural Resources Fund by providing an annual subvention to NIS of approximately 15 million US dollars just 1% of the present amount in the fund, in order to wipe out this deficit caused by Mr. Jagdeo’s administration in the first place,” Lawrence said.
During his meeting in Berbice, Mr. Jagdeo told a pensioner questioning why he has not seen an increase over the past two years that the NIS is bankrupt and will be focusing on maintaining current payments and not offering any increase in pension payments at this time.
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