Trinidad & Tobago’s bailout five years ago of the Caribbean’s largest conglomerate, CL Financial, cost the country between 10 and 13 percent of GDP, according to Afra Raymond.
By comparison, the U.S. bailout of Wall Street firms was estimated by then-Treasury Secretary Geithner to cost about one percent of GDP, Raymond said on his Thinking Man’s Weblog.
Before its financial breakdown, CL Financial — founded as an insurance firm known as Colonial Life Insurance Company — expanded into broader financial services including real estate and energy. Its business stretched to multiple countries with assets eventually topping more than $100 billion.
The company suffered a liquidity crisis that resulted in the government of Trinidad and Tobago lending it funds and taking a majority of seats on the board of directors.
Raymond — well known to Ted Talk fans and readers of the FCPA Blog — has been chronicling the aftermath of the CL Financial bailout. He calls the events “an object lesson for those campaigning for proper integrity, transparency and good governance.”
Afra Raymond’s posts with links to official documents relating to the CL Financial bailout are here.
He’s a Chartered Surveyor and Managing Director of Raymond & Pierre Ltd. He also serves as President of Trinidad and Tobago’s Joint Consultative Council for the Construction Industry.