A Tarouba father of two broke down in tears and sadly recalled a former prime minister's warning about the People's Partnership. A west Trinidad resident, who resigned from the COP, vowed never to support the party–or the People's Partnership–again, saying the Clico issue could be the "death" of the PP Government. And a UNC member cried shame on Finance Minister Winston Dookeran and warned Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar against Dookeran. Yesterday's Clico Policyholders Group meeting at Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain, produced a range of emotions from anxious policyholders, some of whom frankly aired bitter feelings against the Government and the COP element which Dookeran heads. The audience, profiling a variety of glum faces, included many retirees, as well as younger people, former Barbarossa bandleaders Richard Affong and Penny Prescod, bandleader Ian Mckenzie, retired union leader Sam Maharaj and others.
Tarouba resident Peter Hinds broke down in tears and had to take several minutes to compose himself as he spoke of the two daughters, ages 19 and 20, he had to support. Hinds, a sales representative, told reporters he had invested $60,000 in Clico policies over ten years. "I see a lot of older people here when I look around, but Dookeran says it will take 20 years to pay this off–some people will be dead by then," he said. "We want we money now!" "Right now...!" came the immediate reply from some members of the audience. Hinds said: "The Government has Methanol Holdings and they have other Clico companies, so they have the money to pay." "Tell Dookeran and the ministers I ent vote for all you and I ent sorry. I ent sorry I ent vote for all yuh! I ent sorry! "A former prime minister had said 'you look for dat...take dat!'"
Victoria Gardens, Diego Martin, resident, Phillip Lyder, said he invested his retirement money in Clico in January 2009, alongside his wife's. Livid about Dookeran's recommendation, Lyder said: "What is wrong with Dookeran?! Has his brains gone through? I went to the COP's office in Woodbrook and told them I can no longer support the COP!" Lyder said Dookeran's Clico plan could put the PP at risk of losing the next political round if the Government went forward with his plan. "You can't do people this...Whatever they get now they look for it!" Lyder said, adding that he had to provide for his health. Warning that if the PP kept going on that route, the Goverment would be undone, he said. Lyder said he had supported the PP and had looked forward to something good from the new administration.
"But now I don't want to see them! They were asking me at Flagship House if I was coming to vote in the (recent) COP elections and I told them I don't want to see Flagship House again!" Lyder added. He told the Guardian after that the removal of public servants' increments had helped bring down the National Alliance for Reconstruction in 1986 and the Piarco airport project was also the "death" of the UNC. He said the last PNM administration was also brought down because of Udecott. Lyder warned that if the PP did not deal with the situation properly, the Clico issue would be the "death" of the PP administration. Another speaker, Alvin Beharry-Greaves said he had used his car to campaign for the UNC and PP. He accused Dookeran of bringing shame on PP supporters. Supporting Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, he said Dookeran would "throw down" the PP.
"All you will not reach five years in office, Prime Minister Kamla, be careful of Dookeran!" Greaves warned. "Some of us have no more hope in T&T. When we lose the interest on our money is time to die. That is what the Government is telling us." "You are shaming down the nation and the Prime Minister–you and the Central Bank Governor should resign, Dookeran!" A middle-age man in a green jersey lamented that he had invested all his VSEP money from a TSTT job in Clico. He called for a 72-hour deadline for the Goverment to give a decision to investors. Another man called for a deadline of October 31 for the Government to decided on a new solution. The PP Government, however, came in for praise from policyholders group committee members Prem Beharry and Peter Permell. Beharry, labelling the Dookeran plan "untenable," praised the Prime Minister for "squashing" that and appointing the Vasant Bharath team to "change course from this collision course of fighting this in the courts," he said. Both lauded team leader Vasant Bharath.