Hindu Credit Union (HCU) boss, Harry Harnarine, says he understands that shareholders are suffering for their money, and that he has to operate in the interest of all. He was adressing close to 100 shareholders of the financially-strapped credit union who packed the newly-opened Rajmoshi restaurant and convenience store in Chaguanas, yesterday. Speaking to the mixed age group, Harnarine said: "I want you all to understand that a year may sound long...People are suffering for their money.
"I understand all that, but at the same time I have to continue to operate in the interest of all, and not some, and that is to say the interest of all is better served in fighting the liquidator, because if we allow the liquidation of the credit union's assets and the companies' assets, what will eventually happen is that people may get 20 and 35 cents on the dollar."
The meeting was held to brief shareholders and depositors about the current situation of the HCU. Harnarine said: "The situation at this point in time is that we have three major court matters."
So far, in one of the matters, "we were able to get a stay of the liquidation of the assets of the HCU and the HCU Financial Group of Companies. "They have also agreed at case management level that the HCU Financial Group of Companies is not in liquidation and therefore, the HCU Financial board can resume operations of all the companies under the HCU Financial Group." Seeing it as an achievement, Harnarine told the gathering that "that in itself was a very successful position for you all as shareholders, because of the fact that when the liquidator took over, he did not observe the court order."
Replying to his own question of what was the court order, he said it was that the Hindu Credit Union Co-Operative Society was in liquidation, which was similar to the CL Financial Group. Explaining his point, Harnarine said: "Clico and Clico Investment Bank, one was in liquidation and one was under management, or closure, as you will say. "But it did not affect Colfire; it did not affect Republic Bank, it did not affect Health Net. "Similarly, the court order on the ex parte injunction was in relation to the Hindu Credit Union Co-operative Society."
He said the Central Bank prevented the liquidator from shutting down Bankers' Insurance, which was a fully-owned company of HCU. According to Harnarine, the insurance firm declared $17 million in profit during the last two to three weeks. He added that 92 per cent of it was owned by the HCU. On a lighter note, Harnarine said several of the companies which operated under the HCU Financial Group would reopen this week. "In terms of the companies, we have decided to take control of the following companies: HCU Auto Care, Institute of Higher Learning, and on Monday (tomorrow) we are going to reopen Sajeewan Medical."
However, he said those companies would be reopened at the head office in Chaguanas. An animated Harnarine said the liquidator's action was illegal, and that the judge did not have to rule. "They conceded when we went to court that what was done was wrong and they are now going to hand over all papers and documents in relation to the HCU Financial Group of Companies." The matter would be heard in October, when the High Court resumes, Harnarine said.