CCJ dismisses claim by British American policyholders
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, CMC – The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has dismissed the majority of the claims brought by policyholders of British American Insurance Company Limited (BAICO) who alleged that Trinidad and Tobago had breached various articles of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) in the aftermath of the collapse of conglomerate, CL Financial (CLF).
In deciding on a preliminary point raised at the case management stage of Ellis Richards & Ors versusThe State of Trinidad and Tobago, the CCJ dismissed four claims in relation to Articles of the RTC.
The claimants, who were nationals of and institutions established in Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada, argued that the measures taken by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago by its intervention in and assistance to CLF and its subsidiaries, CLICO Investment Bank (CIB)
Colonial Life Insurance Company (Trinidad) Limited and British American Insurance Company (Trinidad) Limited (BAT) were discriminatory and breached Articles 7, 36, 37 and 38 of the RTC.
They alleged that the bailout measures were taken to rescue CLF and CLICO, CIB and BAT, all subsidiaries registered in Trinidad and Tobago but this same protection was not offered to them as policyholders of BAICO.
Further, the claimants said, the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago took active steps to exclude them from the rescue package.
They also argued that the measures imposed restrictions on the provision of cross-border insurance services in contravention of Articles 36, 37 and 38 of the Revised Treaty.
The CCJ dismissed claims related to Article 26, alleged breach of duty not to impose new restrictions on the provision of services; Article 37, alleged breach of duty not to impose discriminatory restrictions on the provision of services; and Article 38, alleged breach of duty not to impose discriminatory restrictions on banking, insurance and other financial services.
The claim regarding Article 7, discriminatory treatment, as far as it relates to Chapter Three of the RTC was also dismissed.
However, the claims with respect to an alleged breach of Article 184(1)(j) – failure to promote the interests of consumers in the Community – and Article 7, so far as it is applicable to that claim, was not dismissed.
The Court has reserved the issue of costs to the conclusion of the matter.