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The Gleaner - January 14, 2001

 

Patrick Hylton fields questions on FINSAC


Patrick Hylton, managing director of the Financial Sector Adjustment Company (FINSAC), with Go-Jamaica's client relations officer, Marlene Davis, just before the start of The Gleaner's Talk 2000 session via the company's Go-Jamaica website last night. Winston Sill

...and one from a US woman seeking a Jamaican mate.

AN AMERICAN woman last night gave Patrick Hylton, managing director of the Financial Sector Adjustment Company (FINSAC), her vital statistics, marital status and other personal information, bluntly telling him she was looking for a Jamaican man.

But, for the most part, he was asked a multitude of well thought-out questions about FINSAC as he participated in The Gleaner's Talk 2000 session via the company's Go-Jamaica website.

Among the questions was whether he would be willing to disclose the names of the politicians who have been bailed out by FINSAC. Mr. Hylton said he would not disclose the names. However, he said there has been no political interference in the work that the government agency has been doing.

Mr. Hylton said he believed the crisis in the banking and insurance sectors was over and he knew of no other financial institutions which he thought might go bust.

"I believe the crisis is over," he said. "I am not aware of any financial institution that is in danger of going bust at this time. In any case, most of the rehabilitation work has been completed and our focus is now on divestments." He said the $22-billion loss incurred by FINSAC was not a reflection of its operating performance. Rather, it was the adjustment made in the value of assets acquired, including companies in which FINSAC has intervened, non-performing loans purchased and interests accruing to FINSAC on its investment in intervened companies. Mr. Hylton said their focus for 2000 would be on divestments.

Asked how many consultants were working at FINSAC, Mr. Hylton said he could not give a definitive figure then, but he knew only of consultants who were involved in a project being undertaken with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), as well as a few in forensic accounting.

One participant suggested that FINSAC has been making a loss since its inception and wanted to know when the Government was going to shut it down, like it did other money-losing entities.

Mr. Hylton said FINSAC was established with a specific mandate to operate within a five- to seven-year period and therefore would not exist in perpetuity. It was expecting to complete its work within five years. "We are on target to come in ahead of the seven years," he added.

Asked about the sale of some assets such as hotels to businessman Gordon 'Butch' Stewart and whether they were sold at fair prices, he said professional valuations were done before assets were sold and he believed they were sold at fair prices.

Mr. Hylton said that as a direct result of the Government's decision to set up FINSAC to rehabilitate the financial sector, the sector was now very secure.

He explained the laws and other controls being put in place to ensure there was no repeat of the debacle in the financial sector.

 

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