The Gleaner - February
Lalor: FINSAC saved economy from collapse
THE HON. Dennis Lalor, a titan of the local insurance industry,
was bombarded with searching questions last night when he appeared on The
Gleaner's Talk 2000 chat session via the company's Go-Jamaica web site.
Mr. Lalor had his mind teased and tested by the many participants who
seemed to hurl hard questions at him without respite. A frequently raised
issue was the role of the Financial Sector Adjustment Company (FINSAC).
"Does Jamaica need FINSAC?", a participant asked.
"Yes," Mr. Lalor shot back. "FINSAC has been an extremely
good intervention at a time when the financial service sector came under
pressure...The trick will be for FINSAC to dispense of the assets in a
timely fashion to put the economy back in the private sector."
Questions about the government company set up to bail out ailing financial
institutions were only just beginning to flow. "Do you think FINSAC
is doing a job worthwhile to the Jamaican economy?", asked another
participant. There was no variation in Mr. Lalor's line. "Without
FINSAC the Jamaican economy would have collapsed with dire consequences.
All things considered, FINSAC has done a good job," he said.
But less than five minutes after the last ball was dispatched to the
boundary, a tricky delivery came Mr. Lalor's way. A participant wanted to
know why the Life of Jamaica (LOJ) chairman had received a bail out for
his company soon after he set up another company in a neighbouring
Caribbean island. For a moment it looked as though he would be trapped at
the crease. But, it was not to be.
He said the company was acquired in Trinidad in 1995, prior to LOJ
receiving a bail out from FINSAC. The acquisition, he said, was
unfortunately portrayed in the press at the time as though it were recent.
"At any rate, it is the ICWI Group which made the acquisition and it
is LOJ that received the FINSAC assistance," he said.
During the hour-long session Mr. Lalor fielded several other questions
having to do with his interest in polo; a recent publication of his
speeches over the years; and his involvement in several charitable
organisations. There was even a question as to whether he thought the
People's National Party was competent enough to turn around the economy.
"I think the Minister of Finance has done a good job in difficult
circumstances," was his response. "The country has had its
difficulties and what we need now is less of diversity on the issues and
more of prescriptions in dealing with them."
But one participant would not let the issue drop. "Are you affiliated
to any political party," he asked. Mr Lalor: "No. I have never
been tempted to do so."
We value your feedback
Looking for something in particular? Search Our Website.