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Breaking News:

Davis defends decision to leave CCRIF

  • Philip Brave Davis.

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Sep 15, 2017

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Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday defended the former administration’s decision to withdraw from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF), saying it was advised that it was unlikely that The Bahamas would benefit from it.

"The first thing you want to remember is that this CCRIF, that was started in 2007 and we used to pay around $900,000 in premium,” Davis said.

“We realize its threshold to receive any benefits were such that we could never, ever benefit. And once that realization came, we had a committee formed by our government that included the Department of Meteorology, finance people, the port people and a couple other agencies to review this whole thing to determine whether it was prudent to continue.

“They said it was not prudent to continue. Because of the nature of our country, we thought it was very unlikely that we'll ever be able to benefit from the insurance; hence, we discontinued.”

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest said the government is exploring splitting The Bahamas into three zones — the southern, central and northern Bahamas — and paying a different premium to the CCRIF Segregated Portfolio Company (SPC) insurance scheme for each zone.

The Bahamas has missed out on receiving payments from the CCRIF SPC in the past, due to certain factors not being in place after the passage of a storm that would trigger an insurance payout.

But the government was recently convinced by the CCRIF SPC that, had the previous government not pulled out of the scheme, The Bahamas would have received a payout amounting to about $32 million, which would have been the single largest payout to a country from the CCRIF.

On Tuesday, the CCRIF SPC revealed that, due to Hurricane Irma, it was initializing payouts of approximately US$29.6 million, with The Bahamas receiving $234,000 of that amount.

Turnquest said this money will be put into the Consolidated Fund, then turned over to the National Emergency Management Agency for its hurricane relief efforts.

In June, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis told Parliament that the Christie administration’s decision to opt out of the CCRIF demonstrated “gross and stunning incompetence”.

At the time, Minnis read a letter from the CEO of the CCRIF dated May 31, 2017, which detailed the consequences of the former government’s decision.

Davis urged Minnis to table the letter.

“Minnis claimed that we missed getting a payout for Matthew,” he said.

“He said he would table the letter; he hasn't done it yet.

“What we left in place, which was still open, was our agitation about how unfair the process was, particularly for The Bahamas.

“This year, for the first time, they introduced [the aggregate deductible cover], and what that is, is, if you are a member and they see that you had losses, they'll give you some pennies.

“Irma didn't trigger the policy at all. This is a colossal waste, and you get $234,000 and you [are] bragging on that."

According to Minnis, The Bahamas “paid up” its premium after the previous administration discontinued the policy.




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