About

In the interest of freedom of expression and for availability and reference, I have decided to create my own website to publish for the online community, my views on various topical matters.

Afra RaymondAfra Raymond is President of the Joint Consultative Council for the Construction Industry (JCC).  Afra is a Chartered Surveyor and Managing Director of Raymond & Pierre Ltd. – www.raymondandpierre.com. The opinions of Afra Raymond are not necessarily held by the JCC or Raymond & Pierre Ltd.

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  1. #1 by RRamdin on August 9, 2009 - 7:59 pm

    Mr. Raymond,

    This is wonderful!! This is truly aimed at the “thinking” public. I wish you the best with your website and will continually be looking on as this positively develops… keep the flag flying higher and higher!!

    RR

  2. #2 by Peter Anthony Gales on May 21, 2010 - 10:41 am

    Very impressive endeavour. Your insight and sincerity shows through. Am also impressed at your use of modern technology in a country that has not yet entered the 21st century.

  3. #3 by Whistling on October 3, 2010 - 7:58 am

    Mr Raymond
    I think you should also try to look at the fact that a true annuity contract cannot pay persons interest separately since the funds are supposed to be locked in until maturity at which point a pension is payable. However, the contract did allow for partial withdrawals.
    Further, an annuity has a maturity date which is separate from the end of “lock-in interest period”, so the PRACTICE was that people were surrendering their annuities at the end of a lock-in but were calling it maturity.
    Finally, CBTT in May 2008 stopped BAT from issuing EFPAs to non-individuals, in fact the rule was that the annuitant had to be a named individual, so companies still took out the policy but with someone named as the annuitant thus bending the rules.
    If the government were to decide to just fill the hole in the statutory fund and leave everything as it is, then there would still be a failure because nowhere can the statutory fund earn the interest needed to cover the interest requests currently paid to EFPA holders as it is.
    Who were paid over the last 24 months could make interesting reading, since some may be shown to be friends and family of executives, politicians, directors and shareholders.
    What about expenses of these companies over the last 24 months? Did they keep on having the lavish parties and keeping expensive furniture and ordering costly additions to existing infrastructure? Food, coffee, tea, bottled water and juice?
    The auditors of CLICO and BAT never provided a qualified opinion on them, doesn’t that indicate some responsibility on their part too? The regulators would look to see if the auditors reported an irregularity before investigating thoroughly, since the regulators cannot thoroughly investigate everyone everyyear with their current manpower.
    The accountants who oversaw the statutory fund deposits should have raised red flags based on their profession and if they would not heard, they should have resigned, but instead they remained and in my opinion are as much to blame for any obfuscation to auditors and regulators. Was there material misrepresentation to the auditors and regulators by the accountants?
    All financial companies must have internal audit departments, investment committees and board audit committees. Reports of these should be reviewed.
    Should directors, executives and agents be a part of the bailout, in terms of getting back their money after being proven incompetent at the very least?

  4. #4 by Cathy-Ann Lindsay on November 17, 2010 - 11:22 pm

    I’m delighted that you choose this medium so as to provide your insight on issues of the day. It allows for quick delivery of responses from your viewers or readers alike.

    Before I depart though, I wish to take a moment to address the CL Financial and HCU. fiasco, which had been in the making for some time.
    Recall some years ago (probably 2004) when the Supervisor of Insurance relayed his/her concern that CLICO was becoming more an investment entity, thereby placing depositors at risk, very few heeded his/her cause of concern. And more recently, there were numerous complaints by depositors about HCU; Conrad Enill, former Minister of Finance, attempted address the matter with new legislation for Co-operatives, but was halted by the Prime Minster following a protest by a group of HCU members that it was a different type of Credit Union.
    Now that the two concerns have ‘fallen from grace’ so to speak, taxpayers are being called to the rescue. But I need to ask though if the population has learned any lessons? Further, what needs to be changed within our legislative framework for operation of financial institutions? Personally I feel that our population needs to become more proactive – as Mr. Larry Howai of First Citizens Bank stated there is usually a going interest rate that is offered, anything much higher should be viewed with caution. Secondly a review of the legislation for financial entities should be considered, clearly establishing parameters for operation of banks, trust companies, insurance, credit unions etc. … as was done in Nigeria. And finally, providing the regulatory bodies with more effective mechanisms for intervention into financial entities.

    Thank you very much for the opportunity to allow for contributions to your space.

  5. #5 by Angelique on December 8, 2010 - 7:51 am

    I was pleasantly surprised on discovering this site after listening to the RICS Americas podcast. I will certainly be following all the posts. Finally, here is a forum for candid and public discussion on real estate matters in Trinidad. Keep up the excellence!

    • #6 by AfraRaymond on December 8, 2010 - 8:23 am

      Hello Angelique,

      Are you a member of the property/construction sector?

      Thanks for joining-in, please note that the complete series of ‘Property Matters’ articles is at our firm’s website – http://www.raymondandpierre.com

      Please spread the word.

      Afra

  6. #7 by Mommy on July 15, 2011 - 1:08 pm

    Mr Raymond,

    I think you should also try to look at the fact that a true annuity contract cannot pay persons interest separately, since the funds are supposed to be locked-in until maturity, at which point a pension is payable. However, the contract did allow for partial withdrawals. Further, an annuity has a maturity date which is separate from the end of the lock-in interest period: so the PRACTICE was that people were surrendering their annuities at the end of a lock-in but were calling it maturity.

    Finally, CBTT in May 2008 stopped BAT from issuing EFPAs to non-individuals, in fact the rule was that the annuitant had to be a named individual, so companies still took out the policy but with someone named as the annuitant, thus bending the rules. If the government were to decide to just fill the hole in the statutory fund and leave everything as it is, then there would still be a failure because nowhere can the statutory fund earn the interest needed to cover the interest requests currently paid to EFPA-holders as it is.

    Who were paid over the last 24 months could make interesting reading, since some may be shown to be friends and family of executives, politicians, directors and shareholders. What about expenses of these companies over the last 24 months? Did they keep on having the lavish parties and keeping expensive furniture and ordering costly additions to existing infrastructure? Food, coffee, tea, bottled water and juice?

    The auditors of CLICO and BAT never provided a qualified opinion on them, doesn’t that indicate some responsibility on their part too? The regulators would look to see if the auditors reported an irregularity before investigating thoroughly, since the regulators cannot thoroughly investigate everyone every year with their current manpower.

    The accountants who oversaw the statutory fund deposits should have raised red flags based on their profession and if they were not heard, they should have resigned, but instead they remained and in my opinion are as much to blame for any obfuscation to auditors and regulators. Was there material misrepresentation to the auditors and regulators by the accountants? All financial companies must have internal audit departments, investment committees and board audit committees. Reports of these should be reviewed. Should directors, executives and agents be a part of the bailout, in terms of getting back their money after being proven incompetent at the very least?
    +1

  7. #8 by Mathew on December 9, 2013 - 1:41 pm

    Hello!

    Today I got up and watched your Ted talk about the 3 myths of corruption. I live in Canada, a country rich in natural resources that has been drained off in the last 100 years through practically untaxed mining of ores in south eastern Ontario and Quebec.

    The sad part is that no one talks about it and it’s the elephant in the room. The mining companies make billions and give nothing back to the communities they are in, contaminate the land with heavy metals from their process’s and leave the site as is once they have taken all the worthwhile resources from the area.

    There is over 400 abandoned mining sites in Ontario and Quebec poisoning the environment slowly and no reprimands have been made from the companies that have destroyed the land.

    None of this is hidden and it is all “legal”.

    This is unacceptable.

    How can I get involved?

  8. #9 by Rich Purtell on February 14, 2014 - 11:20 am

    I am in the United States and I am fighting hard to change the way public construction projects are done. Many states lack procurement oversight and have a “revolving door” between the state level design and construction groups and private sector architects and engineers. While the NIGP (Institute of Government Procurement) tells me that procurement oversight is increasing, which is good, I question by how much and how fast. We desperately need more transparency, more accountability, and LESS discretion to bypass competitive buying rules. An OBJECTIVE outside risk analysis of the construction process would easily find many conflicts of interests and positions of high risk. Essentially the attitude in the US is that engineers (I am an engineer myself!) are infallible, inherently honest, and therefore do not require supervision from procurement nor anyone else with the primary charge to protect the taxpayer.

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