Guyana: CLICO Judicial Manager Shot

News broke yesterday that Insurance Commissioner Maria van Beek, who also happens to be the woman in charge of dissolving failed conglomerate CLICO Guyana, was shot yesterday in Georgetown. Bloggers have been trying to make sense of the attempted murder

Guyana 360, one of the first bloggers to break the story, offers some context to the disturbing incident:

The collapse of Clico has left many policyholders and pension fund contributors in Guyana anxious about the company's ability to honor its commitments. Earlier this week, Van Beek filed a report saying the company's liabilities of more than $60 million far exceed its assets.

Guyana seized Clico after its parent company in Trinidad, CL Financial Ltd., received a government bailout. CL Financial suffered huge losses in real estate investments and could not borrow enough money on credit markets paralyzed by the global financial crisis.

President Bharrat Jagdeo's administration has said it will borrow from the Treasury to pay Clico policyholders, but payment could drag out over a 10-year period.

Soon after that entry, the blogger posts an update, claiming that:

Police sources are confirming that at least two men who opened fire on Commissioner of Insurance, Maria Van Beek are well known ‘guns for hire'…a police source not authorised to speak publicly about the investigations, said that the men lay wait on Van Beek.

Guyana Providence Stadium wants to know “who tried to kill Mrs. van Beek”, but admits “at this stage it is too early to speculate”. He continues:

Her sister said it was stupid if someone who lost money in CLICO (Guyana) did it. Logic and common sense would rule that out. Every single person who lost money in CLICO would know, and I repeat, would know that Mrs. van Beek has absolutely nothing to do with the collapse of CLICO. Such an explanation should be ruled out. It is nonsensical and absurd.

Meanwhile, fellow blogger Imran Khan, notes that traffic congestion in the capital may have aided the perpetrators of the crime:

The shooting of Maria van Beek is troubling on many levels. And the execution of the actual crime itself leaves one frightened. Anyone from Linden, East Bank of Demerara, West Bank and West Coast of Demerara who travels to Georgetown to transact business or attend to other matters nine times out of ten would use the Lombard Street access route on which Mrs. van Beek was shot. During the day the area where she was shot usually sees traffic progress at snail’s pace.

Had there been a free flow of traffic in the area the shooter is unlikely to have had the confidence that he would have been able to execute his crime with Mrs van Beek’s vehicle likely to be proceeding at a steady pace.

Live in Guyana follows up with the suggestion that “the men, sporting dreadlocks, escaped through Leopold Street, Werk-en-rust and probably headed further southward in the City”, but it is evident from another post that he has more questions than answers:

1. Is it that Van Beek's role as Judicial Manager of CLICO Guyana cause her to be privy to certain information that may have serious consequences for others?

2. Is it that someone or group of persons feel the need to vent their anger at the moves being made at CLICO Guyana?

Diaspora blogger Signifyin’ Guyana has the last word, calling the shooting:

A shocking turn of events indeed…one more in the string of shocking twists and turns in the ongoing CLICO (Guyana) mess.

I wish van Beek a speedy recovery.

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