The Office of the Supervisor of Insolvency was established by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, Cap.303 of the Laws of Barbados (the BIA). This new piece of Legislation replaced the former Bankruptcy Act which was seen as outmoded and ill-equipped to meet the needs of a modern commercial society mainly by the emphasis which was placed on the interest of creditors at the expense of the interest of debtors, employed persons and the wider community.
The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, Cap.303
The BIA is the legal framework whereby trustees and employees of the Office of the Supervisor of Insolvency administer and oversee bankruptcy and insolvency transactions.
When businesses or consumers cannot pay their debts, they may file for bankruptcy or make a proposal (a payment arrangement with their creditors to prevent bankruptcy). These are legal proceedings carried out under the BIA. All Bankruptcy and Insolvency Applications must be registered with the Office of the Supervisor of Insolvency.
What is our mandate?
Section 161 of the BIA provides the Supervisor of Insolvency with the mandate to “supervise the administration of estates and matters to which the Act applies.” In order to carry out this mandate, our mission statement aims to:
Provide an inexpensive and effective system that will ensure compliance with the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, promote and encourage private-sector participation in the system so that efficiency and accountability in the administration of estates may be achieved and to provide sterling service to the general public and the private-sector at minimum cost.
Role of the Supervisor of Insolvency
Under the BIA, the Supervisor of Insolvency (without limiting the authority conferred under Section 161):
• Has general supervisory function over all estates in bankruptcy, commercial reorganizations, proposals and receiverships;
• Receives Applications for licences by trustees and issues licences to those qualified to perform such functions;
• Examines trustees’ accounts of receipts and disbursements and their final statements thus ensuring that trustees comply with the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Regulations;
• Conducts investigations where there are indications of an offence having been committed in connection with the bankruptcy;
• Maintains a public record of all bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, licences issued to trustees and notices sent to the Supervisor by Receivers in compliance with their duties under Section 10C of BIA;
• May chair the first meeting of creditors to ensure all parties are aware of their rights and responsibilities under the BIA;
• Ensures that debtors have access to financial counselling needed to help avoid future insolvency; (only qualified counsellors are recommended);
• May intervene in any matter or proceedings in Court, where the Supervisor considers it expedient to do so, as if the Supervisor were a party to the matter or proceedings;
• Designates as mediator, herself, an employee of her office or any other person with training or experience in mediation when the need for such services are necessary. (Mediation is a way of resolving conflict between two or more individuals. The parties involved in a disagreement can agree to work together with an impartial and independent person who will help them to settle their dispute instead of going to Court).