Bassy - Love Vine
December 30, 2009
De good ole Penny Bank

Is ah few Institutions in SVG dat keep reminding me dat “Together as ah people, we could turn things round”. One is de “Bun Pan Society” dat was founded by ah member of de Peasant Class, Oniel “Bun Pan” Guy. Bun Pan was founded at ah time when poor people uses to fraid to dead, many couldn’t even afford to pay foh ah $2.00 coffin made by de prisoners. It was Mr. Guy who started his Friendly Society and so catered foh ah decent and affordable burial foh members, as well as ah savings dat culminated at Christmas.{{more}} Today Bun Pan members are buried in $5,000 caskets. Fancy dat, from one extreme to de other.

Another Institution is Ford Penny Bank, again ah Poor Man ting. In 1938 ole man Ormond “OC” Forde den 28 years young, got fed up wuking as ah clerk wid his brother, de famous Lawyer O.W. Forde, fired de wuk and started ah Friendly Society called de Employers and Employees Benevolent Association, offering members a savings and death benefit. Dat Association still functions but caters now foh Employees only, members pay ah dollar ah week and will receive ah $1,500 death benefit. Dat benefit needs upgrading because Cedric Mills ain’t burying yuh foh dat kind ah money. Ah not knocking Cedric because he and I have an agreement, if ah dead before him, he will bury me foh free (ah cheap coffin) and if (when) he dead before me, ah will bury him and play lively music wid de Cuatro and Harmonica at de graveside. But dat is ah long way off, ley we go back to Missah Forde and de Penny Bank. In 1941, O.C not fully satisfied wid ah Benevolent Society, put his great vision and foresight to wuk and started Building and Loan, fancy dat, me and Building and Loan born de same year. Building and Loan has grown and still growing, and has made ah significant impact in de development ah de housing stock in SVG.

O.C. was still not satisfied, because dey was still ah great void foh ah Poor Man Bank; sum-way dat dey could ah save dey lickle Penny and six cents when dey get dey fortnight pay, or like on ah Sat-dey morning after dem vendors done sell de ground provisions and fruits, dey could go straight away and put aside ah lickle Penny. Mind yuh, we had Barclays Bank but dat bank was foh rich people wid dollars and sense. And when yuh peep inside yuh would ah think yuh dey in England; from de manager and top brasses to de clerks were all white, English born and locals, but every one ah dem was white. So de Penny Bank founded by “O. C” dat was long overdue, finally started in 1944. De bank was actually incorporated in 1945. Dey’s also Fred Hazell, ah name synonimous wid ah number ah things, chief of which was money, he had faith in “O.C’s” vision, and was among de founding fathers ah de Bank. Today some sixty-five years after, de face and image of de Bank needed ah face-lift, so wid ah progressive Board and aggressive management team led by Laverne Velox and Monty Howard, de Institution is being transformed to meet de modern times. One ting dat pleases me is dat de good ole copper Penny holds prominence on de new Logo and de new slogan is “The Penny Bank and so much more”. I could identify wid de “so much more” phrase in de slogan. Last year when ah needed to finance an Online Course, ah got ah student loan from Forde Penny Bank. Ah overs dat de bank will be offering ATM service, de ting way yuh go up to ah machine and withdraw cash, dat is all well and good, but not foh me, ah believe in de ole time religion, on ah Sat-dey morning when all de other banks close, ah want to go in de line, wait me turn, and interact wid dem nice pretty cash-here.

Lie-Za too young to know about ah Penny coin, she dead to Penny bread and Penny lard oil, she really not Penny wise. She asking how dey name ah Bank after de Penny, de only ting she remembers bout Penny was when she was small, every night before going to bed, de last ting her Mom uses to ask her was : “ Lie-Za darling…. did yuh remember to wash dat Penny of yours”?


Ah don’t want to get into any bassah-bassah wid de person who opted to hide behind de pen-name “Avid Newspaper Reader”, who accused me of being buy-us when ah said day de young lady at de Bank who was sent home foh allegedly breaking de “bank’s con-feed-an-shell security”, was being used as ah “scapegoat”. Nine yeas ago when ah White Angel at de bank leaked info to de ULP on Ah-dam-ass foh cashing ah million dollars at de same NCB, Car-lie Do-gone de Attorney General had to resign, no bank wuker was sent home. But ah few weeks ago, when people wid strong ULP connection, officials at dat, went to de same NCB making “questionable bank transactions” changing some hefty US ‘checks’, one ah de wukers at de bank thought dat what was happening was wrong and needed to be exposed, information was leaked to de NDP. To date, one wuker was sent home, but nothing else is being said, heard or done wid those who were allegedly involved in de transaction, except dat de voters added dat incident to dey list ah grievances, and Vote No in de riff-around-dem. Yes it is wrong foh staff to divulge bank business, but what about when people wid high Guv-ah-mint connection do dey ting, dey should remain unchallenged? I say two wrongs don’t mek ah right. Until de real law breakers are tackled and dealt wid, den de lady is de scapegoat. Mr/s Avid Newspaper Reader, stop hide behind Sue-dah-name, just remember, one ah these days All unfair games will be played again…. Soon! And wid dat, is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.