Opposition Leader  questions conditions of NCB sale agreement
October 8, 2010
Opposition Leader questions conditions of NCB sale agreement

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace wants Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves to publicly disclose the contents of the agreement surrounding the sale of 51 per cent of the National Commercial Bank to the St Lucia based East Caribbean Financial Holding Company (ECFH) Ltd.{{more}}

“I want the Prime Minister to come out and explain the nature of the agreement,” Eustace said on Wednesday, on the ‘New Times’ radio program.

“All we hearing about is the $42 million, what else is in the agreement of significance?”

According to the Opposition Leader, one of the concerns for him and the New Democratic Party (NDP) was that he has not seen the agreement.

“How did you treat the $37 million in lands for Mt Wynne and Peter’s Hope which was conveyed to the bank?” Eustace questioned.

“The land is still there. Did they give back the lands to National Properties or was that covered in the $42 million?”

Eustace also demanded that Dr Gonsalves address the nation on what the “agreement says about the other hard properties of the bank.”

“Those alone must worth more than $42 million,” he lamented.

“Somebody has to explain why they (ECFH) got it so low,” he said.

“People saw the bank as a national pride, now under the new arrangement that is all gone.”

Eustace further contended that the issue was very serious and therefore warranted the PM’s urgent response.

“I know that a lot of people were hurt when they heard that figure,” Eustace declared, adding that he never expected that the shares would have been sold for a significant sum, because of the financial state of the bank.

“The government institutions were not paying the debt and that was why Gonsalves was forced to go to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).”

“The government was in debt to the NCB because his (Dr Gonsalves) mismanagement by seeking more and more overdraft and more and more loans and not paying them, especially within recent times,” Eustace said.

He also contended that the $42 million should be used to repay the $100 million debt to the CDB, rather than being put into capital projects as the Prime Minister has indicated he would be doing.

Eustace also said that it was going to be difficult for the NDP to do anything to reverse the process.

“I am not sure if the agreement has been signed, but we have been looking at some other alternatives,” Eustace said.

He admitted that to have the process reversed, “may be very difficult.”

“A lot of people have been asking me what I can do to stop the sale, but it doesn’t work so.”

“It may take weeks, even months. The question is what will happen to the bank in the mean time?” he said. (DD)