Prime Minister Gonsalves praises Board of Bank of SVG
February 24, 2012
Prime Minister Gonsalves praises Board of Bank of SVG

The Board of Directors of the former National Commercial Bank (NCB) has come in for praise from Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who indicated that their leadership was an influential part in the institution’s transformation to the Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (BOSVG).{{more}}

Dr. Gonsalves speaking on Tuesday, February 21, at a special ceremony in which close to 900,000 of the bank’s shares were handed over to the National Insurance Services, expressed his appreciation to the men whom he said advised him on the divestment of majority shares in the NCB to St. Lucian based East Caribbean Financial Holdings.

“I want to thank Errol Allen, Andre Iton, Cims Martin, Maurice Edwards, Derry Williams, Dwight Venner; who as governor of the (East Caribbean) Central Bank supported the divestment.

“Here you have six individuals if I were to go wrong, I go wrong on the advice of gentlemen, Vincentians, the best you have anywhere in this component of our Caribbean civilization to provide advice on this issue.”

The Prime Minister pointed out that he gets annoyed, when the matter of the NCB’s divestment is addressed in a negative manner, with allegations of corruption being cited as a reason for the divestment, and the persons involved in the process were not credible individuals.

“Anybody seriously thinks that if Errol Allen, a man of his integrity and knowledge, that if this was not in a good course for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, he wouldn’t have walked away and say so publicly? ….Same thing with Andre Iton; same thing with Cims Martin, Dwight Venner, who had to give the approval of the Central Bank? He would have said to me ‘No… Prime Minister this can’t work.’”

“….You are not damning me when you say that you know. You damning Errol Allen who is the chairman of the bank. You damning Andre Iton, one of the best sons in banking in the region. You damning Derry Williams, a country man from Rose Hall who is an excellent Banker. Those are who you are damning because I wasn’t running it….”

According to the Prime Minister, the divestment also had the support of the Caribbean Development Bank.

He indicated that other institutions have expressed interest in following in the footsteps of the NCB, but are not given the right away to do so.

“Anybody thinks that the CDB would do a debt swap of over $100 million if they were not satisfied that the institution which had succeeded the Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was on a foundation from the NCB which is credible?”

“Why not say yes to the other people who want to go do it the way we went? Ponder on that.”

“What the CDB is telling them is that the NCB, whatever liquidity challenges, had reformed itself, had a positive shareholders equity of $84 million, the books were in order, the management of the bank was in good hands…. It had a well trained staff, it had a good board, good management, good systems.”

“That in itself is confidence.”