February 5, 2013

It’s no game; let’s get to the bottom of things – Eustace

The opposition has once again accused Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves of “playing politics” with a national development.{{more}}

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace said yesterday that Gonsalves was playing “games” in his response to Eustace’s call for a statement regarding recent development surrounding the St Vincent Building and Loan Association.

Eustace last week called on the Government to reassure shareholders, after Ministry of Finance economist Luke Browne wrote in The Vincentian newspaper “condemnatory” comments about Building and Loan.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Ralph Gonsalves was overseas on official duties when Eustace spoke last week Monday.

Eustace said on the “New Times” programme on Nice Radio yesterday that the details surrounding the decision by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to take over the management of Building and Loan last Friday were still not public.

“We haven’t been told what is the big issue in Building and Loan. I haven’t heard any details. Something has to be said or some indication given,” he said.

“I listened to the Prime Minister yesterday (Sunday) on WE FM and he is criticising me, because I called on him to make a statement. He is criticising me, playing politics with a very serious issue,” Eustace further said.

Gonsalves said on radio Sunday that he would invest in Building and Loan. Yesterday, he deposited $21,000 on behalf of his daughter Soleil.

Gonsalves said on radio Sunday that the FSA has to comment on its involvement in Building and Loan before he does.

“I expect that if he is going to speak, he would speak with the FSA first, which has the right to supervise the institution,” Eustace, however, said.

“I don’t expect him to speak without reference to them (FSA). So, I don’t know what foolishness he is talking about. I have made it plain that I want to see the institution continue. I have appealed to people to continue with the institution. And he goes on radio yesterday … and making these kinds of statements.

“I am interested in this country and the people of this country, to ensure that they not only survive but prosper…” Eustace said.

“He is the Minister of Finance. [Is there] something wrong with the Leader of the Opposition asking him to make a statement on a financial issue that threatens deposits of millions of dollars?

“I don’t want that to happen, so I ask him to respond, because he is in a better position than I could ever be in the Opposition. It’s always games, games, games, while the country is going to hell.

“We have to get to the bottom of the situation and I must have confidence too, so that I can say to people, ‘Listen man, things being regularised, so don’t move your money.’”

Eustace said the situation is a serious one.

“Thousands of lives are being impacted by what is happening now. People don’t know what to do and they’re looking for guidance and asking a lot of questions…

“It’s not a game. It’s no game involved here. It is the future of thousands of people who have put their money for management by the institution with the hope of earning some additional income and looking for their retirement and other things…” Eustace said. (