PM: ‘Government had nothing to do with FSA taking over Building and Loan’
February 5, 2013

PM: ‘Government had nothing to do with FSA taking over Building and Loan’

The government had nothing to do with the Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) decision to assume temporary management of the Building and Loan Association (BLA), Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said yesterday.{{more}}

Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, told a press conference that chair of the board of the FSA, Leon Snagg, wrote to the BLA on Friday, informing then of its decision to assume management and control of the BLA with immediate effect.

“The Financial Services Authority indicated to the board of directors that such action became necessary for protecting the interest of the shareholders, members and depositors as well as the public and for ensuring that the institution remains financially sound,” Gonsalves said.

He said he could not say how long the FSA would manage BLA, but that he anticipated that the FSA would want to move on as swiftly as possible, especially because the FSA is a governing regulating body and not into the long term management of any one financial institution.

“But I want to emphasize that it doesn’t mean at all that your money is not safe. In fact, the Financial Services Authority going in it strengthens the sustainability of the organisation,” said Gonsalves, who yesterday invested $21,000 in BLA, on behalf of one of his daughters.

“It gives greater confidence for the safety of the institution,” the prime minister further said.

He explained that there were rumours suggesting that the government was seeking to go into the BLA, as it no longer has the former National Commercial Bank (NCB) at its disposal.

“The government is not taking over the Building and Loan; the Financial Services Authority is!

“In fact if the FSA needs any resources, it is the government that it will need to come to in order to get those resources and to mobilize those resources,” Gonsalves said of the state agency.

“I don’t know why — people must read and study things,” Gonsalves said.

He went on to identify the board members of the board, which include Shada Bollers, Maurice Edwards, Leon Snagg, Stewart Haynes, Vern Da Silva, Tamara Marks and Alma Dougan.

“Do these sound like people who do not know what they are doing? This is an independent body — politicians cannot be members of the FSA,” Gonsalves explained.

The prime minister further stated that there was a system of appeal as outlined under the Financial Services Authority Act.

Gonsalves also listed the names of those on the tribunal, which include Attorney-General Judith Jones-Morgan, Accountant General Ingrid Fitzpatrick, Director of Planning Laura Anthony-Browne, President of the Chamber of Commerce Andrew Woodruff and Lawyer Vaughn Jaundy Martin.

The prime minister explained that if any party had any grievances they would make an appeal to the tribunal.

Should there be a grievance on the part of the Building and Loan Association however, then Fitzpatrick cannot be one of those present, the prime minister explained, because although she is regarded highly as a professional, she sat as the Vice President on the previous BLA board.

“So, we have to grow up and trust these institutions and stop having trivia overtake us…

“The government had nothing to do with the FSA taking over managerial control of the Building and Loan,” Gonsalves reiterated. (DD)