Government will not allow BLA to fail – PM
March 1, 2013

Government will not allow BLA to fail – PM

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has asked all former shareholders and depositors who removed their money from the Building and Loan Association (BLA) to put it back.{{more}}

He made the call on Monday during a press conference, at which he reaffirmed that the government would not allow the BLA to go under.

“So, anybody that is hearing me and they have taken out their money to put all or part back,” Gonsalves said.

Among those that he said that he would be making the appeal to were his two brothers.

Last month, Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace disclosed that over $1 million in the name of the prime minister’s mother, Theresa Francis, had been removed from the BLA.

Gonsalves later said that he had not known about the October 1, 2012 withdrawal, and that the account was in the name of his mother, and his older and young brothers.

He, however, said that he had already spoken to them (his brothers) and that he would be speaking privately to others who had taken money out of the building society prior to the February 1 takeover by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

In his presentation, Gonsalves said that he was also calling on community activist and head of the BLA shareholders’ interim committee Junior Bacchus to put back the money he took out of his BLA account in 2009.

Stating government’s support for the association, the prime minister reiterated that the $6 million owed by the BLA to the government in respect of the levy which all deposit taking institutions are required to pay, will be converted into a form of equity on the condition that the government, could not vote inside the BLA.

According to Gonsalves, he had read in the press that the government was yet to lay out a contingency plan, but he explained that on January 31, he had written to the Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) requesting $15 million in support for the BLA.

This money will be lent to the BLA if necessary, but Gonsalves explained that it was the government’s responsibility to pay it back.

And, if any additional resources are required, the prime minister said he would be willing to find such, although he said he hoped that the BLA would not require this.(DD)