Our Readers' Opinions
October 19, 2012
Eustace, Leacock and NCB – (Conclusion)

Fri, Oct 19, 2012

Editor: Let me begin by reminding readers that this analysis began because Mr Leacock on a call to the New Times (NDP radio program, September 24) asked us to keep the sale of the NCB on “front burner”. I was stunned when he stated and restated that the NDP was not in office because it loved the country more than “they love they self”. Yet they tell us that the country is worse off because they are not in office.{{more}} So how do they love the country? I was stunned and it appears that I was not the only one.

The following Tuesday, I met Kingsley De Freitas in a store. There he informed that Mr Leacock was going to be on his program next Wednesday, because he got some calls – none of them in support of Mr Leacock’s comments. I gave him my opinion which he relayed to Mr Leacock next morning, September 26.

Coherent and Intelligent

This is how it went:

  • Kingsley: I got a few calls yesterday, Major, on you making a statement concerning the selling of the NCB, now Bank of SVG, you remember exactly what you say?
  • Leacock: Yes, I remember what I said.
  • Kingsley: Because I got calls from your friend you didn’t want me mention, Hans King. I also spoke to your mutual friend, Frank da Silva, who did not agree with the comments you made….
  • Leacock: Well, I speak from a knowledge base which allows me to be coherent and intelligent on the subject matter…It was no master stroke – it was no master stroke – and if the NDP really had loved they self more than they love government they would have let the bank fall. That is what they would do, then form government and find a solution after. They say boy, politics thicker than anything else, but the NDP did not do that. The NDP say too many small people would lose they shirt; let us help save the bank; and in the process helping to saving the bank, they also lost government.
  • Kingsley: So, so you think their ignorance of not understanding what you saying why they make the comments you do know what you saying?
  • Leacock: Well let me put it this way; I know a lot more about finance and management than the gentlemen in question.

Shocking Revelation

On September 13, 2010, Mr Eustace told us who owed the bank – a shocking revelation.

  • Eustace: Am looking here at page 697 of the Estimates of SVG, for the year 2010, and am going to pick out some of the corporations that were mentioned here and tell you how much they owe. And it is that money that they owe that this loan is supposed to wipe off.
  • Eustace: Let me start with the overdrafts: you have Accountant General overdraft, which is at $66 million as of September 30th 2009. Arrowroot Association, their overdraft was $356,000. And I notice Cricket World cup is not mentioned here, but you know under Cricket World Cup we still have debt of $6.5m to be paid off at NCB, but that is not mentioned in the list.
  • EG: How many? Six point something million?
  • Eustace: $6.573m, but that is not mentioned in this list. Then you have the Housing and Land Development Corporation, they have an overdraft of $2.720m one way and the other way $3.115m. So they have bout $6m also in overdraft alone eh; then you have the National Fisheries which has $606,000 in overdraft … and I just talking overdrafts now, nah, I ain’t come to loans yet. Then you have National Fisheries Marketing as I said was $606. National Properties Food City Limited $2.8 million; remember these are September.”
  • EG: That is Supermarket?
  • Eustace: Yeah, that is the overdraft.
  • EG: September last year.
  • Eustace: That is as of September 30th last year, all these figures I giving you. Then lay we come down to the loans now: Arrowroot Industry Association, well they have a relatively small loan of $200,000 at 11 per cent. CDC has a small amount also, this is at $132,000. Then there’s a consolidated overdraft loan which will be for the Accountant General of $24.7m. Then yo have in terms of this list, Kingstown Town Board $7.025m; then yo have National Properties NCB, National Properties, having difficulty seeing in this light here, National Properties at NCB $17m.
  • EG: Seventeen?
  • Eustace: Yes, National Properties Food City $8.9m. National Properties Limited NCB $2.6m; then yo have, arm, from the list that he has there, Port Authority $13m.
  • EG: Port Authority?
  • Eustace: Yes, yes $13m. So when you look at some of these figures that are down here, Housing and Land Development Corp. and so on, wait eh, let me get a list with a line to go across by Housing to make sure I give you the correct figure for the Housing and Land because these figures are very finely printed. One of them is $20m.
  • EG: Housing and Land?
  • Eustace: Yeah.
  • EG: Is $20m!
  • Eustace: Yeah, so what am saying, is significant amounts of loans, so that $100m now is suppose to reduce most of those loans here to zero. When those loans are reduced to zero and the bank receives the money, the bank will now be in a better position to lend out money again – start over. But the CDB is saying, nutten go so, when you reduce those loans, you bring me the list. And you not going to own the bank after that, you have to sell it, so all these corporations and thing will have to deal with the new owners of the bank.

And I want to add another one not on Eustace’s listed: Ralph Gonsalves speaking at a ULP rally at Diamond (19/10/10) said that NCB was owed $33m by the economically disadvantaged students program guaranteed by the taxpayers.

Eustace’s Judgment

Based on what you now know, how do you assess Mr Leacock “coherent and intelligent” assertion? If the ULP is still in power, was it not “a master stroke”? If Mr Eustace revelation is correct about who he told us owed the bank – statutory bodies – on what basis, therefore, does Mr Eustace say that depositors were going to lose their money? Was this the best excuse Mr Eustace could muster after supporters challenged his “judgment”? I remind you what he said of those who criticized: On March 18, 2011, “If that is the view, I can’t subscribe to that and I want to make that absolutely clear.” And on May 05, 2011, “I hear some irresponsible comments being made…Well I door want to win on that basis and anybody who persists in that will never have my support.”

I assert that Eustace “judgment” was based solely on his fear of “what Ralph might say”. Ask yourself, “Does Eustace really want to win?”

Frank E da Silva