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Social activist, Junior Bacchus.
Social activist, Junior Bacchus.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb. 26, IWN — Social activist Junior Bacchus has responded to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves’ suggestion that Bacchus redeposit at the Building & Loan Association (BLA) monies he “withdrew” in 2009.

“The point is, I didn’t withdraw, in a way, my money,” Bacchus told I-Witness News on Monday.

Bacchus is chair of a committee of shareholders elected at a meeting on Thursday to interface with the Financial Service Authority (FSA).

The FSA took over management and control of the BLA on Feb. 1, after $9 million was withdrawn in two weeks.

Bacchus explained that he had a share deposit at BLA that matured in 2009, after 13 years.

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He said he placed the money in a fixed deposit at another financial institution where he was “getting the best deal”, but also started another share deposit at the BLA.

Bacchus was responding to Gonsalves’ call for persons to redeposit at the BLA monies they withdrew ahead of a take-over by the Financial Services Authority on Feb. 1.

“I’m asking Junior to put back his money, which he took out in 2009, if he hasn’t put it back yet. He might have,” said Gonsalves, who also stated that he does not hold it against Bacchus for having withdrawn his money three years ago.

“I believe in all sincerity he wants to save the Building & Loan, as we all should.” Gonsalves said of Bacchus efforts in calling the meeting that elected the interim committee.

Read: BLA shareholders appoint committee and pass resolution for talks with FSA

But Bacchus told I-Witness News “it wasn’t a clear case of putting it back.

“If you make an investment, your investment mature, I decided to start a news investment and made a fix deposit elsewhere, where I was getting the best deal.

“So, I already put back money. That is what I have in share deposit there, plus, I have my permanent shares.

“I have two instruments with Building & Loan. I have my share deposit, which is what I started immediately after that [one in] 2009 mature and when the new permanent shares came on, they transferred $250 from that to my permanent shares,” Bacchus said.

“So, I don’t know what he is saying put back.

“I ain’t rich like his … mother, where there is a million dollars I can send my children to take out. I don’t have those kinds of monies. I have my little two cents that I am paying on my share deposits. I don’t use them for no fixed deposits,” Bacchus said, adding that he did not withdraw the money “in a vexatious way or from the inside”.

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace said on Feb. 11, that $1 million was withdrawn from Gonsalves’ mother’s account at the BLA.

Gonsalves subsequently said he did not know that his brothers had withdrawn the money.

On Monday, he again called on his brother to redeposit part or the full $1 million at BLA.