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Luke Browne, the Ministry of Finance economist that wrote a letter in January asking if Building & Loan Association was about to collapse. (Photo: Facebook)
Luke Browne, a politician and economist at the Ministry of Finance. 

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, April 3, IWN – A group of shareholders of the Building & Loan Association wants politician and economist Luke Browne to stop talking in the media about the cash-strapped building society.

Browne, an economist at the Ministry of Finance, wrote a newspaper letter in January raising concerns about the management of the BLA which was, at the time, supervised by his ministry.

Browne was also a candidate for the ruling Unity Labour Party in the 2010 general elections.

His letter in a local newspaper triggered a run, which saw $9 million withdrawn from the BLA in two weeks.

A committee of BLA shareholders was elected last month to interface with the Financial Services Authority, which took over the BLA on Feb. 1.

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Junior Bacchus, chair of the committee, told shareholders at a meeting in Kingstown on Tuesday that during talks with the FSA on March 12, they discussed trying to influence politicians to stop making public comments on the BLA.

“Since that meeting with the FSA, we saw Luke Browne appearing on a television programme on IK TV and we met, as a committee and we decided to write to the FSA [asking that the FSA try] to influence Luke Browne to stay out of the media in discussions on Building & Loan,” Bacchus said.

“We have made that request to them in writing, because, remember, as I reported earlier, we had promised to try to keep the politicians out and he must be seen both as a politician and a worker in the Ministry of Finance.”

Former lawmaker, John Horne.
Former lawmaker, John Horne.

Meanwhile John Horne, a former lawmaker under the New Democratic Party administration, said it was the role of the Government to curb Browne’s statements on the BLA.

“Did I hear [you] say that you had approached the FSA to ask Mr. Luke Browne to soft-pedal? I respectfully suggest, that is the role of his employer, within the context of the regulations governing his employment. So, I think that is the approach,” Horne, a former West Kingstown representative said.

Since his letter was published, Browne also called into radio programmes and was a guest on a radio panel discussing the BLA.

14 replies on “Group wants Luke Browne to quit talking about BLA”

  1. I said it before and I will say it again, this boy is under the wing of Ralph Gonsalves. It is my honest belief that Browne would not dare to of acted out any part in the BAL matter, without the strict intsructions of Gonsalves.

  2. Leave Luke Browne alone! What is the point in muzzling Luke, the horse is out of the stable and everyone has seen its color. All of this posturing by Bacchus and company is not helping anyone either, I think they are simply agitating an already angry public. There is nothing Junior Bacchus can do but talk, let the FSA and the Ministry of Finance do their job. The notion that politicians should refrain from talking about this issue is simply stupid; it is not who is talking but what is being said, should be the real issue. Failure or success, the Government involvement with the BLA is inseparable; political entities are part and parcel of the BLA operations

    I think its common knowledge that the BLA is an institution that has been mismanaged for a long time now and both the NDP and the ULP respective administrations should bow their heads in shame for overseeing this mismanagement. I am quite familiar with the lax policies of the BLA and some other issues, that I will not disclose here, but suffice it to say, in a different time and place, some folks would be in jail. Nuff said.

    By the way, has Luke Browne gone rouge or is this a well orchestrated plan by this Administration to disclose this information about the BLA in an attempt to neuter the NDP from doing so? I find it real strange that Luke is making all this noise and Ralph is not even budging given the way he micromanaged members of the ULP. Was the 1 million withdrawal of Mother Gonsalves money the catalyst for this Luke Browne offensive? Or did Luke Browne found a smidgen of conscience to inform the public about the precarious state of the BLA?

    Let me slightly digress for a moment…when the NDP had information about the National Bank, they stayed quiet for the sake of folks not making a run on the Bank,(so they claim) not to mention this was in the middle of an upcoming election…Gonsalves came back and lick fire on the NDP with a pompous refrain MASTER STROKE …but here we have a ULP political neophyte, privy to sensitive information about the BLA, another beloved national financial institution and this fool did not think twice to throw said institution under the bus.Did the ULP calculated, that it is in their best interest to get in front of this BLA story, at least before the NDP did? So what is the moral of this story? NICE GUYS DO FINISH LAST…How many times do you want to get punk’d for being the nice guy? It’s all good to strive for a kinder and gentler society…but you have to be absolutely ruthless in your attempt to defeat your enemy, only then you can set your own agenda. Whichever way this BLA goes, it would be another “master stroke” by the ULP…if the BLA collapse, Luke Browne will say, I told you so…if it recovers, Gonsalves will say, he saved a National treasure…where is the NDP? Playing catching up.

    Ps:I heard Leacock on a tirade(rightly so) on the Argyle Airport this morning…all I have to say, its 3 years too late.

  3. I have to agree with John: It is the government’s responsibility to ask Luke to back-off, especially if it’s bad for BLA. You cannot muzzle Luke and don’t even try. However if his tirades hurt BLA, the organization can probably use the justice system (if one exist in SVG) to seek redress for damages caused by his actions.

  4. PVPALMER, No BLA probably will not be able to take legal action, because it is under the administration of the FSA. Only they can take action, and because of all the tie ups with the Minister of Finance, the Ministry of Finance of who Browne is an employee, forget it, it will never happen.

    The shareholders should consider issuing a ‘Writ of Mandamus’ against FSA, requiring them to carry out the duties in which they fail, listing those duties.

  5. Junior Bacchus and John Horne are REAL JOKERS.

    Are these fellas for real?

    They should have been LASHING OUT at Arnhim Eustace for BASICALLY IMPLYING that Vincentians in New York should take their MONEY OUT of BUILDING and LOAN. But of course, these two JOKERS are NDP SUPPORTERS so one should not EXPECT them to tell him to QUIT TALKING about BLA.

    That said; Arnhim “CHICKEN BACK JUICE” Eustace, from LISTENING to his DEBACLE over the AIRWAVES at the TOWN HALL MEETING in NEW YORK, showed that he is not FIT to MANAGE a MAUBY SHOP much less GOVERNING a COUNTRY in these times.

    He and the NDP are just PLAIN not READY to LEAD anyone except for their psychopath supporters. And even then, it will be an INJUSTICE and an INSULT to them for Eustace and the NDP to LEAD them.

  6. Here we go again, Arnhim is now the reason B&L failing. Between you and Peter don’t know who worse. Everything for either of you is either Ralph or Arnhim and never the real issue.

    The issue here is the lack of transparency and accountability by both the former B&L board member and the supervising staff of the Ministry of Finance. For which to date no honest and credible information can be presented to B&L investor for activities over the last 2 years. These are the actions of running a Mauby Shop.

    I have deposits that are currently tied up in the Building & Loan Institution, am I now to blame a chicken back story for all that has happened and yet to be accounted for? If that’s the case B&L was indeed ran and supervised like Mauby Shop.

  7. STAINLESSSESQ, your pretty quick at pooh-poohing what I and others write with the Gonsalves equation written in.

    The fact is Gonsalves was in charge of the supervising staff of the Ministry of Finance. He as we all know is a hands on man who must know everything that is going on in every ministry, especially the ministry of finance, because he is the minister of finance.

    I am sure in my mind that Gonsalves would of known who made a big deposit, who made a big withdrawal, and what party they belonged to. That is why I do not personally believe that he knew nothing about his mothers withdrawal of a million dollars. Its not $50, $100, $1000 or even a $100,000, its a million. The BLA would be under an obligation to report that kind of amount in or out, if they didn’t, why not?

    Gonsalves knows everything, who applies for a gun permit, who applies for residency, who applies for citizenship. He is involved in everything until it goes wrong, then he denies any knowledge.

    What is more I am also positive in my mind that Luke Browne would not have made the disclosures about BLA without that being a direct Gonsalves instruction. Had he of done it off his own back, he would now be looking for a new job.

    My problem as always, is believing anything Gonsalves says, because he is a self confessed liar, and as such I believe nothing he says or writes.

    You and others like you can think and believe what you like, but that is what I think and believe.

  8. STAINLESSSESQ, why don’t you show where I said that Eustace is RESPONSIBLE for B&L FAILING?

    As for HAVING MONIES TIED UP in B&L, you’re not the only one.

    I have UTMOST CONFIDENCE in the FSA which is why my MONEY will REMAIN in that INSTITUTION.

  9. No Mr Peter,

    I state my point about the issues without personally attacking Mr Eustace or Gonsalves.
    I support 75% of the points you make, its just that pointing out the known fact Ralph is a liar every post comes across as very bitter and hateful, this too often diminishes your very excellent points.

    Am not going to get into a back and forth with you sir. Keep up your posting

  10. VINCYPOWA, I checked list months ago your name is not on it, you have no money their, unless you use another name that is.

    Do you declare this account that you claim to have, to the US IRS? Or are you laundering money, problem is the machine is now broke and you have probably lost any money you had there. Contact the IRS and tell them you want to make a tax loss situation on your overseas accounts. I will help you by dropping them a line, they will soon trace who you are, the false name/s won’t help you.

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