The Building & Loan Association (BLA) Shareholders Committee is encouraging members of the financially troubled building society to attend Thursday’s (tomorrow) general meeting.
The group, which has been partnering with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to restructure the BLA since February, says it will at a press conference today (Wednesday) outline its position ahead of an election of a new board of directors of the BLA at Thursday’s general meeting.
“We can’t stay out and believe that we just go along and think that that would be OK and your money will be safe. We have to be part of dictating and determining the way. You are the owners — the shareholders,” Junior Bacchus, chair of the committee said on radio Tuesday night as he encouraged members of the 72-year-old BLA to attend the general meeting in Kingstown on Thursday.
Bacchus said that at the press conference today, the committee will “present to the press copies of all our communication with the FSA as well as their responses to us.
“We will provide that to the press so that they can judge for themselves what this committee has done and has been committed to and what was the reaction of the FSA in respect to what we have done.
“If you have time tomorrow (today), all shareholders, you must bombard Building & Loan tomorrow (today) to make sure you get copies of the report and study it. Those of you in the diaspora, call your relatives and call your people at home and encourage them to go and get copies of the financial statement and tell them your position in respect of how they should advocate for you,” Bacchus said.
“We cannot sit idly by and watch another financial institution just whither away. We cannot allow it. Because we have seen the NCB (former National Commercial Bank) move from the state; we have seen British American collapse. CLICO [is] under judicial management, we are now witnessing what is happening to Building & Loan and we can’t — too many people’s lives are at stake and we have too many complaints and concerns from people about their pensions, about their interest payment.
“They depend on their little income there from interest to keep themselves going and they have been suffering. So people need to come out today,” Bacchus said.
The FSA, a state agency, took over management and control of the BLA on Feb. 1, after a newspaper article in January by Ministry of Finance economist, politician Luke Browne, raised questions about the financial health and management of the BLA.
The letter triggered a run on the BLA, brining it to the brink of collapse.
Since then, the FSA has taken steps to try to stabilise the BLA, which has 20,000 members.
Based on the FSA’s eligibility criteria, which differ from the pre-existing BLA rules, six of the persons nominated qualify to become directors of the BLA.
They are Dannol Charles, Camille Crichton, Joseph Ince, Jeremy Jackson, Fidel Neverson, and Allison Thomas