Pressures brought on the former, state-owned National Commercial Bank (NBC) by state arrangements affected its performance and contributed to the government having sell majority shareholding in 2010, Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace has suggested.
Speaking on his weekly radio programme on Monday, Eustace played a recording from his address to his New Democratic Party’s convention in 2010.
In that speech, Eustace noted that the Ralph Gonsalves government had vested crown lands and state buildings in National Properties, a state-owned corporation.
As of September 2010, National Properties owed EC$77 million to NCB and the National Insurance Services, the state-owned pension agency, Eustace noted in the 2010 address.
He also pointed out that National Properties had sold 128 aces of state-owned lands to the NCB for EC$37 million.
In addition to pointing out that one state agency was selling state assets to another, Eustace suggested that the price of the lands was excessive.
In 2010, East Caribbean Financial Holding Co. Ltd. paid the government EC$42 million for 51 per cent of the shares of the NCB, having borrowed EC$100,000 to strengthen the bank ahead of the divestment.
But Eustace said on Monday that over the past few weeks he has uncovered even more shocking information about the operations of the NCB before it was sold and became Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (BoSVG).
“… I got a shock in the last month or so when certain information was presented to me,” he said, adding that he learnt that National Properties was charging the NCB rent of EC$99,000 for the Bedford Street (Market Square) building.
“Just imagine that. That building that near the market, almost 1.2 million dollars a year in rent. So the bank had to meet all those cost; no wonder it couldn’t survive,” Eustace said.
But Eustace noted that the rent figure was only for the Market Square branch and did not include the cost of the sub-branches on Lower Bay St., Kingstown, in Georgetown, Barrouallie and in the Grenadines.
Eustace said he has seen a document which shows that the bank paid a total of EC$196,000 for rent each month. (The figure does not include the Reigate Building — which BoSVG later purchased.)
“That is nearly 2.4 billion dollars a year in rent alone — rent! No wonder those institutions had to be sold; they were carrying too much cost, too heavy cost,” he said.
He further siad that the former state-owned bank also gave loans to “all sorts of persons who should not have gotten loans of that size, and some of them would have been written off.
“Just imagine that, $99,000 a month in rent; the whole thing just scandalous. No wonder it couldn’t survive.
“We didn’t know about all these pressures here; the public was not aware. Ain’t $10,000 a month, its $99,000 — call it $100,000 a month. Just imagine that. How much for a room down there, if you charging nearly $100,000 a month, … $25,000 a week to rent that building?
“Just imagine that! And the NCB has to pay that to National Properties. Where that money went to? And at the same time, they borrow 60 something million from NIS. Where we going?” Eustace said.
This is why Iike Mr Eustace, because he gives numbers. The country is being eaten down by a select few people and there is a lot more of this going on that we know. This is why they don’t want to leave government because the country will finally get to hear how much money was stolen.
We have ministers who claim that they buy new cars for their son everytime he get in accident. And we have others who live in million dollar mansions that their salary could never afford, but don’t worry time longer than twine. But $100,000 a month in rent? Lawd
OWN THE JAIL
Mental slavery…No black skin man or woman could get away with this in SVG.
All that money went missing, and the opposition is pretending to be blind. Why don’t they investigate foriegn banks or off shore accounts and try to find out who has been stealing the people’s money. The people of svg don’t give a sh…..t about what is going in their country, but they will give [them] a 4th term in office to plunder the country into further dept, while these people get rich off tax payers money. They deserve what they’re getting, cause they would rather tear each apart over political divide, rather than to do what is right for our country.
Mr eustace, instead of going on the radio to reach a small segment of the svg population, why not go on tv and address a larger demographic of svg. If aneisa baptise can afford a weekly show, why can’t you do the same. Svg needs to be shaken up. Tell the whole country and the diaspora what the hell is going on, show leadership if you’re going to be the next pm. cause we are tired of one family controlling the entier country and treating the people like dogs. This is not the days of colonization. It’s time for our pm to svg respect.
I understand that it is an established fact and it is on paper to say that the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the guarantor of all financial undertakings of the NIS. I cannot even bring myself to say “loans” because I cannot easily see what the NIS needs to borrow money for.
In any case, it continues to bewilder me whenever I hear the PM pounding on his chest in public (and very often) that the Government is the guarantor etc, etc. Everybody full well knows that whenever Government cannot honour whatever guarantees it provides to whoever, that it is to the NIS that Government goes to appropriate funds. The NIS has been Government’s unpaid whore for years so, except for the sound bite, I really don’t easily get what the PM is so chuffed about.
I agree with James’ comments. The entire nation should be made aware of this situation. Let the candidates for each region hold meetings to expose this fraud. Arnhim should not be the only one to spread the love.
The topic should be “Let talk about how we lost the bank” and why it will be hard for SVG people down the road.
The news is shocking! I know of others that were over-charged by National Properties. I respect Eustaces conservative attitude. Our present PM has the problem that he spends too much. That makes him borrow too much and tax too much. That is how he is mainly destroying SVG. Ralph Gonsalves is filthy rich, so are his friends. He does not know how difficult it is for the rest of us that are not rich. Eustace does. Gonsalves just pays lip-service to everything, including the poor. He has a few houses built in areas for votes in areas he wants to win for his party. He gives out refrigerators (paid for by others) for votes. He just doesn’t “walk the talk” when it comes to real frugal economics. He puts the ULP, his own wealth and power above his country and the people. […]
With all those million$ in land sales and other transactions that law firm representing NP may be the wealthiest in SVG, i only hope VAT and taxes are paid fully which will help to purchase medication at the hospital. When Ralph Gonsalves became PM did he hand over his law practice?, if yes who did he hand it to to?.
What about the Blue lagoon marina that was owned by National properties …was that property put up for tender ,who bought it and how much was it sold for?
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