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The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

I write this after reading somewhere else about Gonsalves’ reference to us now needing an indigenous bank.Fortunately, I have a huge database

Fortunately, I have a huge database on the research of Gonsalves and his family going back as far as his ancient Portuguese relative Antonio Gonsalves, the sea captain that took the first African slaves from the Coast of West Africa, the very start of the Atlantic slave trade. But that is another story for another day (coming soon).

You are all aware that I keep repeating my known disgust at the inherent behavior of Gonsalves when he tells lies. I believe he just cannot help himself. I further believe he is made up of, and his life revolves around lies. The creation of political propaganda based on lies, that is carried forward by a whole bunch of like-minded clones at home and in the Diaspora. A whole bunch of shirt tail hangers seeking glory, perhaps duty-free concessions, scraps from the table and special huggable treatment from their master.

By now whilst reading this letter, you must be asking ‘So what is the point?’ Well the point is that this matter is a showcase of one of his numerous lies. What I would describe as an enormous lie designed to fool all Vincentian people, and to try and hide his complacency in the matter of the failing of the National Commercial Bank. This culminated in the matter of the sale of our indigenous bank, the National Commercial Bank.

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On May 25, 2011, Ralph E. Gonsalves attended a meeting of the Bank Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) at Port of Spain in Trinidad. He attended in the capacity of the Bank Governor on behalf of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He stood and made a statement to the fellow island bank governors, and that statement was also published in written form.

Prior to the sale of the bank, the bank was in some difficulties with its finances. It was what can only be described as approaching bankruptcy and collapse. Gonsalves had called in the Opposition Leader and asked him not to push and comment on the then public interest in what was happening to the bank. Why? It’s quite simple really; he was trying to avoid a run on the bank that would see the withdrawal of what little cash was left in the banks vaults. He also wanted to cover up the fact that the bank was in such a critical position because of his very own policies, fiscal stupidity, and fiscal duncemanship.

I just hate to say it again, if all our resources were not put into paying the wages of the Cuban’s at the Argyle airport, all the ministries could have survived without extra funding from the NCB.

Unbeknownst to most Vincentians, he had entered into secret negotiations with CDB to fund the NCB to save it from collapse. Of course this was the story, the lie was in what he told the Vincentian people. He told us that he had over the years increased the capacity of the NCB bank, increased its wealth to such a degree that in doing so had prepared it for privatisation, he had prepared it for sale. He described that as a masterstroke on his part. You must all try and remember that saying “it’s a masterstroke”.   But it was not a masterstroke at all. The bank had been raped and plundered by lending to government ministries and schemes; the bank was on the very verge of collapse. It was in the worst condition that it had ever been since its very creation. The bank manager some time previously had packed his bags and left the state, overnight. He just bailed out of the sinking ship; he had seen the writing on the wall.   Then we must also remember Mr. Desmond Morgan, a former chairman of the National Commercial Bank who was involved in a questionable banking transaction at the said bank.

What you all need to know is that Gonsalves agreed a rescue package with the CDB, in that package was a loan from them for EC$100 million dollars. The terms were that the major shareholder the “Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines” would have to sell the controlling interest in the Bank. But instead of telling us exactly what happened we were told that it was a masterstroke on behalf of Gonsalves. I declare that it was far from that; it was what I would describe as a fiscal dunce stroke. It was what I would describe as a masterstroke of deception — an attempt to hide the truth through smoke and mirrors, and the glib tongue for which Gonsalves is famous.

As previously mentioned, on May 25, 2011 Ralph E. Gonsalves attended a meeting of the Bank Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) at the Port of Spain in Trinidad. Well one of the statements he made in a speech at that meeting was the following:

“The Financial Stabilisation Loan to assist the Government in the divestment of the National Commercial Bank (NCB). This loan aided in dealing successfully with the liquidity problems at the NCB and in reducing our debt servicing costs. We know now, that the assistance of the CDB in this special case PBL, not only averted the collapse of the NCB, but provided stability to the financial sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and by extension, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU)”.

Here was Gonsalves whilst well away from our shores making a statement out of earshot of Vincentians and the media, that had CDB not made that EC$100 million loan to the Government of SVG on behalf of the NCB bank, the NCB may have collapsed, the whole country may have collapsed. But according to him not just the bank and country, but the whole EC dollar union could have collapsed with it. An admission by one who I keep describing as a fiscal dunce, that what was happening in SVG could have destroyed the East Caribbean Dollar and the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.

In my opinion, the other governors of the CDB bank were more of the same ilk as Gonsalves, they were comrades of old. So I would have not have expected less than the lifebelt that they threw him. Because I believe most of them were fiscal dunces as well, they knew that at some time in the future they also may need to be bailed out, saved from their own devices. In fact should I say it’s we who should be saved from their fiscal stupidity?

Let’s remember for all time the words of a fiscal dunce “it’s a masterstroke”. And let’s hope that the man that uttered such nonsense is never allowed to be involved SVG in another indigenous bank that can be used as a piggy bank.

I know full well that discussions have recently been taking place with a small indigenous Vincentian bank, so unless we remove the ULP rapidly from power, another government-owned indigenous bank may become a reality. Yes, we may well have a new piggy bank for the government to plunder.

This is part of the CDB mission statement: The CDB Board of Governors is the highest policy making body of CDB and meets once a year in one of the member countries of CDB. All of the powers of CDB are in the hands of the Board of Governors.

I have an actual copy of the Gonsalves speech that he made to CDB on May 25, 2011 in Trinidad.

Here is the link, kindly provided by I-Witness News, supplied from my database.

Peter Binose

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].