Saga of TCIBank a result of lack of governance?

TURKS AND CAICOS – Monday, April 12th, 2010 marks the first working day that TCIBank employees, depositors and shareholders faced the grim reality of the action taken by the FSC at the close of business on Friday, April 9th.

This action threatens their hard earned investment in what at one time promised to be a bona fide first indigenous bank that a number of people felt proud to be a part of with the hope that it would become an entrenched TCI financial institution. The looming fate of the banks unemployed workers, its depositors and shareholders is foremost on the minds of our party leadership, and rank and file membership as we loathed what this contemplates for the country, its impact upon the TCI people, its economy and its already tarnished image. Our hearts are hurting for those who are experiencing this tragedy. We feel the pain from our brothers and sisters and we are praying for a speedy conclusion to bring suffering to an end to this situation.

Upon learning of the news we contacted the Governor to express our deep concern for the well being of the unemployed bankers, depositors and shareholders in TCIBank. The authority is vested in the Governor to act with all matters relating to financial services through his Financial Services Commission since the 1988 constitutional order came into effect through to today. While we recognized that his office has the authority to act we are today calling on the Labor department to become actively involved in the provisional liquidation process so as to protect the labor investment made by countless now unemployed workers of the Bank over the last 5 years and to secure their interests.

Every day that passes without resolution to this crisis will only prolong the financial agony that depositors and the entire country face. We urge a prompt conclusion to this matter by the FSC, the TCIBank Board of Directors, and the National Insurance Board and demand that they act forthrightly and honestly when questioned by the media and TCI stakeholders.

We understand that the Interim Administration has chosen to delay the implementation of the 10 percent pay cut for civil servants affected by the TCIBank collapse. We are now calling on The Governor to delay these cuts for the entire civil service. And, since the civil service pay cuts were a result of the First Caribbean Bank’s delay in arranging the 85M loan facility we urge him now to completely abandon these proposed pay cuts seeing that the loan facility is now forthcoming. We hope that his own FSC’s actions have not hurt the investment contemplated by the NIB into the 85M dollar loan thus threatening the financial close of the facility. This closure of TCIBank, taken at this time, by his FSC will cut across the entire TCI economy affecting all persons.

The saga of TCIBank is indeed another chapter in the failure of Governance under the PNP. From TCIBank’s inception, our party took the position that the bank should not be spoken of or operated on the basis of party politics and we took steps to ensure that no language went out from our party to reflect anything to the contrary. However, this maturity was not displayed by the ruling PNP at the time and one only has to reflect on the political display of a letter from TCIBank on February 6th 2007 as part of the purported 31Million dollars that the former government boasted of having in banks throughout the TCI.

But, in order for there to be public confidence in any bank it must be free from political party directives. Sadly, on this occasion, TCIBank was used as a political ploy of the PNP Government to try and persuade voters and ensure people that the Government had deposits totaling 31M, yet it was only a year later when the Government Budget showed a deficit/loss of this very amount; 31M dollars. What a coincidence? Which other actions of TCIBank were politically motivated and could have contributed to its demise? The public would like to know.

Where was the regulator and the British Government then, when the only local bank that conducted a share offering to the general public were participating in inappropriate political maneuvering of this magnitude 3 days before a General Election? It is plainly obvious that TCIBbank has been affected by the decisions of the PNP and the domino effect of the suffering since that day by persons and businesses in the TCI has only increased because of the financial devastation perpetrated by the PNP Government under a cloud of deception, maladministration and failures which emanated from the core of their Government.

Now that the plans of the PNP have gone woefully wrong and the Governor’s office has proven ill equipped, again, in correcting bad PNP plans, these twin actors (the British and the PNP) are not capable of stopping this domino effect of pain and suffering upon the Turks and Caicos Islands people. We note with outrage the press release by both former PNP premiers Misick and Williams and urge them to take a good look in the mirror and take full responsibility for the mess that they created for the Turks and Caicos and its people with TCIBank being another domino to fall. And we will observe to see if negotiations to save the Bank were indeed a reality and were interrupted by the FSC for unknown reasons, as being alleged but denied by the FSC and the Governor’s office.

The long term stability of the Bank is what is desired by our party and all people of the TCI. The long talked about question of the investment policies of the NIB must be front and center of the next administration. And it is a firm pledge of our party to re-consider the mandate of National Insurance and its investment objectives.

If the NIB will be financially backing local banks and businesses then this needs to become a topic of national dialogue and debate and a firm decision taken by the next elected government, but no approach of using National Insurance as the Government’s piggy bank and lender of last resort is acceptable. Government bullying and intimidation cannot be what dictates the investment policy of the National Insurance Board, which has too often been the case under former PNP Governments.

Now that tens of millions of NIB money is at risk of loss in TCIBank is not the time to debate investment policy of the NIB. In fact, it was the failure of the last administration to openly and public debate their decisions and investment policy guidelines that led to the questionable abandoning of the investment guidelines of NIB. But, secretly bending the NIB’s guidelines again may have been a temporary fix, but not morally right towards the people’s pension and no assurance would be gained from this approach and a proper solution to the TCIBanks challenges would be lost. The proper approach to TCIBank’s woes must have been embraced by the political Government that controlled the NIB and Her Majesty’s Government that regulates banks on behalf of the people of the TCI. The people have been let down once again by the maladministration of the PNP and the failure in oversight of the British, these twin actors.

We await and pray for a swift resolution and ask all courtesies to be extended to the Turks and Caicos Islands at this time of national crisis.

Related Articles

Back to top button