A Slap In The Face For Owen Thompson Going After Barbados National Bank



Photo bnbbarbados.com
Photo bnbbarbados.com

Government wants back the Barbados National Bank Inc. (BNB) and will be looking to reclaim its majority shares once again.

Yesterday at a post-Cabinet Press conference at Government Headquarters, Prime Minister David Thompson said Cabinet had approved the move.

“We met and considered the current financial crisis which was affecting the world and some of the spin-off implications which have affected the Caribbean, particularly what has been happening in relation to CL Financial.

“When we look at the Barbadian scenario, as a Cabinet, we felt that it was extremely important that every effort be made to retain BNB.

“Therefore the Cabinet has agreed that I can enter into discussions with ongoing negotiations with the government of Trinidad and also with the Barbadian partners, to seek to repurchase our shareholding in BNB at the earliest opportunity,” Thompson said.

The Government currently holds less than 50 per cent of BNB shares, but will be seeking to buy, at the current market rate, controlling interest in the bank. BNB was established by the Government in 1978 as an amalgamation of Government-owned financial institutions that had been in operation for a number of years.

In the year of its establishment, it acquired the branch assets of the banking business of Bank of America. Then in 2003, the (BLP ) Government sold a majority stake in BNB to Republic Bank Limited (RBL) of Trinidad and Tobago. RBL initially acquired 57 per cent, but their holdings in BNB as of September 30, 2008, stood at 65.13 per cent. Thompson did not give a specific date when he would be meeting with the government of Trinidad, but said it would be “whenever the opportunity arises and I am pretty certain that it will be soon”.

He said Government was also looking for any joint ventures in the effort, including that of credit unions or local business, to reclaim BNB.

“I think that any economic or financial instability in the region . . . causes people to look inwardly and become more reactionary and more protective of their own space.

“We have to avoid that and we have to get people to think of our space as a collective space because we are so intertwined. Now having said that, one might ask why we want back BNB?

“Barbados is the third best regulated banking system in the hemisphere with Canada ranked as No. 1 and Chile ranked as No. 2. Against that background, the absence of what would be considered an authentic Barbadian bank is something that is regrettable.

“That does not preclude the involvement of other regional partners, but we are looking for the majority of shares for the Government to reclaim in BNB,” he said.

Source: nationnews.com

Mia Mottley Cries Bloody Murder – $10M Taxpayers Monies Ought To Be Protected At Clico Disposal!

Weekend Nation

OPPOSITION LEADER Mia Mottley asking what measures Government has put in place to protect the taxpayers' money which it has put at the disposal of Clico's Mortgage & Finance Corporation. Photo: Weekend Nation

WHERE IS the collateral?

Where is the oversight?

What have you put in place to protect the taxpayers’ money?

Those are the questions Opposition Leader Mia Mottley wants Prime Minister David Thompson to answer.

The questions came yesterday at a Press conference as Mottley addressed the issue of $10 million placed at the disposal of Clico Mortgage and Finance Company (CMFC), by the Central Bank, in light of the financial troubles facing its parent company, C L Financial in Trinidad and Tobago.  The money was part of a three-pronged course of action introduced by the Central Bank this week and also includes the opening of a special facility in event that the CMFC needed cash and interbank guarantees that covered lending by other banks to CMFC, if it became necessary.  Speaking at the Oppositions Leader’s Office in Parliament Buildings, Mottley stated that while the Opposition understood why there would be a need to assist a financial institution whose parent company was in financial trouble, “we don’t understand it if it is done without protecting the risk”.

She stated: “It is the duty of the regulator whether the Central Bank, or the supervisor of insurance or the Ministry of Finance to put in place measures to protect the policyholders, the depositors, the investors, the employees of institutions and the wider business community.”

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Trinidad & Tobago On Credit Watch (Standard & Poor’s)

The New York-based ratings agency, Standard and Poor’s, has placed highly-rated Trinidad and Tobago on a credit watch with negative implications.

 That’s because it awaits the full extent of the government’s financial liabilities in the bailout of CL Financial, the regional business conglomerate.

The Trinidad government stepped in last week with a bail-out package for the CL group.

The authorities said they took the action because they believed the group’s financial position had worsened as a result of high-risk investments and high leveraging of assets.

Standard and Poor’s said it would review Trinidad’s status once it can estimate the potential fiscal cost to the government, the broader damage to its financial system, and any impairment to the country’s medium-term growth prospects.

Source: BBCCaribbean.com



Nation Newspaper To Be Owned By Trinidad & Tobago Government Due To Clico Bailout!

The Government of T&T is set to become the largest shareholder of One Caribbean Media (OCM)—parent company of the Trinidad Express, CCN TV-6 and the Nation newspaper in Barbados—as a result of its bailout of Clico, the country’s largest insurance company.

According to OCM’s 2007 annual report, Clico owns 15.3 million shares in the media group, making it the largest single shareholder in the company, which is listed on the stock exchanges in T&T and Barbados. Clico’s stake in OCM was equal to 23.1 per cent of the company, as at the end of 2007. It could not be determined whether the insurance company had changed its ownership stake since then. Explaining the intervention by the State on Friday, Central Bank Governor Ewart Williams said Clico had a sizeable statutory fund deficit, and that CL Financial had agreed to divest “additional assets” to help fund this deficit. The Government has committed to providing additional funding that is needed by Clico, said Williams . “Government funding will be provided in exchange for collateral and an equity interest in Clico,” he said. This means that when the Government takes control of Clico, it will automatically inherit the insurance company’s 23 per cent stake in OCM.

The Government is also likely to inherit the directorship held by the CL Financial group on the OCM board. For nine years, former treasurer of the ruling PNM, Andre Monteil, was the representative of CL Financial chairman Lawrence Duprey on the board of Caribbean Communications Network, the predecessor company to OCM. At the end of 2007, Monteil was replaced by CL Financial’s group financial director Michael Carballo on the OCM board. Carballo and Monteil accompanied Duprey to Friday’s news conference. One Caribbean Media Ltd was established three years ago in January, 2006, as a result of the merger the CCN group and the Barbados Nation. OCM owns ten radio stations in T&T, Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia, St Kitts, Antigua and Monsterrat. Contacted last night for comment, Information Minister Neil Parsanlal said: “I am not aware of the extent of Clico’s interest in the OCM group. Therefore, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on that. “It is too early in the game for that, as we are concentrating on assuring the public that their deposits and policies are safe.”

Prime Minister Patrick Manning accused the media, last year, of being hostile to the Government, and stormed into an urban radio station on October 25, because he was upset that the announcers were adding negative comments to a news story. During a post-Cabinet news conference on November 6, the Prime Minister lamented the fact that none of the country’s 34 radio stations, seven television stations or three daily newspapers pursued a pro-government agenda. The Prime Minister said: “What is worse, is that too many of the commentators, either in the newspapers or on the radio, do not respect our institutions. “It is a question of being disrespectful to institutions and authority and pursuing a course of action that can cause the image of these institutions and individuals to be tarnished in the minds of those in whose interest they are set up to serve.” Last week, the Sunday Express reported that the Government was planning to merge NCC-TV with Government Information and CNMG, which has four radio stations.

Source: guardian.co.tt

Putin: No More Cheap Gas

The price of natural gas is set to rise as the world financial crisis and rising costs hurt production, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Tuesday as he presided over a forum of gas-exporting nations laying the groundwork for closer cooperation.

Energy ministers from fourteen gas-rich countries signed an agreement to set up the Gas Exporting Countries Forum headquartered in Doha, Qatar.

The body has been meeting since 2001, but until now had no formal membership or management. Putin said the organization will work “perfectly in line with international norms.”

He predicted the financial crisis will hit the gas industry harder than other energy sectors, because the gas market is more sluggish.

“We can expect the crisis to have a bigger effect on it than on oil business,” Putin said. “Costs of exploration, gas production and transportation are going up — it means the industry’s development costs will skyrocket. The time of cheap energy resources, cheap gas is surely coming to an end.”

Analysts expect prices to drop in the short term — through the spring — as lower global demand hurts prices. Longer-term, however, experts fear the financial downturn may starve the gas industry of the funds it needs to keep production up.

Earlier in the day, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin brushed off suggestions that Russia would dominate the gas exporters’ body.

“All member countries have equal powers,” Sechin was quoted saying by the ITAR-Tass news agency. “It would be wrong to say who would be the leader.”

Russia’s Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko reiterated that Russia does not intend to influence gas prices by curbing production. “Today, we will not be discussing the need to coordinate the level of production,” he told reporters after the talks.

Source: Startribune.com

In related news  

Trinidad and Tobago has joined the world’s other leading gas producers at a meeting in Moscow. The participants have been at pains to emphasise that the purpose of the meeting is to put the finishing touches on a Gas Exporting Countries Forum rather than create a cartel to fix prices.

The 14 member countries currently control about 73 per cent of the world’s gas reserves and 42 per cent of its production.

Trinidad and Tobago is the leading supplier of liquid natural gas to the United States.

Source: BBCCaribbean.com

Another Attack On Tourists In Tobago

At a time when the world is in a tailspin and persons may very well forgo any vacations plans outside of their respective countries, significant reduced travel plans to the region will hurt most Caribbean countries whose economy depends heavily on the tourist dollar.

It can become worse when tourists are targeted for selfish gain with the end result sometimes ending in death as was the case in Antigua with the honeymoon couple and the recently murder Swedish couple in Tobago.

This latest attack in Tobago will definitely leave a very sour taste after what the visitors experience on their vacation in the comfort of their guesthouse. Whether minor or major, we just can’t afford the publicity on tourists attacks. As guests in our region, the onus is on us to safeguard their stay as much and make their desired destination a safe haven to be in. The outside world for some odd reason view all Caribbean islands as one. So if a tourist attack took place in Barbados, someone somewhere may decide not to travel to let’s say Dominica because in persons’ mind since Barbados and Dominica [two separate distinct islands] are in the Caribbean then Dominica have a problem with tourists attacks also. Bizarre but true. That’s like a hurricane landing on Jamaica and/or Cuba and the outside world believed the whole Caribbean is hit the by the same hurricane because we are all in the same region!. Even if there is no facts to support such.


Guyanese Pissed Off By Nation News’ Journalist

Call Kensington Oval A Space Age Monster!!!

Kensington Oval, Barbados.jpg

Photo credit – Wikipedia

Guyanese are mad as hell. Carifesta X [Caribbean Festival of Creative Arts] now being held in Guyana until Sept 25 had its share of journalists presented at the opening ceremony.

One of those is Michelle Springer from the Nation’s newspaper. Ms Springer didn’t think to highly of the performances and gave her critique here.  Well who tell she to do that?  Livinguyana’s Bajan Journalists Slams Carifiasco Opening Ceremony  pick up on that story. The blog make sure to start off first with the positives reviews on Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago presentations and then end, giving readers the comparisons on the negatives reviews on the rest of the opening gala hosted by Guyana.

One anonymous blogger [who was identified as a Bajan by a Guyanese] said

Fair and balanced report from an independent journalist. The show will be quickly forgotten because it was a poor show overall. There were a few good elements but the vast majority of it was poor.

Dat dine went down to well

Fair and balance meh cyat! the whole caribbean is anti indian and hence anti PPP. Get that right!

Apparently GMC is a Bajan. Dem black rass can say what the want, Guyanese black,Indian and other don’t like them.

One even challenged us to hold it in our space age monster of a stadium!

….well next time let Barbados host in that out of place in the tropics, space age looking monster of a stadium they call Kessington Oval.

I was outside in the veranda on the phone facing the TV when I saw the Carifesta opening ceremony earlier tonight. It was in very poor taste.  Read responses here

08/08/08 – Let The Games [2008 Beijing Olympic Games] Begin


In a few hours time, Barbadians like millions around the world will watch the largest sporting event on earth  taking place in China. Host to the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics Games. Predicting overcast skies come Friday night for the nearly 4 hr opening ceremony  featuring 15,000 performers and 29,000 fireworks but no rain, Chinese officials would well do against any cloudy invasion of smog, fog and other og’s obscuring ones view whether live & direct or through camera’s lenses.

For the cold hard facts are despite China human rights records to the number of restrictions place on visitors alike, the Olympics would always be a drawing card for the rich and poor, bond and free. [Until the initial excitement wears off and one can’t wait for it to end].

Olympic Village – Credit: Zhang Guojun/Xinhua 

Over 16,000 athletes, coaches and their entourage [including Barbados] from over 200 countries and regions have descended on the Olympic Village, [their home for the next 17 days]. Divided into 3 sections: [1] international, [2] residential, [3] operations, its features a main restaurant feeding 5000 people, apartments, fire station, tea houses, coffee shops, barber shops, leisure and exercise quarters, post office, clinic, library, entertainment center and shops. Canadian Press  reports that athletes are being housed under tight security. An army helicopter buzzed overhead, and the perimeter is encased with razor-wire fencing and soldiers that stand at attention.

37 different venues in 6 co-host cities besides Beijing will showcased the greatest sport competition over the next few days. Co-host cities are: Qingdao – [sailing], Hong Kong – [equestrian], Tiangjin – [football], Shanghai – [football] and Qinhuangdoa – [football]. All eyes rest on our Olympic team making exceptional performances with the region highest medals coming from Jamaica- [Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell], Bahamas and Trinidad & Tobago.

Barbados had its flag raising ceremony on Wednesday. Unfortunately no mention of it was placed on the Barbados Olympic Association’s website. Why? Difficulties getting info from out of China. Reason? Internet blockage. Yet I found links on the web on Jamaica and Cuba’s flag raising ceremonies. This outside the Caribbean area! I searched CMC [Caribbean Media Corporation] website. Their lastest news article on the Olympics[Aug 6th 08] is the same one printed today by the Nation. Isn’t CMC the official broadcaster of the Olympic Games in this part of the world? Isn’t the Barbados Olympic Association the official website of the Beijing Games? There’s is no reason in this mighty age of internet technology that a platform couldn’t have been created to allow athletes to blog on their experiences and send photos too. Some will make it through and just wouldn’t. And to think each member of the association have their email addresses online. All avenues ought to have been explored. Unfortunately no one thought about it according to the caller I [my wife] spoke too on the line. Hopefully a situation like this will be rectified come 2012. 

Opening Ceremony –  Friday 08/08/08 – 8pm [ Tape Delay]?

C.M.C [Caribbean Media Corporation] will carry live feeds from 6am – 10am and 10pm to 1am.


PM David Thompson: “Barbadians Feel Good About A Black Man Running For President Of United States” Examining Obama And McCain Polices For The Caribbean


While Barack Obama, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, appears to be the rage across the Caribbean, some analysts express concerns about how his policies would affect the region. And, although John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, generates less attention in the Democratic-leaning Caribbean, some observers say his support of free trade and his policy experience could be better for the islands.

Still other analysts see the Caribbean as a low priority for each and express little optimism that either will produce radical change.

Neither McCain nor Obama has ”expressed serious positions on the Caribbean, with the exception of Cuba, where there is a difference between the two candidates,” said Rupert Lewis, a political-science expert at the University of the West Indies (Mona) in Jamaica

Peter Hakim, president of the Washington think-tank Inter-American Dialogue, said he believes the lack of focus by either candidate on the region is a hint of what’s to come regardless of who wins in November.

”Americans right now are very insecure about their future. They are unhappy with the effects of globalization. There is not a great deal of interest in having the United States really engage in overseas these days,” Hakim said.

Others say it will be hard to ignore the Caribbean or Latin America, especially when so many nationals are registered U.S. voters. Brian Meeks, director of the Center for Caribbean Thought at the UWI, said that while many in the Caribbean are ”fascinated with the fact that there is a black candidate with a credible chance of becoming president,” leaders are not looking closely at either Obama’s or McCain’s policies.

”I don’t think they are approaching it in a hard-nosed realist way,” Meeks said, ‘which is to say `What is in it for the Caribbean? What is in it for Latin America and to what extent Obama, or for that matter McCain, will be addressing our concerns?’ ”

Caribbean leaders have increasingly complained of neglect following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as U.S. foreign policy shifted to other parts of the world. The region as a bloc opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. In 2004, the Caribbean Community demanded an international investigation in the Feb. 29 ouster of Haiti’s democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Relations in the past year have warmed under President Bush, but they point out that he — unlike his predecessor Bill Clinton — has yet to set foot in Haiti or the English-speaking Caribbean. Clearly, Obama’s race has captured the imagination of many in the Caribbean.

”The idea of having a black man or a man of mixed race running for the president of the United States is very historic and important,” Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson told The Miami Herald.

“Barbadians feel good about that.”

And George Lamming, a Barbados-born novelist and intellectual, adds: “The planet has been ruled by white power for 500 years, and you have the overwhelming majority of the world’s population [as] nonwhite people. It’s not only black people down here.”

But symbolism isn’t good enough, critics of U.S. policy say, when leaders consider the challenges facing a region wrestling with crime and economic troubles.

”The United States has defaulted in the last decade in having any meaningful aid relations with the Caribbean, and that is where Venezuela has stepped in and has provided that,” Meeks said. “How does Obama view that? What are the prospects for that kind of mutually beneficial relations?”

Both McCain and Obama speak of a shift in policy. McCain supports expanding trade with the Caribbean basin, while Obama is much more restrictive on trade preferences.

”It seems to me that from an economic and foreign policy point of view, Obama may be more destructive to Trinidad and Tobago interests specifically, and Caribbean interests more generally, than a Category 5 hurricane,” said Anthony Wilson, editor in chief of the Trinidad Guardian newspaper.

Obama’s position on trade ”has the potential to cast thousands of workers into unemployment throughout the region,” Wilson said in an e-mail to The Miami Herald. “From the perspective of foreign relations, [John] McCain would be much better for Caribbean economies than Obama.”

While Obama’s support for wiping out poor countries’ debt is welcomed, his push to tighten regulations of offshore banking jurisdictions have riled others. He currently is sponsoring the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, legislation that targets tax havens. The bill lists Antigua and 14 other Caribbean jurisdictions among those countries singled out for increased scrutiny.

”I put that down to his lack of information,” said St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, a critic of the legislation but an admirer of Obama.“Once he is properly informed — he would see that these islands, which are among the closest friends of the American people — he would not do anything knowingly for them to suffer.”

While McCain and Obama have spoken of a need to address transnational crime in the region, neither has given any indication that the U.S. policy of deporting criminals will change.

Adapted from Miami Herald

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