The behaviour of Dr. Keith Mitchell, Mr. Elvin Nimrod, Dr. Clarice Modeste, Mr. Roland Bhola, Mr. Carl Hood and Mr. Michael Church is unpatriotic and shameless. Their act of voting against the amendment to the Insurance Act is the most despicable and uncaring act against the people of Grenada.
Just imagine the pain of the over four thousand depositors who lost all their savings in Capital Bank, just imagine the pain of the over one hundred persons who did not get a penny after Ivan from NALGICO to rebuild their house.
Also, just imagine the hundreds who lost all their investments with SGL Holdings, as well as the thousands who lost all their savings and investments from CLICO and BAICO.
Grenada is full of pain over all these losses. And the reality is that mainly because of poor and weak regulation by the Government. It is also interesting that all of this occurred under the watch of Dr. Keith Mitchell. Is there a relationship? Why did the NNP voted against the introduction of proper regulation? Why is it that the NNP is against the poor people of Grenada? What are the facts?
Regulation in the financial sector is not new. In the case of the banks, all banks have to deposit 6 percent of their total assets in the Central Bank as a statutory requirement designed to protect depositors. In the case of Grenada where the banks have an approximate deposit of 2.8 billion EC dollars, they have a total of about 168 million deposited as reserves in the Central Bank. This does not bear any interest. In fact the bank uses this money to invest as its primary means to fund its operations. Any profits are shared with its owners, the governments. This is an accepted model in the regulatory business.
Similarly in the case of the telecoms sector where regulation is new, both the NTRCs in the various islands and ECTEL – the regulators for the sector, are supported and paid for by the telecommunications operators. In both of these cases the consumer or customer is not disadvantaged. In fact it is the other way around. They are protected from unscrupulous and injurious behaviour by the banks and operators. This is standard operating procedure.
So the claim that the vote is in favour of the poor is ludicrous and misleading! Just cheap political tricks! It is the other way around. It is to protect the poor. And in Grenada’s case this is very late and badly needed. That is why thousands are suffering today.
The foolish argument proffered by Dr. Mitchell that the time is wrong is also mischief. The time is now! It is now that better regulations are required and GARFIN needs the means to do that properly now.
As to the potential of costs being passed on to the consumers, this is mere speculation. Some may, some may not and in fact the consumer may not even recognise the change as it may be so small. Just check if in fact any visible change is noticed in your telephone bill or service or the charges you pay to the banks.
So why create doubts and fears in the people’s minds, Mr. Mitchell? This is simple new business operating procedures. Is it a case of the insurance sector being singled out as some of the lower level operators have been mouthing due to lack of understanding? Yes it is. Lack of understanding and information is a bad thing and so far in Grenada it has caused a lot of confusion in the minds of people
If only people take the time to research and understand before they shoot off their mouths.
That is exactly what Mr. Hood has been doing – talking foolishness about who earns interest etc. Lack of scholarship and knowledge as to how the regulatory world operates!
As to Dr. Mitchell who also cited that the reason why he did not as promised introduce the VAT, is that the time was bad. Baloney! He was playing politics while the Grenadian economy was crumbling around him. He could not pay salaries at the time when the economic conditions were much better. That is why for example he used the millions from Trinidad that was supposed to buy a new Coastguard vessel to pay salaries. If the NDC did not do it the economy would have crashed by now!
Mr. Mtchell must tell the Grenadian public why it is that St Kitts recently introduced VAT at 17 percent and that St Lucia is now introducing the VAT. In a time of deep recession! Is the time bad?
This cheap and expedient approach to our politics is what has damaged Grenada and threatens to continue to do so as long as the NNP is around. If we are to go forward as a country, we must collectively agree and pursue good economic policies and initiatives that are good for Grenada. All must agree on these things irrespective of politics.
The amendment is one such policy initiative that should not be used to play politics. It should not be used for scoring points up and above concerns for people. In fact the act in its current state is anti-people and the perpetrators must pay for this anti-people act.
Mr Mitchell claims that he is all for regulation and uses the fact that GARFIN came into existence under his government as clear evidence. Yes, GARFIN was formed under his rule, however the evidence of poor regulation clouds this. While GARFIN was being formed the NNP willingly frustrated all attempts of practicing good regulation in the case of CAPbank.
Against the advice of the Central Bank the NNP gave a licence to CAPbank and refused to regulate the bank. So financial blood is all over the NNP’s face! They are directly responsible for the people’s losses. So Dr Mitchell is inconsistently against poor people given the facts. It is not about talk – it is about actions. You can’t fool the people all the time.
Apologies are now needed and the culprits must act quickly.
The People’s Watchman