Former Director of the Government Information Service (GIS) and Trade Union Representative in the Senate, Raymond Roberts wants affected clients of Capital Bank International Ltd (CapBank) to take legal action against the State.
Sen. Roberts made the call in his maiden address to Parliament in contributing to the debate in the Senate on the 2013 budget.
“The Grenada Trade Union Council welcomes the Minister of Finance setting aside an allocation for the people who are affected … we want that to be increased to $5,000.00”“, he told the sitting.
According to Roberts, this is a good gesture on the part of re-elected Prime Minister Mitchell and his New National Party (NNP) as it was the Government that created the “monster” in Capbank.
“But in the same breath we want to tell all the people who are affected, we want them to come together and form a joint class suit against the Government of Grenada headed by Dr. Keith Mitchell, who as far as we (are) concern(ed) acted very irresponsibly to give CapBank a license to operate against the good wishes of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. We don’t see this as perhaps as something that should be allowed to just go by”, he said.
In addition, Roberts called on Prime Minister Mitchell to ensure that the country’s new Attorney General, Cajeton Hood should stay clear of all actions concerning CapBank.
The Trade Unionist reminded the House that Hood who took up office last month had represented CapBank in Court matters and therefore his involvement will be conflict of interest.
“We notice that the attorney that represented CapBank is now the nation’s Attorney General. We want to ask the Government that he should not be part of any of this agreement, any of the processes that will involve this CapBank thing”, he said.
“We think that will be a conflict of interest and we trust that you (government) will be responsible enough to have him step aside of that CapBank issue and let there be someone independent on this issue”, he added.
Government has budgeted $500,000.00 in fiscal 2013 for small depositors of Capital Bank International Ltd (CapBank) that will return to them 80% of their savings.
During the Budget Presentation on April 16, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Mitchell told the nation that the demise of Capital Bank International is deeply unfortunate and has brought untold hardship to depositors and creditors.
There are presently 5,126 depositors of Capital Bank, at the time of intervention in 2008 of which 4,102 are depositors with $500.00 or less.
Controversy had plagued CapBank, headed by Grenadian Businessman Finton DeBourg, since its establishment in 1988.
A former National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration of Sir Nicholas Brathwaite had refused to grant the bank a license to operate in the face of concerns being expressed by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and its Governor, Sir Dwight Venner.
However, Dr. Mitchell and his NNP government that won the 1995 general election defied the instructions from the ECCB and granted DeBourg and his associates a license to operate the bank.
The ECCB responded by refusing to allow the controversial local bank to use its Clearing House facility.
In response, Capbank used the banking account linked to a senior member of the NNP to help facilitate its banking transactions.
As depositors could not cask in on their savings at the bank, the Mitchell government was forced to appoint a Receiver to take over the operations of Capbank.
To date the financial institution remains in receivership as depositors await judgment from the High Court while their saving remains tied up in the facility without access to it.