Unblock Cuba Now!

For the last 26 years (1992-2018) the United Nations General Assembly continue to vote for the USA to lift the financial and economic blockade against the Government and people of Cuba…It is time to Unblock Cuba.

Before my second birthday, the Government and people of Cuba started to feel gaunt of the financial and economic blockade imposed by the USA on the backs of our Caribbean brothers and sisters in Cuba.

It is important to know that after the Historical Leader and Commander In Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Dr Fidel Castro Ruz declared the character of the Cuban Revolution in April of 1961 to be socialist, the Government then went on to nationalise every foreign business in Cuba.

They did not only nationalise them but compensated the owners for their property which were acquired, the only country which did not accept compensation for their properties were the Government of the USA and the business owners of the Empire of the USA.

Since then the Cuban people have undergone all kinds of inhumane attacks during the last 56 years, from bombings, invasion, biological and chemical warfare and also that an economic and a financial blockage since February 1962 to this day.

During the last 56 years, Cuba has made tremendous headway in the world in various fields even though the blockade continues to be an impediment to their total development. However, they are able to share the little that they have because of their internationalist policy of solidarity.

We in Grenada who followed the anti-apartheid struggles in Southern Africa and those of us who were in the Grenada Anti-Apartheid Committee whose chairperson was Benny Langagine know only too well the contributions of our Cubans brothers and sisters in that region of the world during the 1960s, 1970s and 80s to this day.

The freedom of Nelson Mandela, the independence of Namibia, and the independence of Angola had to do with the intervention and sacrifice of the Cuban Internationalist Soldiers who defeated the South African racist twice, in 1976 and 1988 in the famous battle of Cuito Cuanavale when the South African troops were driven out of Angola for the second time in 13 years.

Following the second battle in1988, the political landscape of South-west and Southern Africa changed forever. The independence of Namibia, the freedom of Nelson Mandela and the consolidation of MPLA Government in Angola of President Dos Santos set the stage for a peaceful transition of power once and for all in Namibia, and in South Africa and consolidation of Angola’s independence which is on the 11th of November.

Today, when we look back at the Cuban Government contribution towards Southern Africa and Africa in general, we can only say it is commendable and sacrificial as no other country in world has laid down the lives and the blood of their own in the struggle for justice and freedom for the people of Southern Africa as our Caribbean Cuban brothers and sisters, a small and poor country that continues to feel the weight of a callous economic and financial blockade against the wishes of the world by the Empire of the USA. We say it is time to unblock Cuba.

At present in all of Africa, we can find Cuban Internationalist Collaborators providing medical, engineering and other services helping in the development of the poor of Mother Africa.

In addition, not only in Africa you can find them also right here in our region in all of Latin America. From Mexico in the North to Chile and Argentina in the South especially in health care, construction and sports with the message of a better world are possible through genuine cooperation and solidarity that is why we are saying to unblock Cuba.

The Cuban internationalist medical brigades were involved in a Pan-American Health program called Mas Medicos En Brazil (More Doctors for Brazil). From 2013-2018 during which time almost 20,000 Cuban medical personnel participated in bringing health care to some of the most remote parts of Brazil where extreme poverty exists. For example in far-off areas in Rio de Rio Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador de Bahia and in 34 Special Indigenous Districts in the Amazon region.

They attended to 113,359 million patients in 3600 municipalities; in addition, more than 700 municipalities had seen a doctor for the first time in their history. We in Latin America and the Caribbean should be shouting unblock Cuba.

Our Caribbean region is also a major beneficiary of the Cuban internationalist policy and solidarity with the peoples of the world.

Commencing with Jamaica and Haiti in the Northern Caribbean to Trinidad, Venezuela and Guyana in the Southern Caribbean and on the South American Continent you can find Cuban Doctors and specialists working in various areas helping to provide a better service in the development of our region.

Before Maurice and Fidel love affair during the Grenadian Revolution from 1979-83, the Cubans already had profound diplomatic relations with Michael Manley’s Jamaica and Forbes Burnham of Guyana, which resulted in hundreds of scholarships between those two sister Caribbean nations and other areas of cooperation.

Since 1971 Cuba has financed the training of more than 74,000 foreign students from 159 countries. Today, there are more than 700 Caribbean students studying on the island. Let us sing unblock Cuba now.

Brian Lindsay-Campbell

Three new ambulances commissioned

Grenada has received five new ambulances at an estimated cost of over EC $1 million to help improve the delivery of health care in the country.

Three of the five new ambulances were commissioned and handed over to the Ministry of Health at a ceremony held last Friday at the the Ministerial Complex in the Botanical Gardens, St. George’s.

Ministry of Health officials together with donors Marion Pierre of Maria Holder Memorial Trust and Colin Cover of GRENLEC in front of one of the donated ambulances

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele said that the ambulances will be put into service right away and urged the users to take good care of them.

“The challenge … for us in the ministry (is) to make sure that we remain at, if not, above that optimum level and (to make sure) that these wonderful units do exactly what they’re supposed to actually be doing. It is not for us to be having a ceremony here today but for those units to serve the people and that is the intention of the donors to make sure, while they are most appreciative of being here today to do the handing over; they look forward, like we do to see them in constant service to the people…”, he told the small gathering.

“… Having said that … publicly that we are now at the optimum level with respect to ambulatory services in Grenada, the public-at-large will expect to see a difference, so too will the individuals who will be using these vehicles to serve the people – the drivers, nurses, orderlies, doctors – you have been given additional tools but also please ensure while we are using these tools ,that we use these tools in a manner that we would all be proud of, that they were meant to, to serve the public”, he said.

According to Chief Health Planner in the Ministry of Health, Camille St. Louis, the acquiring of the ambulances is in keeping with the National Health Sector 10 year strategic plan which was launched in 2015.

“The performances of the ambulances to be handed over today are a key milestone in ensuring upgradeability of a comprehensive emergency response system for the people of Grenada”, she said.

St. Louis recalled that beginning in 2016, the Ministry of Health implemented several activities to enhance emergency preparation and response systems including the development of a comprehensive Multi-Hazard Disaster Management Response Plan and the training of over 100 frontline personnel from the health sector, Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), NaDMA and NGO’s.

The ambulances were purchased from funds made available by Government, the Grenada Electricity Services (GRENLEC) and the Maria Holder Memorial Trust.

Member of the Board of Trustees of the Maria Holder Memorial Trust, Dr. Marion Pierre said that the organisation is pleased to be a part of such an initiative.

“As representative of the trust, I can safely say that they are very pleased to be partnering with such an initiative that can impact the lives of those who will benefit from using this ambulance being handed over this morning. I am sure that the government is very pleased to have received this kind donation from the Maria Holder Memorial Trust,” she said.

General Manager of GRENLEC, Colin Cover, said the island’s sole electricity is always ready to get on board to help improve the lives of citizens.

Cover said: “In the past five years we have donated more than $1.5 million towards health services in Grenada. We do this as a social responsibility, not for the applause but because of the cause of trying to improve the lot and the lives of the communities that we serve and the people in communities that we serve.

“I am sure that the drivers will drive with care to save lives and I am also sure that the Minister will ensure that there is proper and timely maintenance that will be done to these vehicles that they may serve the Grenadian public long and well,” he added.

The three ambulances; will be displaced at the St. George’s General Hospital, Princess Royal on the sister island of Carriacou and Princess Alice at Mirabeau, St. Andrew.

A commitment was given by the ministry to ensure that the ambulances are properly maintained and that the drivers have received a defensive driving course aimed at proper delivery of service.

PANCO DIES IN MYSTERIOUS ACCIDENT

One (1) man is dead, while two (2) others are nursing injuries, following a mysterious, fatal accident last week Saturday morning in Berrotte, St. David, which recorded the island’s eighth road fatality for the year.

Raymond Strachan – lost his life in a tragic accident last week Saturday morning

Dead is Raymond Strachan, 59, a Taxi Driver of Perdmontemps, St. David, also known as ‘Panco’ and ‘Chow Chow,’ who met his demise just after 1:00 a.m., when the Noah mini-van he was driving, rolled uncontrollably, approximately 22 feet down a hill, colliding with a mini-bus before coming to a complete stop.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the mini-bus was at the time occupied by two (2) individuals, one (1) of whom sustained injuries as a result of the impact.

A few hours after the incident, photos went viral on social media accompanied by a video that was filmed while the firemen were on the scene where the mini-van toppled over, with the now deceased man.

As a fire truck pulled the wrecked vehicle back onto its wheels, Strachan’s body was seen in the video, hanging out head first, from the window on the driver’s side.
Police investigators have since launched a probe into the death of the St. David’s resident.

According to a release issued Monday by the Community Relations Department (CRD) of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) an “autopsy and a toxicology report have been ordered.”

THE NEW TODAY understands that the incident occurred moments after Panco dropped off a friend at the Berrotte pasture following a night hanging out together.

The friend, Douglas ‘Skerit’ Alexander, 65, is now hospitalised at the St. George’s General Hospital on the Male Surgical ward, with a broken left knee, a fractured left foot and several bruises to his body, after he was knocked to the ground during the late night freak incident.

Still bemused, the retired mechanic, who felt fortunate to be alive, spoke exclusively with THE NEW TODAY, from his hospital bed on Monday.

“We were out playing pool in Madigras and we dropped (gave a ride to) a next friend up Madigras and then he drop me (home). We stayed (in the pasture) and talked for a few minutes, he was sitting inside the vehicle (in the driver’s seat) and I was standing outside the door on the front passenger side,” Alexander said.

“He (the deceased) didn’t really tell me where he was going but I told him to take it light going down, because I know normally, he would be by his friend in La Borie or his sister in Good Hope,” he added.

The mini van in which “Panco” met his death in the early hours of Saturday morning

Alexander said that he proceeded to walk away from the vehicle in the direction of his home, but to his astonishment, within seconds of his departure, “I felt an impact and I ended up on the ground.

“I felt it (the impact) on my left shoulder…and I don’t remember anything else after that. I blacked out,” he recalled.

“When the ambulance came I asked, where’s Panco? And they said he’s dead and told me what happened but I can’t see that, I don’t know how Panco go (went) down there,” Alexander said in awe.

THE NEW TODAY has been unable to confirm the injuries sustained by the other injured man, who was one (1) of two occupants in the passenger bus, when the collision took place.
Speculation is rife that at the time of the tragic incident, the deceased was heavily intoxicated.

However, Alexander dismissed the notion stating, “I don’t drink rum…we had a few beers but I wouldn’t say he was drunk.”

The deceased, was a bus driver, plying the “number 4” St. Pauls/Perdmotemps/St. George’s bus route, up until approximately one (1) month ago, when he began his new career as a taxi driver.

“We grew up together; like brothers, we played marble, top, cricket, (just about) everything that boys did together,” Alexander told THE NEW TODAY, as he reflected on the life of his old time friend.

He said Panco will be remembered for his “friendly, humorous and generous” attributes.

Interviews set to begin in MNIB probe

Office of the Integrity Commission, St George’s, Grenada, 12 December 2018: A Commission of inquiry is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of the new year, in the Office of the Integrity Commission led probe into the affairs of the Marketing and National Importing Board (MNIB).

Lady Joseph, Chairman of the Integrity Commission, Grenada

This was revealed by Chairman of the Commission, Anande Trotman-Joseph (Lady Joseph), in her message to mark International Anti-Corruption Day on 09 December 2018.

Lady Joseph said in her message that interviews with individuals who have knowledge of the operations of the MNIB were scheduled to begin on Friday 14 December 2018, and the Commission of Inquiry into the matter would begin in the first quarter of 2019.

International Anti-Corruption Day is observed annually on 09 December, and Chairman of the Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies (CCAICACB) Dirk Harrison, was in Grenada to celebrate the day with Grenada’s Office of the Integrity Commission.

He addressed a function at the Kirani James Athletic Stadium on Friday, and brought a message from Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, which highlighted the cost of corruption.

Mr Harrison quoted from the Secretary General’s address:

“Corruption is present in all countries, rich and poor, North and South. It is an assault on the values of the United Nations. It robs societies of schools, hospitals and other vital services, drives away foreign investment and strips nations of their natural resources. It undermines the rule of law and abets crimes such as the illicit trafficking of people, drugs and arms”.

“The World Economic Forum estimates that the cost of corruption is at least $2.6 trillion – or 5 per cent of global gross domestic product. And according to the World Bank, businesses and individuals pay more than $1 trillion in bribes each year”.

“The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is among our primary tools for advancing the fight. Sustainable Development Goal 16 and its targets also offer a template for action”.

“Millions of people around the world have gone to the ballots this year with corruption as one of their top priorities. On International Anti-Corruption Day, let us take a stand for integrity”.

The Integrity Commission also officially unveiled its Logo and Mascot, which were selected from a national competition. The Logo Competition was won by Alyssa Prince of St Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School with a second-place award to Lyandra Narayan of McDonald College, whose entries were merged for the final product. The Mascot Competition was won by Celine Dickson of Anglican High School.

Lady Joseph, who did the unveiling, praised the students for their creations, and highlighted the Commission’s efforts to include young people in their activities. This, she said, will help to ensure that the message of integrity is carried through the next generation.

His Lordship Bishop Clyde Martin Harvey and Reverend Sylbert Prescod delivered prayers and blessings during the celebration. There was also a poem written and delivered by staff members of the Commission and the Presentation Brothers College Choir delivered a cultural performance which emphasised the anti-corruption cultural shift that is needed at this time.

GOVERNMENT AND TRADE UNIONS RESUME PENSION NEGOTIATIONS BUT NO SETTLEMENT YET

The Government’s Pension Engagement Committee (PEC) and the public sector trade unions and staff associations resumed pension negotiations on Friday.

In an amicable meeting which lasted over two hours, the two sides discussed their respective proposals but are not any closer to resolving the issue.

The unions continue to demand 25% advanced payment of pension which is commonly referred to as gratuity. The Government offer is 8% gratuity, with reduced pension over eight years.

Minister of Trade, Industry, Cooperatives and CARICOM Affairs, Honourable Oliver Joseph, who chairs the PEC said, while Government is keen to resolve the matter, any settlement of the pension negotiations must not breach the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

He emphasised that Government cannot be irresponsible and commit to something that is not sustainable and which will force a reduction in social programmes that are geared towards improving the well-being of citizens.

At Friday’s meeting, the PEC committed to providing the trade unions and staff associations with the specific data for agreed upon scenarios by next Wednesday. Government has already shared all relevant data with the unions and associations which can be used for the modelling and costing of proposals.

The date for the next meeting has not yet been set.

On Thursday night, when he addressed the official opening of the Caribbean Union of Teachers Regional Education Conference, Prime Minister, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell called for the parties to remain at the table to find a solution.

Dr. Mitchell, a former teacher, said he is grateful for the role of good teachers in his upbringing and he assured them of his continued support.

(Submitted by the Government Information Service)

Senate President calls for tightening sexual crime laws

With the increasing occurrence of sexual violence in the country, President of the Senate, Chester Humphrey has called for a tightening of the laws to ensure that less lenient punishments are handed out to perpetrators.

President of the Senate, Chester Humphrey

Speaking at the last sitting of the Upper House of Parliament at Parliament Building, Mt. Wheldale, St. George, Sen. Humphrey charged that the legislation governing sexual-related offences is too lenient and people are only given seven years in prison for committing sexual crimes against children.

“What’s happening to us? There was a murder of an eight year old after which she was sexually assaulted…the leniency, the leniency, I don’t understand what is happening with our other branch”, he said in reference to the Judiciary.

“I can’t speak disparagingly at them, but I can press my concern, but I think as legislators, we have a duty to tighten the laws, we have a duty to tighten the punishment that is meted out, to send the message that this kind of behaviour is not accepted,” he told the Upper House.

According to Sen. Humphrey, perpetrators of sexual offences were punished in the right way during the colonial days and crimes were minimal with about two murders a year.

“When I grew up, you were found guilty of rape, you were flogged with a ‘catanine tail’, you were found guilty of murder you were hung – justice was swift, certain and predictable. How do you murder someone because they stepped on your sneakers? How do you rape and murder a seven and eight year old? Something is wrong and you have to take the necessary steps to bring back balance,” he said.

The Senate President lay some of the blame on the disorder in the society and increase in sexual crimes on the spate of uncensored lyrics in songs that are played in the media.

Sen. Humphrey said: “The old days when I was growing up when we had calypso tents there was censorship. There were songs that were sung for adults and if you wanted to hear certain songs, you went to a calypso tent to hear them. You didn’t have to hear them inside of your living room with children, neither did we have the television that bombards children with all messages of sexuality. 99.9% of all the messages that come on television is a sexual message.

“This ‘objectivisation’ finds its worse expression in certain cultural artforms that we now glorify…soca, dancehall music and rap, where every part of a woman’s anatomy is highlighted, focused on and promoted. It’s a sickening exercise and there is little wonder that we have this explosion of sexual crimes.

“…Then you see it in our failure to sensor the television which comes into our homes. So, that the kids in the living room during the working day, during working day, during the evening, the sexual messages that come over public television. Now if as an adult you want to go and subscribe to an adult site in the privacy of your bedroom, that’s a different matter.

“I could comment not on that but to have piped into our children at 6 o’clock in the evening, 7 o’clock in the evening, in the news, in which you have corporate sponsors sponsoring this so-called Soca shows with the most vulgar and vile exhibition of the female anatomy on television for our children to see and we call it culture. I find it is rather disgusting and it explains where we are and why we are, where we are…that is the challenge that we face.

Christmas Message of the President of the Grenada Football Association

As we celebrate yet another Christmas season, let me extend special greetings to our staff at the Grenada Football Association (GFA), the coaches and players, sponsors, media, fans, volunteers, Security and transportation personnel, hoteliers and their staff, our creditors and all other partners in football.

GFA President Chenney Joseph

On behalf of the Executive committee, we extend best wishes to each and everyone at this time of giving and sharing. Christmas represents a time of reflection, family gathering, expressions of love and togetherness.

We in the GFA wish to convey our appreciation for the support received and those committed in the future.

At this time of the year, we experience the best of personalities, the soul of kindhearted individuals and the merriment of communities.

These expressions must extend beyond the season and should also accommodate forgiveness to those who trespass against us.

As we give to one another in the spirit of Christmas, let us give of ourselves the strength of kindness, forgiveness and mercy. One of the greatest lessons of life is the gift of giving itself, and the more we give of ourselves the more of ourselves we have to give. And so even as we celebrate this time, we must all be bold enough to offer mercy to those who despise us or covet our success especially when our voices are not loud enough to defend the truth.

Christ died for us that we may live and though some will go the extra mile to hurt us, this time of year is the best to say Father forgive them for all of their doings and put peace in my heart that I can continue to show love.

As we reflect on the past months and contemplate the future, let us lighten our hearts with laughter, joy and goodwill. Let us positively impact on humanity by showering positive energies and thoughts so the world may one day be rid of evilness, spite and deceit.

Notwithstanding the challenges of financial and emotional obstacles, we wish for this Christmas season to be particularly special for our clubs, match officials, administrators, standing committee members and those whose desire is to see the association improve in all aspect of its pursuits in the New Year.

To those unsound heroes and government staff in the various ministries, airline and travel agents, airport and seaport employees who during the year went beyond the call of duty to assist, we are eternally thankful and grateful for your generosity.

Having had a lukewarm performance on the field in 2018, we are hopeful that as we strategically plan for the next century to experience better fortunes on the field of play.

We wish to also express a special thank you to our Cabinet ministers of the government of Grenada led by our Prime Minister, Dr. The Right Honourable, Keith Mitchell and the line minister for Sports, Senator Norland Cox for his excellent relations and support to football.

From all of us at the Grenada Football Association, we say thank you and a Merry Christmas to all of the football family, their family and friends and all of mankind as we look forward to celebrating our 95th anniversary as an association in 2019 and then our milestone of 100 years.

Police Declare Zero Tolerance On Fireworks

The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has once again declared a zero-tolerance policy against the use of pyrotechnic material such as firecrackers, scratch bombs, sparklers, and other similar explosives during the Christmas season.

They have warned that the relevant authorities will be intensifying their monitoring policies regarding the importation of the items.

The police said they will be intensifying their security measures aimed at stemming the illegal and indiscriminate use of these explosives and will take a zero-tolerance approach against offenders.

“Persons are reminded that the activating, discharging, or throwing of these explosive devices in any public place is prohibited,” the police said in a statement.

“Further, persons are reminded that it is a criminal offence for anyone to use, deal, sell, or purchase these explosives without the appropriate licence,” the police said, warning that anyone found in possession of these items, offering them for sale, or discharging them may face criminal prosecution under the relevant legislation.

The police said that considering the dangers posed by these explosives, they are urging the public to cooperate and report any violation of the ban.

23-year-old man sent to prison for 13 years

A 23-year-old La Digue, St. Andrew man, who was facing 20 years on an Attempted Murder charge, was sent off to prison for 13 years and one (1) month following a sentence handed down last week Thursday by High Court Judge, Justice Paula Gilford.

Deron Jeffery, 23, who attacked his uncle with a cutlass

Deron Jeffery pleaded guilty to attacking his 56-year old uncle, who is also from La Digue, on September 21, 2017, with a cutlass.

The court was told by the State Prosecutor, Crown Counsel Brendon La Touche that prior to the incident the uncle took the now convicted man to live with him at his La Digue home.

The altercation between them ensued from a falling out they had, which resulted in the uncle asking the nephew to pack up and leave.

According to La Touche, an angry Jeffrey “decided to lay in wait close to where the uncle lives and attacked him while he was on his way home that evening and threatened to kill him in the process.”

Jeffery, was 20 years old when he committed the offence, which resulted in his uncle receiving several chop wounds about the body including his head.

The convicted man who retained the services of Attorney-at-Law George Prime to assist him, has three (3) previous convictions, two (2) being of a similar nature, and one for Possession of an Offensive Weapon.

As part of his sentence, Justice Gilford ordered Jeffery to undergo counseling and therapy for drug addiction.

If he fails to comply with this aspect of the sentence, Jeffery faces a default sentence of one (1) year prison term.

Scotiabank’s obligation for decades of profits

A curious double standard is being applied by the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) by its decision to sell its operations in nine Caribbean countries to Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) of Trinidad and Tobago.

In Canada, banks cannot be sold to foreigners without the expressed approval of the government of Canada. The Canadian banking act is quite specific in two relevant areas.

First, no bank or bank branch can carry on business in Canada without obtaining the approval of the finance minister and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OFSI). This is especially important in the context of the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, insisting that his government’s agreement is required before BNS can sell its Antigua holdings to RFHL or any other potential buyer.

Second, while the Canadian OSFI assesses applications for the incorporation of banks and makes recommendations to the Finance Minister, it is the Minister who has the ultimate responsibility for approving the incorporation of banks and foreign bank branches.

Importantly, in discharging responsibility to approve a bank, an important consideration is whether such approval is in the “best interests of the Canadian financial system”.
Despite these existent circumstances in Canada, BNS is attempting to sell its holdings in nine Caribbean jurisdictions without consultation with, or approval from, the governments concerned.

Clearly, while a standard exists, and is operated, in Canada with respect to government approvals, BNS appears to be expecting the nine Caribbean countries to accept a lower standard.

Those nine countries are: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, St Maarten, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

In the case of Guyana, both the governor of the Central Bank, Dr Gobind Ganga, and Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, have stated that should the sale of BNS’ holdings be sold to RFHL, which already has a presence in the country, the latter would own at least 53 percent of total assets in the banking sector and more than 50 percent of total deposits. That situation troubles opposition leader and former president, Bharrat Jagdeo, as much as it worries the government, since RFHL would be able to exert control over interest rates and lending policies.

The government of Antigua and Barbuda’s resistance to sale of BNS’ holdings in Antigua to RFHL is different, but equally important.

Like every other Caribbean country, Antigua and Barbuda’s financial services sector has been subject to a process of ‘de-risking’ by which global banks in the United States, the UK and parts of Europe have withdrawn correspondent banking relations (CBRs).

CBRs are vital to bank transactions. Without them, bills for goods and services incurred overseas cannot be settled, and monies for goods and services, earned from overseas cannot be received.

In other words, CBRs are crucial to the Caribbean’s participation in the global financial and trading system. Without them, economies would wither, companies would collapse, and unemployment and poverty would rise.

In part, the domestic banking sectors in Antigua and Barbuda, and other Eastern Caribbean countries, have lost CBRs, and could lose more, because they are regarded as too small and not capable of producing enormous profits that would compensate global banks for ‘risking’ continued operations in their countries.

This is one of the reasons given by BNS for disposing of its operations in the nine countries. BNS said, “These transactions are not material to Scotiabank,” which is “trying to shed regulatory burdens”. These burdens, incidentally, are imposed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Financial Action Task Force, both external to the Caribbean.

By calling for BNS to sell its Antigua holdings to a consortium, comprising the government and local banks, the Antigua and Barbuda government says it is seeking “to strengthen the local banking sector, improve its resilience, and enhance the nation’s utilisation of its own wealth, including keeping profits at home for re-investment in economic growth and social development”.

A sale of BNS’ holdings in Antigua to RHFL would not achieve the objective of enlarging the indigenous banks and increasing their capacity, making them more attractive for global banks to continue to provide CBRs.

Indeed, for Antigua and Barbuda and other Eastern Caribbean countries, the situation would worsen since they would lose BNS’ built-in CBRs with its headquarters in Canada; their indigenous banks would not be strengthened; and they would be faced with another bank (RHFL) that requires CBRs to conduct business.

Therefore, the Antigua and Barbuda concern with enlarging the capacity of its indigenous banks and enhancing their resilience is a legitimate concern in the best interest of its financial system.

There is a further consideration. In none of the nine jurisdictions, which BNS calls “non-core markets” for its business, is anything more than branches being sold. BNS is not selling the Scotia brand or any association with Scotiabank, so ‘goodwill’ is questionable. It is selling assets and liabilities of a branch.

In this connection, it is important to note that the Antigua branch is not capitalised, and figures available in the auditor’s (KPMG) statement of 8 January 2016, reveal that EC$59.41 million was transferred to head office. Further, in 2017 the branch declared profits of EC$28.24 million, but listed EC$30.2 million as “due to Head Office”, leaving retained earnings in 2017 of EC$4.785 million, down from EC$6.521 million in 2016. All of this seems to suggest that the Antigua branch has been transferring the bulk of its retained profits to BNS’ head office.

BNS operated in Antigua for over 50 years. It derived all the money to meet its costs and make yearly profits that it transferred to its headquarters in Canada from clients in Antigua and Barbuda; none of that money, except for the initial small capital expenditure, many decades ago, came from outside. To the very end, it transferred relatively large profits made in the small Antigua and Barbuda market to its parent company.

Surely, in its desire to leave “to focus the Bank’s efforts on markets with significant scale”, BNS should recognise a moral obligation to sell its Antigua holdings to local entities, giving the country’s financial sector a chance to thrive.

(Sir Ronald Sanders is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the US and the OAS. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London and Massey College in the University of Toronto)