Opposition Leader the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (L) and Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris

Staff Writer

Leader of the Opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, Dr. Denzil Douglas has trashed a recent press statement issued by Prime Minister, Dr. Hon. Timothy Harris, that the former political leader of the Federation and other members of the Monetary Council were in the know about bank fee increases.

In a recent statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister, details were disclosed that at the ECCB Monetary Council 80th meeting in October, 2014, a communiqué was issued that the Council  was made aware of an increase in bank fees and had expressed concerns, while indicating that some action needed to be taken to address the matter.

The statement from the government indicated that then Minister of Finance of St. Kitts and Nevis, now the leader of the Opposition, was in attendance.

But, Dr. Douglas addressing thousands of his party members and supporters at their 84th Annual Convention on Sunday (May 22nd) at the Royal St. Kitts Hotel, sought to clear the air on what he claimed were “misleading statements”.

The former Prime Minister alleges that the statement issued by Dr. Harris paints a picture that the decision by Royal Bank of Canada to impose a the $25 increase bank charges on savings account holders was arrived at under his administration.

“Yes, the banks brought it to our attention, but we the members of the Monetary Council – {I} think in October or November 2014 made it absolutely clear that we were against it…totally against it,”Dr. Douglas declared.

“And that is why it is only being applied at this time.”

It was only recently that account holder at RBC got wind of the proposed fee increase and began withdrawing their monies and in some cases entirely closing their accounts at the financial institution.

Long lines could be see gathering at office in the Federation and other location in the subregion.

Dr. Douglas who is the Parliament Representation for Constituency #6, explained that for a person with a deposit of $1000 at RBC they would incur an annual fee of $300, which he noted represents 30% of their savings.

On the other hand, the vocal government critic claimed that a person with $1million would not incur the same 30% charge on the account.

He said,: “There is a reason why the government has not shown any interest in this matter, while the imposition of the fee is devastating to low income persons it has very little effect on the rich who are among us.”

The Labour Party leader alleged that the government “has complete disregard for the plight of the poor”, noting that it took the Administration until  after depositors began withdrawing their monies to respond to the situation.

“Our people have been in a state of panic over this new charge and there has been zero statements by the government until very, very late, when the entire country was up in arms.”

“Zero indications of representation on behalf of the depositors and zero notice of any request made by our government to have this matter discuss as a matter of extreme urgency by the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.”

Management of Royal Bank in St. Kitts have remained mum on the matter, while media entities and the public at large await an official statement on the matter.

Dr. Douglas has urged the government to ‘work closely with the Monetary Council to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution that protects the interest of the depositors here in our country and the Currency Union”.