Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis the Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris is confident in the management of the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank and indicates that there is no issues of concern regarding that institution. He added any problems that may require remedial action were created by the previous Douglas Government.
The government is the majority shareholder of the bank that was embroiled in controversy when a leaked document from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) highlighted areas requiring “immediate remedial action.”
The document indicated that there were deficiencies with the group structure and weaknesses such as no independent directors; poor functioning of committees; absence of updated policies and procedures; and one director who does not meet the fit and proper criteria set out in part VIII of the Banking Act.
However speaking in Parliament this week Dr. Harris noted that the bank was being properly managed and there was no issues.
“We are confident that the bank is in good hands, the country can rest assured that the government is a responsible one. The Board at the bank is a competent one and there is no issue of concern before this government in relation to the bank.”
Dr Harris, however, noted that the issues currently affecting the bank are problems that were inherited from the previous administration, such as the Land for Debt swap, but admitted the current board has to fix.
“That is an inheritance from the Douglas regime which Team Unity opposed. So if it is now an issue in the report of the bank or any regulatory authority, it is an issue left by the Douglas administration which the current Board has to correct. The issue of non-performing loans, we know the callous way in which under their watch, loans were given out so we wouldn’t be surprised if that matter needs addressing.”
Dr. Harris also labelled the leaking of the document as a ploy to undermine the functioning of the institution.
“A deliberate effort to undermine the bank that they have prepared to find and to leak unofficial documents, I mean, documents not even finalized, draft form, I am advised in relation to matters not yet determined.”
ECCB Governor Timothy Antoine last week in an interview on radio stated their institution is responsible for regulation and supervision of all banking business in the currency union.
He added that they often undertake on-site inspections, and off-site examination of banks but the findings are not disclosed to the public.
“The law is very clear we cannot disclose or discuss examination reports, that is between the regulator and the bank and so we cannot engage in any public discussion of any sort on specific issues raised with our respective bank..
“It is a standard operating procedure around the world that examination reports are not shared and not disclosed. Having said that, banks do have a duty of care to their shareholders, banks are required to publish annual reports that give a full education not just on their financial standing but also areas of other operations across the bank,” Antoine said.