All Canadian Banks Desirous Of Leaving Antigua -PM


Prime Minister Gaston Browne says all the Canadian banks operating here have expressed their desire to leave the country.

Browne told his radio programme over the weekend that it’s not just the Bank of Nova Scotia.

He did not name the other Canadian banks but the Royal Bank of Canada has operated in the country for decades.

“Certain sectors like the banking sector, for example, that is one of the sectors we would like to see controlled by local entities,” Browne a former banking executive said.

He told radio listeners that “the Canadian banks have indicated their desire to leave, all of them, and I would expect that as they leave, that they will give local entities the first right or refusal and again we make no apologies about that.”

Browne has taken a strong position on the sale of Scotia Bank to Republic Bank of Trinidad & Tobago, insisting that he will not issue the vesting order needed for it to change hands.

Browne said that policy is not anti-capitalist “it is not anti-investment it is all about protecting and growing your domestic economy.”

He said the exit of the Canadian banks presents an opportunity for local banks to grow.

“Whereas the Canadian banks have signalled their intention to leave it is quite an opportunity for the local banks to build capacity and grow rapidly.”

According to Browne, this growth will help local banks maintain their correspondent banking relations.

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  1. What Gaston is doing here is tantamount to left-wing socialism/communism. Government dictating private sector transactions. This has no place in a free and democratic society. Venezuela did this with nationalizing industry and stepping into the private sector and look where they are now. Keep government out of private sector free enterprise.

    • Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock!
      Why would you not wish:
      “to give local entities the first right or refusal;” and,
      “the local Banks to build capacity and grow rapidly … help the local Banks maintain corespondent banking relations”!
      Kindly Explain Socialism given that Strategic Direction!

      • The answer is staring at you. Economic nationalism is a red flag for not only prospective investors but it creates a sense of uncertainty and dread to those already established here.
        It’s not the government role to interfere with private sector businesses transactions like the blogger said its role is to facilitate a business friendly environment. Arbitrarily amending labour relation laws and threatening one of the bedrock institutions of banking in the Caribbean is definitely not a business friendly strategy.

        • Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock!
          Kindly revisit the Banking and Financial Meltdown of 2008 in the North Atlantics!

          • No need to. We are most def not the North Atlantics. Bank of America processes 10 times Antiguas GDP worth of transactions every day. Apples and oranges.

        • What do think Trump trade war with China is all about. It’s a government getting involved in the relation of businesses. If it is u to Wallmart they will continue to buy cheap products from China Each country practice some form of protectionism for their own economy. And there is nothing wrong for the PM to put measure in place to give local bank the right of First Refusal. Not that it cannot be sold to foreign banks. But a local should have first option. And soon we should have the same wit work permits as well. We have too many expatriates taking up jobs they say that they cannot find qualified locals for. But how long can you give that as an excuse. When we will have many university graduates coming out of the UWI Antigua Campus. They cannot easily do that in countries like Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados.

          • Excuse Dessalines, he love foreign and white . In his mind aint nothing better than white. Seems he was told some fable that when we were a colony life was much better. Think you can find comments from him wrongly suggesting that the islands which stayed colonies are better off than the ones which got independence. More sees himself a Englishman then Antiguan. Kind of reminds me of Macomay

          • FTSL – What is joke for school children a death to crapaud so you can go head watch America and follow dem.
            You ever hear anybody impose sanctions on Uncle Sam?

    • I agree. PM clearly has the wrong objectives and the intent is not for the bigger gain of the local bank nor it is the wealth of the people or the nation. This is going to dunce the economy. Even a blind person can see this folly. And the other comments listed below will buttress my stance. Even the best local banks namely ACB CUB ECAB are still fully automative. Poor our economy. The poor local banks cannot keep up with the market.

      This is gonna take a turn like Venezuela. The PM leadership signals the simularity of rise and fall of Venezuela. The storyline is the same. And don’t talk about when Government need funding. The Government continues to bankrupt the local banks and then say they are bailing them out. Look at CUB and ECAB/ABI they are barely keeping their businesses open.
      Lord God help our country and may you dear Lord open the eyes of our leaders who looks to want to dictate this little nation. We are praying that His eyes be open quickly as You warn in your word about the crookishness of leadership and the doom/destruction of the nation. Let the people of Antigua make their own decision because you are ruling with a fork and the Lord God Jehovah is gonna take you out of power for these wrong decisions. It is my declaration. Thus saith The Lord Jehovah.

    • Hey “Not So Common”: Are you not aware of the history of this country? ABLP (and to a lesser extent UPP) are both left-wing social democratic/democratic socialist parties!!! Where have you been. Black democratic socialism is foundational here, ever since the revolution of 1939. Whether you understand it or not, ideology IS big here. Power to the People!

  2. It is interesting that after years of exploiting the resources of this country that the Canadian banks appear to now be willing to depart from a sector which in the past saw mortgage rates as high as 13% now falling to an all time low of 4.75%. I have always been adamant that all foreign direct investors are only interested in an economy where they can reap large benefits and once they have exploited these resources they will move on to greener pastures elsewhere. This is not a sustainable economic model for any small island developing state to pursue.

    I do sincerely hope that this and other governments will see the light and promote and also protect the development of all bonafide local businesses in the future.

    • I agree that local is best in most cases for most things. Large corporations generally rape and pillage, take the spoils and leave…or stick around if there is more money to be made. That is their purpose. They are fulfilling their goals nicely…they just aren’t interested in YOUR goals. Local people are more likely to be. HOWEVER, when it comes to the laws and money, it pays to go with transparent and well known. I think this is particularly important in the case of banking in smaller countries where a single individual can simply have too much control…and that can destroy a country. We have watched it happen in South America often enough…and not just in smaller countries.

    • Patriot I somewhat agree with you. When it comes to Real Estate investment I have to remember Papa Bird saying. Let them come and build what they want, when they leave they cannot take it with them. But you see a bank doesn’t really require much investment. They actually do not bring a dime. They use our money and put their name on the door. They sometimes refuse to build even a building. They rather rent. So in fact when they leave or have to leave they leave nothing from themselves behind. The only assets they bring is their good name and corresponding relation. Because they don’t even pass on the relatively low mortgage rates they have in their head office country. In fact they do everything to chase us away. They raise their fees time and time again. But yet our people seem to be hell bend to support them.

  3. Say what you may about the STYLE of the PM, his intentions are exactly what we Antiguans must support. After being one of the most successful or lucrative banks in Antigua, Scotia Bank is set to be taken over by a Trini group without giving Antiguans the first shot.
    Imagine you rented a home for 30 years, and, without you being given the chance to purchase it, you hear it was sold. You would be livid. Fortunately, the law makes sure the tennant has the “first dibs”.
    This is exactly what the PM is saying, which I wholeheartedly endorse. In addition, many Antiguans have not forgotten the millions of dollars lost to Trinidadian investors with no word of reimbursement. Antiguans are not too anxious to have Trinidadians control.our money or savings again.
    Just stop the idle and useless talk of socialism and think what is best for Antiguans.

    • Is it the same Trinidadian company that had links to the failed insurance ponzi scheme (BAICO or CLICO)?

    • DO you have a penny in scotia bank? Or you have a horse in a pageant race hence you have to tow the line?

    • You will hold this opinion until the PM one day decides to interfere in some private sector business that affects you directly or indirectly and then you will understand that free enterprise means exactly that. Free to transact business without government interference or influence.

    • “Imagine you rented a home for 30 years, and, without you being given the chance to purchase it, you hear it was sold.” Reminds you of the Observer Radio situation at the former Sun Printing Building doesn’t it?

  4. @ Frank Southwell
    You of all people must know what the road to hell is paved with..

    The PMs intentions are irrelevant if his actions or pronouncements leads us to economic doom.

    The PM is correct in that they should give a local entity first dibs but his involvement as the head of government should stop as merely a suggestion. Once you start threatening interference in a transaction between an international financial and a third party you have placed Antigua in the cross hairs of the global financial community. This announcement that all Scotia bank Canadian siblings are leaving Antigua is a warning shot across our bow and a show of solidarity with Scotia. We are on thin ice here. A word to the wise….

    • Tell Trump that his America first policy should that there with just suggestion.
      Governments make policy not just suggestions. And in our system they also pass laws.

      • Do not compare Antigua to the US. Different economy. Trump will be forced to backtrack when China denies them sale of their rare earth minerals
        Are the new Antiguan banks going to be piggy banks for certain people and the government? I can see one person rubbing his hands in glee.
        Lesson here. Negotiations should not be conducted by “shouting across the Caribbean” but with diplomacy. We don’t need Donald Trump in Antigua.

        • I was really not comparing economies. But then again we have similarities. In that we both have capitalistic economies. Part run by the private sector part run by government. yes they are the largest economy in the world, but size alone is not everything. They too are practicing protectionism with their economy. Be it the car industry or the agriculture industry and we have seen what Trump did with NAFTA and the fight with European steel is not yet over. So why should we not protect some of our industry to ensure locals have a change no matter how small to stay in business. just remember how they force their tax regime on us. And if we do not comply they blacklist us and call us TAX HEAVENS. With all the consequences that that will bring. In the early 1900 a man would rob a bank in the USA and flee to Mexico and live happily being a rich man. Then treaties were made and you couldn’t hide their any longer. Then crime became much more sophisticated and the criminals had three piece suites. Cash money was taken out of the USA and flown to Switzerland and put into banks that allowed people holding accounts with no name just a number. And we know that also ended. Now we have the small islands being used to set up offshore banks and the money virtually is in offshore while literally it is right there in their own bank. Cause Offshore banks must have a corresponding bank to trade. And we know the people that have their money stack away in those banks are the same wealthy and politicians that cry foul over our little amount of money we have here in our banks. Please read the Panama Papers. Anyway Delaware is the biggest when it comes to offshore banks. But you keep looking at us and be distracted from where the real criminals are. Just by following the news we learn that Deutsche Bank seem to have facilitated lots of so called red flag transactions from the Presidents and his businesses. But that is OK.

    • Chinese banks to the rescue? The outlook for the next few years is not looking good at all.

  5. The europeans came to conquer and loot,the arabs followed,then the chinese and eventually the indians…in the mean time the black man is still sleeping busy fighting his own. Is this a curse,a mess or a blessing?

    • A CURSE. Cause nowhere else in the world would a PM be condemned by his own for standing up for his country and countrymen/women

      • Maybe because his intentions are not sincere? Maybe because instead of making things better, he’s actually making things worst? Not everybody is going to swallow whatever Gaston Browne throws out. You may be happy doing that, but some of us actually take the time to weigh the pros and cons of his pronouncements and actions.

  6. Frank, is where u learn law?…must be inna bush…since when does a tenant have first dibs to buy property?…wheel and come again. The PM’s style is gangster style. That has no place in business unless u running drug business.

  7. That is unfortunate and mysterious to me. Canadian banks are some of the safest and most transparent in the world. They are also some of the largest and most trusted with the best tech and so on. They don’t make rash decisions.

    My question is why? Canadian banks, just like all other corporate machines, have one goal: make money. They NEVER make decisions together…so why do they ALL want to leave at once. If I was PM, that is what I would be asking. Why do these large, savvy, international banking organizations all want to leave the country together now? Change in regulations? Coming nationalization of private assets? Climate change anticipated to destroy the country? In case you think I’m kidding about that, please be aware that Jakarta is moving its capital city right now over the next 10 years because of climate change, Alaska is experiencing 30 – 40 degrees F higher than normal temperates this spring consistently, and Miami is constantly flooded.
    Those are just a few of thousands of examples. So, is Antigua facing chaos due to climate change and is that the reason they are getting out? An odd, but relevant, question to ask, as we elect governments around the world that don’t believe in climate change: USA, Russia, Brazil, Australia, and, soon, likely Canada…conservative majority governments that DO NOT believe science.

    There is a reason the Canadian banks are leaving en masse, and it will be important. They don’t make hasty or irrational decisions. Why?

    • Scotia said it loud and clear. The Caribbean doesn’t fit in their model any longer. They are not profitable for them anymore. And especially with the De-Risking
      De-risking practices by global financial institutions threaten to cut off access to the global financial system for remittance companies and local banks in certain regions, putting them at risk of losing access to the global financial system

  8. I would also suggest that Mr. Browne, a former banking executive, now Minister of what should be three separate portfolios: Finance, Corporate Governance and Public/Private partnerships has a conflict of interest to say the least. With that experience and those portfolios, it would take a saint to not do something to line his own pockets. That structure is a recipe for hiding funds and manipulating the currency of the country.

    • He also controls Social Security and medical benefits. His wife controls the public lands in Antigua. He may also soon control all the new banks in Antigua. He thinks Antiguans are fools and to the extent we keep blindly voting for him he could be right.

  9. Just the other day the PM gave an example of the UNDP sending out proposals for local contractors to bid on to build homes in Barbuda. And guess what. They put the criteria so high that they can easily keep out ALL LOCAL contractor. Now building homes is no rocket science. But that is the name of the game they wanted to play. And he had to put his foot down and let them know he will not allow them to bring in any foreign contractor to build homes in Barbuda. That they will have to work with his government on whatever the criteria is. That is what you call stand up for who you are. So in the end if you had let these people get away with things nothing of the relieve fund would be actually spend in Antigua.

    • Local contractors, where available, should build the homes in Barbuda. The hope is that these contractors can complete the homes within the time frame and within budget. We all know about the work ethic of some Antiguans.
      Million of dollars were collected to rebuild Haiti after the earth quake. The money is gone and Haiti is still a mess. The PM has to make UNDP accountable.

      • For a contractor to build a house in a set time and within budget it is the construction manager not the contractor. This person is usually missing on the job that is why you have all these unexpected time and cost overrun. A Construction manager is to monitor and plan the work day by day and do forecasting. They know the timeline it should take for each stage of the project. They calculate man hours and materials used. They ensure timely delivery of materials on site. You name it. Contractors are managed by this person(s).

    • The funds was given to the UNDP to manage, as the locals cannot be trusted with such funds. My guess is, the project go to a large firm. Then, most of the work will get sub out to local contractors.

      • So locals can always get the crumbs of the table. The same thing we see happen all over. whether it is building houses at Jumby Bay or Mill Reef. A white expat contractor gets the contract for millions of dollars and he hires locals to do the work and gives them the crumbs. What a nice picture isn’t it. That is why we black will always stay back. Cause we should not make the big monies. Ride the donkey.

  10. John French II ,FTSL
    You are asking the wrong questions.
    Why would all these banks want to leave the best performing economy in the Caribbean? Why would they want to leave the economic powerhouse?
    The question of first dibs or growing capacity for local banks are incidental to these fundamental questions. These banks are here to make money, and if they are leaving it signals that they see no future ahead.
    One would expect the international banks to be lining up to get a piece of the action in this booming economy not to be fledding the scene like rats off a sinking ship.

    • If it was only Antigua they were leaving I would somewhat agree with you. But as you can see they are leaving the entire Caribbean including Guyana in the South. That tells you that the game is a much bigger one. They do not want all these small satellite banks and have to do with the USA De-Risking policies. As you may know the Caribbean is at the verge of having no USA corresponding banks any longer. They are cutting our throats slowly but surely.

    • Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock. En Garde my Dear Brother! “Gaming Disorder” stifles creative thinking!

      That Antigua and Barbuda has since 2014 achieved one of the highest GDP growth, not only in the OECS but throughout CARICOM and Latin America, is without question! You would do well to not continue your solitary confinement in the Citadel!

      “I have a number in my head Thought I don’t know why it’s there When numbers get serious You see their shape everywhere Dividing and multiplying Exchanging with ease When times are mysterious Serious numbers are eager to please!” The OECS, Anguilla and St. Marten have a critical mass of less than 1 million and are Scotiabank’s banking operations in “NON-CORE” markets! “The SALE forms part of a broader campaign by the bank to focus its energies on its CORE markets … key markets which can generate greater scale for Scotiabank … and to grow its Latin America operations.”

      The Dominican Republic has a Population of some 10.9 Millions! In Mar 2019 Scotiabank signs a deal for acquiring 94.7% of Banco Dominicano del Progreso in the Domincan Republic! The acquisition makes it the Dominican Republic’s fourth-largest loan provider and fourth-largest full-service bank as measured by assets! Its customer base in the country will double to about 500,000 by adding 57 branches, 188 ABMs and 367 banking sub-agents!

      Back to the Financial Meltdown of 2008/09! Canada’s TDCanada Trust has more Bank Branches in the US Eastern States from Florida to Maine than all of its homegrown branches in Canada! “Dividing and multiplying Exchanging with ease When times are mysterious Serious numbers are eager to please!” Its about SCALE!

      • And the reality that we face everyday is that very same number called Economies of Scale. The fact that we still can do so many things is remarkable. Like growing faster than many other large Islands and countries. I guess one can say a small economy is easier to manage than a large one. But than you are also more restricted in a small economy than in a large one. See how easier it was for Barbados to severe 1500 government workers from their payroll. That number would be a real economic shot in our economy. Which we felt when Stanford closed its doors. The PM is dealing with a reality that we in these small Islands have to face. But in that he is making lemonade from the lemons they are giving him. It makes no sense to go from from exploiter to another. Especially when we still suffering from the CLICO debacle that Trinidad up to today is failing to take the necessary actions to compensate us for having open our financial market to them and they have failed to regulate properly. It is remarkable that the OECS was able to absorb that lost of capital of our markets on top of the global financial crisis. We must therefore give kudos to the management of the Central Bank in particular Sir Dwight Veneer. Many of us don’t seem to understand and appreciate that none of us really suffered any lost of economic value or tremendous inflation like we see in some large countries. in the USA houses went under water when people didn’t do anything to deserve that. If they weren’t subsidized many would be on the street now because all their homes would be foreclosed. Other countries lost all their foreign exchanged and could not make overseas payments. We just went about live as normal, without a care in the world. The only thing for Antigua was that the UPP mashed up the economy and raised our debt to GDP to astronomical figures. But thanks to the wisdom and the intelligent of Gaston Brown and his team this situation has been reversed in five short years and all we enjoy now is economic growth year after year as if that is the norm. Sometimes it reminds me of children not having a care in the world as they go about enjoying live while the parents struggle to make ends meet.

        • Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock! Right On! Right On! Keep on keeping on, speaking Truth To Power and providing Learning Opportunities “Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
          Give Praise and Thanks to and for Dwight Venner who clearly understood the lasting value of building solid Caribbean Institutions and A Caribbean Civilization!
          Never Give Up! “Look at the facts of the world. You see a continual and progressive triumph of the right. I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice!”
          Go Well!

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