Antigua government re-states position regarding sale of Scotia Bank

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The Antigua and Barbuda government has reiterated its position that it would not issue a vesting order to facilitate the sale of Scotia Bank operations here as the Parliament approved legislation amending the island’s Labour Code.

Last November, the Trinidad-based Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) announced that it was seeking to acquire Scotiabank operations in several Caribbean countries.

A RFHL statement said that the banks being acquired are located in Guyana, St Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

It said that the purchase price is US$123 million, which represents US$25 million consideration for total shareholding of Scotiabank Anguilla Limited; and a premium of US$98 million over net asset value for operations in the remaining eight countries.

Browne told legislators that workers at Scotia Bank had brought several issues to the attention of his administration including the issue of severance payments.

“In the case of Antigua and Barbuda, and by the way we are not giving Scotia Bank any vesting order. They are not getting it. We are very firm on that. However, in the unlikely event they were successful in selling this Antiguan branch to Republic Bank they will have to pay the severance…

“We are giving the staff options, the right to exercise options of taking the severance and continue to work, take the severance and leave or if they wish to commute their service. The employee must have that right. It’s his labour, it is his fundamental right to determine for whom he works,” Browne said.

The Labour Code outlines procedures to be followed when an employer is operating a limited liability company and shares are being sold and there’s no change to the structure of the business.

“If for example Republic Bank was buying shares in Scotia Bank and the name remains Scotia Bank then the issue of severance would not arise. But when you selling to a different institution, you are leaving, you are turning over the business to a completely new entity the issue of severance must arise”.

Browne acknowledged that there had been a “lope hole in the Labour Code” that had in the past had prevented employees from receiving their severance packages, adding “that’s why it’s important for us to make that change now”.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Why this bank don’t want to give employees severance? They prefer to “transfer” the employee benefits to the new owners?

  2. WHAT ABOUT THE NEWSPAPER WORKERS IN ANTIGUA & THE SANFORD WORKERS THERE? HE GOT A BIGGGG MOUTH.

  3. Wow…and to think he was selling CCJ like hot bread to the island and now Trinidadians want to invest in Antigua..up comes the hidden racist card. Maybe if it was shut-eye buying all the paperwork would have been prefilled out and the rubber stamp of approval dent the desk.

  4. Bluff and puff!!!!!!!!!
    BNS has agreed in some islands to pay the total severance into an escrow account to be administered by the local Social Security. These things are so easy to arrange. If they do that in Antigua, on what condition will he withhold the vesting order?

  5. What’s wrong with Republic Bank setting up shop through an acquisition? I use them in Trinidad and they are great. Good service. Efficient.

    It is really easy to access money and financing across the region through them. We use for our operations in Guyana and Barbados as well. I really hope the PM will let them operate in Antigua. We need to welcome Caribbean companies to our shores and make it apolitical!

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