By Caribbean News Global contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia —The Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) has called on the shareholders and the board of directors of the Bank of Saint Lucia (BOSL) to review the installation of Frank Myers as chairman of the bank at the behest of the United Workers Party (UWP) government led by prime minister and minister for finance Allen Chastanet.
“BOSL is reeling from a difficult period and is only now beginning to show signs of a recovery”, said SLP’s first deputy political leader, Ernest Hilaire.
“We are, therefore, immensely concerned that Myers, an intensely divisive political person and also a political operative and public face of the ruling UWP could undermine the continued growth and confidence which appears to be returning to the bank,” Hilaire said. “Myers is best known as a sycophant who has extensively used Facebook and other social media platforms to attack and abuse the leadership, members and supporters of the SLP and, indeed, anyone who opposes the Chastanet led-government.
“Myers is famously known for supporting the government intentions to close and demolish the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School (CCSC), claiming that it is vulnerable to a Tsunami. Even as he advocates the school’s closure, he supports the use of the area for hotel development.” Hilaire continued, “Myers shamelessly reinforced such a claim openly on Facebook and mainstream media.
The SLP believes that the integrity of the banking system depends on trust, confidence, and confidentiality and the installation of Myers would not auger well.
Accordingly, the following questions must be asked:
- What guarantees are there that persons who are opposed to the government will not be victimised for loan application which is placed before the board of BOSL?
- What guarantees are there that information relating to persons who oppose the government and brought before the board will not be used against them?
- What safeguards are there that decision-making at the board will be free of political considerations and interference when someone who has been so openly bitter and divisive is the chairman?
- What guarantees are there that customers’ confidential information would not be accessed by the chairman for political purposes? There is already on record a previous example of this by another UWP operative; and
- What guarantees are there that the new chairman will not use his position to influence the board of BOSL to loan monies to the government for projects and initiatives which may not otherwise be assessed as viable?
The SLP is further concerned that Myers, who is also the deputy chairman of the National Insurance Corporation (NIC) and the recent decision to finance the Cabot Project that has raised concerns about the use of Saint Lucian’s pension funds.
The ‘Cabot project’ involves the development of a world-class golf course, construction of a hotel, villas, a beach club and sale of lots, nestled in the panoramic landscape of Point Hardy, a 375-acre peninsula located near Saint Lucia’s northern coastline, “ expected to generate employment locally as well as provide Saint Lucia with additional visibility internationally.”
Myers dual roles (chairman of BOSL and deputy chairman of NIC) said Hilaire, “Creates an incestuous relationship which can cause undue influence on the decisions of the NIC,” stating, “The NIC is probably the largest depositor in the BOSL and therefore every effort must be made not to allow decisions to be taken that can unduly affect the use of pension funds.”
“The SLP believes that the integrity of the banking system depends on trust, confidence, and confidentiality and the installation of Myers (an unabashed UWP operative) could only serve to undermine this. The BOSL should never be politicised,” the first deputy political leader said.