The API Presentation of Ralph Gonsalves: Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves' understanding of economic and his business sense leave much to be desired. After listening to his presentation I asked myself one question, which was and still is: what is the state of the economy in the land of my birth? This thought came to my mind after I remembered Ralph Gonsalves is the Minister of finance and his main responsibilities are to manage and grow the resources of the country.
Let me take this opportunity to lend a rational view to Prime Minister Gonsalves presentation.
In the opening of Ralph’s speech, he describes Desmond Morgan; the Husband of the attorney General (the Government legal counsel) as being honest in his dealing with the National Commercial Bank P.L.C. But did the action of Desmond Morgan and his business dealing with the N.C.B can be described as honest. I will take some time to address this matter also.
The point at issue in the Desmond Morgan’s saga, is not whether he had a legal business transaction with the National Commercial Bank, but whether he use his influence as Chairman of the N.C.B, his affiliation to the Unity Labor Party (U.L.P) and his friendship with Ralph Gonsalves to manipulated and or pressure the bank management and staff into giving him a loan to organize and run the failed Blue Skies Communication Company? Did Mr. Morgan also use his influence to neglect his responsibility to service the loan which is now over two million dollars with the interest? Another question which answers must be found for is; why didn’t the bank, follow bank policy and common practice, by liquidate the collateral interest of Desmond Morgan, which is alleged to have a value some of 4 million EC dollars? Collateral that Morgan put up to secure his loan.
If the bank had followed its policy, common, expected and good business practices in this case, they would have recover the money owing to them by Morgan and his company and in the process, avoid a lengthy and expensive court procedure to recover monies owing to the institution.
I was also shocked and very much ashamed when The Prime minister try to justify a scheme that was proposed to the N.C.B by Morgan. A scheme that requested the bank to allow him to invest its collateral interest to form a new company Omega limited. Morgan was to then deposit the shares certificate and the transfer of shares with the N.C.B and in the event Morgan continue with his pattern of continual neglect of his financial obligation to the National Commercial Bank, then the bank will automatically become the owner of the shares of a worthless company.
Here we have a situation, where Desmond Morgan, had a well though out plan to dump his worthless business upon the State owned bank and walk away with the invested value of the property he put up as security, to ensure he get the loan, safe and secure in his pocket; while he leave the share holders of the National Commercial Bank: the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with the burden of bearing a debt, which a key member of the U.L.P: Desmond Morgan had accumulate and subsequently abandon.
To allow Desmond Morgan to reinvest the properties he put up to secure his loan is to take away the bank only real mean of recovering the monies Morgan owe to the National Commercial Bank thus making it almost impossible baring a court order, for the Bank to obtain its money.
Ralph must come to the understanding that financial institutions, such as the National Commercial Bank and institutions of its kind that follows good business practice; choose only to deals or trade with and in money; and the use of collateral are to aid the banks in recovering from, its delinquent borrowers, money owed to the institution. It also acts as a tool to motivate the borrower, thus ensuring they take their obligation to and with the bank seriously, which lead them to develop the type of responsibility that cause them to be consistent in servicing their loans.
Another point that I must bring to Ralph’s attention is: it is not the intent or objective of any such financial institution (banks) to acquire, and manage for a profit; any such unrelated retail, wholesale and or service oriented business. Therefore the N.C.B will not have any financial interest whatsoever, in acquiring any business that cannot be liquidated into that which the bank trades.
Now, one may asked; why Ralph Gonsalves would sacrifice coming on national television in a prearranged interview that were arranged by him and his advisor and was conducted and presented by the A.P.I be exposed to an international audience; which only portrays him to the entire world as a financial imbecile?