By: Spokesman Newsroom
BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Thursday 24th August 2023)- “If you live in a glass house, don’t throw stones, and I would delve deeper into the Development Bank so people can understand the state of the bank, and that is why we had to do a forensic analysis of the bank. The bank was mismanaged, the bank was run like a bar shop by the former CEO [Chief Executive Officer] who is the brother of the former prime minister [Dr. Timothy Harris].”
So said Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Terrance Drew during his appearance on Freedom FM’s ‘Issues’ programme aired live on Wednesday 23rd August 2023 whereby he noted that on the matter of the development Bank, he is laying out facts and that there is no inkling of malice or targeting about the situation, as he touched further on the hot topic.
“We know that no audit took place in the bank in 2018. If you’re running prudent financial institution then you must do audit so even that alone tells you that if one has an institution and that institution supposedly runs well, one of the most important requirement is that an audit is done and the bank had not been audited.”
The Finance Minister added: “Of course that put the bank in a bad light to the point where the CDB [Caribbean Development Bank] and other financial institutions refused or stop doing business with the bank because of how it was being managed. No audit in 2018…when people don’t do audit, it is grossly irresponsible, it gives the opportunity for corruption, it is a way to hide corruption and bad dealings in financial institutions by refusing to do audits. We thought, since the government changed to do business with other institutions, and the first thing that these institutions are asking for is the audit. So, even on the basis of no audit, the institution was grossly mismanaged.”
“I would have allowed the processes to take place to gather the information in such a way that when it is presented, it is factual…and that it does not have any inkling of malice or targeting but really laying facts out and allowing the facts to fall where they may, and so I have been objective,” he also shared.
He pointed underscored why more information was not laid out earlier.
“I know that I have been criticized for not laying out a lot more information earlier, and I would say to people that I am mindful that I was also being responsible to make sure that the information comes would be information that is reliable and information that would have been properly researched. So, I think taking that approach, at least people would reach the point to say this was done prudently.”
PM Drew said highlighted that that the bank “owes $334 million, well over a quarter billion dollars under last administration.”
Additionally, he disclosed that the bank owes the government $89,500,000 [eight million five hundred thousand], National Bank is owed $25 million, SIDF [Sugar Industry Diversification Fund] is owed $57 million and Petro Caribe is owed $11 million. He also mentioned the roughly $120 million loan owed to Social Security which is being currently serviced by the government.
“So, they were taking money from a lot of different places because they could not go to international or regional institutions to borrow because of bad practice and lack of transparency and the fact that they refused to do an audit. So, the Development Bank was in serious trouble but as I said I did not speak because I did not want total confidence to be lost and so we have stabilized it and as a result of that you can see where the bank was grossly mismanaged,” the Finance Minister stated.