KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb. 11, IWN — There was a $10 million run on the Building & Loan Association (BLA) in 2009, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said Monday.
Gonsalves’ comments came days after chair of the Financial Services Authority; Leon Snagg, said on radio on Thursday that oversight institutions conducted reviews of BLA in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 — years before the FSA take-over on Feb. 1.
“In 2009, as the reports show, there was a run of about $10 million on Building & Loan,” Gonsalves said on WE FM’s “Shake-up” as he responded to an announcement by Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace that Gonsalves’ relatives withdrew some $1 million from BLA last October.
Gonsalves said that his brothers, who hold the account jointly with his 93-year-old mother, withdrew the money based on the advise of a then BLA director.
He said the $10 million run in 2009 might have come after a difference of opinion among BLA directors.
“Because, apparently, some fellas had gone to an annual general meeting and were hoping for reform and didn’t get any and they decide, and other people, say ‘Listen man, we tekking (taking) out we money,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance.
Gonsalves, however, said he will not inquire about who withdrew money and how much was withdrawn.
“That’s not my business,” he said as he challenged the unidentified whistle-blower who leaked to Eustace the information about Gonsalves’ brothers’ transaction in October
“I want that person to tell the public while they were on Building & Loan, what is the size of their account there, how much they owe and whether they had been servicing,” Gonsalves said.
“I reasonable suspect [who the whistle-blower is], given the relationship between the person concerned and Eustace.
“But I don’t want to get into the politics of that. I just want to say Eustace is lowdown and nasty to drag my mother into this. All because he wants to tarnish my reputation…” Gonsalves said in reference to Eustace’s disclosure of the transaction involving Gonsalves’ brothers.