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A good defence lawyer, PM shields Luke

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves addresses a press conference where he disclosed information from a confidential report on the Building & Loan Association in Kingstown on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves addresses a press conference where he disclosed information from a confidential report on the Building & Loan Association in Kingstown on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb. 13, IWN – Many might know him for his current status as prime minister. But, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves is also an accomplished defence lawyer and he displayed some of those skills at a press conference on Monday.

Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, laid out a defence for Luke Browne, the Ministry of Finance employee whose letter in a newspaper triggered the latest run on the Building & Loan Association (BLA).

The defence came as Gonsalves read from a confidential report that detailed the financial situation at the BLA in 2009.

In his letter, Browne had raised concerns about the management and financial health of the BLA and said he did not rely on any inside information when he wrote the opinion piece.

The obvious question a journalist might have asked was, “Did Mr. Browne, as an employee of the Ministry of Finance, have access to that report?”

But Gonsalves obviously anticipated that question.

“I have this information locked away in a particular filing cabinet in this building which only my personal executive secretary knows so that if I were to drop down dead, she can go and tell the next person, this is where the PM had a lot of confidentials saved,” Gonsalves said in his presentation at Cabinet Room in the Administrative Complex

Luke Browne, the Ministry of Finance economist that wrote a letter in January asking if Building & Loan Association was about to collapse. (Photo: Facebook)

Luke Browne, the Ministry of Finance economist that wrote a letter in January asking if Building & Loan Association was about to collapse. (Photo: Facebook)

He said the particular cabinet contains “all kinds of confidential stuff”.

The details Gonsalves revealed on Teusday shows that the BLA has been experiencing problem since as early as 2009.

“So, I hear the story that things were going great until Luke write a letter. That is why I have not been drawn on that letter.

“I don’t agree with the headline Building & Loan on the verge of collapse. If the letter had been headlined ‘Building & Loan in need of reform’ — and there may be one or two things the way in which it is written: a younger man writing something, he would be more acerbic than a more experienced hand like myself writing it, or, for that matter you,” Gonsalves said, as he gestured at media workers at the press conference.

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Discussion

5 thoughts on “A good defence lawyer, PM shields Luke

  1. What else do you expect Browne is his protégé, stand by for Lukes promotion, he did as he was told.

    Posted by Peter | February 13, 2013, 07:25
  2. Peter, as always, IDLE CHATTER on your PART.

    Kenton, your HEADLINE is your OPINION, NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS.

    It is done to prompt certain individuals to make SILLY COMMENTS as seen in Peter’s response.

    Thanks to Luke, we the members of B&L now know what state this PRIVATE institution is in.

    Moreover, we thank the FSA for STEPPING in to right the ship.

    I now have RENEWED CONFIDENCE that my INVESTMENT is SAFE now that the FSA has taken over B&L.

    In closing, a PEOPLE without VISION will PERISH.

    Thank you Luke Browne.

    Posted by VINCYPOWA | February 13, 2013, 13:10
    • Vincy Powa. Do you really believe what you are saying in this post? Are you truly thankful to Luke Brown, and do you now have renewed confidence in the BLA considering that the captain of the ship has demonstrated his lack of confidence in this institution by the $1M withdrawl? I am truly baffled by your reasoning that lacks logic.

      I think you should take off your blinders and take an objective look at the whole situation again, from the time of Luke Brown’s letter to this point. Take politics out and try to look at it from the perspective of someone who’s not a Vincentian and is at this point considering investing, say $500,000.00 in the BLA.

      Posted by Eric Williams | February 13, 2013, 23:22
      • Eric, sadly, he actually believes what he writes. Sad but true!! This is what happens when you are all about party and not country, and vincy powa have proven to us time and time again, that he’s a party man.

        Posted by Richard Huggins | February 14, 2013, 11:01
  3. VINCYPOWA, Kenton Chance is the messenger why do you need to keep taking pot shots at him. Thank goodness he is back and doing a sterling job. People like you Marxist collaborators just make me sick with all your false input.

    Keeping in mind that PM Gonsalves told us he is a liar, no I did not make that up, he told us whilst in parliament that he sometimes tells lies. Its recorded in Hansard, there for history to judge forever.

    Now when he tells us he never discussed or advised his mother or family to withdraw their money from BLA. Can we believe him or is he telling us lies. If he did discuss it with his family that is tantamount to giving them a pecuniary advantage over other investors.

    I do not think that Gonsalves or the government directly caused the present BLA situation, that was management failure, past and present. But there has been a more than serious failure of the governments legal and fiduciary control over Building and Loan, just as they failed British American and CLICO. Failure to have in place proper controls, or guarantee deposits, to insure and ensure that investors get their money or a good portion of their money from a government controlled fund if the company fails [such is law and a legal requirement of the government] .
    I am amazed that investors in BA and CL didn’t sue the government in a joint action.

    Gonsalves as minister of finance has failed in his duty to the people, anyone with an ounce of decency would resign.

    Its not what they have done, its the way they did it, that has people thinking there was something conspiratorial about it.

    There is a cloud of darkness and doubt over the whole thing from 2009 to PM Gonsalves mothers cash withdrawal, to Luke Browne’s letter, to the FSA take over, now to the disgraceful disclosure by Gonsalves [for his own purposes], of the secret files of the ministry of finance and BLA. A disclosure that seals the fate of BLA as a failed association, with no regard to small investors.

    VINCYPOWA, I would imagine you already withdrew your nine cents if you actually had any money there. If not I am sure you have given the three months notice of withdrawal.

    Posted by Peter | February 13, 2013, 22:34

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