KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Feb. 26, IWN – The brothers of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves were Monday yet to respond to his call to redeposit the $1 million they withdrew from their mother’s account at the Building & Loan Association last October.
And, Gonsalves again made a public call for his brother to redeposit the money even as he asked other persons to also redeposit as the Financial Services Authority restructures the BLA.
The Gonsalves brothers withdrew the money three months ahead of a run that drained a further $9 million from the BLA.
Gonsalves has said that his bother withdrew the money from an account they hold jointly with their mother, after a former director of the BLA advised them to do so.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, urged everyone who has withdrawn money from the BLA to reinvest it.
“So, anybody who is hearing me, who has taken out their money, … put all or part back. And that include my two brothers, to whom I have spoken privately, in addition to addressing it publicly.
“And I will speak to other individuals, whom I have been advised, have taken out their money,” he said during the press conference that was broadcast live on radio.
“Now, let me say parenthetically, contrary to the malevolent voices and pens, I have no material interest in my mother’s account,” he further said.
He reiterated that is mother, who is 93, has Alzheimer.
“I have no material interest in it. And, that, of course cuts both ways. It cuts the way that I am not giving the assurance because they have money in it and I want to protect them. Because they have taken out,” he said.
Gonsalves further fingered Junior Bacchus, the chair of a committee of BLA shareholders elected at a meeting last week and mandated to seek talks with the Financial Services Authority, which took over the BLA on Feb. 1.
In 2009, Bacchus withdrew a share deposit that had matured, placed it in a fixed deposit elsewhere and started a new one at the BLA, he has told I-Witness News.
“I don’t hold it against Junior Bacchus for having done that. I believe in all sincerity he wants to save the Building & Loan, as we all should. But, please, don’t use me as a beating stick. It is unfair. Let’s have honesty in this matter. It is the only way we can proceed…” Gonsalves said.
“If you want to say, ‘Well, Ralph, you asking us to put back money, you asked your two brother?’ Well, I asked them. I spoke to them independent of each other. I said to them, ‘Put all, or, can you put back half, if you want to wait a little longer?’
“… I can’t force them and I am asking other people too. Because I know other people will say, ‘Well, you are asking other people. Did you ask your brothers?’ Yes, I asked my brothers. I’m asking Junior to put back his money, which he took out in 2009, if he hasn’t put it back yet. He might have. And I am trying to see if I can raise some more money to put in myself,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves on Monday received $206,000 from a defamation case he won against Nice Radio and said he would have invested it in the BLA if he had not committed to donating it to charity.
He, however, said he will invest the any money he gets from pending defamation judgements.
On Feb. 4, Gonsalves invested $21,000 in the BLA on behalf of his one of his daughter.