Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 6th 2017 Contents BG22 | REGIONAL
BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt JULY 6 • 2017
St Vincent Govt buys back
31% of former state bank
The Government of St Vin-
cent and the Grenadines has
agreed to repurchase 31 per
cent of the Bank of St. Vin-
cent and the Grenadines,
formerly the state-owned
National Commercial Bank (NCB), seven
years after it sold the majority shares to East-
ern Caribbean Financial Holdings (ECFH).
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves made
the announcement on Monday, saying that
the transaction would cost his government
EC$32.3 million (One EC dollar =US$0.37
With the repurchase, the government's
share of the bank moves from 12 to 43 per
cent, while ECFH, which also owns Bank
of St Lucia, will retain 20 per cent; down
from 51 per cent.
The National Insurance Services (NIS), the
state-owned social security institution in
SVG, will retain its 20 per cent of the shares,
while a number of private shareholders will
continue to hold 18 per cent.
In 2010, the government sold to the ECFH
51 per cent of the then NCB for EC$42 million
in what Gonsalves said was a "masterstroke".
The sale was made shortly after the gov-
ernment had borrowed EC$100 million to
help capitalise the bank.
In the announcement via a recorded ad-
dress circulated by the state-owned National
Broadcasting Corporation Monday evening,
Gonsalves said that the 2010 sale of 51 per
cent of the NCB's shares to the ECFH meant
that ECFH comprised the two leading in-
digenous financial institutions in St. Lucia
He said the strategic aim of the linking
of these indigenous financial institutions
was to act as a catalyst to amalgamate and
consolidate the indigenous financial insti-
tution of the Eastern Caribbean Currency
Union (ECCU) within a single financial space
of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean
Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance,
said that after an appraisal by the ECFH,
"decisions were reached on both sides, in St.
Lucia and in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,
which determined that the immediate future
of the respective institutions, the Bank of
St Lucia and the Bank of St Vincent and the
Grenadines would be better served if each
pursued stand-alone strategies which focus
on their respective priorities and objective
currently, thus deferring the amalgamation
plan at this juncture"
He said that the upshot of all of this is that
Castries and Kingstown, with the blessing of
the ECCB, mutually agreed that the Govern-
ment of SVG will repurchase 31 per cent of
the Bank of SVG from the 51 per cent shares
owned by the ECFH of St Lucia.
"This, in effect, reduces ECFH's holding in
the Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
to 20 per cent and increases the shareholding
of the Government of St. Vincent and the
Grenadines to 43 per cent," Gonsalves said.
On June 30, Gonsalves signed the
sale-purchase agreement to buy back the
31 per cent shareholding in the Bank of SVG
from ECFH saying that the agreed price for
the buy-back is EC$32.3 million.
"Within the next few days, the transaction
is expected to be formally completed," he
said, adding that, accordingly, the board of
directors of the Bank of SVG will be recon-
stituted and refreshed.
"Business at the Bank of St Vincent and
the Grenadines, of course, continues as nor-
mal," Gonsalves said, adding that his gov-
ernment expects that two senior executive
of the Bank of SVG, who had been seconded
to the Bank of St. Lucia will return to Bank
Gonsalves said that over the next two or so
years, it is the intention of his government
and the other shareholders in the Bank of
SVG, namely the ECFH, the NIS and private
shareholders, to reform and build further the
Bank of SVG "to greater heights of prosperity
"It is the aim of the Government of St.
Vincent and the Grenadines to make certain
that it secures a good return on its invest-
ment and, most importantly, to strengthen
the financial system in St Vincent and the
Grenadines and the Eastern Caribbean Cur-
Gonsalves said his government recommits
to divest, in the medium term, a significant
portion of its shareholding to other individ-
uals and corporate partners in the region.
He said that on June 28, 2017, at his request
and direction, members of the team advising
the government on this transaction met with
the Leader of the Opposition Godwin Friday
and some of his parliamentary colleagues,
including the immediate past Leader of the
Opposition, Arnhim Eustace.
The government's advisor informed the
opposition delegation of "the facts and cir-
cumstances of the buy-back of the shares of
the Band of St Vincent and the Grenadines
and the strategic way forward".
He said this exercise was also done in 2010
when the government sold the 51 per cent
The advisory team is composed of con-
sultant, Andre Iton, Director General of
Finance and Planning, Maurice Edwards,
Budget Director, Edmund Jackson and Ex-
ecutive Director of the NIS, Stuart Haynes,
Gonsalves said they briefed him subse-
quently on their meeting with the opposition
leader and his delegation.
"I assure all Vincentians and other na-
tionals of the member states of the Currency
Union that the buy-back of the bank of St
Vincent and the Grenadines shares by the
Government of St. Vincent and the Gren-
adines does not represent a reversal of the
amalgamation strategy earlier outlined,"
Gonsalves said, adding that St Lucia Prime
Minister Allen Chastanet and chair of the
Bank of St. Lucia, Andrew Chastanet are
committed to this.
"I feel sure that this amalgamation, this
combination of the banks, will all material-
ise at the appropriate time, under the right
He sought to assure persons who have in-
terest in the bank, saying, "The Bank of St
Vincent and the Grenadines looks forward
to protecting further the interest of all its
depositors, customers and shareholders.
"This is our solemn responsibility," the
prime minister said. CMC
Grace Foods to
open sixth plant
GK Foods & Services Ltd, a subsidiary of GraceK-
ennedy Ltd, will be opening its sixth manufacturing
plant here next year.
On Monday, GraceKennedy Ltd announced that
the new facility will produce a range of convenient-
ly portioned and packaged locally grown fruits and
vegetables primarily for export markets.
The 60,000 square-foot facility in the central parish
of Clarendon contains a specialised agro-processing
production line that will be augmented with new-
ly acquired equipment and fully commissioned by
A range of locally grown products will be further
processed into value-added finished products.
The company says J$215 million will be spent on
acquiring agro-processing equipment, installing
blast-freezing capability, refurbishing and upgrading
the facility and property, implementing a waste water
management system and funding product research
"We have been working toward this acquisition
since late 2015 and I am pleased that we can now
officially put this well placed facility to productive
use. This plant, our sixth manufacturing plant in Ja-
maica, will be another channel for farmers to supply
goods that are in high demand in North American
and UK markets," said Don Wehby, Group CEO of
"We expect to create employment for up to 70
persons and contribute to further growth in the ag-
ricultural sector over time," he added.
GraceKennedy is a leading exporter of quality food
products including its world famous line of hot and
spicy pepper sauces, made from pepper mash pro-
cessed at Grace Agro Processors Division (GAP) based
in the southern parish of St Elizabeth.
GAP also produces the popular Grace Fresh and
Ready brand of ready-to-cook vegetables which are
available in supermarkets around the island.
"We continue to look for ways to deepen our rela-
tionships with farmers across Jamaica as we develop
new initiatives to absorb their produce, incentivise
productivity, and promote employment opportuni-
ties," Wehby said. CMC
Antigua and Surname
to sign MOU
Antigua and Barbuda and Suriname will sign a
memorandum of understanding aimed at improving
trade and other relations between the two Caribbean
Community (Caricom) countries.
The singing of the MOU by is expected to take place
on the sidelines of the 38 Caricom summit that opens
here later on Tuesday.
Both countries have described the accord as pro-
viding "a tangible expression of Caribbean solidarity,
unity and the way forward for the CSME (Caricom
Single Market and Economy) as well as a model for
the future direction of the CSME project; translating
the Revised Treaty from words into action"
The MOU was initialled in Suriname earlier this
month by that country's Trade, Industry and Tour-
ism Minister Ferdinand Welzijn and his Antigua and
Barbuda counterpart EP Chet Greene.
A joint statement issued following the talks in Par-
amaribo quoted both ministers as expressing the need
to take advantage of the human and material resources
through joint efforts, with the aim of improving the
quality of life of their peoples.
"The signing of this MOU today is a demonstration
of our commitment of deepening and strengthen-
ing of our Caricom relations. We are at the stage to
deepen our relationship" said Yldiz Pollack-Beighly,
Suriname's foreign affairs minister.
Greene said the accord "marks a new beginning;
today we change the way we do things.
Links Archive July 5th 2017 July 7th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page