Categorized | National News

Cash Demands Disclosure on BOB

Former Free National Movement Chairman Darron Cash has called for full disclosure on the true financial situation at the Bank of The Bahamas (BOB).


In a statement released yesterday, Mr. Cash insisted that the public has every right to know the true nature of the bank’s position, as it is owned by the government of The Bahamas.


“In one of today’s newspapers, Attorney General Carl Bethel is reported to have said that unsealing of documents relating to Baha Mar is ‘very important.’ I could not agree more. One of the clear mandates given to the new FNM government is that of governing with a new commitment to transparency. Governing with fidelity to transparency demands an equally unreserved commitment to full disclosure.


“The public is entitled to know the facts about how their money is being spent. Baha Mar is one place to begin. Bank of The Bahamas is the second. Today, BOB has reported its financial results for the third quarter ended March 31, 2017. Once again, the news is not good.


“The bank has reported that for the nine months ended March 31, 2017, comprehensive losses were almost $11 million. With each financial report shareholders and the public are told that some ‘new’ journey has begun. Nevertheless, the drip, drip of bad financial results continues. The public deserves to know why. The government of The Bahamas is the majority shareholder in Bank of The Bahamas. For all intents and purposes, the government of The Bahamas owns BOB,” Mr. Cash said.


Mr. Cash added that the current administration should not have to bear the burden left by its predecessor.


“But the new FNM government should not own the problems of the Christie administration as of May 11, 2017. The systematic pattern of distortion and cover-up must come to an end. The public deserves to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about BOB’s financial position.


“For almost five years, the Christie government misled parliament, the general public and minority shareholders of BOB about the true state of affairs within BOB. The Christie administration has never been truthful with the public about precisely why and how the people’s bank has come to be on the precipice of financial collapse.


“Conversely, a very quick win for the new minister of finance would be to release all of the relevant internal analyses and reports that Mr. Christie received and refused to make public…all while singing ‘it’s all right now,’” Mr. Cash said.


Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest also weighed in on the BOB dilemma.

In a statement, Mr. Turnquest added that the government is committed to returning the company to sustained profitability.


“The government of The Bahamas acknowledges that the Bank of The Bahamas is a systemically important financial institution and as such is fully committed to its success. The government further acknowledges the concerns of the various stakeholders with respect to the bank’s capital, liquidity and governance.


“In its role as the majority shareholder, the government is committed to working with the board, management and regulators in comprehensively addressing all of these issues and returning the bank to sustained profitability,” Mr. Turnquest said.


Bank of the Bahamas is seeking Supreme Court protection from the Central Bank, with the regulator demanding an “immediate” $50 million increase in loan loss provisions and legal action against “politically exposed” bad borrowers.


Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, in a speech this month, demanded to know whether four former PLP Cabinet ministers, one former PLP MP are on the list of non-performing loans [at BOB] to the tune of tens of millions.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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