Categorized | National News

Pinder Denies Apologising To Foreign Banker

Financial Services Minister Ryan Pinder yesterday denied that he apologised to an offshore banker who was detained by immigration officers last week.

He also shot down suggestions of a possible rift between him and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell over the incident.

There was outrage from some within the financial services sector over the incident and uproar from many Bahamians equally incensed over the minister’s alleged apology.

Emmanuel Fiaux, head of the Latin desk at offshore bank UBS, was among 220 people apprehended last Tuesday during a routine immigration roadblock.

Those people were detained for not being in possession of proper documentation indicating they are authorised to be in the country.

The associations representing the industry have alleged that Mr. Fiaux was mistreated by immigration officers during the exercise. However, both Minister Mitchell and Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash have maintained that the officers were doing their jobs.

Following the incident, Mr. Pinder held a series of meetings with executives from the Association of International Banks and Trust Companies (AIBT) and The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) where the minister allegedly appeared conciliatory.

But he denied apologising to the associations and told reporters outside Cabinet Tuesday that this matter has been dealt with and it is time “we move on.”

“No, I did not apologise to the institutions,” Mr. Pinder said. “I speak to AIBT and BFSB on a daily basis about the industry so we have a tight cooperative relationship.”

“I spoke to the individual [Mr. Fiaux]. I thought I was very clear on that. But this is over. This is an issue that is over – it’s an unfortunate issue, but we’re moving on.

“We have an industry to protect, an industry to grow, an industry that is 85 per cent Bahamian and one that we look to have 100 per cent Bahamian one day. That is the goal of this government and the goal of the financial services industry.”

Mr. Pinder also assured that the ministries of financial services and immigration are working together despite claims of a rift between the two ministries.

“We’ve been working very well together over the past 18 months trying to formulate proper administrative and policy reforms to advance the financial services industry…there’s no rift at all,” the minister said.

Mr. Pinder said while there is no special treatment of any group in the country, he reminded that financial services is vital to the well-being of The Bahamas and affirmed that it will continue to be his priority to further develop the industry.

Korvell Pyfrom

Written by Korvell Pyfrom

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