‘Home Drum Beat First’ -The Sale of Barbados National Bank by Owen Arthur

For many one of the enduring memories from the Owen Arthur Barbados Labour Party (BLP) tenure is the sale of the Barbados National Bank (BNB) to the Trinidad based Republic Bank Limited. Arthur continues to defend his decision by offering that the BNB was a loss making entity hamstrung by a high level of government bureaucracy and non performing loans. Further, he explains that local credit unions and locals spurned the opportunity to buy shares when offered.

Many will debate the pros and cons of Arthur’s decision to shed majority interest in the BNB till thy kingdom come. We live in a world where almost if not all decisions are greatly influenced by economic consideration. Such an approach does not allow the space for a people to craft a vision and identity based on symbols, traditions that include even the spiritual and other non economic factors. Through the eyes of the BU household the BNB was a symbol of the progress Barbados had made from transitioning the economy from agrarian. It represented how majority Black Barbadians were in control of a significant financial intuition on Broad Street. If one wants to be political with the argument, it exposed the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) philosophy of reordering the economic fundamentals of the economy to make Barbados competitive in a competitive global world.  The ease with which Black politicians- Owen Arthur as lead  -disposed of what BNB should give cause for Barbadians to pause. The decision by Arthur is analogous to the Stuart DLP government dismantling its philosophy to provide ‘free’ education as a pathway for future development and empower a small Black nation.

It was interesting to listen to former Prime Minister of St. Kitts Denzel Douglas explain a few of the strategies he presided over that have  led to the transformation of the St. Kitts economy. He stated that the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank was important to the strategy of restructuring the debt because the government was able to intervene in the domestic financial market to align with the national interest. Given the current economic state of Barbados the government does not have the recourse of a local bank to borrow from an important best practice that was reportedly implemented successfully in St. Kitts and Nevis.

BU supports the view that a national bank is important to any nation to shore-up the sovereignty argument. One cannot be truly liberated as a people if the gateways to important arteries in the society are controlled by foreign interest. In the case of Barbados the banking sector is 100% controlled by foreign ownership. The food sector is 90 plus percent controlled by non Barbadian interest. The supply of electricity is controlled by foreign interest. In the three examples –the financial, food importation and distribution and power, a so called independent people have no control. We acknowledge that the Fair Trading Commission and government agencies were established to regulate the market in the interest of all stakeholders including the consumer .

The lengthy preamble is meant to introduce a recent development in Canada where the banks- locally owned -have agreed to pool resources in the interest of the country.

Canada’s biggest banks and insurance companies have launched a private-sector fund of up to $1 billion to provide long-term financing to burgeoning high-growth businesses, the firms announced Thursday. The Canadian Business Growth Fund will look to invest the full amount over 10 years, with an expected initial commitment of more than $500-million.

Canada’s banks and lifecos launch fund of up to $1 billion to help businesses grow

There is no need to be prolix to emphasize the point that home drums beat first. For non Barbadian owners of business enterprises in Barbados –where is home?

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93 Comments on “‘Home Drum Beat First’ -The Sale of Barbados National Bank by Owen Arthur”

  1. Vincent Haynes March 11, 2017 at 1:58 PM #

    David

    Could you send me a link with a listing of the shareholders as I am unable to find one.

    Like

  2. Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger March 11, 2017 at 2:03 PM #

    Is any of this being tsught in the schools, all the last 2 generations have learned from the ministers of bith political parties is to sell off everything when the going gets rough….to acquire foreign exchange, no country can remain consistently progressive under those self defeating practices.

    I did not even know the history of BNB.

    “Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited, formerly Barbados National Bank Inc. was established in March 1978 following an amalgamation of three government owned financial institutions, namely Barbados Savings Bank which dates back to 1852, Sugar Industry Agricultural Bank and the National Housing Corporation (Public Officers Housing Loan Fund). In April 1978, the bank acquired the assets of Bank of America in Barbados.

    Following partial privatisation of the bank in 2000, the Government of Barbados sold 57% of its shareholding to Republic Bank Limited, Trinidad & Tobago. In 2003, Republic acquired additional shares to increase its shareholding to 65.13%. In 2013, Republic Bank acquired the remaining minority shares to increase its shareholding to the full 100%.

    The bank was officially rebranded as Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited in 2012. The bank has a staff complement in excess of (500) with its headquarters located at Independence Square, Bridgetown. Republic operates (10) branches strategically positioned across the island with two branches in the island’s capital Bridgetown as well as an extensive ATM network with (23) locations island-wide. The bank has one subsidiary – Republic Finance & Trust (Barbados) Corporation. Republic Bank’s vision is “To be the Caribbean Financial Institution of choice for our staff, customers and shareholders. We set the standard of excellence in customer satisfaction, employee engagement, social responsibility and shareholder value while building successful societies.” Its mission is “To provide Personalised, Efficient and competitively priced Financial Services and to Implement Sound Policies which will redound to the benefit of our Customers, Staff, Shareholders and the Communities we serve.”

    The bank’s core values are Customer Focus, Respect for the Individual, Integrity, Professionalism and Results Orientation. Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited is one of the largest banks in Barbados and as at September2013 had an asset base of US$1.13 billion”

    Like

  3. Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger March 11, 2017 at 2:12 PM #

    BNB should never have been sold….never, Owen was just as weak as the present government, the leaders are all dressed up in these monkey suits in boiling tropical weather and have no strength of character, no survival instint…..no sense of protecting the people and future generations of the majority population….weaklings, that’s why 6 or 7 measly, greedy business people wreak havoc on the island.

    “Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited, formerly Barbados National Bank Inc. was established in March 1978 following an amalgamation of three government owned financial institutions, namely Barbados Savings Bank which dates back to 1852, Sugar Industry Agricultural Bank and the National Housing Corporation (Public Officers Housing Loan Fund). In April 1978, the bank acquired the assets of Bank of America in Barbados.”

    Like

  4. de pedantic Dribbler March 11, 2017 at 2:16 PM #

    But LOLLL…Mr Blogmaster I dun wid you and this… I just did a search on Arthur and ‘Barbados Development Bank’ to see if I could get a better handle on your rhetoric and was I astounded…. Not by you tho, but by Mr. Arthur. OMG…

    So you are on very solid ground. When is the last time anyone reread Orwell!…Or read a Yogi Berra quote like : It’s deja vu all-over again! SMH.

    Taken from: Loop News, March 9, 2016———

    Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, whose administration oversaw the dismantling of the Barbados Development Bank in the 1990s, is now calling for such an institution to be re-established.

    Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday during debate on the Barbados Investment Development Corporation (Amendment) Bill, the now Independent MP said there is an urgent need for a specialised institution dealing with development financing to help build “new enterprise”.

    “I want to strongly suggest that there is a need for a new development institution; it should be properly capitalised. I believe that nobody could quarrel if the NIS was to make a substantial investment in it. I believe that the development institution should also capture the national service providers and that the private sector of Barbados should also see it as something that is critical.”
    

    Arthur said that the now defunct Barbados Development Bank was operating as a bankrupt institution and needed to be closed, but that his administration established Fund Access and the Enterprise Growth Fund as a first step.

    However, he says, it is time to move past that stage and implement a new source of development financing to help fund a new class of entrepreneurs, focusing on the people who have been made redundant in the public service and will not regain employment in that sector.

    He suggested that Government should create a database of such people and put them in contact with institutions that can give them the seed capital to become the “new entrepreneurs and industrialists of the future.”

    Is he fah real!

    Like

  5. TheGazer March 11, 2017 at 2:21 PM #

    I like to poull to the side and let stronger and faster horses run the race. But when I see something like this “the leaders are all dressed up in these monkey suits in boiling tropical weather and have no strength of character, no survival instinct…..no sense of protecting the people and future generations of the majority population” then i have to add my little bit…,

    Are you saying that the island is lead by a set of “empty suits”. Running here and there with attache cases, looking busy but without a clue? Our successes just like our failures is by chance. Shit may work out good or it may not?

    Like

  6. David March 11, 2017 at 2:27 PM #

    @Vincent

    Click this link under ‘About’. Besides Republic bank who owns/has interest in Grenada,Guyana and Suriname not sure of the others to which Dee Word referred.

    https://www.republictt.com

    Like

  7. Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger March 11, 2017 at 2:27 PM #

    Exactly Gazer…and the chances of things working out good to benefit the majority population, well just say the odds are never in favor of the majority population, thanks to these arrogant, empty suits.

    Like

  8. Vincent Haynes March 11, 2017 at 2:41 PM #

    David

    I saw enough to suggest to me that DJ was on point,that what we see as entities describing themselves as indigenous banks when due dilligence is done on the investor base are discovered to be fronts for foreign investors.

    Like

  9. David March 11, 2017 at 2:50 PM #

    @Vincent

    You are entitled to your uninformed opinion.

    Like

  10. Bush Tea March 11, 2017 at 8:49 PM #

    LOL @ David
    You are entitled to your uninformed opinion.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Boss, just cuss the man and dun wid dat! …Um is your blog.

    Ha ha ha …LOL
    Oh Shirt!!!

    Like

  11. Disadvantaged March 12, 2017 at 10:57 AM #

    People seem to forget that under Owen Arthur locals were able to buy shares at$1.80.Under the DLP they were forced to sell their at $5.00 a loss of 50cents a share and did the DLP Goverment did with proceeds.Sink in the Paradise project which was privately owned.

    Like

  12. Vincent Haynes March 12, 2017 at 12:29 PM #

    Bush Tea March 11, 2017 at 8:49 PM #

    Chuckle…..so how come yuh ain beg the blog master to ban muh….

    David

    Until you can show me a link to the shareholders it is only obvious I will be uninformed…..so what is point of the statement?

    Like

  13. David March 12, 2017 at 12:35 PM #

    @Vincent

    What prevents you from clicking on the financials of the respective banks to check the information?

    Like

  14. Bush Tea March 12, 2017 at 12:43 PM #

    @ Vincent
    What ban you what??!!
    …and miss out on Bushie’s daily LOL readings?
    Nothing more entertaining than listening to poor people discussing the business of banking and Credit Unions, ….and making money….

    Just trying to get the BU boss to free up and let go a few pips at yuh…. 🙂

    Like

  15. Vincent Haynes March 12, 2017 at 12:53 PM #

    David

    I gave it a try and could not get any further,hence my request that you share the actual data.

    Bushie

    Chuckle…..yuh means tuh sez dat yuh duz needs muh tuh kep yuh honest an lambase yuh tail weneber yuh steps outta line…..um allrite…..no prob.

    Like

  16. Alvin Cummins March 12, 2017 at 1:53 PM #

    Disadvantaged:
    there is something wrong with the maths here:
    “…People seem to forget that under Owen Arthur locals were able to buy shares at$1.80.Under the DLP they were forced to sell their at $5.00 a loss of 50cents a share and did the DLP Goverment did with proceeds.Sink in the Paradise project which was privately owned.”

    If persons BOUGHT shares at $1.80 per share, but SOLD at $5.00 per share, then they would have profited by $3.20.00 per share. Thus if someone bought a thousand shares for $1800. 00 when they sold them they would have sold them for $5,000 and profited by $3.200. That is why a lot of people have difficulty understanding why people buy and sell shares.
    Share are supposed to be bought low and sold high.

    Like

  17. Hal Austin March 12, 2017 at 2:56 PM #

    You do not buy and sell shares like hot cakes. A better decision is to buy and hold. Lots of people buy and sell at the first opportunity, giving the big shareholders, institutions etc to accumulate their shareholdings.

    Like

  18. Alvin Cummins March 12, 2017 at 11:07 PM #

    Hal,
    “…You do not buy and sell shares like hot cakes…”
    What foolishness are you propounding? Why do people sell “short”?
    Shares are bought and sold as soon as the right profit; in the eye of the purchaser is reached. Shares (stocks) are commodities bought and sold (traded) sometimes changing hands before the payment for the first purchase is made. that is one of the bad things we were brought up to believe; buying and holding. The best purchase is to buy just before the payment of dividends and selling when the dividends are paid out. What do you want to “hold” for if you are a small investor? Big companies buy and hold long term investments for specified periods, because the interest periods are specified in the debenture or treasury terms. If I buy ten thousand in shares of Banks and Amber purchase a large block and want to purchase my shares; at a higher price; especially if there is a bidding war going on, what do I want to keep those shares for? Just to say I have shares in Banks? Best to sell, make a profit, and use the profit to invest further.

    Like

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