St Vincent Govt sells state-owned bank
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves today defended the decision of his administration to privatise the state-owned National Commercial Bank (NCB) saying that every government since independence in 1979 had considered selling the financial institution.
Gonsalves told a news conference that his ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) had been waiting “for the right moment to divest shares.
“Four factors make this the right moment: the strengthening of the bank since 2001; the agreement of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to assist in the process of divestment; the inducing external financial economic environment and the regional financial institution, the Bank of St. Lucia, which will provide the correct fit at a fair and reasonable price for the majority shareholding, combined with other favourable condition,” Gonsalves said.
The main opposition National Democratic Party (NDP) has criticised the decision to sell 51 per cent of the NCB to the East Caribbean Financial Holding Company Limited (ECFH). He said that the Prime Minister did not inform the Parliament about the sale as a condition for a multi-million dollar loan from the CDB.