Arthur backs sale of BNB shares
ANY SELLING of Government’s remaining shares in the Barbados National Bank (BNB) to the Republic Bank Limited (RBL) of Trinidad will be hailed by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party as a good move.
Owen Arthur, former Prime Minister of Barbados and current Opposition Leader, sees such an act as not only “a triumph” but a productive stroke for the Barbados economy.
Government’s selling of the remaining BNB shares to RBL of Trinidad and Tobago emerged as a topic during a DAILY NATION interview with Arthur after the last sitting of Parliament on Tuesday.
“The Government has recently, I think, agreed to sell the shares . . . to the Republic Bank.
I see it as a triumph because the decision that I made in respect of the old Barbados National Bank was to try … and rebuild value; that can be a benefit to Barbados,” said Arthur.
The Arthur-led administration had sold 57 per cent of BNB’s shares to the RBL in 2003. RBL subsequently acquired additional shares in the bank, increasing its holding to 65.13 per cent.
Republic Bank recently announced that it wanted to get 100 per cent control of BNB and would soon make an offer for purchase of the outstanding shares.
“Now having been instrumental in causing the shares in the BNB to be worth a lot more than if they were only under the Government control, I now can’t oppose that,” Arthur said.
“I believe the BNB has been a success story because the Government now has value that we would not have had if we had not done what we did. And if [the shares] have value, you use it.
“So I am not going to oppose [the sale], and I wish the country will not fight against it because it might be a good thing for us.”