Posted on

WILD COOT: One-voice banks


Harry Russell

WILD COOT: One-voice banks

Social Share

Sapientes pacis causa bellum gerunt laborem spe otii sustentant. – The wise wage war for the sake of peace, and endure toil in the hope of leisure.
The commercial banks in Barbados have been able to achieve where the unions have failed and have been inert. The unison chorus has left me combobulated. The harmony ascends to high heaven as they sing not necessarily in their customers’ interest but in their own self-interest.
They cannot go on forever investing in local Treasury Bills, paying interest on fixed deposits at 1.5 per cent, and hurting customers with fees. I am not saying that the singing is a cabal, because such behaviour would be reprehensible, but I am saying that it is a reflection of the banks’ perception of the folly that the Government has created. Sixty per cent of taxes to service debt!
If I were in charge of a national bank, not a foreign bank, I would seek to differentiate my position. I remember how the National Bank of Barbados was the first to introduce chattel mortgages for many people with a chattel house on rented land, and when with its help Sir Courtney Blackman was able to control the downward spiral of savings interest rates. They say that a soothsayer . . . .
When the issue of selling travellers cheques came up, all of the banks stopped one time. We can give you a credit card, however if you do not pay off the charges, the interest rate is 28 per cent, or more charges will be imposed such as late fees, vendors’ fees and horse dead and cow fat.
Now if you are laid off, or your wife/husband or brother or sister, you are a “persona none greater” – according to a former famous politician – and our doors are closed, say the banks which hold nearly all of the money in the country.
Things fall apart. The Government is now in a slowly tightening noose. In addition to the banks’ decision not to consider loans for people laid off, on the “list” or potential list victims, now people in the public employ who are not being sent home are not being paid salaries. They come to the bank, see no money on their account and raise Cain.  If I were in the banker’s chair, I would not tar everyone at risk in public employ with the same brush, but I understand that no one bank wants to be victimised by presenting a sole voice. People in power could be very vindictive, and banks operate at the behest of the political directorate – for example, Barclays Bank Jamaica Ltd., now National Commercial Bank Jamaica Ltd.
“But Wild Coot, when the banking system implodes, is that not the signal that all confidence is lost, and that we should go back to the polls so as to see if anybody in the dark room can see a black cat and a little light even through a keyhole?”
Well, I would have to agree with you, although I have to be careful lest the powers that be accuse me of “lese majeste”, lock me up and throw away the key even when family members cry habeas corpus.
Wild Coot, don’t the minister attend Cabinet meetings? If so, is there a restraining order on putting forth ideas there rather than in public? Why?
On a completely different subject, although it can be related in that it has to do with calming the nerves. The Wild Coot uses the herb in tea. Not the herb in Jamaica and St Vincent, the laurus nobilis (bay leaf). He has a tree, and requests by anyone for a few leaves will not be denied.
This herb, like some others, according to Google, symbolises wisdom, peace and protection. It has minerals essential to optimum health. The fresh leaves are rich in Vitamin C and it is one of the powerful natural anti-oxidants that helps remove free radicals from the body. It is rich in Vitamin A and so helps the eyesight and protects the body from lung and cavity cancer.
It is a good source of niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and riboflavin, copper (not coppers), potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium zinc and magnesium. It repels insects and relieves flatulence and long talk. I believe that it has restoring powers for men, at least I hope.
Harry Russell is a banker. Email [email protected]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Maximum 1000 characters remaining in your comment.

LAST NEWS