Antigua Prime Minister tells Scotiabank no sale without government approval

Browne wants local banks to be given priority in sale of Scotiabank Antigua

St John’s, November 27- The Bank of Nova Scotia has been stopped from proceeding with any sale of its operations in Antigua and Barbuda until application is made to the Government and approval given.

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne also wants assurances that local banks will be given priority to purchase the Scotiabank’s operations in Antigua, and that local persons’ investments and saving will be protected.

Writing today to Suzan Snaggs-Wilson, the General Manager of Scotiabank in Antigua, Prime Minister Browne lamented the fact “that the authorities of the Bank of Nova Scotia would decide to sell its operations in Antigua and Barbuda without any form of consultation with the regulators or the Finance Minister whose agreement and authority for such a sale are required by law”.

In his letter, the Prime Minister declared: “I hereby inform the authorities of the Bank of Nova Scotia that their decision to sell the operations in Antigua and Barbuda, without the requisite consultation and agreement of the regulators and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, is unacceptable”.

Having told Scotiabank that should it wish to divest its operations in Antigua and Barbuda, “it would be necessary to seek the government’s approval”. The Prime Minister went on to express his government’s desire for “such divestment to be offered first to local banks as the priority”

He also disclosed that, “notwithstanding the unexpectedness of Bank of Nova Scoria’s announcement, a consortium of such banks has already expressed an affirmative interest to acquire”.

Prime Minister Browne stated that his government “now expects a formal application by the authorities of the Bank of Nova Scotia for the terms of any divestment, including a reasonable time to identify new local owners, and assurances of the safety of the assets and investments of local clients”.

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18 Comments

  1. Lenpro
    November 29, 2018

    Now that is what i call dictatorship. How dear this guy tell companies when to sell and to who they should sell their business. Are you kidding me. With that Hitler style mustache im not surprise. Common Gaston. ( Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character give him power). Abraham Lincoln.

  2. In the loop
    November 29, 2018

    Just to inform the general public that The Republic Financial Holdings of Trinidad n Tobago has a acquired all the Scotia banks around the listed countries for 123 million US dollars.So the whole talk about this and that is a non issue… Had the government been proactive they would have known that long time before. This piece of news and milestone by the RFHTT is a news all over Trinidad. Its a done deal Mr PM.
    Soon there might be a name change to the banks let’s wait n see. That’s alllll the facts for the time….

  3. Colombo Thomas
    November 28, 2018

    Banks are regulated entity, they cannot willy-nilly sell without consulting the regulators. Please comprehend before making un-inform comments.

  4. Fedup #1
    November 28, 2018

    That heading and 1st line of article are both misleading. Scotia already knows it needs ECCB’s (regulator’s ) approval to conclude this sale. Statement from buyer clearly stated “subject to all regulatory approvals”. PM of Antigua is in no position to stop the sale or dictate to Scotia who the bank sells its operations to. He must stop misleading his constituents.

  5. Joseph John
    November 28, 2018

    This is a good move to retain support of his base. he knows that he has no power to stop scotia fromm leaving so he make a pitch for them to sell to some Antigian entities. Good negotiator
    Dominica should buy buy the local Scotia bank branch.

  6. PENNY
    November 28, 2018

    The bank doesn’t belong to the government. They can do what ever they want. mr. G.Brown buy the company with all the CBI money you guys getting. If not be quiet and let the bank do what it has to do.

  7. Ti Garcon
    November 28, 2018

    This is nonsense, if u started, owns and operate a business why does any govt have any right to tell me who when why how and where to sell my business. This sounds like communism some sorts.
    Whats more appalling is that people think Browne has any right. Soon these guys will feel empowered to tell people to ask them personal permissions to conduct any business in these islands. All this will do is stifle growth and investments. It already takes 2-3yrs to register lands, do I need govt permission to sell my land?

    • Creation Rebel
      November 28, 2018

      There is something called regulations Ti Garcon… Haven’t you seen in the news before how much regulations companies merging and acquiring each other have to go through in other countries. I doubt you know more than Mr. Browne who has an MBA in finance btw how theses things are supposed to happen

      • Ti Garcon
        November 29, 2018

        I know that over regulation inhibits growth, govt bureaucracy and waste will eventually bankrupt any company it gets involved into (whether its 1st world or 3rd world govt) and big govt is a strain on a country which ultimately is the reason no Caribbean country has average growth rates more than 2%/yr for the past 20-30 years.

        If I do business with a foreign investor, thats between me and him. If they want to sell out, why would govt permission be required. Browne then goes on to say, local banks (obviously with govt control either though Social Security or direct shares) should get 1st priority in buying in Sociabank shares. So he even want to say WHO it sell your business too. When Ross left for Barbados, what right did we have to tell Ross to stay? Govt have no place in private business. This is dictatorial and will inhibit future foreign investments. You dont need an MBA in finance to understand this.

  8. Badbaje
    November 28, 2018

    With all due respect, this is an exercise in futility. Money talks, and Scotia Bank and the new intended owners have spoken. As expected politicians will do and say things to convince people they care, when they really do not. Let us see how this play out, but the deed is already done. The only thing left is to see who they will sell out to, and this will be the highest bidder, despite what any politician say.

  9. World's Moistest Jheri Curl
    November 28, 2018

    Thank you Gaston Browne for leading the way!
    This is why Antigua and Barbuda’s economy has been growing – effective leadership!

    • zandoli
      November 29, 2018

      When you talk about growing economies, don’t mention Barbados in the same sentence. You may not have been following the mess that they are in. When you approach the IMF to bail you out, your economy is truly in a mess.

  10. Carltymas
    November 28, 2018

    Hmm, Interesting turn of events. Although I applaud Mr Browne’s promptitude, however, we must tread carefully when dealing with this matter. If we are honest with ourselves Scotia Bank’s operations in the Caribbean have been constantly declining and have never been at par with local financial institutions. Selling to a local institution would be a good idea but at what cost? What is the money market like? All these questions.

    • World's Moistest Jheri Curl
      November 28, 2018

      Did you not read the article?
      Gaston Browne did not say that they HAVE to sell to local interests
      he said that they cannot sell without
      First, informing the Government and regulators of an interest in selling
      Secondly, opening that sale up to local banks/financial institutions

      Scotia Bank investors would prefer a public auctioning of it’s assets because it may increase the sale price
      which in return would boost the share price.

      The action that Mr. Browne has taken is the right one by his government.
      I hope that our Prime Minister, Finance Minister and banking regulators follow suit
      It would be best if a consortium of nation states band together to investigate this sale thoroughly.
      It is what’s in the best interest of their constituents

      • Cartlymas
        November 29, 2018

        I read well what the article said but nowhere in my comment did I not say that Government’s are not to protect the economic resources of their country nor did I state that he insinuated anything but his concern and disappointed at the company’s head for not informing the country’s head of this. I applauded him for how prompt he handled this situation. The comment refers to from then on my dear. My concerns are merely about the state of the banking sector.

  11. Creation Rebel
    November 28, 2018

    Mean while in Dominica our “finance minister” saids nothing then again dominica is not a real country so who cares

    • World's Moistest Jheri Curl
      November 28, 2018

      True leadership showing how it’s done

    • Joseph John
      November 28, 2018

      What do you expect him to say. If he says something negatives ratings up, if he say nothing same old samoe. So you want to hear the voice of the PM, nice.
      I think Dominicans should form a company and buy this operation. Maybe the national bank can do so. Then you can buy shares.

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