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Eustace calls on Attorney General to step down

Eustace calls on Attorney General to step down

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Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan has denied that the mortgage on her family home is included in the EC$2.25 million owed to the National Commercial Bank by her husband Desmond and his company Blue Skye Communications.{{more}}

On the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) New Times radio show on Monday, Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace called on Jones-Morgan to resign as Attorney General as according to him, recent research shows that Jones-Morgan was also a signatory to the deeds to “the properties including the family home”, and the family home’s mortgage of approximately $600,000 is included in the approximately $2 million which is owed to the bank.

“I cannot understand why she was not named in the suit, when the bank sought to recover its money. Why just Mr. Morgan and the Blue Skye Communications,” Eustace asked.

“In the circumstances, I am calling for the resignation of Mrs. Jones-Morgan as Attorney General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the Opposition Leader said.

The Leader of the Opposition was referring to a court judgement brought against Jones-Morgan’s husband, Desmond Morgan, and his company Blue Skye Communication (SVG) Ltd on May 19, 2010.

In that judgement, Blue Skye Communications and Desmond Morgan, a former Chairman of the National Commercial Bank (NCB), were ordered to pay the NCB EC$2.25 million for loans and overdraft faciliites which were deemed delinquent and had been classified as non-performing.

Eustace said that many individuals who are customers of the NCB, who owed far less money, have had their property taken away.

“We cannot continue to condone that type of activity. All of our people must be treated with equality…. In our society, if it is based on equality and fair play, we shouldn’t have these types of exceptions which we now see. It just is not right. It is not tenable, and it must change,” he said.

“It is not right and I think the Attorney General must step down from her post, and so should her husband. It is not sending the right signal to the people of this country, and for a government which boasts of transparency and good governance, they should ensure that it happens,” he said.

However, the Attorney General has strongly refuted the Leader of the Opposition’s claims.

“My entire salary goes to the NCB bank,” Jones-Morgan told Searchlight when contacted. “And this has been the case since 2006,” she added.

She disclosed that the mortgage on her family home was a separate facility to those against which the judgement was received by the NCB in May 2010.

“I don’t get my salary until the bank takes out the mortgage,” she revealed, and added that the mortgage at the NCB for her family home was in “good and proper standing.”

Jones-Morgan’s claims are supported by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves who at a press conference yesterday said that when he had heard claims that the Attorney General and her husband “haven’t paid one cent on the mortgage for the house and she should resign,” he asked the Attorney General if he could enquire about her state of affairs at the bank and speak on it.

Gonsalves said that his investigations revealed that Jones-Morgan has been signatory to a mortgage on her house since October 2006, for which she pays $5,580 every month, and has not failed to pay once.

“The mortgage of the properties include the house, with technically, a second mortgage with the company, but other pieces of land. And the bank has made it plain that if you excise the house…that the land which remains is adequate to cover the indebtedness,” said Gonsalves.

The Prime Minister said he wants to find out what has the Attorney General done wrong since she has paid her mortgage every month.

“Why must I ask her to resign,” asked Gonsalves.

Desmond Morgan was appointed Chairman of the Bridges, Roads and General Services Authority (BRAGSA), shortly after he was replaced as Chairman of the National Commercial Bank in December 2008. Eustace also called for Morgan’s resignation from BRAGSA.

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