Banking arrangements set up to assist traders in T’dad fall through
An arrangement that was set up by the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and a bank in Trinidad and Tobago to help local traffickers send their money back home only lasted for three weeks.
So, now, traders who move farm produce between SVG and Trinidad are back to square one, unable to buy foreign exchange after they have sold their goods.
Lesline Davis, a trader from Belmont, said for three weeks, everything went fine and traffickers were able to deal with the First Citizens Bank in Trinidad and Tobago and receive their money here by wire transfer, through the Bank of St Vincent
and the Grenadines (BOSVG).
But according to Davis, four weeks into the arrangement, when traffickers went to the First Citizens bank in Trinidad, they were told that the bank could no longer process the transfers unless they had a bank account with First Citizens.
She said that the requirements to establish an account with the Trinidad bank cannot be met by most traffickers, as they are not residents of Trinidad and Tobago. Davis said the bank is asking for a utility bill and other documentation that a local trafficker cannot produce, because they are not residents there.
She said persons even took letters from the BOSVG to Trinidad, but those letters were not acknowledged, neither were local utility bills, birth certificates or identification cards.
âThey stop wiring money for us again, so now we like fish out of water again,â said Davis.
Another trafficker, who did not want to give his name, said that he currently has money in Trinidad he is unable to send
âFarmers by my doorstep day and night and people want their money; they hungry, they have children to go to school and some even threaten you, because they donât
believe that you shipping and not getting money,â said the man, who added that the set-up was good for the three weeks it lasted.
He said he continues to trade because, âis business and you donât want to stop, because you always believe better will come next week.
ââ¦The Government set up something by BOSVG for three weeks; it was stopped, but nobody notified us to tell us this was only for three weeks. We get the three weeks of money, then the fourth week, nobody canât get money.â
A government source told SEARCHLIGHT on Thursday that the bank
in Trinidad is now saying that the traffickers need to register a company because they can no longer do the transfers
âThey need to register a company. The government is trying to assist them with it, but we have to look at laws and requirements,â said the source, who revealed that he is not sure how soon the issue will be resolved.(LC)