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Gonsalves responds to call by Eustace for details on NCB sale


Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has responded to the call by Opposition Leader, Arnhim Eustace, to disclose the details of the agreement of the sale of 51 percent of the National Commercial Bank’s shares.{{more}}

Gonsalves speaking on the ‘Shake Up’ radio programme on Wednesday, October 13, via telephone from Qatar, said that he had responded to this call on numerous occasions, in Parliament and at press conferences.

Eustace is also seeking to find out more about the incorporation of state- owned lands at Mt.Wynne and Peter’s Hope in the agreement.

Gonsalves reiterated that the lands will be returned to National Properties once the $100 million loan granted by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is released.

On the issue of the Reigate property being a part of the sale agreement, the Prime Minister said that property “has nothing” to do with the bank. Gonsalves disclosed that the property was built and is owned by National Properties.

He explained that the arrangement was that the NCB would be renting one of the three floors; however, a new arrangement indicates that the new bank would be renting two floors instead.

Eustace had previously made repeated calls to the Prime Minister to make public the details contained in the agreement of the sale of the shares.

“All we are hearing about is the $42 million. What else is in the agreement of significance?” Eustace asked in a statement last week.

He also called on Gonsalves to address the nation on what would become of the properties owned by the NCB, specifically the lands.

Meanwhile, Gonsalves continued his defence of the decision taken to borrow money from the CDB, saying that the loan was to take care of the public indebtedness rather than going to the NCB and paying a higher interest.

“The loan strengthens the liquidity of the bank,” said Gonsalves, adding that the Opposition is “absorbed in playing petty politics with everything.” (DD)