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Why is ‘Mr. Clean’ trying to deceive the people?

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Fri, Oct 8, 2010

Editor: People have been carefully scrutinizing Arnim Eustace and searching for some spark or any evidence of real leadership. They have seen a stampede of wild, loose, uncontrolled NDP tongues; many different individuals spouting conflicting policy and throwing the NDP into a tail spin, implosion mode and an apology for a mass party. However, Arnim Eustace has been the biggest culprit of having a loose tongue and loose and un-researched policy.{{more}}

In a desperate, last ditch stance, he is now staking his political career and reputation on NDP’s opposition to the Divestment of the National Commercial Bank. Some have followed him down this Cul-de-sac, believing that he knows more about banking than they do, while others have been uncharacteristically silent. He is not just clutching at straws, but clearly holds the people of SVG in such contempt, believing that they would not remember that in 2000 he was a major champion of NCB’s Divestment which he now opposes in 2010.

In 2000, Arnim Eustace delivered his first and only budget address as Prime Minister. He tried desperately to break from the Mitchell mould of the previous 16 years to place his own stamp on the office. In his address he stated:

Broader ownership base

“In the context of the goals that we are perusing with development of the OECS Capital Market, we wish to see, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a change in the general approach to business ownership and financing. We want to encourage a broader ownership base, as well as businesses no longer constrained from expansion or new investment because of lack or the high cost of capital. There are two strategies that we (NDP)are prepared to peruse in this regard. The first is to set an example. This Government will therefore be prepared to divest itself of shares in selected enterprises, starting with its shares in the National Commercial Bank and the St. Vincent Electricity Services”.

“We will in the first instance give priority to local investors in a manner that facilitates the widest possible ownership so that the “small man” can purchase shares. In addition, we will provide incentives to privately owned firms in the country to offer some shares to their employees, and to the general public.”

Arnhim’s biggest flip-flop

This is what Arnhim Eustace said in 2000, but just ten years later, he has performed his biggest summersault and flip flop to date by now opposing Divestment. In 2000, parliament was not being broadcast, denying ordinary citizens live access to the nations’ business. There was, therefore, no audio or videotape. However, Arnhim either forgot that his speech was printed in the Parliament’s Hansard and quite easily discovered and copied, or his is a disturbing level of superciliousness and arrogance. This tops his revelation in 2005 at Sharpes that he had lied about the infamous march against crime, drugs and poverty, when his real motives were to stop the Premier of Taiwan giving money for our Argyle International Airport.

Promote faster growth

Arnhim Eustace knows full well that NCB’s Divestment and enhanced capitalisation is one of the best things for SVG. It will promote faster growth of the bank’s capital base and shareholders equity. It will allow for much larger loans, expansion of the bank’s services, a greater stability and competitiveness all currently limited by the low capital base of an indigenous bank. The ECCB’s eight point plan in response to the Global Financial Crisis strongly recommends amalgamation and Divestment of Indigenous Banks. Additionally, the $100 million CDB 4.5% interest loan was a stroke of genius in debt management. Ultimately, though, the process of Divestment will allow ordinary Vincentians to have a true part ownership and shares in the bank and not just the big companies buying shares on behalf of employees as Eustace had favoured in 2000. All Vincentians could buy shares for themselves, consistent with the bank’s slogan “Your Bank, Our Bank, the Nations Bank”. Divestment will also unleash a massive national public education drive and awareness on personal financing and owning shares in NCB, the Argyle Airport, and other private partnerships.

The question is, why is Eustace “Mr. Clean” trying to deceive the people? Why the two-facedness, forked tongue and flip flop? This nation demands an honest explanation from him now! Why he has changed his mind and now doesn’t want Divestment anymore? Who is he fronting for, and what are his real motives?

Jerrol Thompson

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