Monday, April 22, 2024

WILD COOT – BNB shares licking dog

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While the job of the Government is not to get in the way of the entrepreneur, it is also imperative that the Government provide the necessary stepping ladder wherever there is need for an upward lift. A forward-looking Prime Minister saw the light and established the Barbados National Bank (BNB).
It was a mistake to sell the shares to Trinidad. We must not always listen to the international institutions.
Right now our Government has noted the need for a push and that is why it has tried to step in where it is believed that the private sector has failed. Indeed one of the chief ingredients of the requirement is finance.
It may be said that the banks should provide that ingredient. The banks do not see it as their role to step up to the plate. The fact that all of our banks are foreign-owned does have something to do with the current policy of limited involvement that seems dangerously similar among them.
Actually such an attitude is quite unfair. You cannot mobilise the resources of a country to the tune of $11 billion,  then say that your chief interest is pleasing your foreign shareholders by way of maximising profit.
Efforts by Government to assist small and medium-sized businesses have not met with great success as would be ideal in the present circumstances. That is why I do not support the behaviour of the BNB board, and the decision
of the owners in the offer of five dollars little bit for the balance of the shares.
I was so depressed when I got the news that I used my hidden obeah powers given to me by a Haitian sister, and turned into a fly. I flew on the outside of a BeeWee plane to Scarborough, where the board was meeting and positioned myself on the wall behind the chairman.
“Meeting call to order, le’ we discuss BNB first oui.
Hey’ me now, dey on de back foot, can’t nationalise now cause dey wud lose reputation. Not a cent above five dollar li’l bit. Rumour has it that dey borrowing to pay civil servants. Le’ we screw dey backside. Dey ca’n refuse.”
There was a moment silence. Then one Tess who was paying rapt attention ventured: “But, vhairman, the auditors tell me that the share are worth seven dollars and twenty cents at least, cud’dear yuh gine rob de people?
“Do’n hit a man when ’e down. Fuh the las’ two years I send my family to Barbados fuh their safety. I resign!”
“Happy riddance,” said the chairman.
Another fellow, virtuous and true, opined: “These are rough days. Our prime minister says that we not an ATM, although she speaks first and thinks after. People can’t expect to buy oil from Venezuela and get help with houses after Tomas. But Barbados remained loyal and stupid.
“When Clico collapsed we hustle out $40 million when they were not looking. To besides, we burp every time they go to the supermarket, each time they drive we pump, each house that they build we plaster, each time they put money in the bank we get dividends, we don’t even have to pay a cent for Clico’s debacle. We could give them a break.
“I do not believe that Freundel is like Owen. He would not part with the country’s silver for tu’pence.”
At this point another Tess jumped up and declared: “Nonsense! BNB is controlled by Trinidad, lock stock and barrel. It makes no sense holding on to the shares now, offer them $6 and see if they will bite.”
I got a signal on my Fly Blackberry that a fishing boat with a large catch was heading home and since there was no direct BeeWee to Barbados, I decided to hitch a ride back home and report the sou-sou.
Professional etiquette forbids me from telling the true story of BNB.
 

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