By anguillian July 6, 2015 11:30 Updated



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Onlookers in front CCB

Onlookers in front CCB

Closure of CCB and removal of computer equipment on Friday June 26

Closure of CCB and removal of computer equipment on Friday June 26

The crowds that lined the road curiously surveying events surrounding the temporary closure of the Caribbean Commercial Bank on Friday, June 26 – following the enforcement of a High Court Judgement – were no longer there on Monday morning, June 29.

CCB, one of Anguilla’s two indigenous banks, opened that morning for business as usual, as Chief Minister, Victor Banks said it would. The reopening relieved anxiety among the island’s population, already worried about the ECCB’s continuing conservatorship of both CCB and NBA.
The sudden closure of the bank came in the busy early afternoon as customers sought to make various financial transactions at the counters. The issue surrounds the dismissal of CCB’s Managing Director, Mrs. Starry Benjamin, when the ECCB assumed control of the bank in August 2013. Mrs Benjamin took the matter to the court – through her lawyers Joyce Kentish & Associates – which ruled in her favour and awarded her financial redress. What transpired on Friday, June 26, when computer equipment was removed from the bank (but was returned later, after an agreement) was an enforcement of that 2014 judgement.

Moving quickly to minimise or dispel fears, Mr. Banks said, in a radio broadcast, that the closure of CCB had caused much concern in Anguilla and the sub-region, but that it was unrelated to the ECCB’s conservatorship process.

The Chief Minister has been the only source of official information about the situation to the public to date. It is therefore necessary, for the national record, to report on what he said by substantially quoting his radio broadcast as follows:

“As Chief Minister of Anguilla and Minister of Finance, and Member of the Monetary Council — let me begin by providing the strongest of reassurance that there is no need for alarm at this time.

“The Government of Anguilla has been involved in a calm, speedy and positive resolution in the way I will now describe.

“This afternoon’s action is the result of an isolated and long standing unresolved labour dispute. This was specifically between the former Managing Director of CCB and the CCB which is in conservatorship by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.

“The events of the afternoon do not relate to the general banking situation at NBA and CCB. The Government is continuing to work extremely hard in addressing this together with stakeholders.
“This afternoon’s events resulted simply from the enforcement of monies owed to the Managing Director as a result of a court judgment in 2014.
“The High Court ruled in favour of the former Managing Director on a wrongful dismissal case and the CCB/ECCB therefore must be guided by the rule of law.

“The non-payment by CCB/ECCB of the judgment awarded by the Court is in no way a reflection of the hard work over the past two years towards resolving the banking situation.

“These matters are well on track to being resolved in the future. I will address you further on these initiatives in due course.

“In relation to this afternoon’s events, the Bailiffs entered the CCB upon the instructions of the lawyers of the former Managing Director to enforce the judgment of the High Court.

“While the Government of Anguilla is not a party to the legal action — we have being working persistently throughout the afternoon with all parties in an effort to resolve the matter amicably — and in the interest of the people, government and banking sector of Anguilla.

“I have been in discussions with the ECCB Governor and his Senior Management and Staff, the Conservator, lawyers for the CCB & Central Bank as well as with the lawyers for the former Managing Director.

“Having mediated a solution to this afternoon’s situation — I am happy to report that the legal teams of all parties have now come to an agreement to settle the matter in its entirety. Therefore the CCB will be open on Monday 29 June for business as usual.

“I am extremely grateful for the civility and tolerance exhibited by the customers and staff of the CCB while this situation was being resolved.

“I would like to thank the legal teams of all sides as well as the staff of the Ministry of Finance and my colleagues who worked with me on this matter in the interests of the people of Anguilla.”

By anguillian July 6, 2015 11:30 Updated


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