By anguillian January 18, 2016 10:21 Updated



aufThe Anguilla Government is becoming financially strapped due to the continuing delay of the approval of the 2016 budget by the UK Government, and has resorted to a Provisional Warrant in order to have some available money to spend on public services.

Not only the Government is upset, but the Anguillian community is worried as well, fearing the grossly negative impact the constant delay of the British Government can have on the island’s fragile economy and the public and private finances of the island. And yet, despite this, there is still hope that approval can come shortly with the month of January about to enter its third week.
The budget – of $225,335,227 – is bolstered by a number of new and increased taxes, fees and existing levies. A number of the measures were passed in the Anguilla House of Assembly towards the end of December 2015. Among them were certain provisions intended to assist in financing the resolution of the commercial banking sector, still under the conservatorship of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank since August 2013.
Chief Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr. Victor Banks, has expressed frustration over the British Government’s protracted delay in approving Anguilla’s budget. He told reporters at the Government’s press conference on Tuesday, January 12: “The budget has not yet been assented to even though the provisions/legislation put in place on the 29th of December had already been assented to [by Governor Christina Scott] before the end of the year… So we still await assent to the budget and I continue to say there is absolutely no reason in my mind why that should not have already taken place. But we have put in place a Provisional Warrant to ensure that we can carry on the activities of Government. It is for a two-week period, based on our anticipation that at the end of week that matter should be resolved.”
The Chief Minister continued: “The banking resolution has not yet been assented to either. The Eastern Caribbean Asset Management Corporation [Act] and the Banking Act have not yet been assented to. It is ironic that they have been assented to already in Montserrat – a grant-aided territory. So I am concerned about that. It seems very ironic that Montserrat…could have those Acts assented to ahead of us, who are responsible for our own recurrent affairs.
“It is also my understanding that this has been held back in connection with the banking resolution model that we have put in place. I don’t see the connection and this is something that I continue to talk about. I just thought to mention that one more time. The issues keep coming up and I think that people would want to hear where we are on that.”
Responding to a reporter’s question, Mr. Banks acknowledged that he is frustrated by the British Government’s delay of the budget.
Earlier, he announced that, in the meantime, his Government had begun preparations to take over the local commercial banking sector as a means of resolving the situation.
“The Government of Anguilla, in terms of its preparations for the resolution of the banking situation, has put in place a Board of Directors for the new entity which is supposed to act as a Bridge Bank for the resolution process to be called the National Commercial Bank of Anguilla,” he told reporters. “[The Board] comprises five Directors at this time: two Directors from the region. One is well-known – the Vice President of the Caribbean Development Bank – Marius St. Rose who served in that capacity for many, many years. He has held other positions in the region as well. The other one from the region is Sir Errol Allen. He was the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank for a number of years. He is now retired.
“From Anguilla, we have Mr. Colville Petty, Mr. Carl Harrigan and Mrs. Vida Lloyd-Richardson. They are all well-known to all of us and they have been elected to serve – and have been cleared by the Central Bank as persons who are qualified and capable as Bank Directors. So they are in place. We are putting everything in place so that when the times comes, we are ready to move forward speedily with the resolution of the banking sector.”

Mr. Banks, who was accompanied by his cabinet members at the press conference, has the unswerving support of all of his ministerial colleagues on the way forward to resolve the banking issue.

By anguillian January 18, 2016 10:21 Updated


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