Following news of the sale of Scotiabank BVI to Republic Financial Holdings (Republic Bank), pensioners of the local bank wrote to the five members of the Opposition informing them of their worry and uncertainty about their future.
Leader of the Opposition Hon. Marlon Penn during a press conference on Monday December 16, disclosed that the Opposition was not given official notice of the sale.
“I learned of it in the news. I learnt of the takeover for both CIBC and Scotiabank in the media. It is something that I brought up in the House of Assembly during the budget debate I think it is an important subject,” Hon. Penn said.
The Leader of the Opposition explained that his discussion with other legislators stemmed from the fact that there is a tradition that Representatives in cases such as this take-over would enquire of the plan for the Virgin Islanders employed with the entity.
“When any company comes into the Territory we need to make sure that our people are no less off than they were previously. You have to also ensure that the pensioners, persons who have enjoyed certain benefits under the old regime do not lose those benefits,” he said.
He indicated that he raised the matter with Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie.
"It is something that we’re going to ask specifically questions on going forward to ensure that the people who are being impacted by this change ….are not less off than they were previously,” Hon. Penn told the media.
The Leader of the Opposition then disclosed that the pensioners of the bank contacted the members of the Opposition.
“The pensioners had reached out to us. They’ve expressed their concerns to ensure that they get a fair share in the process; and we are here to make sure of that,” Hon. Penn stated.
The Leader of the Opposition said that his group of legislators will make representation to the government, the regulator and whoever “has to make the final decision to ensure that those persons get a fair shake in the process.”
However, Hon. Penn said that the concerned persons indicated that they would like to hear what the management of the two banks propose before meeting with the legislators.
"I know they were supposed to have some meeting with management of the particular organizations, so I think once they’ve had those discussions then we will be able to better understand what their concerns are as it relates to the buyout and takeover. It is something that is on our radar that we are concerned about not only for these two organizations,” Hon. Penn stated.
Scotiabank BVI, which is a subsidiary of Canadian Bank of Nova Scotia announced last month that it is in agreement with Republic Bank to sell its operations in the British Virgin Islands.
Scotiabank has been operating in the Territory since 1967 offering both retail and commercial banking services. The decision follows a pattern of takeovers by Republic Bank of Scotiabank's operations in the Caribbean.