Leader of the Opposition, Palmavon Webster.
ANGUILLA–Leader of the Opposition, Palmavon Webster describes Chief Minister Victor Banks’ attitude to the closing of CIBC FirstCaribbean Bank as “callous.”
She was speaking in a radio broadcast where she put forward her views on the closure of the bank and the proposed Residency by Investment programme.
Webster questions the announcement of the decision to close the bank. “Surely, with employees on the brink of losing their main source of income, one can safely deduce that officials from the bank would have provided ample notice to all stakeholders, including the government. What is even more appalling is the apparent callous attitude towards the bank’s employees who, by the Chief Minister’s own statements in the last sitting of the House of Assembly, are free to attend the next job fair.”
She says ensuring that the bank complies with the labour laws of Anguilla in relation to the separation packages offered to employees is not only insufficient but speaks to a complete disregard for the human suffering that will take place. “I callon the government to operate with humanity and decency by setting up a special committee to provide support to these employees and their families over a six-month period as they seek to transition into alternative employment opportunities after January 2019. This should include income support, counselling, family services and possibly negotiating extended timelines for servicing their debts,” she said.
Speaking on the Residency by Investment programme, she suggested, “All that glitters is not gold.” She said the proposal is for persons who already own investments and real estate in Anguilla, but noted that programmes of this kind are usually marketed widely especially in the Middle East and China and this could have serious implications to local business owners. “While the Anguilla Residency by Investment Programme would bring much-needed revenue to our economy, we must be cautious in its planning and implementation. While the government moves rapidly to get this done, I am about getting it done right – the future of our nation and our children is at stake,” Webster said.
She closed by saying that Anguilla needs a new dawn and a new direction and called for unity and for citizens to become active participants in the decisions that affect their lives. “I will continue to share this vision for One Anguilla, a nation which is built on love, unity and active citizenship. Despite the many attacks waged against me, I will continue to stand for the rights of all Anguillians and to ensure that your interests are represented at all costs. This is my solemn duty.”