posted (May 14, 2012) on 7NewsBelize
On Friday night, the Belize Bank celebrated its 25th Anniversary – and the man who owned the bank for much of those 25 years, Michael Ashcroft jetted in for the event. It’s noteworthy because his acolytes say that Ashcroft has not visited Belize for three years, since BTL was nationalized.
And he kept his distance because of a very cold, bitter and protracted war between the Ashcroft Alliance and the Barrow Administration. But on Friday night – relations seemed to be thawing.
Not only was Ashcroft in town, but the featured speaker at the Belize Bank gala was Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow. They didn’t quite hold hands and sing Kumbaya, but the Prime Minister made it clear that – as regards the Belize Bank – which has been kept on a very tight leash by its regulator, the Central Bank – it’s time to – as he put it – replace confrontation with cooperation.
Here are portions of his remarks from the event at the Radisson:…
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
“The state would want to see an ordered and mutually supportive relationship between the financial system players and the financial system regulators.”
“It is no secret though that in this regard confrontation rather than cooperation has been too much the norm in recent times. This is discomforting all round and a large dose of shared goodwill is now required to address the problem.”
“Though nobody is naive enough to expect that the regulatory relationship will ever turned adversarial. But the occasions when this happens must be the exception rather than the rule and a financial system cannot function properly in climate of unceasing litigation. A way must therefore be found out of this thick at this briar patch.”
“Ladies and gentlemen it must be clear by now that I am asking for some sort of middle ground between commercial banks and the regulator.”
“Striking the right balance is not nearly as “jesuitical” an exercise as might first appear. If the ultimate authority of the central bank is respected and the central bank is return is realistic and flexible a via media can indeed can be found.”
“Government as the ultimate custodian of the public welfare is needless to say ready to help. So I declare to the Belize Bank tonight that we fully expected to partner with us to use its leadership role, its ingenuity and its resources to help find a way out of the ompass.”
Lyndon Guiseppi, CEO – BBC Holdings
“Honorable Prime Minister I thought I heard the extension of an olive branch and I am one of those who believe that people should never stop speaking. I think a lot of the problems in the world occur when people stop talking and what I heard this evening is extremely encouraging to me.”
After the speeches, Barrow and Ashcroft greeted each other cordially – and then Barrow posed for pictures with the Bank’s executive team. The Belize bank is the largest Bank in Belize – and though – recently its balance sheet has failed to impress – the Bank is hoping that a new logo and motto can indicate, or spur a change of direction.
Notably, while Barrow indicated some easing of regulatory pressures at the banking level – according to our reports – neither the Governor of the Central Bank, the Chairman of the Board, nor any of the deputies were in attendance.
Notably, Barrow was also the only minister of Government in attendance, accompanied by his Minister of State, Santino Castillo and CEO for Trade and Investment Mike Singh.
The thing that I don’t get is that if these guys are so bad for Belize, why work with them, why be their right hand or want to be? Lets see how this story play out.
All I will say to this is:
Pa la plata baila el mono.