Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Honourable Gaston Browne will today address the nation, and in particular, the staff members of the ABI Bank that were dislocated and owed monies, with the bank now in receivership. Caribbean Times brings below, the text of the remarks to be delivered today at a press conference.
Fellow Antiguans and Barbudans, but in particular staff members of ABI Bank Ltd. (now in Receivership): Let us recall that on 27th November 2015, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) appointed a receiver under the Banking Act 2015 to oversee the affairs of ABI Bank Ltd (ABI). The Receiver, Mrs. Megan Samuel-Fields, has been appointed by the ECCB to liquidate and wind up the affairs of ABI.
From the outset, the Government made public its commitment to do everything in its power to protect depositors, but also made clear that it would not contemplate an ABI resolution without offering protection for the interests of ABI staff as far as their severance benefits and thrift fund contributions were concerned.
Each employee would be owed by ABI a particular net amount as determined by the Receiver but under the Receivership they would have to wait for an extended period to receive any payment and would in the end likely receive only a portion of what they are owed.
The Government has therefore stepped in to offer to ABI employees payment of amounts equivalent to their net claims on the Receivership. In exchange for this commitment the staff will be asked to assign their interests in the receivership to the Government by way of an agreement. Upon signing that agreement, each employee will receive from the Government a portion of the Government’s commitment and the balance will be paid by the Government by 31 December, 2015.
Using the above methodology, the Government is in a position to make good on its promise that it would protect the interests of ABI workers; and further, ensure that the uncertainty and unpredictability for staff of payment under a receivership is removed.
With these few words, I offer to Mrs. Nalinie Mc. David and Mr. Fernando Samuel representing the employees of ABI, a symbolic cheque from the Government of Antigua and Barbuda made to the order of ABI Staff, in the amount of One Million, Five Hundred and Eighty-Five Thousand, Two Hundred and Forty-Three dollars and Seventy-Seven cents ($1,585,243.77). This represents the first of two disbursements in respect of the Government’s payment to ABI Staff. The second payment will be made by 31stDecember, 2015.