Amid some tough times for the country, one of Guyana’s biggest banks is calling for the necessary policy environment to assure investors.
The calls was made by Chairman of the Guyana Bank For Trade And Industry (GBTI), Robin Stoby S.C., in the bank’s recently released annual report for 2017.
The bank said it is “buoyed” by the recent level of oil discoveries offshore Guyana and recognize that this country will now require greater levels of capital investment to improve social and physical infrastructure.
This will be required as the country moves into the league of a global player in the oil industry.
“We therefore support calls for the development of a national economic policy environment that provides certainty to investors, reduces sovereign risks, and lends to overall improvement of the welfare and wellbeing of all Guyana particularly those in most need of assistance.”
According to the chairman, the bank will also continue to lend its voice in support of the meaningful initiatives that address performance improvements in the sugar and gold mining industries.
The considerations are to ensure the requisite social impact of these initiatives on the workers, families and communities that depend on these industries for their sustenance.
The bank also expressed its gratitude to John Tracey who, after several years at the helm serving as Chief Executive Officer, went into retirement earlier in the year, and was succeeded by Shaleeza Shaw. She was later replaced by a director, Richard Isava, who is now serving as an Executive Director.
The bank has recorded an extraordinary 2017, with a major fraud of over $940M.
Several directors were also charged in relation to an ongoing investigation into the Guyana Rice Development Board.
According to Stoby, the focus of the board remains on improving the resilience of the bank as its reputation and trust of customers and the wider community remain key elements of the corporate objectives.
With regards to the local economy, this is what the bank had to say about 2017: “We are cognizant that the current environment subdued local economic growth, low interest rate stricter regulation and increasing competition will present added challenges, and are committed to excel at securing and enhancing the financial wellbeing of the institution.”
The bank also explained that towards the end of the year, the board engaged Larry Nath, an experienced Trinidad and Tobago banker, as an independent executive consultant, during which time he brought his “expansive business knowledge and sound judgment” to bear on the board’s deliberations on restructuring the operations of the bank.
Nath subsequently declined the offer to assume the role of Chief Executive Officer. The board then appointed Isava.
According to the Chairman, in his report, Isava’s appointment is an interim measure while a new CEO is being sought.
On the contempt charges, Stoby who too is before the courts, said that the bank is actively defending those charges leveled by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) concerning the production of documents and information “regarding a customer being investigated”.
SOCU was reportedly unhappy that the bank was not cooperating with producing records of the GRDB transactions and had therefore laid the contempt charges.
“Your Bank, given the limited time frame and novelty of the production order, went over beyond the call of duty to comply with it producing thousands of documents.”
According to Stoby, GBTI and its directors are advised that it took all reasonable steps to comply with the production order.
“Unfortunately, your bank and its directors must now endure the court process to establish that it is not culpable.”
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