Gov’t to address alleged ‘malpractice’ at Scotiabank

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The Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda is expected to make a policy decision this week to address what Prime Minister Gaston Browne claims are allegations of malpractice at the Bank of Nova Scotia.

The matter was also brought before Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin who has been asked to examine the laws to ensure workers at the financial institution are not placed at a disadvantage.

During an interview on his radio station on the weekend, Browne stated, “I am told that Scotiabank has had contract staff who have been employed for the last 14 years and now that they are about to sell the branch here, these individuals have no severance, no benefits, nothing.”

He added, “I am also told that Scotia is seeking to roll . . . the severance benefits of the staff over to Republic Bank. Clearly, people have been working there for 20 and 30 years, the ideal situation would have been to sever them and then they could take up employment with the new entity.”

In light of this, Browne explained that the Cabinet will make a decision to address this matter as well as the issue of severance which, he said, must be honored before any vesting order is issued to facilitate the sale.

Scotiabank has sold its operation in nine countries, including Antigua and Barbuda to Republic Financial Holding of Trinidad and Tobago, but Prime Minister Browne – who is also Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Finance and Corporate Governance – wants a local banking consortium to be given the first right of refusal, and has refused to issue a vesting order to permit or facilitate the sale unless this is done.

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