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The Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) of Antigua and Barbuda has recently faced severe criticism, casting doubts on its credibility.
The latest wave of criticism emanates from Winston Henry, an Economic Analyst, who accuses the FSRC of ignoring a critical banking issue at the Global Bank of Commerce.
This has caused depositors to be unable to withdraw their funds, bringing the FSRC’s efficacy into question.
As the financial services industry regulator in Antigua and Barbuda, the FSRC maintains the sector’s stability.
However, it is under pressure to demonstrate its ability to tackle the ongoing challenges faced by the Global Bank of Commerce, led by CEO Brian Stuart-Young whose Chief Regulatory Officer is Paul Ashe
The bank is currently embroiled in a legal battle scheduled for February 23. Stuart-Young is expected to appear in court as part of Jolly Harbour resident Jack Stroll’s fight to access US$10 million from the institution.
The FSRC’s handling of this issue will be closely scrutinized, with Henry calling for a shake-up within the organization.
“There are regulators that ought to oversee the governance of financial institutions in Antigua and Barbuda. We seem to forget that not too long ago, Alen Stanford and senior members of the FSRC were brought to court for misbehavior. The chairman of the FSRC at the time would have facilitated certain illegal practices, and as a result, the chairman had to face the US court as did Stanford”, Henry said on Observer Radio earlier this week
He said that one would have thought that the reputation of the FSRC would be at such reproach that the incident with Jack Stroll would not have happened.
“This should not have happened under the careful eyes of the FSRC”, Henry said
“They are the guardians of protecting the integrity of the financial sector…”
The FSRC has been very silent on the issue, but this is not the first time.
Last year, the FSRC was named in a lawsuit against the BOI Bank by depositors who have had trouble recovering their funds from the financial institution for many years.
In fact, in an order seen as a victory for a depositor recently, the court in St Johns ruled that BOI Bank, within 72 hours, place $US2.5 million into an interest-bearing account until the determination of the matter.
The man reported that he had tried to withdraw his deposit from BOI Bank, which has a branch in Antigua, but to no avail. He then sought the services of Attorney Lawrence Daniels, who took the matter to court
Attorney Lawrence Daniels, who represented the client, confirmed then that the BOI Bank had complied with the ruling and the money was deposited
The FSRC was named in the lawsuit, according to reports, because the financial regulatory body apparently kept renewing the license of the BOI Bank amidst speculations from depositors that they were having problems withdrawing their funds.