Commentary

Capital Bank – It is coming around

Even if one is unwise enough to deny the existence of God, the Supreme being, there are immutable natural laws, which are plain to even the common man, to which we are bound. Many persons speak of the principles of Karma and their effects on our human living. Other people recognise a general principle of sowing and reaping and even the Holy Bible acknowledges that whatsoever a person sows is just what that person will reap.

Our Prime Minister, Keith Mitchell, has expressed the same ideas in his favourite saying, “what goes around comes around”. There is a wise saying that, “we can do as much as we want but not for as long as we want”.

Let us not be fooled; it is all coming around. I will demonstrate to you very clearly that the main actor and culprit behind the Cap Bank debacle is none other than our Prime Minister, The Right Honorable Dr. Keith Claudius Mitchell.

Beginning with the first appointment on February 14th 2008, the Prime Minister, as Minister of Finance, has used his servant, Mr. David Holukoff, as a Receiver now for more than 12 years and he has been paid large sums to be accounted for, which will eventually have to be paid by us, Grenadians, out of the treasury.

THE APPOINTMENT OF A RECEIVER IS MEANT TO BE TEMPORARY – THE RECEIVER IS STILL IN PLACE AFTER 12 YEARS! WAKE UP GRENADA! WAKE UP MY PEOPLE!

Cap Bank has no banking license but the Receiver is still chasing after persons who executed mortgages with Cap Bank, fattening his pocket with the resources of Cap Bank.

Keith Mitchell gave the banking license to Cap Bank
Before the Banking Act 1993 came into force, Keith Mitchell, as Minister for Finance, gave a banking license under the existing regime to Cap Bank, whose business at the time was mainly focused on international transactions.

Finton De Bourg, the owner of Cap Bank, was at the time a main supporter and funder of the NNP party led by Keith Mitchell. A few years later, as a member of the NNP group called the “A Team”, there was a falling out with Keith Mitchell.

When the Banking Act 1993 came into force, Keith Mitchell then issued a license under the new act to Cap Bank on the basis that Cap Bank already had a license before the Banking Act 1993 came into force.

Despite numerous complaints from the ECCB led by its Governor, the late Dwight Venner, Keith Mitchell refused to revoke the license held by Cap Bank and refused to insist and demand that Cap Bank make changes to its structure.

In response, the ECCB refused to allow Cap Bank to operate within its cheque clearing House facility in Grenada, which led to a lawsuit against the ECCB. The matter was taken up to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal (Appeal nos. 13 & 14 of 2002).

In a well-reasoned judgment delivered on March 10 2003, Chief Justice Byron’s words were, “The issue of the validity of the banking license of the appellant (Cap bank) conceals a dispute between the ECCB and the Minister of Finance (Keith Mitchell)”.

The findings of the court are part of the public record and can be found on the court’s website, eccourts.org. I appeared in the appeal on behalf of Cap Bank because Counsel Reynold Benjamin, another former “A Team” member, was ailing at the time.

The Chief Justice went on to record allegations of frustration of the legislative scheme and breach of statutory duty by Keith Mitchell in refusing to act or take any action re Cap Bank, but also faulted the ECCB for not taking a complaint re Cap Bank for resolution by the court before deciding to refuse Cap Bank entry into the cheque Clearing House.

I tell myself, be patient, it is all coming around!

Keith Mitchell’s plan to block resolution of the Cap Bank matter
The Court of Appeal allowed Cap Bank to expand the suit to include Keith Mitchell and the Attorney General and sent the matter back to the High Court for resolution of the issue of whether Cap Bank was a duly licensed bank.

The analysis of the cheque Clearing House matter is thus: if the court finds that the bank was not duly licensed then the damage to the bank was the fault of the government that issued and renewed the license for several years and if the court finds that the bank was duly licensed then the damage to the bank was the fault of ECCB.

While the impasse with the ECCB continued, the cheque-clearing facility was being provided by the law offices of Reynold Benjamin and Danny Williams. Yes, the Governor General at the time under the Keith Mitchell’s NNP regime was playing the role as substitute clearing house for Cap Bank.

I will come back to that later on in this article. After being sent back to the High Court, the matter was repeatedly delayed until it was set for trial at the end of January 2008. The ECCB asked for an adjournment to facilitate the attendance of overseas witnesses and on February 14th, about 2 weeks later, Keith Mitchell appointed David Holukoff as his agent to be the receiver of Cap Bank.

Keith Mitchell, advised by Hugh Wildman, took control of the same bank that sued him, claiming that Keith Mitchell might be the cause of the damage suffered by the bank.

The same David Holukoff has been in place as receiver despite the ruling of the High Court in May 2008, subsequently confirmed by the Court of Appeal, that the appointment of the receiver by Keith Mitchell was unlawful. Nazim Burke and the new NDC administration, who appointed the ECCB’s lawyer as Attorney General, took the advice of the ECCB and in September 2008 revoked the banking license of Cap Bank and for some reason unknown to me, appointed the same David Holukoff as receiver of Cap Bank.

In effect, the NDC consolidated and legitimised the position of the receiver and allowed the same man to remain in Cap Bank who was deemed by the court to be in the bank illegally. The matter of the challenge to the current appointment of the receiver, which was filed in September 2008, is still outstanding and the unfortunate chain of events, brought about by the spite and malice of Keith Mitchell, continues.

Keith Mitchell has said that Finton De Bourg is too hard-headed and stubborn so he deserves what he has gotten. I wonder what Keith Mitchell deserves? I tell myself, be patient, it is all coming around!

Keith Mitchell’s plan to criminalise others
Despite the advice from the ECCB for years, Keith Mitchell refused to take action to protect the integrity of the banking system and poor people’s investments in Cap Bank. However, as soon as De Bourg refused to allow some of Keith’s friends from Trinidad to take over Cap Bank (hence De Bourg is hard-headed), Keith used his power as Minister of Finance to take over Cap Bank and then move to try and turn De Bourg and Reynold Benjamin into criminals.

His agent, the receiver, raised a complaint against Reynold Benjamin to recover Cap Bank money even though Cap Bank owed Benjamin hundreds of thousands of dollars for work done in the fight against ECCB and other matters. Was there any independent investigation done of Danny Williams & Co. which also provided cheque clearing facilities to Cap Bank while Danny Williams was the Governor General?

All of this information has been covered over and stifled by the receiver who is the agent of Keith Mitchell and received his original appointment from Keith Mitchell. Keith’s agent also raised a complaint against Finton De Bourg, that he changed some Cap Bank directors’ minutes and some other documents and took benefit of some EC$16 million of money belonging to Cap Bank.

Finton De Bourg has been in jail now since December 2016 and he is blamed and castigated as a common thief, when the testimony of the deceased Lauriston Wilson Jr. in court, the auditor of Cap Bank over the relevant period, clearly states that not a cent of the EC$16 million, for which De Bourg was put in jail, was missing.

Even Keith’s agent, the receiver, cannot show what actual benefit De Bourg derived from the EC$16 million. The money has all been accounted for and no one has tried to quantify the benefit that De Bourg derived from the transfer of the EC$16 million to Native Hut, another company that owned the South City Plaza in Grand Anse.

Will Keith be investigated for the benefits derived from the hundreds of millions or more unaccounted for in the failed Shrimp Farm and other projects in Grenada? He said that he was an investor too and wanted to sue Claudette Joseph for repeating his words and demanding an explanation and an account.

Danny Williams, while he was Governor General, derive some benefit from the conveyance done by his private office that he signed as Governor General that caused Grenadians to pay back tens of millions on a government guarantee that was drawn down by crooked European investors? I tell myself, be patient, it is all coming around!

The Common Thread
The central figure in this unfortunate saga of Cap Bank is Dr. Keith Mitchell and here is the summary of reasons:

i. He is the one who gave the banking license to Cap Bank;

ii. He is the one who continued to renew the license of Cap Bank despite complaints and recommendations from the experts;

iii. He is the one who profited politically and otherwise from the Cap Bank transactions for several years;

iv. He is the one, as Minister of Finance, especially in the absence of oversight by the ECCB through its cheque Clearing House, who had a duty to provide enhanced supervision and oversight of Cap Bank;

v. He is the one who caused Cap Bank to be in the cash flow/liquidity problems due to its absence from the cheque Clearing House;

vi.He is the one, as Minister of Finance who refused to provide any temporary support to Cap Bank in its time of crisis to protect the interests of the poor depositors, but on the contrary, he used public funds to make cheap political mileage of Cap Bank by repaying money to certain of its depositors;

vii. He is the one, as Minister for Finance, who has blocked the determination of the cheque Clearing House matter by the appointment of a receiver over Cap Bank;

viii.He is the one responsible, through his agent, for attempting to deflect the blame from himself and causing public attention to focus on others like Finton De Bourg.

ix, He is the one, as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and head of Cabinet who is satisfied to have the matter of the receiver of Cap Bank unresolved for more than 12 years now, hoping that the matter will just disappear until he leaves office.

Yes, this is our Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, callously using and discarding persons along his way to success; chasing a legacy which is destined to be one of manipulation, cold heartedness, ungratefulness, spite, malice and questionable acquisition of riches while in public office. While we wait with bated breath to see what his full end and legacy will be, time rolls on and I tell myself, be patient, it is all coming around!

Cajeton Hood served as Attorney General during the 2013-18 period in government of the New National Party government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell

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