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A decision by HSBC to exit the banking market in The Bahamas in no way indicates deficiencies on the part of the Bahamian financial services environment, according to the minister of financial services...
J.S. Johnson Insurance Company emerged as the overall winner of the Banker's Bowling League for 2012-2013, as they took out The Central Bank of The Bahamas in the final game last Thursday. They finished off the championship series at Mario's Bowling and Family Entertainment Palace, four games to three.
On the final night of competition, J.S. Johnson got off to a slow start but came back strong to win the title. It was an exciting night for the Banker's Bowling League as the championship series concluded, and the league also handed out its trophies and awards for the 2012-2013 season. The league also staged a Banker's Bowling Fun Night.
J.S. Johnson Insurance Company received great bowling in the final game from David Slater, with a total of 258, Barry Johnson with a total of 183, Kofe Dames with a score of 179, Lyrone Burrows with a score of 159, and Camille Rolle with a total of 153.
Central Bank was led by William Stubbs with a total of 193; Keith Jones had a score of 184; Marina McClain had a total of 184; Anthony Thompson had a score of 168, and Fredrick Cargill tallied 129. The league extends congratulation to the 2012-2013 champions, J.S. Johnson Insurance Company.
In a continued effort to show appreciation for customers, Bank of The Bahamas' (BOB) Village Road staff recently held a surprise birthday celebration for a very special customer.
Rev. Matthias Munroe, ex-serviceman of World War II, chaplain, executive secretary of the British Royal Legion (Bahamas branch) and retired pastor of Salem Baptist Church, who celebrated his 90th birthday on May 3, was brought to the bank by his sister on Friday, May 2. What he thought was a regular visit to the bank turned out to be a celebration thrown by his favorite branch, complete with birthday cake, singing and cheers from well-wishers.
"I am truly grateful that the bank would do this for me. I can hardly express it in words. I have been banking with BOB since 2001, and I can say that they are the best," Rev. Munroe said.
BOB Village Road Branch Manager Alaasis Braynen explained that building relationships with clients should be the primary focus of service-based businesses. "We try to get to know each of our customers individually, and we work hard to strengthen those relationships.
"We wanted to have a moment of thanks for Rev. Munroe on his 90th birthday and recognize his long-standing relationship with the bank," Braynen said. He also explained that BOB makes special provisions for its older customers with a senior citizens' line, pensioners' day activities and the BOB seniors account.
Bank of The Bahamas Limited (BOB) is an award-winning, full-service commercial bank with 13 branches on seven islands.
Top banking leaders have submitted recommendations for the Borrowers' Protection Bill and more consultation is expected before legislation finds its way into the House of Assembly.
Kevin Teslyk, managing director at Scotiabank (Bahamas) Limited, said the key piece of legislation is under "active development". As exclusively revealed by Guardian Business in August, the Borrowers' Protection Bill would provide the Supreme Court with significant powers to rule on mortgage loans.
Most notably, under the original bill the court can grant relief to the borrower from consequences of a breach of covenant or the non-payment or interest of a loan, placing private institutions on potentially unsteady financial footing.
Teslyk confirmed that other stakeholders, such as the Bahamas Bar Association, are also reviewing the legislation for final consideration to government. Not only is the banking sector seeking certain amendments, but also the possible formation of a specific board to be their voice in the legal forum.
Noting that it is important to have "experience at that table", the Scotiabank executive said dedicated individuals are needed so these matters do not get "wrapped up in other matters in the courts".
Teslyk spoke candidly on the real concerns within the banking community regarding the Borrowers' Protection Bill.
"There are two fundamental areas of concern. The first is the time to process, table and make an application to hear and decide on a particular situation. Given the number of mortgages experiencing stress, that could create some pretty daunting duties. So that is a concern or all of us," he said.
The second is the language embedded within the bill. Under the original draft, it is unclear just how much power and control the courts could hold over loans. Teslyk said it doesn't give "clarity of purpose to an industry or organization going forward".
Turning to the homeowner market in general terms, Scotiabank (Bahamas) expressed a very similar outlook to other institutions, namely that the poor economy and unemployment are unlikely to change anytime soon.
What has been required is a "very frank discussion" with clients and indeed a "change in lifestyle" for some Bahamians. Meanwhile, he acknowledged that there is essentially "no market" for new homeowners, as a new sense of reality settles in.
The institution is looking at a number of new initiatives in 2013 to help new and existing homeowners deal with expenses and debt obligations. One idea is the creation of a special escrow account specifically to service insurance payments. This service, working with the insurance provider, would be bundled into mortgage payments, placing less stress on homeowners.
Teslyk told Guardian Business that the bank is also interested in salary deduction solutions, whereby a pre-organized arrangement is set up between the borrower and the employer.
Combined with the formation of a credit bureau in 2013, the managing director said The Bahamas' rough experience as a result of the financial crisis has a silver lining, in the sense it is forcing institutions and consumers to reevaluate best practice for a more stable economy.
As placement agents CFAL and Providence Advisors Limited begin the task of returning around $35 million to the Bahamian public, Bank of the Bahamas (BOB) has launched a campaign to highlight attractive fixed deposit accounts for Bahamians saving for the future.
APD Limited's wildly successful $10 million initial public offering (IPO) shows there is a demand for reliable investment vehicles, according to Paul McWeeney, the managing director at BOB.
With this in mind, the financial institution is marketing attractive rates in the hopes of flowing some of those dollars into its coffers.
BOB is offering up to 5.2 percent return on 10-year fixed deposit accounts.
McWeeney said the philosophy is mainly about building not only a strong bank, but a strong nation.
"The point about it is it gives opportunities for Bahamians on both ends," he told Guardian Business. "It creates a healthy appetite and opportunity for consumers. We have the ability to turn it over and give back to the public in a productive fashion. Everyone wins at the end of the day."
Whether young people out of college are seeking a safe investment vehicle for buying a home, or investors are simply searching for a decent return, BOB said it anticipates more activity in this long-term investment option.
"A lot of banks think in quarters. We have a more long-term approach of national development," he added.
Similarly, McWeeney announced to Guardian Business yesterday that BOB hopes to roll out an e-commerce platform within the next six months.
BOB is currently in the testing phase, but intends on holding a public seminar with the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation to educate Bahamians on its benefits.
Security and guarding against fraud remains one of the bank's chief concerns.
In regards to APD Limited's IPO, McWeeney said the bank was pleased to work with CFAL and Providence as a depot to collect the applications and forward them on. When it comes to national development, he said, BOB is eager to be part of such initiatives.
"It not only helps the country and helps the community, there are also opportunities for business from that," he noted.
With such an impressive over-subscription, the bank is rolling out more targeted marketing at those clients to look at BOB as an investment alternative.
"We can hopefully get some of that money into this institution," he told Guardian Business.
CFAL and Providence are returning the $35 million or so to around 4,000 shareholders, or around 40 percent of all applications.
Kenwood Kerr, the CEO of Providence, said more than 95 percent of those that applied to the IPO were individual investors.
He said it was "quite the endorsement" not only of APD Limited's business model, but an indication that capital markets and interest in quality companies is still alive in The Bahamas.
The Free National Movement (FNM) plans to demonstrate in front of a Bank of The Bahamas (BOB) location and on Bay Street tomorrow in order to get "full disclosure" of what led the bank to amass more than $100 million in troubled loans.
In a statement, the FNM said "all supporters and concerned Bahamians are invited to share your deep concern over the Bank of [The] Bahamas' mismanagement this Wednesday".
In November, the government established a government corporation, Resolve Bahamas Ltd., to absorb $100 million worth of BOB's commercial loans.
Resolve will engage an accounting firm to go after those overdue payments with every "commercial, financial and policy mechanism at its disposal".
Yesterday, FNM Chairman Michael Pintard said the FNM is very concerned about how BOB's "unfortunate situation" was allowed to grow over time.
He said there are broader questions that must be answered.
"This is a government that believes that having made one decision, though extremely late, believes that all other things should be forgotten and forgiven," Pintard said.
"More fundamental questions need to be answered such as was there impropriety in the management, allocation and attempted collection of the loans.
"And to what extent are there public officials - who they are, how large the loans, and to what extent are they being serviced?"
BOB Managing Director Paul McWeeney has said that of the loans being transferred from BOB to Resolve "none include any loans that are outstanding from what are referred to as politically exposed persons".
He said the loans awarded to those politically exposed people represent a small percentage when compared to the total loans outstanding.
Prime Minister Perry Christie said previously that BOB's board of directors has been directed to assess the bank's management and cost structure and to submit recommendations to the government for management and administrative reorganization.
The government has assured BOB customers that the bank's services will continue uninterrupted and its revenue prospects will be "significantly improved" as a result of removing some of the risk from its portfolio.
It has also said it is confident that the accounting firm will be able to successfully collect the overdue facilities.
However, Pintard expressed concern about employment and stock values at the bank being maintained and grown.
"In order for that to happen you need effective management, oversight at the board level and a system that has integrity in it," Pintard said.
"That means the compliance regime is behaving according to best practices."
FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis is expected to issue a statement on the matter following the 9 a.m. march.
The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBB) is standing by the quality of its reporting and outlook for one-to-two percent economic growth this year, despite at least one local expert's charge that the analysis is shallow and available data does not support a growth forecast.
Retired senior banker and former chairman of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, Al Jarrett, told Guardian Business that quarterly reports coming out of the CBB over the last 12 months lacked in-depth macroeconomic analysis and were parroting International Monetary Fund (IMF) and government figures.
Jarrett said the critical factors underlying the growth projections are themselves flawed.
"The Central Bank is saying because of the upsurge in tourism and because of the foreign direct investment (FDI) the economy is going to grow by two percent. Nonsense. It's not," Jarrett said. "Tourism is at a 25-year low in terms of stop-over visitors, and they're not growing at the eight percent needed to even impact employment in that sector."
Guardian Business asked CBB Governor, Wendy Craig, about the assumptions underlying the one-to-two percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for this year, and the bank's continued confidence in that figure.
"Certainly economic activity is improving from the sluggishness experienced since 2008," she said. "Tourism has picked up from the performance last year and is showing positive signs of recovery, as is FDI. It's on this basis the projections are for the economy to grow between one-to-two percent this year."
In its July 2011 Monthly Economic and Financial Developments report, the CBB reported anecdotal evidence suggested improved results from the tourism sector despite a slow start to the year, with signs of a revival in key group business and growth from the Latin American markets following increased airlift.
Jarrett's analysis led him to a different conclusion about the vital sector's performance.
"The tourism sector numbers also show a lack of in-depth analysis by the Central Bank," Jarrett said.
"The tourism sector needs eight percent growth in stopover visitors as we speak to get back to pre-recession levels. They are projecting to perform at a three-four percent growth level. But they are underperforming in every critical area - occupancy rates, average daily room rates, as well as the actual revenue." It may turn out that there is validity to both positions. The CBB is not projecting growth over pre-recession levels, but over last year's performance, where, according to preliminary Department of Statistics, the economy saw 0.95 percent growth, after two years of contraction. The CBB was not reaching back to 2007 in its comparison. To Jarrett's point, many Bahamians may be seeking to understand how the economy is faring compared to "good' times", more so than the last period.
Jarrett also took issue with the impact that Baha Mar will have on FDI, calling for deeper analysis of what the true benefit of the construction aspect of that project will be to the economy.
The level of involvement by the Chinese, he said, is minimizing the potential impact from that project, and its impact is exaggerated as a result of inadequate analysis.
The reporting of the government finance statistic (GFS) deficit and future debt levels are another area Jarrett is expecting more attention on from the CBB in its reporting. Both, however, were included in its report on outlook and policy implications.
"For fiscal developments, the government announced budgetary measures for FY2011/12 are expected to result in a widening of the deficit and an increase in the corresponding debt indicators," read the report. "Opportunities for improvement over the medium term will depend on the pace of the economic recovery and the success of policy measures designed to enhance revenue collections and rein in expenditure growth."
That may be insufficient for Jarrett, however.
"The GFS deficit is telling me that the government is going to increase in its borrowing upsurge outside of its current budget, which requires a GFS deficit of three percent," he said. "If that is true and is already happening, then you're looking at a deficit somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 - $600 million.
"... [The government] is projecting all [the] way out to 2014 budget deficits including 2012 averaging in excess of $300 million all the way out to 2014. If you look at that, that's about $1.3 billion they would have to find -- most likely borrowed money."
As for the charge that the CBB was "parrotting", while it may be unacceptable for Jarrett, Craig said the bank does rely on "official" figures, such as those from the IMF. It does not perform a separate analysis of such data, although it definitely forms its own view on national economic activity and the direction of the economy, she said. The CBB's released outlooks are based on its views, she explained.
The governor also said the nature of the quarterly and monthly economic reports were geared towards a short term, rather than a long-term outlook.
Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis last night accused the government of directing the police to carry out a "political witch-hunt" on FNM Chairman Darron Cash because of his recent critique of "evolving scandals" surrounding Bank of The Bahamas.
Minnis said the FNM will not sit back and allow the state to subject Cash to a "fishing expedition".
"The matter has been taken to the Supreme Court and we await the court's ruling," said Minnis during a press briefing following an emergency FNM meeting at the party's Mackey Street headquarters.
The meeting came hours after three police officers showed up at Cash's Cable Beach home with a warrant and seized two laptops and a smartphone, reportedly as part of a probe into the alleged leak of confidential information from Bank of The Bahamas.
"The FNM will not stand for the apparent political assault on its national chairman, which is purely a smoke screen and deflection away from the very real, pressing and serious issue and chronic problems facing our nation," Minnis said last night. "...Democracy is under siege and we will not be silenced."
Attorney Carl Bethel, who represents Cash, told The Guardian that he filed a notice of originating motion in the Supreme Court yesterday, which will begin the process of determining whether the police followed lawful protocol in the execution of their duties.
Cash has spoken out on several matters related to BOB in the last several months.
He released a series of press statements on issues regarding the bank.
In one of those statements, he raised concerns about reports that the bank was being used as a political tool and called for a select committee to be established in the House of Assembly to scrutinize the extent to which public funds are at risk at BOB.
Both Prime Minister Perry Christie and BOB Managing Director Paul McWeeney strongly denied that the bank's funds were at risk.
BOB pledged to sue The Punch newspaper, which has repeatedly made these allegations at the bank, and it announced several weeks ago that it was investigating the leak.
Last night, Minnis said Cash was merely calling attention to an issue that was already in the public domain.
"The lapses and failures of the present government to investigate and correct the apparent abuses and negligence of the Bank of the Bahamas is shameful and has been properly criticized and highlighted by our national chairman, but also by others who made disclosure to newspapers," Minnis said.
"Is our chairman being targeted because he has been a passionate critic of the government's inept handling of the Bank of the Bahamas and because his wife happens to work at the institution?"
Minnis said the whole matter is a gross invasion of Cash's privacy.
This past Wednesday, The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBB) announced the first, second and third place winners of the open category component of its 31st annual art competition and exhibition. Setting this year's open category competition and exhibition apart from its predecessors, the 2014 competition administrators withheld a theme for the show.
The move resulted in what CBB Art Gallery Curator Antonius Roberts described as the "strongest ever" body of work displayed in the annual exhibition. Unrestrained, visual artists were given the freedom to select the works they believed would best reflect their talents and convictions. Open to Bahamian artists ages 18 and older who are not registered in secondary schools, the gallery's call was for artists to present their most outstanding works in progress or recently completed pieces.
"We encouraged every participant to submit something that they are working on, because we assume and we believe and we encourage young artists...to be working anyway, and if they're serious about their art, they should be working on a theme or a body of work that reflects their philosophy, their focus, their concept or the ideas that they've been pursuing through their art. And so we figured that if we allow people to present what it is they're working on, then in that way it's to their advantage, because then they will have a head-start as opposed to just focusing on a theme just for a competition," Roberts explained.
The curator and artist believes the result has spoken for itself.
"It's a very strong exhibition, and there's something in the exhibition for everybody," he said. "It really transcends all genres of art and every artist who participated really, really put their best foot forward."
Open to sculptures, drawings, paintings, prints, collages and other "pictorial presentations" from throughout The Bahamas, more than 30 applicants each submitted one piece supported by a portfolio. The winners were selected by a panel of judges comprised of Creative Nassau Co-founder and Owner of Doongalik Studios Pam Burnside, ceramicist Jessica Colebrooke, CBB Banking Department Manager Derek Rolle, architect Derek Paul, CBB Deputy Legal Counsel Stacy Benjamin and artist and former CBB Gallery Curator Heino Schmid.
Columbus, a Fairy Tale by Washington Irving". The winning piece plays on the mythologies associated with the voyages of Columbus and common misconceptions about his encounters with the Americas. In creating the piece, McKinney drew inspiration from coloring books - a prevalent medium in childhood learning. "See is for Columbus" is composed of crayon and marker drawings on paper and features fairy tale-esque creatures and tongue-in-cheek references to popular misunderstandings about the 15th century traveler.
"A lot of my work that I do, I do because I like to inform an audience and I think that [it] is important to have that conversation starter...in a positive way, so I used the idea of this coloring book that is very classic, and I created it the way I wanted to create it using elements of fairy tales to express the idea of this fictional story [of Columbus]," explained McKinney, who had only begun working on the piece a few months before the competition opened.
No stranger to the Central Bank Art Gallery, McKinney also won the bank's 2012 art competition.
"The inspiration for me entering the show was [that] I've always been a part of the Central Bank. I've participated in a few of the shows, so I just decided to enter [the 2014 open art competition]. I thought it was a good place to show the piece and...I really wanted to try to explore this idea, so I entered the show to see if my idea was worth working toward," he said.
The panel of judges certainly thought so. In addition to a $7,500 cash prize, McKinney has also been awarded a bespoke art competition pin designed by local jeweler Michael Anthony Kelly and an opportunity to host a solo exhibition in the Project Space at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Second and third prize winners, Julius Tinker and Kevvanna Hall, respectively, also took home special recognition pins, which reflect the bank's 40th anniversary.
Drawing attention to the achievements of all the competition's participants, Colebrooke addressed gatherers on Wednesday night in a speech that underscored the importance of constant professional development and tenacity.
In an interview with The Nassau Guardian she explained: "The point I'm trying to relay to the audience is that it's always difficult. It's a difficult process when judges get together; you have people from different backgrounds, different crafts, different trades, and having to look at the wealth of artwork that's produced in front of you and to determine who our winners are going to be...What a lot of people tend to do when they come to these shows is focus just on the winner, and everybody leaves feeling defeated. It was very important for me to address that [just] because you weren't chosen, that doesn't mean that your work isn't good. What it means is you either have to do some more developing, some more growing, or it's just not your time. It's not your season. Step back, look at what you've produced and see how you can perfect it.
"I'm an artist. I went through that process many times. I got rejected many time. I get rejected now, even as a professional...But I look at it like, 'OK, that's probably not the job for me'; or, 'That wasn't meant for me'; or 'My work needs to improve'. You have to look at it from a positive perspective if you're going to keep growing as an artist."
The Central Bank's 31st open art competition and exhibition will be on display until October 30. To find out more about the annual competition or the gallery space, visit http://www.centralbankbahamas.com/galleries.php. To learn more about gallery curator Antonius Roberts, visit http://www.antoniusroberts.com/.
"See is for Columbus, a Fairy Tale by Washington Irving" by 2014 open category art competition and exhibition winner Jace McKinney. PHOTOS: JODI MINNIS
"Puzzle Piece" by third place winner Kevvanna Hall. Photo: Jodi Minnis
"Lineage" by second place winner Julius Tinker.
CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank has awarded two new $10,000 scholarships for Bahamian nationals and continues to support two previous scholarship winners through its partnership with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation (CHTAEF).
Scholarship recipients are pursuing higher education or professional development in the hospitality and tourism industries.
The 2014 FirstCaribbean scholarship winners, their future courses or academic degrees and academic institutions are as follows:
o Kirvez E. Ferguson (Bahamas) - CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank scholarship, culinary arts and food service management, Johnson and Wales, Providence;
o Domonique Sturrup (Bahamas) - CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank scholarship, BS baking and pastry arts, Johnson and Wales, Providence.
"CIBC FirstCaribbean is pleased to be able to continue to be part of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Scholarship program, lending support to the development of the hospitality and tourism industries, by providing opportunities for the growth of the very best of our region's tourism talent," said Donna Wellington, managing director, Barbados, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank.
Scholarship recipients are either starting their studies or continuing their education in various specialties in the hospitality industry. Scholarships were awarded based on prior academic achievements, previous work or internships in the Caribbean hospitality industry and economic needs.
Previous CIBC FirstCaribbean scholarship winners working to complete their studies include:
o Christine Gibson (Barbados) - CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank scholarship, hospitality studies, Barbados Community College;
o Jael Avion Joseph (Trinidad and Tobago) - CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank scholarship, AIB BA business administration tourism and hospitality management, Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality Institute
"We sincerely thank CIBC FirstCaribbean for their generous support of these students as they pursue their educational goals. Without FirstCaribbean's continuing partnership with CHTAEF, these scholarships would not be possible," said Richard S. Kahn, chairman of CHTAEF.
"This year's applicant pool was comprised of a talented group, all of whom deserve to receive funds towards their education so that they may help sustain the vital Caribbean hospitality industry," Kahn said.
Following the success of the 2012 Nassau Conference, held October 10, 2012, the Association of International Banks & Trust Companies (AIBT) has once again partnered with the Ministry of Financial Services and The College of The Bahamas (COB) to launch the 2013 Nassau Conference Essay Competition, leading in to this year's event.
At the 2012 Nassau Conference, AIBT selected ten students who will, this summer, be engaged in a six-week paid internship at the following member companies:
o Corner Bank & Trust Ltd.
o Credit Suisse AG Trust Ltd.
o Pictet Bank & Trust Ltd.
o Societe General Private Banking (Bahamas) Ltd
o The Private Trust Corporation Ltd.
o The St. James Bank & Trust (Bahamas) Ltd.
o The Winterbotham Trust Company Ltd.
o UBS (Bahamas) Ltd.
o The Bank of Nova Scotia Trust Company (Bahamas) Ltd.
A protocol workshop for the students will be conducted prior to the start of the internships, covering the soft skills required to prepare them for successful engagements with the companies and position them to get the most out of the program.
For this year's essay competition, COB will provide a list of twenty one students across academic disciplines in banking, financial services and related fields of study, who will be invited to submit a 500-word essay on the 2013 conference theme "The shift has occurred. How are you positioned?"
A selection committee will interview each of the short-listed candidates, rate their essays and consider other criteria including community involvement, special interests and extracurricular activities. A total of ten students will be chosen to attend the 2013 Nassau Conference and participate in the 2014 summer Internships. Further, two students will be selected to attend a Spanish Language Emersion Programme in Mexico sponsored by the AIBT.
"This is an opportunity for students to not only experience a world-class conference, but also to gain valuable real-world experience and skills," said Antoinette Russell, Nassau Conference chairperson and deputy chair of AIBT, the founding sponsor of The Nassau Conference. She added: "The conference and the related AIBT efforts continue to expose the next generation of leaders to this dynamic and vital sector and help continue the country's leadership as a financial services center.
"This initiative underscores the ongoing commitment of AIBT, and its members and partners, to the continued growth of the sector by promoting the development of the next generation of leaders and industry professionals."
Two gunmen burst into the Bank of The Bahamas International branch on East Bay Street shortly after it opened, a Supreme Court jury heard.
Prosecutors yesterday opened their case against Dwayne Henderson, James Miller, Sean Lightbourne and Jamal Armbrister who are accused of the January 27, 2003 holdup.
According to the prosecution, the men conspired to commit the robbery and took $18,452.01 and $7,125.25 from two bank employees.
Miller faces a separate count of receiving $5,380 in stolen cash.
Security guard Edmond Collins testified that he hesitated when a man wearing a tam, camouflage jacket and jeans appeared at the door shortly after 10 a.m.
Collins said the man appeared suspicious. Moments after Collins buzzed the door for the man, he put a gun to his head and took him in the bank towards the teller pool, the court heard.
According to Collins, another man appeared at the same time. He said the second man jumped over the counter.
Christopher Ferguson, who worked as a teller, told the jury that a gunman brought the security guard into the bank.
He said a second man placed a gun to his head and ordered him to put money in a pillowcase. Ferguson said he complied with the robber's demand. He said his cash till contained $50 and $100 notes as well as loose change.
According to Ferguson, both men had their faces concealed by wearing masks.
The case continues on Friday before Justice Roy Jones.
Murrio Ducille represents Lightbourne and Henderson. Perry Albury appears for Armbrister, and Dorsey McPhee appears for Miller.
Kristan Stubbs and Aaron Johnson are the prosecutors.
A 30-year-old man was convicted of stealing by reason of employment and sentenced to 16 months in prison yesterday after he admitted to taking $20,000 from the Central Bank of The Bahamas.
Former Armored Car Services employee Mario Godet of Minnie Street, pleaded guilty to stealing the money on February 1.
When Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis asked him why he committed the crime, Godet said he did so because he saw the opportunity.
Police reported that Godet and another armored car employee picked up
Financial stocks led the market volume today and investors traded in three stocks of which one advanced and two remained unchanged. A total of 15,652 shares changed hands. Commonwealth Bank Ltd. (CBL) was the volume leader with 7,652 shares and closed unchanged at $7.00. FirstCaribbean Bank (CIB) rose by $0.05 to $11.60 on a volume of 5,000 shares. Cable Bahamas Ltd. (CAB) traded 3,000 shares and closed unchanged at $14.10.
There are many issues that have arisen in our country which are not only distressing but threaten to further destabilize our economy and ruin whatever remains of our credit among people of conscience and good sense at home and abroad.
I am deeply concerned about the Bank of The Bahamas matter. As a Bahamian-born citizen, I join other people of goodwill in asking what new folly, e.g. the BOB bailout, is being committed at the expense of the people of The Bahamas without any consultation or forewarning? Science and common sense have shown us that there are unbreakable correspondences in nature and human affairs. Simply put, if you take an action, it is going to set in motion one or more reactions. In the case of the Bank of The Bahamas, where is the $100 million bailout money coming from to fund Bahamas Resolve? Was this information contained in the recent reports and I just missed it?
We have been told that the bailout cash is not being drawn from the Public Treasury or from the National Insurance Fund. Despite all the smart talk in the world, even the non-bankers among us know that the international banking sector won't extend this degree of credit to a country already deeply in debt. Even if they did, they would expect handsome returns in interest and eventual repayment of capital.
The government has few sources of income beyond what we pay in taxes. So, without counting on my fingers and toes, I know that the servicing of the $100 million loan is a new Atlas-weight burden to be placed on the already heavily sagging shoulders of people like me. And we're sinking faster than ever before. At our present rate of fiscal mismanagement, there will soon not be a middle class in The Bahamas.
My second issue: Are Bank of The Bahamas directors and senior managers going to be made to account for this newest financial debacle? A commercial bank does not reach such a dangerous state of health without its directors' knowing that the patient is reaching terminal velocity and is in danger of crashing. Why was BOB opening, with great fanfare, an "international" branch in Florida a short while ago, when this shakiness of unsecured loans had to have been rearing its ugly head from that time? Shouldn't someone answer for letting this matter come to such a dreadful pass? Couldn't the directors read the handwriting on the wall from The Central Bank's reports? If they couldn't, doesn't that mean that their talents might be better suited to some other employment? Are they being to remain on the job? Oh how desperately this country needs a Freedom of Information Act and respect for serious investigative journalists.
Furthermore, and most important, have our politicians not learned that Bahamian governments get an F-minus when they engage in enterprise or nationalization of private enterprises? Why is the government the major shareholder in a commercial bank?
Don't tell me that memories are so short that we have forgotten the mind-boggling failure, at public expense, of the once thriving Hatchet Bay Farms? Worse still, have we forgotten government's sorry attempt at becoming a hotelier through the agency of Bahamas Hotel Corporation? What of Lighthouse Beach in Andros and the Cable Beach hotels that were bought?
We all realize the importance of Bahamasair. Its staff does yeoman's service in keeping the national airline flying, but even a devoted supporter of Bahamasair can see that the carrier's fortunes are flagging under the weight of decades of overweight management baggage. All these ill-conceived moves have taxed Bahamians without providing durable solutions.
While we're on the subject of taxation, where is truth and equity in the matter of BEC surcharges and value-added tax (VAT)? As regards VAT, I believe firmly that this country desperately needs a more modern and reliable form of taxation. VAT could be the answer, if regulated to suit this country's unique economic profile.
I have learned, however, that wholesalers can claim back what they pay in VAT and so can the shopkeepers. My question is: From whom will the consumer claim back? It is clear that many retailers have already used the coming of VAT as an opportunity to hedge their bets and gouge more profit from an already suffering populace, stressed by persistent unemployment and rising crime.
Yet, the only shield we, the powerless, have against the rising tide of misery and chaos is long, empty promises from a government who came to power on claims of believing in Bahamians, an official opposition rocked by poorly camouflaged internal division and a third party that needs more solid fighting weight in terms of addressing the burning issues, but just might win the next election by default.
The Bahamas today is about ill-directed expenditure, red herrings, such as the so-claimed chastisement of young rogue politicians and immigration raids, to direct attention away from fundamental problems. It is about promises, blandishments, half-truths and outright lies that appeal to prejudice and take advantage of the dearth of analytical thinking among us.
Politics and governance have mostly come to mean profiting from the Bahamian penchant for easy handouts and politically motivated favor. This is demagoguery and not democracy. I suggest that our leaders and our people take up dictionaries and look up the meanings of these two words. The manifestations of the former are fast undermining our country.
The next election may well be won by the party that can produce the greatest disbursement of bread and circuses. No doubt funding sources with heavy pockets are waiting eagerly in the wings to oblige.
- Patricia Glinton-Meicholas
MINISTRY OF FINANCE FEES PAYABLE BY RETAIL BANKS for 2009/2010 and 2010/2011.
Nassau, Bahamas - The Scotiabank National High School Track & Field Championships are here again! Scotiabank is once again a proud partner
with the BAAA as the Title Partner of this year's National High School Track
& Field Championships.
on our existing partnership with the BAAA and ongoing support of youth
development and sports in The Bahamas, Scotiabank again confirms our commitment
to giving back to the young people within our community.
Nationals is a Scotiabank Bright Future initiative. The
Bright Future Program is
our corporate giving and communication program ...
The Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) is "a Bahamian company", according to its non-executive chairman, and the appointment of its latest board member is a commitment to the country.
Adrian Collins told Guardian Business from the United Kingdom that bringing in Ross McDonald, a seasoned executive in The Bahamas, will provide much-needed "balance" to the board of directors. With a formal meeting once every quarter, this body is in constant contact with BPC executives to provide guidance on the direction of the company.
McDonald, most recently senior vice president and head of Caribbean Banking for Royal Bank of Canada, brings to the table decades of banking and finance experience, Collins added.
McDonald is also a director at Royal Fidelity Merchant Bank & Trust.
Collins told Guardian Business he will play a crucial role in many respects, including BPC's recent collaboration with RoyalFidelity Capital Markets to bring about a Bahamian Depository Receipt (BDR) and a Bahamas International Securities Exchange (BISX) listing.
"At the end of the day, the listing is looking out for The Bahamas. It should be there. It should be listing there and people should be able to buy shares of the company as Bahamians. It's what we hope happens."
The Collins was uncertain when the listing would be completed.
In regard to McDonald's appointment, he explained that BPC was keen to incorporate someone with experience and strong roots in the country.
"It's a Bahamian company. We want to be seen that way. It provides balance for the board and if we can get everything done, it's a real game changer for The Bahamas. It's important to have Bahamians be part of that process."
McDonald is also currently a director of RBC Financial (Caribbean) Limited, RBC's group holding company in the Caribbean; RBC Royal Bank (Bahamas) Limited, RBC's commercial bank in The Bahamas; RBC FINCO and RBC's mortgage banking company in The Bahamas.
Collins noted that McDonald's considerable experience and the respect he has garnered in the country will assist BPC.
Dursley Stott, a non-executive director, will step down from the board at the end of this month.
Bahamian commercial banks collectively wrote-off $45 million in loans during the first four months of 2011, data published yesterday by the Central Bank of the Bahamas revealed, with industry loan loss provisions hitting $284.7 million.
The Central Bank's monthly report on economic developments for April showed that the commercial banks increased loan loss provisions by $11.3 million during that month, increasing their ratio to total credit arrears and non-performing loans to 24.3 per cent and 42.1 per cent, respectively.
The banking industry write-off a further $12.7 million in delinquent loans during April, bringing this total to $45 million. ...
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
Local businesses are falling short of the 5 percent standard spend for training and development - a crucial factor that is contributing to unemployment, according to a veteran human resources strategist.
Valued at $1.03 billion, assets in private pension plans shrank by 1.8 percent over the four-year period to 2011 following the global economic crisis, while those sectors with foreign investments as part of their investment mix demonstrated evidence of a "flight to safety," according to a new report from The Central Bank of The Bahamas.
However, yearly pension payouts increased by 18.8 percent of assets or $6.7 million, to $59.3 million by year-end 2011. This figure was boosted by the privatization of Bahamas Telecomunications Company (BTC) and the separation packages offered.
A recent Central Bank of The Bahamas report points to private individual's deposits as still the largest source of savings in 2011, at an estimated average of $3.37 billion, or growing by 2.8 percent to 44.2 percent of GDP by year-end 2011.
However, the report notes that with most of these accounts - over 75 percent - containing less than $10,000 this form of savings was "less of a retirement safeguard".
According to the data, private pension plans were held by 29.2 percent of the labor force, or 47,879 people, in 2011 - a "slight gain" from 2008.
Hotels and restaurants employed the majority of private pension plan participants, at 79.6 percent of participants or 38,120 in 2011. The financial sector comprised 9.6 percent of private pension plan holders, while the communications and utilities sectors comprised 4.5 percent of the total.
Defined contribution pension plans continue to be the most popular and growing form of pension scheme in The Bahamas, comprising 82.9 percent of plans in 2011. Such plans provide benefits based on the accumulation of defined up-front savings contributions over an employee's working years.
However, a "few large institutions" - primarily public corporations - used defined benefit programs, which guarantee the payment of specified benefits at retirement based on tenure and level of earnings.
Of the 47,879 people with private pension plans in 2011, 4,460 were pensioners receiving benefits, with the largest number of new retirees in the tourism and communications and utilities sectors.
This data is contained in a new report from The Central Bank of The Bahamas on private pension plans between the years 2008 and 2011, the latest data available. The report is based on a survey sent to just over 140 existing and potential plan sponsors in The Bahamas during those years, which garnered a 55 percent and 49 percent response rate in 2008/2009 and 2010/2011 respectively.
This information comes as the domestic pension fund industry remains unregulated. The central bank pointed to government plans to change this in its report, stating that such legislation "should ensure that these products are operating and being administered in accordance with international norms and best practices".
Parliamentarians began debate in January 2013 on legislation intended to regulate the sector. The Employees Pension Fund Protection Bill is intended to strengthen the supervisory framework, and increase the level of portability of plans by outlining rules regarding the establishment, administration and transferability of such plans.Officials at the Cabinet Office confirmed yesterday that despite having been debated, the bill is currently in the committee phase, awaiting further comments before being ready for the third reading and passing. At this point, the legislation would go to the Senate to be debated before finally being put into law. There is at present no date set for the bill to undergo the next step of the approval process.
Assets in private pension funds are significant, averaging $1.04 billion or 13.2 percent of GDP between 2008 and 2011. By comparison, National Insurance Board (NIB) savings averaged 19.1 percent of GDP over the period. Invested assets of credit unions, meanwhile, accounted for a smaller share of savings at 3.4 percent of GDP. However, it was credit union assets which grew most over the period, by six percent.
In terms of investment strategy, the bulk of pension assets are invested in public sector securities, mutual funds and bank deposits. By sector, communications and public utilities are primarily invested in government bonds, although this shrank to 47 percent from 51 percent in 2008.
Meanwhile, the assets of the financial sector are concentrated in mutual funds (40 percent), followed by government securities (29 percent). For plans in the tourism sector, the largest share of assets are in equities (50 per cent), followed by government bonds (26 percent).
"An analysis of the distribution of assets by instrument type showed that as the economic recession intensified, pension fund managers reallocated their portfolios in favor of more conservative investments. As a consequence, holdings of government bonds increased from 32.6 percent in 2008 to 38.6 percent by end-2011," said the central bank.
Most pension schemes continue to hold the majority of their investments locally, with only the financial and hotel and restaurant sectors having foreign investments as part of their portfolios. The proportion of external investments as a part of their portfolios, however, were reduced from average highs of 30.4 percent and 18.5 percent to 7.4 percent and 18.3 percent respectively, "reflecting a flight to safety amid the financial crisis," according to the central bank.
Trading of the securities issued by the Bank of The Bahamas (BOB) was suspended on Monday until further notice, as the bank seeks to fully ventilate its new posture following its liberation from $100 million in bad commercial debt and a "realignment" to focus on retail banking and consumer lending.
Bahamas International Securities Exchange Limited (BISX) executive Holland Grant stressed that the suspension of trading had been done at the bank's request. Grant noted that the bank had indicated that there was more information to come about its new direction, and had - as happens often in such cases - requested that its stock not be traded until the information had been fully absorbed in the marketplace.
"This actually happens quite frequently," Grant told Guardian Business. "Our duty is to make sure that investors are able to make informed decisions."
The government has indicated a very definite desire for the bank to take a new direction, exemplified by an announced restructuring.
Prime Minister Perry Christie said at the announcement of the establishment of Bahamas Resolve Ltd. - a new government entity formed to take $100 million in bad commercial debt off Bank of The Bahamas' books - on Friday, that the board of the bank had also been directed to assess the bank's management and cost structure and to submit recommendations to the government for management and administrative reorganization before the end of 2014.
While Christie asserted that no National Insurance or Public Treasury funds had been disbursed in the assignment of the loans to Resolve, he pointed out that liability for the debts had been transferred to Resolve, along with the benefit of the loans and the underlying security.
"As the new owner of the transferred loans, Resolve will be putting special mechanisms in place to assist in the collection of the overdue loans," the prime minister said.
Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis elaborated, to an extent. He said the value generated by the collection of the unpaid debts would benefit all Bahamians.
"We chose a 'made in The Bahamas' solution because it best serves our national interests while protecting Bank of The Bahamas depositors," Halkitis said. "Resolve will have both the mandate and the authority to use every tool at its disposal - be that financial, commercial or policy instruments - to collect payment for all unpaid debts."
The junior minister for finance noted that the government would announce which accounting firm - one with extensive experience managing non-performing loan portfolios - had been selected to partner with Resolve in collecting the outstanding debts "early [this] week".
"That firm will take over responsibility for the collection of unpaid debts immediately," Halkitis said.
Bahamas Resolve Ltd. Chairman James Smith said it is likely that there will be a difference between the value Bank of The Bahamas places on the loans transferred to Resolve and the value Deloitte & Touche places on those same assets. Smith also reported that parties have already begun expressing interest in purchasing the assets on the Resolve books.
In order to return Bank of The Bahamas to Central Bank of The Bahamas mandated levels of liquidity last year, the Christie administration created a special purpose vehicle - Resolve - on October 31, 2014 and transferred non-performing commercial loans with a book value of $100 million to the new entity. In exchange, the government issued the bank $100 million in bonds backed by a "letter of comfort". The bonds allowed the bank to return to proper levels of liquidity.
Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis called it "a made in The Bahamas solution".
Smith spoke with Guardian Business about the work of Resolve, and pointed out that Deloitte & Touche - the accounting firm hired by the government to collect on the loans - is at present doing an assessment of what it believes to be the value of the assets that were transferred, which Smith assured is likely to be different from the bank valuation.
Bank of The Bahamas' own records show the actual value of the bad loans at $45 million, which means the bank generated $55 million in shareholder equity through the transaction.
"The accounting guys are now looking at what has been transferred and they will probably even be visiting the sites and making an evaluation and in some cases they might even have to go out and get a real estate appraisal," Smith explained.
"Yes, I expect there will be differences. I have no idea how large the difference, but I also know that the final count would be once you have cleared up all of the assets and determined the actual as opposed to the projected or provisional losses."
Smith explained that Deloitte and Touche will prepare and present a set of financials on the company, which would show their valuation versus what is on the book.
Assets generating interest
Smith also reported - without citing specifics - that the collateral assets on Resolve's books are the subject of interest.
"People might know of the properties that are being transferred, and in their mind it might be something sought after, so they would approach the auditing company," Smith said.
"In this town, nothing is really secret, so they would hear about it from one source or the other."
"So that has been happening," he insisted.
Pressed for information about those assets, Smith revealed that he still had not yet been briefed as to what exactly was transferred to Resolve, or what were the underlaying assets.
He told Guardian Business that administrative maneuvering was underway to properly seat the four new directors of the company, which he said could be completed as early as next week. Once that is done, the board will be able to meet and be briefed by Deloitte & Touche on the state of affairs.
Scotiabank is pleased to announce the launch of its Everything Bahamian 2015 Calendar Photo Contest. For the past four years, Scotiabank has been celebrating the wonders of The Bahamas and the talents of local photographers through the production of its calendar photo contest. The intent of the calendar contest is to motivate the community by giving amateur photographers the opportunity to capture the essence and diversity of 'everything Bahamian'. The calendar showcases local talents who are passionate about photography and inspired by the brilliance and distinctiveness of the country and its people.
The calendar features 12 months of breathtaking, captivating and authentic photographs taken in and around The Bahamas, depicting the diversity, strength and beauty of The Bahama Islands. They capture the natural resources, traditions, lifestyle and culture of our people. A cash prize of $350 will be awarded to each winning entry. The first place winner will be featured on the cover of the Scotiabank Bahamas 2015 Calendar. The official rules and entry forms for the photo calendar contest are available in all Scotiabank branches and at bahamas.scotiabank.com/photocontest.
"In support of our Scotiabank Bright Future program, we will continue to give donations to a charitable organization of choice on behalf of each winner," said Leah R. Davis, senior manager for marketing and public relations at Scotiabank.
Artists and spectators alike crowded the Central Bank of The Bahamas Wednesday night to hear the announcement that Jackson Petit-Homme had been chosen by the judges as the winner of their 28th Annual Central Bank Art Competition in the Open Category.Petit-Homme is no stranger to the feeling -- he's walked away with recognition in both the high school and open categories before, winning the High School Category twice, coming second in the Open Category twice, and winning the 3D portion of the Open Category as well, among honorable mentions.
But this is the first time he's won since the High School and Open Categories were split three years ago when Heino Schmid came on as curator of the Central Bank art gallery space. The new prizes of$7,000 and an offer to hold a solo exhibition by the winner in the space are exciting prospects for the artist who we haven't seen a solo show from before.
"The advantage of having the prize money is to use it as funds for materials for this show," Petit-Homme points out. "Jumping off the piece I've done for this competition, it's going to be a continuation. I think I've found the direction I want to go in."
This year, the theme for the Open Category was "So So Beautiful", chosen by Ian Fernander, the Head of Administration for Central Bank. Petit-Homme's winning piece,"Beautiful Monsters"stood out from other competitors, the judges said, because of its flawless technique and approach to the theme which kept drawing their gazes back.
"As soon as the announcement for the theme was made, I thought about the piece for an entire year and only in the last month did I make it," he says." Lately I've been thinking about my Haitian connection, and also the mythologies within Haitian culture, and creating my own mythology out of these in a way. But I'm also thinking about challenging beauty in it."
Petit-Homme's piece depicts, in a flurry of subdued, dreamy colors, parents with human and animal features looking upon their newborn--indeed, the opposing forces of beauty and monstrosity provide tension that challenges its viewers but presents a resolution in the child's story beyond the frame. Though fantastical, the piece resists high fantasy, and instead draws upon folklore and magical realist roots to pierce the veil of reality and touch upon the inherent "what if" in the ideal of beauty.
Petit-Homme will be following in the footsteps of recent winners Lavar Munroe(2009 winner with the theme"Redefining the Portrait")and Omar Richardson (2010 winner with the theme "A Mighty Push Forward") -- Munroe's show at the gallery was hugely successful, and Richardson's upcoming show in December will also prove to be spectacular.
Curator of the space, Heino Schmid, looks forward to Petit-Homme's compelling solo show as the artist is known for both his painting and video installation work.
"I'm really happy mainly because I'm excited to see what he does with his solo show," says Schmid. "He's a prolific artist and works in a variety of mediums. I hope he's ambitious as he wants to be with both the content and medium of work."
Indeed, the offer of a solo show remains optional for the artist to take -- however, it is usually expected that the prize money can help winning artists purchase supplies for a dynamic solo show that can have great financial and professional outcomes.
To Schmid, the pieces submitted to the Open Category Competition act somewhat like proposals for a solo show and should reflect that ambition -- which both he and the judges did not see strong evidence of this year around.
"I think a lot of people who enter this competition enjoy the one-off quality of their work and it's difficult to access how they would develop an exhibition based on the pieces you see here," says Schmid.
"I really want people to think in terms of not just winning this--I want them to look past winning this and also see their solo show as the actual culmination of this competition--a stepping stone to this grander gesture."
With a theme of "So So Beautiful", artists produced pieces that attempted to literally illustrate the theme--but like all competitions, the pieces which stand out always provide fresh and unusual perspectives to the theme or challenge the theme, which only a handful of pieces took the chance on.
"I think the weight of the prize makes you want to be the good student, meet the criteria and check the boxes to make sure you win, which may need some rethinking," says Schmid."There are more than a few very literal pieces instead of using the theme as a jumping-off point."
The result is an overall exhibition that may not entirely lack technique but does lack ambition, and after three years of lackluster response to themed exhibitions, Schmid is ready to further change the way the competition functions in the changing Nassau art scene.
Indeed, for many years the Central Bank of The Bahamas was the closest thing to a gallery space Nassau had, holding shows that would launch or define artists'careers. Likewise, their Annual Art Competition acted as a salon-style space for both up-and-coming and established artists to present their work. No doubt, it will always be regarded as a major player in the history of art in The Bahamas.
Yet the past decade came with a surge of new gallery spaces and The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas with their biannual National Exhibition, provided more avenues for artists to not only hold shows--but to gain more control of how their pieces were presented and who they were presented with.
Though the Central Bank remains an active part of the art scene, Schmid points out that its role as a gallery space has shifted, and it's time to shift the Annual Art Competition as well.
He already started by separating the High School and Open Categories three years ago and providing themes, hoping that the they would provide more of a compelling and unified space for up-and-coming and established artists to play and hold meaningful conversations with one another.
"One of the things I want to do with the competition is to develop a group exhibition that provides a relevant context for work and provides an opportunity for artists not to win an amount of money but to be in communication with each other,"says Schmid.
As of yet, though, Schmid has not been impressed with the turn out, leading him to think about tweaking the Annual Art Competition further to bring out the strong work he knows exists in the art community.
"I just want the show to be stronger -- I want artists to pick up the challenge and baton from the last winner and build on it," he says. "The exhibitions are never as ambitious as I want them to be. I am more than anything an art lover, and I want to be blown away by an art exhibition."
"I like to think momentum is building a little bit and in the future when we set a precedent with an exceptionally strong exhibition that will force people to reevaluate their systems and their practices a little."
The pieces entered into the 28th Annual Central Bank Art Competition in the Open Category are on display in the Central Bank of The Bahamas until October 28th. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Call 302 2600 for more information.
Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash revealed yesterday that police returned his cell phone and laptops not long after seizing them three weeks ago, but said he has refused to use them because he suspects they have been bugged.
"The phone was returned the following day and the laptops were returned three or four days later," Cash told The Nassau Guardian.
"I have not used the instruments to any meaningful degree because I fully expect that they have been laden with spyware."
Police seized the items from the chairman's Cable Beach home on May 1 as a part of a probe into confidential leaks from Bank of The Bahamas.
Speaking to the issue yesterday, Cash said, "I have since this event detected numerous unusual events in my email account, and I intend to raise those issues with my service provider.
"Suffice it to say that nine of 10 persons that I spoke to during this entire event opined that all instruments ought to be immediately discarded and it is troubling the extent of distrust that exists, but obviously it is not something that the commissioner or the ministers of national security care about.
"That is to be expected and so often they speak, and people do not believe what they are saying. It is as simple as the statistics that they release on a regular basis that people don't believe. They are distrustful of their institutions and that is not good for our democracy."
Police have not charged Cash or anybody else in relation to the Bank of the Bahamas probe. They also have not said whether they found anything on Cash's equipment.
The Nassau Guardian was told by a senior police official that only Assistant Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson could comment on the matter, but Ferguson has been unreachable.
"I'm now wondering why there has been no action because whatever it is they were looking for, they didn't find it," Cash said. "Not only was there not a smoking gun, there was no gun."
Asked about his exchange with police at the time the items were being returned, Cash said, "We engaged in unproductive banter".
He said he expressed to police that as far as he could see they were doing nothing to investigate underlying allegations made by The Punch about certain activities at the bank.
Bank of The Bahamas officials have strongly denied allegations that loans were granted based on political favors or that the bank's financial position is under threat.
Earlier this year, Cash called for an investigation into the allegations made by The Punch.
Following the seizure of his property, Cash sought redress in the Supreme Court, alleging that his constitutional right to privacy had been violated.
He has made two appearances already before a judge.
Asked why he still pursued the legal matter even though the items were returned, he said, "Fundamental to the point that we made is if there was a narrow scope of the police's investigation, meaning Bank of The Bahamas, the scope of their search should have been equally narrow".
Cash said he was not surprised that he got his items back so soon.
"This is the information age and any competent 10th grader knows how to conduct a search, and so that is the same reason why nearly one month later it hasn't surprised me that we haven't heard back from them to confirm that there was nothing there," he said, adding that he fears information relating to his party might have been shared with others.
"And the easiest way to do that was to find a scapegoat with a mere tangential connection to the information that was disclosed in The Punch, someone who didn't have direct access or even indirect access to the information. The only connection was [my wife] happened to work for the same organization."
Cash said his wife, Annette, remains on paid leave.
He insisted that the whole matter goes to the heart of trust in democratic institutions.
"The nature of society that [Prime Minister] Perry Christie has produced is one where people distrust their government, and they distrust the police. And this matter is far from over," he said.
"That's all I'm prepared to say right now."
In an environment where banks around the world are making "tough business decisions", Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) Senior Examiner Charles Virgill says the focus of the bank is to ensure a regime that manages risk and is conducive to best business practices.
Speaking with Guardian Business, Virgill said the recent closures affecting Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Wealth Management illustrate the difficulties facing Bahamian banks, which he said are "considering all aspects" of their businesses following turbulence in the regional banking sector.
"What we need to do as a country and certainly as individuals is ensure that we shore up and realize that the only constant is change. Banks the world over are making tough business decisions. Our focus is to ensure that the regime that is here in The Bahamas is conducive to good, sound business practices and that any risks to our jurisdiction are under control," he said.
RBC shuttered its wealth management division in the Caribbean last week, affecting branches in The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Barbados. The number of affected employees in RBC's Bahamian branch remains unclear.
RBC joined CIBC FirstCaribbean and Scotiabank on the growing list of international institutions experiencing turmoil in the region, which has put dozens of branches on the line.
"I think the whole world is prone right now to any reshuffling. Unfortunately, those are the times we live in," said Virgill.