BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, September 04, 2023 (SKNIS) – During the Thursday, August 31 edition of The RoundTable with Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, it was revealed that the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis has a total debt of XCD $334,833,769.34, $120 million of which is owed to the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board.
Prime Minister Dr. Drew said, “Under the previous administration, this loan of $120 million was basically abandoned. Where was Social Security supposed to get back its money? And to have abandoned that loan and make no payments at all in the end is an egregious act against the people’s funds at the Social Security. This shows that the bank was severely mismanaged by the previous manager of the bank.”
Upon assuming office in August of 2022, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew-led administration took several decisive steps to stabilize the situation at the key financial institution. These include the appointment of a new Board of Directors, the resumption of monthly payments to Social Security, and the commissioning of an audit of the bank, which had not been done for several years under the previous Dr. Timothy Harris-led administration.
Other entities the Development Bank owes include the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to the tune of $89,500,000; the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank – $25 million; the SIDF – $57 million and PetroCaribe is owed over $11 million.
“Development Bank would have to have conversations with the lenders who they are indebted to, to see if they can rearrange the loans so that they can service them, and I think that those conversations have happened,” the prime minister said, noting that he is hopeful that the bank will be able to service its loans.
“The reason why I have hope in it is because we know once we get a reputable organization in to tell us how to structure the bank and allow the bank to work, it gives us hope. It will reconnect us with other funding institutions; that gives hope; good banking practice, that gives hope; auditing the bank and making sure we deal with any corrupt practices, that gives hope,” Dr. Drew added.
The finance minister further noted that the Government has also injected money into the bank through soft loans such as student loans and small business loans with very low-interest rates.
Prime Minister Dr. Drew said all this is being done as the survival of the bank is very critical to our development “as it really serves to help those who would not have other options to access financing.”
“So, I am hopeful based on what we have done so far. We have been able to increase the amount paid to Social Security in servicing that loan. We are servicing the other loans that we have and that has come mainly by tightening up, good banking practices, eliminating the leaks that were taking place, and starting business once again at Development Bank in terms of student loans and so forth, and with the economy [bouncing] back people would be able to service their loans as well, so that is going to help,” said Prime Minister Dr. Drew.