Letter: Trinidad banks avoid the issue of exorbitant service fees and super profits at customers’ expense

Letter: Trinidad banks avoid the issue of exorbitant service fees and super profits at customers’ expense

Dear Sir:

In a news release issued by the Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BATT), the Association’s president Anya Schnoor attempted to chide the leader of the opposition Kamla Persad-Bissessar about remarks Persad-Bissessar referenced from the Central Bank and Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange publications.

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Schnoor attempted to denigrate the former prime minister, saying that her comments amounted to “the misinformation and the hype being generated, unsupported by facts, can have a far reaching and indeed damaging effect on the stability of the financial sector,”

Schnoor is out of line to question the opposition leader, who has been speaking about the inordinate amount of exceedingly exorbitant service fees that the banks are charging customers.

For some time now, especially during the six-month period that Parliament spent debating the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), it appears the BATT has descended into the political arena and has somehow aligned itself to the ruling party.

Schnoor deliberately avoided the issue of the super profits that the banks continue to make; it does not matter where the profits come from whether it be bank fees, loans, mortgage rates etc.; the point is that they continue to make super profits at the customer’s expense.

But this is a continuing trend of the BATT. One recalls the stance they vigorously adopted during the FATCA debate in Parliament, a position that they were proven wrong by the strength of the very same Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

I also take issue with the apparent condescending tone coming from Anya Schnoor.

I find it unacceptable that an individual, an expatriate, who is in the country on a work permit, to be openly criticizing a former prime minister in the aggressive tone and manner that Schnoor has adopted. This is a sign of utter disrespect for Trinidad and Tobago.

Do you think a Trinidad and Tobago citizen, on a work permit in a foreign land, would have been allowed such liberties?

But anyone including a US ambassador can interfere in our domestic politics in flagrant breech of Article 41 of the Vienna Convention, once that behaviour is aligned to the ruling party.

The BATT continues to rely of its appearance before a Joint Select Committee (JSC) to avoid accounting for their actions. They know that a JSC has no power to do anything regarding the profits they make. They want to go before a JSC again because it would simply be a public relations exercise that will be of no benefit to the country.

Kamla Persad-Bissessar has called on the BATT to act in the country’s best interest; one wonders just whose interests are they acting on?

Capil Bissoon

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