Prime Minister Andrew Holness has indicated the government will not be paying for the losses incurred by customers of financial institutions due to the failure of those entities to protect their clients’ monies.
“The government will not socialise any debt, and we will not socialise the failure of our banks to be prudential and to protect your customers”, Holness said yesterday.
“Were we to do that, it would send a very bad signal to the banks and investment houses that they can be negligent and expect the bank (of Jamaica) to cover their negligence. That will not happen”.
The prime minister said the socialisation of debt “got the country into a crisis that took decades to get out of and made the entire country poor”.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness addressing the 18th Regional JSE Investments and Capital Markets Conference 2023 on Tuesday, January 24, 2023. (Photo: Llewellyn Wynter)
Speaking at the opening of the 18th Regional Jamaica Stock Exchange Investments and Capital Markets Conference in Kingston on Tuesday evening, Holness said Jamaica should learn from the massive fraud crisis gripping the financial sector.
Holness went on to say that Jamaica should use the opportunity to strengthen the regulations governing the sector, as is being done now.
More than one billion Jamaican dollars has gone missing from SSL in the burgeoning fraud case that has reverberated globally, largely because the company’s most famous client – Olympic legend Usain Bolt – is said to have lost US$12.8 million in the debacle.
The prime minister did not mention the name SSL. He said, however, that the country should not repeat the mistakes of the past.
“It’s an uncomfortable truth that not everyone, even in this room, is in agreement with”, Holness said of the no-bailout policy.
Holness, however, promised that there would be “no political interference or political cover” into investigations into the fraud, for which the government has invited the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the United States and other unnamed overseas experts to assist.
He reiterated that the penalties for financial and white-collar crimes were under review “to make it absolutely clear that they will not be tolerated”.