Is the Bank insolvent? Hours after a successful Manifesto launch on January 12th the Asot team was met with a shocking denial of access to personal funds. The institution in question is one where the Gaston led administration has majority shares, the Caribbean Union Bank.
Asot Michael, his two sisters Soraya Michael and Terese-Anne Michael were the victims of what appears to be politically created procedures. They wanted to get their cash from their accounts and were met with opposition from bank operatives. All three account holders have met every single source of funds request on every single transaction made with the Bank. Their financial affairs are well known to the Bank under its KYC policy.
The Bank claims in an official Press Statement dated 12 January, it is “sound and safe and maintains the ability to meet all depositors’ requests”. If the bank is not insolvent, what then is the difficulty with meeting the requests of depositors from the Michael family who are in full compliance with all banking rules and regulations?
Just after lunch the family members ahead of the usual routine of withdrawal of funds to pay service providers and staff members, were jolted with what appears to be new bank rules or ‘political’ instructions.
The candidate’s family member expressed surprise at the difficulty in getting access to funds which were wired last week nearly 5 days ago, some US 350 000K through our international intermediaries. These funds sat in the bank and were not transferred to Mr. Michael’s account which led to cheques of the account holder being cancelled. Workers of the campaign and their families are unable to cash cheques. Some 39 cheques were bounced in the last 3 days.
The routine financial transactions this week are no different to those conducted over the 12 years in which the Michael family has successfully done business with the financial institution – a relationship that existed before the institution had an investment by the State.
This first request was also compounded by a second request where a family member’s access to a fix deposit of over EC$500,000 was also frustrated with new rules or ‘political’ instructions. The wait is now close to a week to get all these funds. This was not the case in in 2018.
Asot Michael recalls the period in 2018 elections when over 3 million US dollars was transferred from the same source and withdrawals of US$200,000 were made regularly without delay. These were the days when Asot Michael provided money to ensure success for his then party colleagues. Today January 12, Asot Michael is an independent candidate and is subject to political rules in order to use his personal funds.
This intense financial activity was not an issue then as the money was spent on the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party candidates. Asot Michael will not be derailed in his efforts to represent and deliver for his people.