Prime Minister Andrew Holness
By Clinton McGregor
In light of increasing concerns about the future of investment firm, Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL), Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declared that there will be no government bail-out of any bank or investment firm experiencing a financial crisis.
Speaking Tuesday evening at the annual Jamaica Stock Exchange capital markets conference in Kingston, Mr. Holness admitted that the SSL saga has shaken the confidence of investors and other members of the public who use the financial system.
But he warned financial institutions that they will not receive any assistance from the government, similar to the FINSAC rescue plan, if bad actors in the financial sector put their clients' funds at risk.
"Government will not socialise any debt and we will not socialise the failure of our banks to be prudential and to protect your customers," Mr. Holness proclaimed, adding that this would "send a very bad signal" to financial institutions that the government will cover their negligence.
He said this kind of action under the FINSAC arrangement caused a crisis in Jamaica which "took us decades to get out of [and] made the entire country poor".
The Prime Minister also raised concern about the "misinformation" in the public domain about the SSL saga and the likely negative impact on Jamaica's financial sector.
He cautioned that "false and misleading" information could force economic actors to make decisions that could cause a "crisis that does not need to exist".
Mr. Holness said Jamaica's financial market is a regional leader and its competitive advantage must be protected at all costs.
He made it clear that people involved in fleecing investors at Stocks and Securities Limited will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
"There will be absolutely no political interference, no political power, no association. We want to get to the truth of this matter, to uncover it and to expose it, and to bring those responsible to account, and to secure justice for the victims," he declared.
Mr. Holness issued a statement on Tuesday outlining that he does not currently have an account with SSL and has not done business with the entity since 2021.
He also indicated that neither he nor any member of his family has ever borrowed or received any form of credit facility from the troubled company.
Mr. Holness said he first opened an account with SSL in 2008.
He liquidated the account in September 2021 and gave instructions for it to be closed.