The Government has no intention of socialising the debt of failed financial institutions, says Prime Minister, Andrew Holness.
He made the declaration, while delivering the keynote address at the opening of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Investment and Capital Markets Conference on Monday (Jan. 24) where he said that the full force of he law must be brought to bear in the case of alleged multibillion dollar fraud at Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL).
“The Government will not ….socialise the failure of our banks to be prudential and to protect their customers,” he stated.
“This would send a very bad signal that individuals or entities can be delinquent in their fiduciary obligations and expect [others] to cover their negligence. That will not happen,” the Prime Minister stressed.
He argued that if the full force of the law is not applied in matters of this nature, then “our free and competitive financial market, which is what distinguishes Jamaica from other financial markets in the region, will not work.”
“It works when the players and actors know that they must operate at the highest standards of integrity and probity; if not, they will face the consequences of the law. The Minister of Finance has… announced that the penalty regime for various financial and white collar crimes will be reviewed, making it absolutely clear that those kinds of crimes will not be tolerated,” the Prime Minister added.
The investigations at SSL are being led by the Financial Investigations Division (FID) and the Fraud Squad, while the assistance of the United States (US) Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has been requested.
The Prime Minister stressed that those who are responsible must be held to account.
He said he has instructed government entities, transacting business with SSL to disclose their connections or association with the securities firm, “so that the public can make their own determination.”
“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 secure justice for the victims,” Mr. Holness said.