BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The prime minister and minister of finance, the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris, encourages depositors of the now 32-year defunct Bank of Commerce who have yet to recover their money to fill out the necessary paperwork in order to recover their investments.
The Team Unity government, in 2015, announced that a court settlement was reached after three decades of the bank being in liquidation, paving the way for customers and creditors to recover their money through the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank.
Giving an update of that process during his ministerial statements in the National Assembly Aug. 10, Harris said that more than $13 million to date has been distributed to depositors.
“It was reported that 4,707 cheques, amassing a grand total of $18.8 million, were available for distribution,” Harris said. “I can report that a year and a half later, 1,033 cheques have been distributed totaling $13.54 million. The sum of $4.6 million has not yet been collected. These, of course, when we look at the total cheques, 4,707 being prepared and 1,033 being distributed, clearly these are some of the small depositors with the bank who have not yet gone to collect.”
Harris made a special appeal to those who directly or those who have relatives with deposits in the Bank of Commerce to quickly process their claims.
“The vast majority of the cheques that have been unclaimed, I am advised, are as a result or consequence of [certain things],” Harris said. “First, the sole account holder died intestate and the letter of administration required for the next of kin to claim had not yet been processed by these [people]. Another category that has been delinquent is some of the account holders who are deceased and no one has come forward. Third, some account holders have migrated overseas. Fourth, [people] listed as trustees and not joint account holders have basically not come forward and there is a decision to be made by the liquidator regarding these situations where [people] are listed on the accounts, not as joint account holders, but simply as trustees, and whether in this consequence the bank ought to make these payments.”
The Bank of Commerce (St. Kitts and Nevis) Trust & Savings Association Limited went into compulsory liquidation on May 9, 1985, at which time Walter Simmonds was appointed by the High Court as the liquidator.