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Saturday, July 20, 2024


Members of the Banking Board shed little light Tuesday on this week's aborted action on the long-pending proposal of the Virgin Islands Community Bank to buy Chase Manhattan Bank's V.I. holdings.
Two members – St. Thomas attorney Desmond Maynard and Finance Commissioner Bernice Turnbull – failed to show up for a meeting Monday scheduled as a continuance of a marathon session that started Friday.
Maynard did not return a message Tuesday seeking comment from him.
Turnbull deferred to Lt. Gov. Gerard Luz James II, chairman of the board, to comment over the weekend.
Tuesday she said, "I think that the lieutenant governor has all the answers to the questions you might have." That, she said, included the reason why she was not available for Monday's meeting.
But James' spokeswoman said Tuesday that "he has no clue" why the board failed to muster a quorum.
According to a written statement James released late Monday, he had arranged for members to attend telephonically. Both Winston Bennett and Ernesto Gutierrez were on a conference call Monday awaiting other members. The sixth board member, Pablo O'Neill, was off-island and "excused" from the Friday meeting and its planned continuance Monday.
The board was to hear Monday from John Carter, regional director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The sale needs approval from the FDIC as well as from the V.I. Banking Board. The two groups have been coordinating efforts for months.
James' release said the next meeting of the board "would be announced at a later date." In a brief, informal interview in the midst of Carnival activities, he indicated some action should be forthcoming in a week or two.
Chase has been divesting itself of Caribbean holdings, and proponents of the Community Bank's proposal have suggested Chase may close its doors in the Virgin Islands if the sale doesn't go through. Chase representatives have denied that possibility.

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