(PNM Media Release)
Now that Government has taken a decision to put to market shares held in trust at First Citizens Bank for and on behalf of all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago and especially as these shares are going to market at a discount, the Opposition objects to the small percentage which will become available for purchase by individual citizens.
It is the PNM’s view and established policy that any opportunity for ownership of state enterprise resources should be done in a manner to encourage the widest possible effective participation by all the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
It is in this context, that on this occasion, we demand that the Minister of Finance revisit the prospectus as published and take immediate steps to revise it so as to allow at least fifty percent (50%) of the designated distribution of FCB shares be made available for purchase by individual citizens who by their overwhelming response to the offer of the shares have demonstrated a willingness to claim their patrimony through participation in the process of wealth creation through fair and equitable distribution of the State’s resources.
The PNM wishes to remind the Minister of Finance that the First Citizens Bank came into being at great expense to taxpayers who at an earlier time foot the bill when National Commercial Bank and Workers Bank were bailed out by injections of taxpayer’s money from the Central Bank. If for this reason alone any distribution of FCB shares must give priority to the citizens who payed for and owned these profitable shares in a most successful bank.
The PNM supports no business model which could see the average citizen purchaser being restricted to a token shareholding.