(SNO) – Saint Lucians have been expressing their dissatisfaction with local bank institutions regarding a “recently introduced” cheque-cashing policy.
Even Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre has added his voice to the outrage.
In an open letter to President of the Bankers Association of Saint Lucia, Wendy Delmar, dated July 9, 2018, Pierre states: “It has been brought to my attention that there is a recently introduced practice by certain banking institutions as it relates to the cashing of cheques.
“I have been informed that even if the necessary funds are available certain banks are refusing to cash cheques written to customers unless the recipient is a client of or holds an account with the bank that the cheque is written to.
“To my mind, this seems like a serious infringement on the rights of an individual to their legitimate property. I am therefore calling on the banking institutions that have adopted this practice to cease immediately if reasonable and sensible clarification cannot be forthcoming.”
Besides the media, the letter was copied to Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy N. J. Antoine.
Prior to this development, Saint Lucians have been expressing their concern about the policy via social media.
In one of the most widely distributed posts, a resident called on members of the public to stop paying “casual workers” with cheques. The writer also blasted the ECCB and the Saint Lucian Ministry of Finance.
The (unedited) statement reads: “People stop paying your casual workers with cheques! You cleaners, grass cutters, those who come to your homes to provide personal care services such as : combing your child, massages, pedicures, manicures, help you prepare for parties, pressing, etc.
“Currently some banks will not cash a cheque if you don’t have an account and others will charge about $10, if you do have an account at a different bank, it takes at least three to five days for the cheque to clear; which means a poor unemployed person who does one days work does not have immediate access to the funds to procure food or pay an over due utility bill.
“This decision by the ECCB has left marginalized, vulnerable poor people and communities completely unrepresented in the financial sector. The Ministry of Finance has failed in this regard as they have not seen it necessary to provide any guidance or public education on this matter. POOR PEOPLE CONTINUE TO BE LEFT OUT!”