St. Maarten Parliament condemns RBC Bank (Royal Bank of Canada)

POSTED: 10/31/13 11:19 AM

St. Maarten – Parliament yesterday resolved in a motion “to strongly condemn the actions taken by the management of RBC Bank.” In special session of parliament, the recent actions of the bank were roundly condemned by all factions present. President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell was not able to chair the Central Committee, so in her absence MP Leroy de Weever acted as chairman, who is third in line. He said that last evening there was a meeting on labor regarding the dismissal of the RBC Bank employees. “It was agreed that because of the importance of the matter” the meeting was convened on short notice. All factions agreed to it, bypassing the normal rules of order.

After the opening remarks by the chairman, the meeting was then adjourned for well over an hour as the MPs deliberated on the right words to condemn the bank’s dismissal of 13 of its employees, some of whom have been employed for many years with the institutions that RBC Bank bought, like RBTT, ABN/AMRO, and even Chase Manhattan Bank. MPs Roy Marlin and William Marlin drafted the motion that parliament was to accept. MP Lloyd Richardson presented it to the floor.

Of particular concern was the fact that the dismissed employees have loans with the bank at discount staff rates; however, RBC Bank gave its former workers just 3 months at these favorable rates from the date of their dismissal after which they either have to pay back in full or the loans will be converted to customer loans at market rates. MPs felt this was unreasonable and unjust. They also felt that because RBCBank  posted “huge profits on St. Maarten” in its last fiscal year it would be the least likely to “reduce its staff in such manner.”

The motion further stated that parliament “resolves to strongly condemn the redundancy package that is being offered by RBC Bank to its employees” and that parliament resolved “to invite the management of RBC Bank to attend an urgent meeting with the Parliament of St. Maarten.” Chairman De Weever asked for total agreement on the motion. All MPs present agreed and signed the document.

MP Laveist raised concerns. “I just need to know there will be no stonewalling by RBC,” he said. “I’m going to take a lot pleasure signing that letter,” Chairman De Weever replied, assuring Laveist the bank will not stonewall the will of parliament. “I think they will know the true intentions of parliament by this afternoon.”

Copies of the motion will be sent to RBC’s Human Resources Manager Jorge Curiel, Regional Manager for Retail Collections in the Dutch Caribbean Monica Seemungal, HR Business Partner G. Rosario, Minister of Labor Cornelius de Weever, the governments of St. Maarten, Curacao, and Aruba as well as the parliaments of Curacao and Aruba. Chairman De Weever also said a copy should be sent all the way to Canada to the president of RBC, Gordon Nixon.


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  1. Wiberforce says:

    Caribbean Unit

    McKay said he’s not happy with the performance of the Caribbean banking business and he may consider cutting jobs, trimming costs and leaving some markets.

    “You’ve got challenged economies, challenged consumers and challenged business clients,” McKay said. “Having said that, we observe that some of our competitors in the market are able to make a profit, so there are operating model improvements that are certainly obvious that we need to pursue.”

    Royal Bank is also seeking ways to expand its personal and commercial banking business to counter an expected consumer slowdown in Canada.

    The bank is partnering with retailers including Target Corp. (TGT) and Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. (SC) for banking and credit-card products. The bank plans to add features for its Shoppers Optimum MasterCard such as offering reward points for buying RBC travel insurance starting in February and, later, switching mortgages to Royal Bank, McKay said.