“If earning $130 million on a $260 million investment in two years is bad then I don’t know what is good.”
This was the statement made by Finance Minister Colm Imbert on Wednesday as he defended First Citizens Bank’s investment into Jamaica-based stock brokerage company Barita Investments Ltd in the face of concerns raised by Opposition senator Wade Mark during the budget debate.
Mark questioned why First Citizens had made an investment into Barita which he described as a “bizarre development.”
“We are in the dark on this matter and we therefore call on the minister to shine a light in the dark corners of this transaction,” Mark said.
He also called on Imbert to conduct an internal forensic audit into the transaction and to prevent First Citizens from investing any more money.
In response Imbert said Mark’s statements were “scandalous, untruthful,wrong and false.”
Imbert said First Citizens has been making investment both regionally and internationally with the full support of the government.
In fact, Imbert said the only way for local companies to grow is to diversify outside of the T&T economy.
“I want to congratulate FCB for its investment in Barita. I want to encourage FCB to continue to invest in the region as I do also encourage all of our Caricom partners to invest in T&T,” he said.
Imbert said Barita is a publicly traded company on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
In fact he said at 44 years old it is the oldest operating stock brokerage company in Jamaica.