Hours after supporters of Drugs Sou Sou (DSS) called for a boycott of JMMB following a directive to its founder Kerron Clarke that they would no longer facilitate him, bank officials say they acted “to ensure that integrity, ethical and regulatory standards govern the management of all our relationships with our clients.”
Clarke was reportedly instructed by the bank to close his accounts on Friday.
In a release on Saturday, JMMB’s Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Retail Officer, Lisa Maria Alexander said, “We are clear too, that our management of our banking/financial services must be an indicator of our accountability and obligation to protecting the interests of all our clients and stakeholders. At JMMB, your best interest is at the heart of all we do.”
Alexander’s response followed several hours after social media calls were made for DSS supporters to withdraw their money from JMMB from Monday.
In a Facebook Live just before midday on Saturday, Isha Wells, the owner/manager/CEO of Media Solutions Advertising Agency and radio presenter, advised supporters to maintain order as she said they had to be strategic at this time.
Accusing the authorities of wanting to shut down the DSS system and return young black people to begging for a ten days, Wells described DSS as a “financial movement” which had elevated the lower strata of society which was now unwilling to be returned to that position.
Referring to Clarke as a soldier, businessman and family man who had no criminal history, Wells questioned where and how he was supposed to live now.
Calling out the Government for its silence on the matter, Wells demanded clarity from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and other parliamentarians.
DSS operations have remained at a standstill as Clarke said following a court order on Thursday investigators would be holding on to the estimated $7.77 million which they seized two days before, until the completion of the investigation. Two days ago, however, Acting Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob told Guardian Media that the amount seized was $6.4 million. The latest raid took place on Tuesday when the money was seized under the Proceeds of Crimes Act.
Police Commissioner Gary Griffith returned to T&T on Thursday to oversee the investigation.
Two officers from the Royal Barbados Police Force are in the country to assist with the investigation and have been sworn in to the TTPS as a sergeant and superintendent, while a third investigator from the United Kingdom arrived last weekend. The matter involves the seizure of $22 million in cash which had been found in the house at Kathleen Warner Drive, La Horquetta, on September 22 and returned the following day.
An investigation was launched into that matter and on October 16, four police officers were suspended and several others transferred under orders from Griffith.