Jackson & Williams Clash Over Banking Bill

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South St. Catherine Member of Parliament, Fitz Jackson, clashed with State Minister of Finance, Fayval Williams, over the bill he’s seeking to push through Parliament.

The private member’s bill is designed to tackle predatory banking fees. The two were guests on Nationwide @ 5, last evening.

The strident South St. Catherine MP sparred with Mrs. Williams, who’s also MP for Eastern St. Andrew– over the suspension of a debate on the bill in Parliament on Tuesday.

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Mr. Jackson has been leading the charge against what he calls ‘exorbitant’ bank charges. His bill seeks to enforce a mandatory ‘minimum service package’ for customers of financial institutions

Mrs. Williams says the government is in support of most of what the bill proposes. But, she refused to support Central Kingston MP Ronald Thwaites’ suggestion that Parliament should move to have banks repay money taken from dormant accounts.

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She says the government is collaborating with the Central Bank and other agencies to protect depositors.

Mrs. Williams says Finance Minister Audley Shaw is to speak on those efforts when he addresses Parliament next Tuesday. But Mr. Jackson remains strident.

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In the meantime, Mr. Jackson says the move by several commercial banks to suspend dormancy fees last year was due to his advocacy that showed the financial institutions were in breach of the law.

CIBC, First Caribbean International Bank and National Commercial Bank are among the banks that suspended their dormancy fees in March last year.

This amid a plea by Mr. Jackson that banks should terminate dormant account fees and refund affected customers.

The MP says he’s in the process of filing a lawsuit against the banks.

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Stevian Simmonds is an investigative journalist with almost 3 years of experience in radio broadcasting, production and reporting. She graduated from Caribbean School of Media and Communication in 2014 and joined Nationwide News in 2016. In 2018, she produced a special report examining the working conditions of the Bussiness Process Outsourcing Industry. She worked undercover as a call center agent for a month, revealing the lack of data protection and general security infrastructure in the industry. Her report also highlighted the poor working conditions and remuneration faced by workers in the industry. In 2018, Stevian traveled to New Delhi India where she participated in the Inaugural WHO Partners Forum benefiting from critical training related to reporting on women’s and children’s health issues.