Antigua, Stanford's Banking Base, Braces

Account holders line up to withdraw money, despite assurances from PM
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2009 11:53 AM CST
A private security guard at the Bank of Antigua speaks with customers forming a line outside the St. John's branch in the Caribbean island of Antigua, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009.   (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
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(Newser) – The SEC's allegations of fraud against R. Allen Stanford prompted concern on the tiny Caribbean island of Antigua, the base of the financier's bank. Despite reassurances from the prime minister, customers lined up at both branches of the Bank of Antigua to make withdrawals yesterday. Some seemed to emerge with money; others responded angrily when the main branch closed at 3pm, as normal.

The government "is currently putting in place a contingency plan. Therefore, there is no need for panic," said Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer. He decried what he called the opposition party's attempts to politicize the situation, and reminded citizens that a simple solution is unlikely, reports the Antigua Sun. “An early turnaround in these circumstances appears remote," he said.