I urge the banking community to reconsider having the public and our micro and small business operators forcibly use Automated Teller Machines for financial deposits.
Commercial banks have lately been directing many transactions to ATM machines, and while this may be a standard practice in other parts of the world, in Trinidad and Tobago, under the current crime surge, this process leaves clients vulnerable to brutal criminals.
Since there are financial limits on each deposit transaction, a single customer could spend several minutes at an ATM machine, leading to long lines that quickly grow, leaving banking customers standing on the street with cash on their person for extended periods of time.
This situation occurs in an environment where several customers have been assaulted and robbed – even killed – after patronising banks at all levels.
Only a few weeks ago, an on-duty security officer was murdered while on duty at an ATM at Cunupia. There are other instances of armed security guards being ambushed and attacked while transferring money.
Small business women and men are much more defenceless than armed security officers in the current atmosphere of rampant lawlessness, especially under a government that has all but given up on addressing the violent crime crisis citizens are facing today.
I strongly recommend that the Bankers Association critically review the diversion of deposit transactions to ATMs and work toward creating the safest setting for its clients.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition
22nd September 2023