OPPOSITION Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Friday urged the country’s banks not to put their clients at risk of robbery by directing them to do transactions at ATMs.
In a statement, Persad-Bissessar said, “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.”
She said banks have recently been directing many transactions to ATMs.
“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.”
She said financial limits on each deposit transaction meant a client could spend minutes at an ATM, leading to long queues that left customers standing on the street with cash for lengthy periods.
“This situation occurs in an environment where several customers have been assaulted and robbed – even killed – after patronising banks at all levels.”
She lamented that a few weeks ago, a security guard was killed on duty at an ATM at Cunupia, among other cases of guards ambushed and attacked while transferring money.
“Small businesswomen 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.”
Newsday tried to contact the Bankers Association but was unable to.