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Remembering a dear friend of the VI: Former Scotiabank Managing Director Terry C. Bell

The late Managing Director of Scotiabank BVI, Mr Terry C. Bell (3rd from left), flanked by Mr Percy Rhoden (left), Mr Sanje Amin (2nd from left) and Mr Charles S. Tobias (right). Photo: Provided
Former Minister for Communications and Works, Mr J. Alvin Christopher said the late Terry C. Bell was ‘instrumental’ in the development of the now Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport at Beef Island and ‘helping the territory to get financing for the project.’ Photo: VINO/File
Former Minister for Communications and Works, Mr J. Alvin Christopher said the late Terry C. Bell was ‘instrumental’ in the development of the now Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport at Beef Island and ‘helping the territory to get financing for the project.’ Photo: VINO/File
According to long time employee of Scotiabank BVI, Mrs Icis A. Malone (now retired), the development and financial enrichment of his staff were always one of Mr Terry C. Bell’s primary concerns, along with growing the books of the bank. Photo: GIS/File
According to long time employee of Scotiabank BVI, Mrs Icis A. Malone (now retired), the development and financial enrichment of his staff were always one of Mr Terry C. Bell’s primary concerns, along with growing the books of the bank. Photo: GIS/File
Former Minister for Education and Culture, Mr Lloyd K. Black, who was employed with Scotiabank during Mr Terry C. Bell’s tenure, hailed the late Mr Bell as a mentor and friend. Photo: GIS/File
Former Minister for Education and Culture, Mr Lloyd K. Black, who was employed with Scotiabank during Mr Terry C. Bell’s tenure, hailed the late Mr Bell as a mentor and friend. Photo: GIS/File
Two term loans that were facilitated by Scotiabank BVI to the Government of the Virgin Islands during the late Mr Terry C. Bell's tenure at the helm of the bank. Photo: Team of Reporters
Two term loans that were facilitated by Scotiabank BVI to the Government of the Virgin Islands during the late Mr Terry C. Bell's tenure at the helm of the bank. Photo: Team of Reporters
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- When Scotiabank BVI ships out of the [British] Virgin Islands, having reached an agreement to sell 100 percent of its shares to Trinidad-based Republic Financial Holdings Limited, it will no doubt be leaving stacks of memories and emotions behind, none more cherished than that of its former Managing Director, the late Mr Terry C. Bell.

Mr Bell, who passed away on May 16, 2018, was one of the longest serving Managing Directors of Scotiabank BVI until he was promoted to Vice-President in charge of operations in South Korea in 2001. He was succeeded at Scotiabank BVI by Michael Rolle of Bahamas.

During his tenure at Scotiabank BVI, which started in mid-1994, Mr Bell carried the reputation as a man who loved people and demonstrated it freely towards his staff and customers.

“Under Terry Bell's leadership, Scotiabank (British Virgin Islands) Limited soared. In addition, he treated the staff and customers in an exemplary manner,” recalled former Manager of Operations and long serving employee of Scotiabank BVI, Mrs Icis A. Malone.

“My position as Manager of Operations under his leadership provided me with an opportunity to learn from him. He was a gifted writer. Under his leadership my career soared.”

The now retired Mrs Malone testified that the entire staff of Scotiabank BVI and customers benefited from Mr Bell’s extensive knowledge in banking.

“His gregarious spirit allowed him to interact freely with every and anyone who needed his assistance. A number of his employees were able to start their own businesses after they left the bank,” Mrs Malone said.

Mrs Malone added that the development and financial enrichment of his staff were always one of Mr Bell’s primary concerns, along with growing the books of the bank.

“This was made clear during hurricanes and other disasters affecting his staff. At year-end, he ensured that every staff member was adequately compensated for their hard work. Furthermore, his philosophy was if the bank did well financially his people should do well also.

“From the onset of his arrival in the BVI, Terry Bell soon established himself as a Managing Director of note and was loved by both customers and workers at every level,” Mrs Malone said.

A ‘giant’ of a man

“He was a solid friend, and had a great affection for the BVI and its people, which never left him,” commented businessman Charles S. Tobias.

Mr Tobias further described Mr Bell as a “giant” of a human being.

He added Mr Bell saw the integrity, “talent and the desire of so many good people” in the Virgin Islands who sought financing from Scotiabank and was willing to bet on them, even when other banks wouldn’t.

“He was seldom wrong. He was also generous in the charitable work he committed to undertake and oversaw,” Mr Tobis recalled.

‘A ready smile’

Also describing Mr Bell as an affable and loving character was former Deputy Premier and prominent attorney, Mrs R. Dancia Penn-Sallah, OBE, QC.

“My memories of Terry Bell, and I am sure the memories of many who knew and interacted with him, are of a warm, friendly man with a ready smile and a kind countenance.”

Mrs Penn recalled that as the Manager of Scotiabank BVI for several years, Mr Bell was as much a “Banker’s Banker as a Customer’s Banker.”

“He understood and applied Scotiabank’s policies and procedures, and used them to effectively assist customers to achieve and maintain their goals and to realise their dreams. Many are the stories of his helpfulness and goodwill.”

Mr Bell played a significant role in VI’s growth

Mr Bell is also credited for making a “significant” impression on the economy of the Territory while at the helm of Scotiabank BVI.

“Terry’s tenure as Manager of Scotiabank here coincided with a period of vibrant growth in our economy, and Terry’s role in that regard was significant,” Mrs Penn remarked.

Mrs Malone supported Mrs Penn’s comments, stating that Mr Bell communicated that during his tenure he was prepared to assist the Government and people of the Territory while seeking to grow the books of the bank.

“His passion to assist small businesses and the Government of the British Virgin Islands was relentless. This was demonstrated over and over again especially in his lending practices. Terry Bell embraced the local Government and assisted with the financing of the Airport Development (extension) project amongst others.”

Mrs Malone recalled that Mr Bell travelled to Scotiabank’s headquarters in Canada, along with other senior government officials, to negotiate the loan, and he was successful in doing so.

“Upon his return from Canada I remember him smiling from ear to ear, stating that the meeting with his supervising office was very successful and that he was able to secure the loan for the airport extension project with favourable rates and conditions.

Instrumental in Airport Development Project

Former Minister for Communications and Works, Mr J. Alvin Christopher shared similar sentiments about Mr Bell.

“He was very helpful. He helped us to coordinate a lot of development,” Mr Christopher recalled, adding that Mr Bell was “instrumental” in the development of the now Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport at Beef Island and “helping the territory to get financing for the project.”

According to Mr Christopher, there were many other areas of development in the Territory where Mr Bell played a part but was not readily coming to mind.

“At the end of the day he helped the Government to organise a lot of the good projects that we did.”

A mentor & friend

One of the many persons who can also attest to Mr Bell’s inspirational and caring character is former Minister for Education and Culture, Mr Lloyd K. Black, who was employed with Scotiabank during Mr Bell’s tenure.

“There are a few persons who cross your path that when they do, they leave a lasting impact. For me Terry Bell was one of those persons. He was my boss, my friend, my mentor.  As a boss, he was the kind of person that sought to bring out the best in those he supervised.”

Mr Black vividly recalled one exchange in particular he had with Mr Bell that left him rather impressed. “I was overwhelmed with work, and was working close to 60 hours per week. So he called me into his office to ask why I was working such long hours, as I was not getting paid any extra. Before I answered, he surmised it in his words. “Either I did not know what I was doing or I needed help”. When he realised that my portfolio had grown substantially and was rightly impressed, he recommended that an additional staff member be hired as my junior.”

As a mentor, Mr Black said Mr Bell guided him through the bank’s management, and ensured he was prepared to take advantage of opportunities as they arose.

“His most memorable and lasting intervention came when I sought his advice on running for elected office. It was as if he was more proud of me than I was of myself. He immediately endorsed the idea, and said to me, he knew of colleagues in Canada who did both jobs and he saw no reason why I should not be allowed to do the same in BVI.

“In his usual style he wrote to the bank’s head office, providing a glowing report as to why the bank should support me.”

The rest is history as Mr Black was elected in the Eighth District in 1999 and re-elected in 2003. He would serve as Minister for Education and Culture from 2003 to 2007.

“Terry Bell was one of a kind, he was tactical in his approach to managing the local branch. As a client, you never knew if he was for you or against you, and provided exceptional leadership during his tenure in the BVI. Now that he is a blessed memory, my heartfelt condolences go out to his wife Wendy and the rest of the family.”

Terry C. Bell

Terry C. Bell was born in Toronto, Canada in September, 1946 and passed away in hospital on May 16, 2018 in Belleville, Ontario after a period of illness.  He went to sleep with his family by his side.

Mr Bell, who was laid to rest on June 16, 2018, is survived by his wife Wendy, daughter Allison, grandson Callum and his sisters and brothers.

“His wife Windy and daughter Allison, along with his grandson, were the delight of Mr Bell’s life and he always talked about them in glowing terms even after he left the British Virgin Islands. He was a man for all season and all times. May his soul Rest in peace,” Mrs Malone said.

Mrs Penn said: “My family and I have fond memories of Terry. A special one for us, was in the final weeks of our mother’s life in 2002, when Terry stood beside her at Village Cay Marina, as she christened The Lawrence Penn, a squib named for our father, and donated to The Royal BVI Yacht Club by Scotiabank to teach children to sail.

“Wendy was ever by Terry’s side, and we wish her and the entire family strength to bear his loss.”

7 Responses to “Remembering a dear friend of the VI: Former Scotiabank Managing Director Terry C. Bell”

  • pat (22/01/2020, 08:24) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    This piece is touching vino a good piece for history
  • Former Scotiabank Worker (22/01/2020, 12:16) Like (12) Dislike (4) Reply
    I agree with this piece. Best Boss I ever had. I didn't know he passed away. Condolences to the family. I hope they still visit the BVI.
  • Diaspora (22/01/2020, 15:48) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    Those were the days when banking was banking and when locals had access to loans not only for cars, but businesses and land.

    RIP Terry
  • one eye (22/01/2020, 18:11) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    That were the days when scotia was scotia
  • FRANK (22/01/2020, 22:21) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Didnt know him personally but seems like he was quite a great guy. Condolences to the family.
  • rip (22/01/2020, 22:24) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Thanks for everything Terry. The BVI is grateful to had you as a friend.
  • Allison (24/01/2020, 00:01) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Thank you so much for this wonderful testament to my Dad. He loved the BVI, and the incredible friends he met there. I'm so pleased to read that he was as well loved and was able to help and be a friend and mentor to so many. The BVI holds a very special place in our hearts.


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