Categorized | International, Local, News, Regional

Government announces dismissal of Central Bank Governor, names successor

By Peter Richards

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Dec 24, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago government Thursday confirmed the dismissal of Central Bank Governor Jawala Rambarran following weeks of speculation in a move the main opposition United National Congress (UNC) said reeked of “victimization”.

Dr. Alvin Hilaire new Central Bank Governor of Trinidad and Tobago

Dr. Alvin Hilaire new Central Bank Governor of Trinidad and Tobago

Dr. Alvin Hilaire new Central Bank Governor of Trinidad and Tobago

A statement from the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT) said that Deputy Governor Dr. Alvin Hilaire, a career central banker, has since been appointed to replace Rambarran who fell afoul of the new Keith Rowley administration when he declared that the country was “officially in a recession” and also named a number of firms in the private sector that were gobbling up foreign exchange here.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert said while the law does not permit a minister to terminate the appointment of a governor of the CBTT,  “Cabinet which is empowered under Sector 12 of the Central Bank Act took a decision yesterday after considering a number of legal opinions primarily dealing with the disclosure of the names and users of foreign exchange in Trinidad and Tobago to request the President to terminate the appointment of the Governor of the Central Bank”.

He said Hilaire was appointed “because of his qualifications and experience having worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for 11 years and the CBTT for 19 years.

The CBTT said that the new Governor has “extensive experience in macroeconomic policy, development and implementation and monetary policy matters.

“Regionally Dr. Hilaire has made significant contributions to developing the economies of small vulnerable CARICOM (Caribbean Community) countries through his work as chairman of the CARICOM Development Fund where he was influential in increasing financial assistance to these islands,” the CBTT said, adding that he holds a doctorate in Economics from Colombia University and is a first claa honours graduate of the University of the West Indies.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Rowley, speaking on radio here, said that he had no difficulty with the statement made by the Central Bank Governor that the country had gone into recession since during the election campaign his party had always indicated that the economy had become stagnant.

“You have to diagnose properly before you can prescribe and we were of the view that the economy was not growing. We went through an election campaign…and during that period we were saying that the economy was not growing. The government of the day was saying it was growing, the minister of finance was saying it was growing by 1.2 per cent and we were saying we were not seeing this.

“So we are not surprised to hear that the country is now in a recession that the country was in a recession for the last year, what we were surprised is that we only now being told from those quarters,” Rowley said, adding that his administration still does not have any official “number’ to indicate the oil rich republic is in a recession.

“We don’t see the numbers as I speak to you now I have not seen the numbers, all I have I that he say so, the governor of the Central Bank. I am saying I am not surprised to hear that and I would like to see the numbers,” he added.

But in a statement, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar, under whose tenure in office Rambarran was controversially appointed to the post, said she was “shocked but not surprised at the decision of the government ….to instruct the acting President to fire Central Bank Governor.

“The action against Mr.  Rambarran has the hallmarks of PNM (People’s National Movement) victimization that we have seen in previous years against people like a former Speaker of the House of Representatives and a former Chief Justice. And it is a continuation of the victimization that has been taking place against citizens since the present Rowley PNM administration took office,” she said.

Persad Bissessar that the new government had been “been sending clear signals for some time that it intended to take this backward step, suggesting that the governor had created the conditions for his dismissal”.

She said the disclosure by Rambarran of those companies engaged in using significant amounts of foreign exchange had “offended the government and at least one of the companies named “noting that the “Bankers’ Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BATT) stated that the release of the information was “a breach of confidentiality of information that is supplied to the CBTT by the commercial banks.”

But she said Rambarran only made the disclosure after Imbert “asked the Central Bank to provide information on how the recent release of foreign exchange was distributed and indicated that such information would be made public.

“This appears to be a case of entrapment, where the government clearly tried to set up the governor with the request for information, which the governor provided.

“The Opposition is of the view that the Central Bank must remain independent in the same way that Office of the Director of Public Prosecution must have more than an arm’s length association with the administration,” the former prime minister said, adding “Rambarran’s crime, it seems, has nothing to do with his competence but with statements that have offended the governing elite and its friends”.

Meanwhile, this weekend Premier Romeo travels to St. Kitts where OECS Heads of State and Ministers of Finance will meet on Monday to make the final selection of the new Governor of the East Caribbean Currency Bank to replace Sir Dwight Venner.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Peter Richards

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Dec 24, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago government Thursday confirmed the dismissal of Central Bank Governor Jawala Rambarran following weeks of speculation in a move the main opposition United National Congress (UNC) said reeked of “victimization”.

Dr. Alvin Hilaire new Central Bank Governor of Trinidad and Tobago

Dr. Alvin Hilaire new Central Bank Governor of Trinidad and Tobago

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Dr. Alvin Hilaire new Central Bank Governor of Trinidad and Tobago

A statement from the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT) said that Deputy Governor Dr. Alvin Hilaire, a career central banker, has since been appointed to replace Rambarran who fell afoul of the new Keith Rowley administration when he declared that the country was “officially in a recession” and also named a number of firms in the private sector that were gobbling up foreign exchange here.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert said while the law does not permit a minister to terminate the appointment of a governor of the CBTT,  “Cabinet which is empowered under Sector 12 of the Central Bank Act took a decision yesterday after considering a number of legal opinions primarily dealing with the disclosure of the names and users of foreign exchange in Trinidad and Tobago to request the President to terminate the appointment of the Governor of the Central Bank”.

He said Hilaire was appointed “because of his qualifications and experience having worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for 11 years and the CBTT for 19 years.

The CBTT said that the new Governor has “extensive experience in macroeconomic policy, development and implementation and monetary policy matters.

“Regionally Dr. Hilaire has made significant contributions to developing the economies of small vulnerable CARICOM (Caribbean Community) countries through his work as chairman of the CARICOM Development Fund where he was influential in increasing financial assistance to these islands,” the CBTT said, adding that he holds a doctorate in Economics from Colombia University and is a first claa honours graduate of the University of the West Indies.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Rowley, speaking on radio here, said that he had no difficulty with the statement made by the Central Bank Governor that the country had gone into recession since during the election campaign his party had always indicated that the economy had become stagnant.

“You have to diagnose properly before you can prescribe and we were of the view that the economy was not growing. We went through an election campaign…and during that period we were saying that the economy was not growing. The government of the day was saying it was growing, the minister of finance was saying it was growing by 1.2 per cent and we were saying we were not seeing this.

“So we are not surprised to hear that the country is now in a recession that the country was in a recession for the last year, what we were surprised is that we only now being told from those quarters,” Rowley said, adding that his administration still does not have any official “number’ to indicate the oil rich republic is in a recession.

“We don’t see the numbers as I speak to you now I have not seen the numbers, all I have I that he say so, the governor of the Central Bank. I am saying I am not surprised to hear that and I would like to see the numbers,” he added.

But in a statement, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar, under whose tenure in office Rambarran was controversially appointed to the post, said she was “shocked but not surprised at the decision of the government ….to instruct the acting President to fire Central Bank Governor.

“The action against Mr.  Rambarran has the hallmarks of PNM (People’s National Movement) victimization that we have seen in previous years against people like a former Speaker of the House of Representatives and a former Chief Justice. And it is a continuation of the victimization that has been taking place against citizens since the present Rowley PNM administration took office,” she said.

Persad Bissessar that the new government had been “been sending clear signals for some time that it intended to take this backward step, suggesting that the governor had created the conditions for his dismissal”.

She said the disclosure by Rambarran of those companies engaged in using significant amounts of foreign exchange had “offended the government and at least one of the companies named “noting that the “Bankers’ Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BATT) stated that the release of the information was “a breach of confidentiality of information that is supplied to the CBTT by the commercial banks.”

But she said Rambarran only made the disclosure after Imbert “asked the Central Bank to provide information on how the recent release of foreign exchange was distributed and indicated that such information would be made public.

“This appears to be a case of entrapment, where the government clearly tried to set up the governor with the request for information, which the governor provided.

“The Opposition is of the view that the Central Bank must remain independent in the same way that Office of the Director of Public Prosecution must have more than an arm’s length association with the administration,” the former prime minister said, adding “Rambarran’s crime, it seems, has nothing to do with his competence but with statements that have offended the governing elite and its friends”.

Meanwhile, this weekend Premier Romeo travels to St. Kitts where OECS Heads of State and Ministers of Finance will meet on Monday to make the final selection of the new Governor of the East Caribbean Currency Bank to replace Sir Dwight Venner.