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Monitor future Central Bank governor’s independence

Sunday, December 27, 2015

I had been hoping that a more matured and sensible approach would be used in relations with the Central Bank Governor, but alas the Government continues to attack the messenger rather than face facts, just as in 1997 when someone reported that there were errors in the Primary School textbooks, and paid the price.

The population should note that the Central Bank has an active research wing that collects up-to-date data and releases information in periodic reports. Pronouncements by the Governor are not haphazard.

On the basis of the data collected, is it necessary for the Governor to consult with the Minister of Finance to determine whether T&T is in a recession?

It should be clear to all that activities in the economic environment must concern not only the businessmen, bankers, and industrialists, but members of the public who constitute the important sector known as consumers. Consumers have a right to know, so that they can reflect and take action to modify their consumption patterns where necessary, in their personal interest and in the interest of the nation. On this basis no one can deny the importance of the Governor’s revelations on the highest consumers of foreign exchange. The ordinary people appreciated the information.

Some people hold the view that the change in the system of allocating foreign exchange by the Governor resulted in shortage of foreign exchange. However, they refuse to accept that falling oil and gas prices have drastically reduced the foreign exchange available to T&T. The Governor had no control over these prices.

The termination of the Governor’s tenure was carefully contrived to circumvent democratic processes, in that the opportunity was taken to have the  an acting President perform the hatchet job when the President was on vacation. This is cowardly, unethical and a shameful reflection on the guiding philosophy of the newly elected Government. 

Furthermore, would this attack on the Governor of the Central Bank by the Cabinet of T&T not intimidate and constrain the forthrightness and independence of future governors, to the detriment of financial stability?

David Subran, PhD


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