Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 21st 2015 Contents ATHENS---Greek banks reopened Monday
for the first time in three weeks, but strict
limits on cash withdrawals and higher taxes
on everything from coffee to diapers meant
the economic outlook for the recession-bat-
tered country was far from back to normal.
There were hopeful developments: The
cash-strapped nation got a short-term loan
from European creditors to pay more than 6
billion euros (US$6.5 billion) owed to the In-
ternational Monetary Fund and the European
Non-payment of either would have de-
railed Greece's latest bailout request.
But for most Greeks, already buffeted by
six years of recession, Monday was all about
rising prices as tax hikes demanded by credi-
tors took effect.
There are few parts of the Greek economy
left untouched by the steep increase in the
sales tax from 13 to 23 per cent. The new
rates have been imposed on basic goods,
from cooking oil to condoms, as well as to
popular services, such as taxi rides, eating
out at restaurants and ferry transport to the
The tax hikes are part of a package of aus-
terity measures that also include pension
cuts and other reforms that the Greek gov-
ernment had to introduce for negotiations to
begin on a crucial third bailout. (AP)
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Greek banks reopen but cash limits remain
The Central Bank has appointed three new
directors to serve on the board of Clico, effec-
tive July 13.
The appointments of the three---Ulric Miller,
Delia Jospeh and Raymond Bachoo---follow
the June 5 decision by Central Bank Governor
Jwala Rambarran to fire retired banker Gerald
Yetming and Carolyn John as the chairman
and managing director of the insurance com-
pany, which collapsed in January 2009.
Central Bank appoints Executive Chairman
Pursuant to its powers under Section
44(D) of the Central Bank Act, Central
Bank terminated the appointments of Mr.
Gerard Yetming as Chairman of CLICO and
Ms. Carolyn John as Managing Director of
CLICO on June 5, 2015.
Central Bank appointed Ms Wendy Ho Sing
as Executive Chairman of CLICO with imme-
In a statement on June 5, the Central Bank
said that it "took this action after Clico failed
to follow direct instructions issued by the Bank
on March 26 2015 setting out the protocols
for all disbursements to policyholders and
creditors under the Clico Resolution Plan.
These instructions included obtaining approval
from the Bank for all payments prior to dis-
In that the statement, the Central Bank also
announced that it had appointed Wendy Ho
Sing, the deputy Inspector of Financial Insti-
tutions as the executive director of Clico with
But less than two weeks following the dis-
missal of Yetming and John, two Clico directors,
Jagdeesh Siewrattan and Denyse Mehta,
resigned from the board of the company, citing
Rambarran s "unfair, unjust and insensitive"
The resignations left the Clico board with
only two directors Krishna Bodhai and the new
executive chairman Ho Sing, which placed the
issue of whether they constituted a quorum
into doubt. That issue has been resolved with
the appointment of the three new directors.
The Central Bank took control of the day-
to-day operations of Clico at the end of January
2010, after the then executive chairman of the
company, Lawrence Duprey, appealed to the
Central Bank for a loan to fill the statutory
fund deficit, which was estimated at $5 billion
at the time.
Instead of lending money to Duprey, the
Government took control of Clico, investing
close to $5 billion in the company in the form
of preference shares and appointing the insurer s
The Central Bank s appointment of the three
directors was in accordance with its powers
under section 44 (D) of the Central Bank Act.
But section 44 F (5) makes it clear that "in
the performance of its functions and in the
exercise of its powers under section 44 D, the
Bank shall comply with any general or special
directions of the Minister and shall act only
after due consultation with the Minister."
Discussions are ongoing to
use cassava for the fermenta-
tion of local beer, rather than
using the flower of the hop
plant which is imported in large
quantities for T&T breweries.
So said Food Production Min-
ister Devant Maharaj as he
opened the Brickfield Packing
House at Tabaquite yesterday.
The new facility provides a
place for farmers to sort, size,
label, clean, wax and package
their produce. Equipped with
chillers, freezers and training
rooms, the Packing House is one
of two opened this year by gov-
ernment, Maharaj said.
He explained that government
remains committed to lowering
the food import bill and this is
why discussions are being held
with Carib Brewery and National
Flour Mills to use local produce
in the manfacturing process.
Saying negotiations are still
in the embryonic stage, Maharaj
said tests will be done to deter-
mine whether cassava could be
used as part of the fermentation
process. Chief Executive Officer
of the National Agricultural
Marketing and Development
Corporation (Namdevco) Ganesh
Gangapersad said cassava fer-
mentation has been tried and
tested in the African continent.
Meanwhile Works Minister Dr
Suruj Rambachan said over the
past few years the government
has paved hundreds of kilome-
tres of agricultural access roads.
He said bridges and culverts
were fixed to make life easier
for the farmers. Rambachan
denied that government had
spent over $400 billion since it
assumed office. He explained
that earnings were $268 billion
and expenditure was $291 bil-
lion, leaving a deficit of $23 mil-
"For those who have eyes to
see, it is clear to see that we got
value for the money spent,"
Maharaj said, adding that 46
health centres have been opened
and hundreds of nurses were
being trained at the El Dorado
Nursing Academy and the Col-
lege of Science Technology and
Applied Arts of T&T.
However, president of the
Tableland Pineapple Farmers
Association Ramesh Ramsumair
said despite the construction of
the packing house, not enough
is being done to support the
He added that farmers were
still having a difficult time cul-
tivating and processing produce
because the agricultural database
was in shambles.
"The first thing we have to
do is build a database so we
know what we have and what
we should have. Right now we
don t know who produces what,
when they produce and in what
quantities," Ramsumair said.
He added, "We welcome this
packing house but this facilitates
the end product and we need
to get goods and services to
come here. Farmers need to pro-
duce and we need proper infra-
structure to help us accomplish
Ramsumair also said farmers
have been begging to meet with
Maharaj for the past three years
to discuss agricultural concerns
at the La Gloria Estate but this
Saying the government s agri-
cultural plan 2012 to 2015 had
failed, Ramsumair explained:
"We are running around like
headless chickens. At this point
we building a packing house and
encouraging local food con-
sumption, but we not putting
things in place to help farmers
to grow this food."
He said the Agricultural Soci-
ety of TT was deprived of $5
million in funding while hun-
dreds of millions of dollars were
being invested elsewhere.
Talks on using cassava to ferment local beer
Central Bank appoints three new directors
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