Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 11th 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Friday, December 11, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
For breaking news, call 225-4465 Exts 2032, 2033, 2004 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
for 10TH DECEMBER, 2015
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and
the Congress of the People (COP) yesterday
accused the Government of attempting to "hound"
Central Bank governor Jwala Rambarran out of
"They are just hounding down the governor of
the Central Bank. It is a concerted effort to hound
him out," Persad-Bissessar said.
The former prime minister said Rambarran's
statement on the foreign exchange issue was made
after the Government had called on him to give an
account "with respect to who is getting the foreign
exchange and so on. He has done it (and now) they
are trying to hound him out because of that but
he was within the law in my view."
She said she was awaiting the disclosure of the
Government's legal advice on the matter.
But Persad-Bissessar insisted: "It was a whole
concerted effort to hound the governor out of office."
Acting COP leader Anirudh Mahabir, meanwhile,
described the increasing criticism of Rambarran's
decision to reveal that T&T was in a recession and
the country's highest foreign exchange purchasers
as an act of open warfare.
In a statement yesterday, Mahabir said what was
initially "a skirmish in the form of volleys of prop-
aganda by certain big business interests and their
PNM spokespersons has now broken out into open
warfare against the Central Bank governor, painting
him as a possible criminal."
He said over the past two years elements of busi-
ness, the PNM, talk show hosts, media operatives
and others have made loud claims that the change
in the foreign exchange regime implemented by
Rambarran had caused a shortage in foreign
"The banks have put measures in place for the
small purchasers of foreign currency that make it
almost impossible for the small consumer or foreign
currency account holder to access foreign currency,
even that held by them in the same banks.
"Their aim was to blame the governor, who was
presented as a lackey of the last administration, for
a crisis' of foreign exchange," he added.
"The business associations are now suggesting
that the Central Bank governor has committed a
crime by naming those businesses which he did
(and) the Finance Minister has taken pleasure in
suggesting that the governor's presentation of infor-
mation has committed a "criminal offence."
President and chief executive of Massy
Group, Gervais Warner, has expressed deep
concern about the recent disclosure by
Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran
of the country s 18 biggest foreign exchange
buyers, saying it may have set a dangerous
The head of one of the country's biggest
conglomerates made the comment as he
said he viewed Rambarran's act a breach of
confidentiality, adding they are now explor-
ing their legal options in the matter.
"We had our legal team work over the
weekend. Can he? We found that really he
shouldn't. The information that was used
and disclosed is confidential to the com-
mercial banks with whom we do our bank-
ing," Warner told the T&T Guardian.
"If the Governor of the Central Bank can
disclose confidential information that is
shared with your commercial banks, just
like that, he could share other information.
"He could share your personal informa-
tion, or my personal information. I think
it's a really dangerous precedent and everyone
in T&T should be concerned about it," he
Several of the companies named by Ram-
barran last week have officially written to
Finance Minister Colm Imbert alleging that
the Central Bank governor may have been
in breach of the Central Bank Act in dis-
closing their information.
The T&T Chamber of Commerce also
released a statement expressing similar sen-
timents but Rambarran has defended his
action, saying he acted in the public inter-
est.Imbert told the Senate this week that
after receiving complaints from companies
about the issue, he had advised his legal
team to look into whether there was indeed
Addressing this, Warner said: "I think it
is pretty obvious that there are some parts
of the Act/laws that have been breached.
I will sit back and wait to see what officials
do about this."
He said the Massy Group respected the
right of the people to know and was big
supporters of transparency.
"We are a publicly traded company. We
disclose a lot of information all the time.
We have no problem disclosing information
that is either required by the authorities or
if we think the public should know," he said
However, Warner said Rambarran should
have used industry data rather than indi-
vidual company figures to make his point
about the use of foreign exchange. He also
wondered why the governor did not include
companies in the foreign used vehicle sec-
tor.He said publicly disclosing how much
foreign exchange 18 companies used also
gave the impression that they were putting
it to their own use rather than for the pur-
pose of satisfying public demand.
"We don't take the US dollars and hold
them for ourselves. It is the pharmaceuticals
that you need in the hospitals, it's the food
that we consume, it's the cars we want to
drive," he said.
"It is not like these companies are the
consumers of foreign exchange. These com-
panies are the intermediaries who the con-
sumers purchase from.
"We can't buy a car from Nissan with
TT dollars. No. It's a Japanese company.
They are manufacturing in Mexico. We need
to get US dollars to pay them. It is misleading
to zero in on specific companies and say
these are the major users of foreign exchange.
"We are using it to satisfy consumer
demand. I think that point really needed to
be made properly," Warner added.
The Massy Group boss' comments came
even as Finance Minister Colm Imbert gave
the Government an update on the situation
during yesterday's Cabinet session.
Speaking at the post-Cabinet media brief-
ing at the Office of the Prime Minister, St
Clair, afterwards, Communications Minister
Maxie Cuffie confirmed Imbert had updated
Cabinet on legal advice sought in the mat-
ter.He said, however, while Imbert presented
a comprehensive statement on the matter
he was not at liberty to say any more, adding
only Imbert could speak about the matter.
Imbert could not be contacted for com-
It is understood that Cabinet is seeking
legal advice on whether last Friday's naming
of some of T&T's largest users of foreign
exchange in the last three years by Ram-
barran constitutes "misconduct in relation
to his duties."
Section 12 of the Central Bank Act outlines
ten grounds that can be used to terminate
the appointment of a Governor, deputy Gov-
ernor or director of the Central Bank.
The legislation, at section 12 (e), would
allow President Anthony Carmona to ter-
minate the appointment of Rambarran if
he is "guilty of misconduct in relation to
Cabinet is also seeking legal advice on
whether the President has the discretion to
reject, modify or delay a Cabinet directive
on the issue of the Governor's termination.
Cabinet is being advised, the T&T
Guardian understands, that unless the Con-
stitution specifically provides for the Pres-
ident acting in his own discretion---as with
the appointment of Independent Senators---
the convention is that heads of state obey
the wishes of the Government of the day.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the Central
Bank governor defended his decision to dis-
close the information.
The statement added: "The Central Bank
remains an independent national institution
integral to the financial architecture of T&T
and stands as the guardian of the country's
economic and financial stability."
Jwala should not have done it---Warner
put on case
He's being hounded
out by Govt---Kamla
Links Archive December 10th 2015 December 12th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page