Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 1st 2016 Contents ANTHONY WILSON
Chief Business Editor
Newly appointed Governor of
the Central Bank, Alvin Hilaire,
yesterday signalled that he intends
to keep faith with the interest rate
policies instituted by the previous
governor, Jwala Rambarran, even
as he said that his predecessor s
decision to announce that T&T was
in recession formed part of the
Bank s official record.
"I don t consider monetary policy
to be governor-dependant. Mone-
tary policy is continuous. It is one
Central Bank and we work together
as a team with one philosophy," said
Hilaire, in response to questions
from journalists. He said the Central
Bank monitors conditions on a daily
basis and adjusts its policies as nec-
Hilaire met the media at the Cen-
tral Bank on his fifth working day
on the job, following his appoint-
ment to the top job on December
23, hours after the termination of
the appointment of the previous
Rambarran, who is T&T s only
Governor to have been fired,
restricted his personal interactions
with the local media to comments
made following his presentations at
the five monetary policy forums.
On the issue of whether T&T is
in a recession, Hilaire said: "We had
a statement from the Central Bank
a few weeks ago. I will not distance
myself from that and I would advo-
cate more concentrating on where
we are at and what to do about it.
"The situation is serious. It needs
immediate attention. It started from
the external sector and spilled over
to the domestic sector. We have
some buffers to address the situa-
tion, which we did not have before
and the Central Bank has the tech-
nical capability to deal with the sit-
At the controversial fifth monetary
policy forum on December 4, Ram-
barran announced that T&T was in
a recession, based on three quarters
of declining out and an initial read
on the fourth quarter. His comments
were disputed by Finance Minister
Colm Imbert and Prime Minister
Rowley, who challenged Rambarran
to produce the data or facts to cor-
roborate the finds of a recession.
Hilaire said the decision to sep-
arate the Heritage and Stabilisation
Fund and to access US$1 billion from
it in the 2016 fiscal year was an
indication that the Government
wanted to draw down some of its
savings rather than rely totally on
Asked if he subscribed to Ram-
barran s view that capital flight can
be controlled by higher interest rates
and not by other adjustments,
including the exchange rate, Hilaire
said the difference between T&T
and US interest rates mattered as
did the confidence of investors in
He said countries like Barbados
and Greece, controlled demand for
foreign exchange, with a fixed
exchange rate, by reducing aggregate
"There are two ways of dealing
with a balance of payments imbal-
ance: one is on the price side, the
exchange rate, and the other is on
the income side, by compressing
"In the case of a floating exchange
rate regime, you could allow your
currency to move, which could help
equilibrate the demand and supply
of foreign exchange. But it is impor-
tant that exchange rate policy be
consistent...and it needs to minimise
volatility. Ultimately, exchange rates
do find their right value. The ques-
tion is whether they do so with
volatility or smoothly."
Hilaire said he did not have a pref-
erence between fixed and floating
rates as he believed that the right
choice was the policy that worked.
He said countries that opt for fixed
exchange rates, in the context of
high demand for foreign exchange,
must introduce policies that will
Friday, January 1, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
From February 1, commuters
using the monthly carpark at
the Water Taxi Terminal in San
Fernando will have to fork out
an extra $150 for the service.
In a release yesterday, the
Water Taxi Service, which oper-
ates a ferry service from San Fer-
nando to Port-of-Spain, said the
increase is due to increasing oper-
A $250 rate was implemented
when the carpark service was first
introduced in 2012.
Following an announcement
yesterday of the increase, the
T&T Guardian visited the termi-
nal located at Lady Hailes Avenue,
San Fernando and spoke to sev-
Shastri Sahadeo, who has been
using the service since it s intro-
duction in 2012, said he was sur-
prised by the increase.
"For every month since 2012,
I have been using this service, I
think this increase is very steep,"
"The new price is almost the
same as parking in Port-of-Spain,
which is around $500, but in
Port-of-Spain it is covered park-
ing, here your vehicle has to face
Sahadeo, who is from Penal,
said once the increase is put into
effect, he may have to leave his
car at home and travel to the ter-
"It will cost me $20 a day both
ways if I travel to the terminal
and almost twice that once I fac-
tor in gas to get here and parking
on a daily basis. It is something
I ll have to think about."
But if the Water Taxi fares
increase from the current $15 one-
way price, Sahadeo said he would
stop using the service altogeth-
"I would not use the service,
I will take the bus or something,
but any increase in fare right now
would be too much to bear."
Terry Thomas, whose wife uses
the carpark on a monthly basis,
said the increase would mean his
wife s car will remain at home.
"No my wife will not pay that
increase, it way too much,"
"I would most likely be drop-
ping her here and picking her
back up on evenings."
Thomas said the public should
stop using the service because of
"That is madness, people
should stop parking their cars
The Housing Development Cor-
poration (HDC) Allocations Man-
ager Lauren Legall has referred a
matter regarding Housing Minister
Marlene Mc Donald to the Integrity
Commission and the Commission-
er of Police.
Yesterday, Legall, who was earlier
this month placed on administrative
leave by the board of the HDC,
claimed to have received a letter from
the Human Resources Department
of the Corporation.
The letter, which was obtained by
the Guardian, contains a request for
Legall to return the allocation file of
Opposition Wayne Sturge, in a
letter to the integrity Commission
this week, described Carew as Mc
Donald s partner.
Earlier this week, Sturge requested
that the commission investigate
whether Mc Donald used her influ-
ence as Minister in 2008 to secure
the allocation of an HDC house to
Mc Donald was Minister of Com-
munity Development at the time.
Emily Gaynor Dick Forde was the
then Housing Minister.
Sturge presented documents writ-
ten from then advisor to Dick Forde,
Odette Alexander to the HDC
requesting the allocation.
Alexander refused to comment on
Dick Forde has not answered calls
to her mobile phone.
In a three-page response to the
HDC s letter, Legall raised concerns
about what she described as unusual
inquiries from Mc Donald.
She claimed that sometime in
November, Mc Donald made
enquiries as to the status of the deed
for Mr Michael Carew.
She claimed McDonald had
informed her that Carew had paid
in full for a unit at the Fidelis Heights
Housing Development since 2008
and had not received the deed for
"I am not accustomed to a Min-
ister making inquiries of a particular
applicant and as such I considered
this request unusual but it being a
request from the Honorable Minister
I proceeded to make inquiries to
ascertain the status of the deed of
Mr Carew," Legall wrote.
She claimed to have located the
file and brought it to the attention
of the minister.
According to the document, Legall
claimed to have informed Mc Donald
that the relevant correspondence
had been sent to the attorneys
responsible for preparing the deeds
for the Fidelis Heights Development,
advising that payment had be pre-
pared and Mr Carew be contacted.
.toShe claimed Mc Donald handed
her a receipt from law firm
Gopeesingh, Martineau, Edwards
and company which indicated that
Carew had paid the necessary attor-
neys fees for preparation of the deed.
She said the document Mc Donald
gave to her had not been in the file
earlier that day.
She said she collected the deed
from the attorneys office and pre-
sented the copy to Mc Donald and
another copy was placed in the cus-
tomer s file.
Legall denied knowledge of the
file s whereabouts.
"The file remained in my office
up to when I proceeded on vacation
on the evening of December 10, 2015.
Mc Donald did not respond to
phone calls or a text message this
evening, but she had previously told
the Guardian that she was not the
owner of the house.
The Minister is currently on vaca-
tion and expected to return next
Asked whether Government had
discussed the allegations made
against Mc Donald, Communications
Minister Maxie Cuffie said he was
not aware that there had been any
discussions on that matter.
Marlene house inquiry sent to police
New governor assures policy continuity at CBTT
Marlene Mc Donald.
Central Bank Governor Dr Alvin
Hilaire during his first press interview
since being appointed to the post
yesterday. PHOTO: SEAN NERO
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