Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 23rd 2014 Contents A9
March 23, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Former minister of planning,
restructuring and gender affairs,
Mary King is calling on the Integri-
ty Commission (IC) to conduct an
investigation into the purchase of
$14.5 million in First Citizens Bank
(FCB) shares by the bank s group
chief risk officer Phillip Rahaman.
The 659,588 shares were acquired
in FCB s initial public offering (IPO)
King, an economist, urged the IC
to step in and hold its own inquiry,
as people on FCB s board are mem-
bers in public life.
"I think the Integrity Commission
has a part to play so they can also
bring information to the public."
Following calls by Opposition
Leader Dr Keith Rowley for a foren-
sic audit, Finance Minister Larry
Howai announced a full review of
the bank s IPO process.
"This is not a $2 issue. This
involves million of dollars...under
question and until that investigation
is completed and made public, I
think the gentleman knows what
he has to do.
"If an investigation is in place,
you who are so involved, you step
aside and don t say anything about
the topic until the investigation is
King said the matter will no
doubt erode public confidence in
FCB, she said, was formed for a
purpose by the Government.
"I think the people at the helm
have disappointed us. It must look
bad for the Government. The inves-
tigations are taking too long. That
is what is worrying to me. I want
the analysis finished and the report
Clary Benn: Why no red flags?
Former chairman of the Unit
Trust Corporation Clarry Benn said
any time questions are being asked
about "this perceived Caesar wife,
it means not only the individual is
tarnished, but its institution."
Benn said employees and man-
agement of all banks must display
an aura of incorruptibility.
"They must be a cut above the
He said any time "an uncharac-
teristic transaction goes through,"
it must raise eyebrows, and ques-
tions should be asked before the
processing of application and allo-
cation of shares take place.
"I would imagine there was a
team looking and reviewing appli-
cations and the allocation process."
Asked if the purchase looked like
insider trading, Benn said "the pub-
lic would get that impression. Or
something wrong was allowed to
In Rahaman s case, Benn said,
his application should have been
properly scrutinised "to ensure that
it could never be perceived as some
favourable, corruptible and advan-
tageous allocation was given."
Benn said the purchase should
imply that no "underhand deals
'It can taint potential IPOs
by state agencies'
He said the last impression the
bank should give was that staff
members used their position to get
a significant number of shares.
"It is shocking that this transaction
could have occurred at this very first
IPO issue of the bank, and first IPO
of the Government seeking to broad-
en share owners to the public. This
can taint any other potential IPOs
to be undertaken by state agencies."
Benn said the minute the bank
made the discovery, they should have
called for an internal investigation
to determine if there was any col-
"If it goes contrary to the bank s
standards, action would have had to
Browne: Many questions
to be answered by FCB
Former minister in the ministry
of finance Mariano Browne said one
would have to know FCB s internal
rules before Rahaman is suspended.
Browne said many questions need
to be asked and answered.
"Publicly, I remember Ms Alfonso
indicating that the employee share
holding aspect was undersubscribed
and as a result of which shares were
re-allocated. There should be some
level of accountability with regards
to that process because it would have
to be undersubscribed by a substan-
tial amount for one manager or some
managers to get a significantly larger
percentage than they would be pre-
Browne said there should be more
public disclosures from FCB.
He said while no one has ques-
tioned the operations of the bank,
"we need a third party confirmation
that people are comfortable with the
Alfonso: No comment
Yesterday, FCB s chairman Nyree
Alfonso said it would only be appro-
priate to comment when the findings
of the bank s two investigations are
Mary King to Integrity Commission:
Probe sale of FCB shares
Between one in ten and one
in 20 women of childbearing age
has Polycystic Ovarian Syn-
drome (PCOS), and it s worrying
experts in the field.
T&T hasn t escaped, and the
large turnout at yesterday s con-
ference held by the T&T branch
of the Barbados Fertility Clinic
(BFC) revealed the number of
people in the country seeking a
solution to their infertility chal-
More than 350 were in atten-
dance at the MovieTowne con-
ference, with the BFC indicating
that over 400 were at last year s
conference. Almost all were cou-
According to Aabida Alaham
of the BFC, "It s important to
note, however, that in our expe-
rience while PCOS may be on
the rise globally, it doesn t mean
that it s the cause of infertility
issues for couples here in T&T.
"There are many other factors
to consider, including on the male
"People are becoming more
aware and therefore are coming
out and seeking treatment, infor-
mation, or assistance in address-
ing infertility and PCOS."
The US government s Web site
on women s health, however, says
infertility is a common outcome
of PCOS. UK-trained clinician in
PCOS, Dr Elizabeth Holder
warned that PCOS can occur in
girls as young as 11.
She urged that the first front-
line defense is lifestyle change.
Holder said the high carbohy-
drate diet of T&T citizens needs
to be kept in check in order to
contribute to an overall healthy
lifestyle, as well as specifically
"Unfortunately, obesity is one
of the major challenges faced in
T&T, and is a one of many sig-
nificant factors that impacts the
increased development of PCOS
and, subsequently, fertility chal-
Alarming increase in PCOS
...fertility issues on the rise
lenges. Lifestyle change is, therefore,
necessary in addition to pharmacological
treatment," Holder said.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian via
telephone, gynaecologist Dr Konsheik
Achong-Low said, "One third of women
in their menstrual life will develop
PCOS...and will develop it in their 20s,
and more so in their 30s.
"It is, however, important to note that
it is not a disease, but a condition."
While national statistics are not readily
available, as many as five million women
in the United States may be affected.
No cure has been found for PCOS, how-
ever, Holder, like Achong-Low, said
management of the condition was pos-
• PCOS is a problem in which a
woman's hormones are out of
balance. Most women with
PCOS grow many small cysts on
their ovaries. The cysts are not
harmful but lead to hormone
imbalances. It can cause
problems with their periods and
make it difficult to get pregnant.
PCOS may also cause unwanted
changes in the way you look. If it
isn't treated, over time it can
lead to serious health problems,
such as diabetes and heart
WHAT IS PCOS?
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