Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 29th 2014 Contents SBG4 NEWS
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JUNE 29 • 2014
Anthony Isidore Smart SC sits easily in
his executive s chair. It is an ease born
of confidence that comes from long
years of experience. "I bring my grey
hair to the table," he joked during an
interview with the Sunday Business
Guardian this week. The former gov-
ernment minister, Member of Parlia-
ment and Attorney General emerged as the top pick for the
position of First Citizens Bank chairman after weeks of spec-
He comes to the post at an interesting time:
On May 12 at the bank s annual meeting, the Government
dismissed two directors and forced the resignation of two
more as the bank tries to lay the IPO (Initial Public Offering)
scandal to rest. Two other directors resigned just before the
June 17 extraordinary general meeting that was requisitioned
by the Minister of Finance to add six new directors, including
Smart. And there is more negative fallout possible as there
have been published reports of disciplinary action against
senior officers and veiled threats that those officers could sue
the bank. Questions have also been raised about the purchase
of over 400,000 shares by a relative of an existing director
at the IPO.
In the face of all of this, the 68-year-old lawyer does not
seem to be worried.
"What I bring to the table is many years of experience. That
is what I bring. An ability to be discerning, as well as experience
in working with people, dealing with people and leading people.
I have always taken a leading role."
Smart is no stranger to pressure. In what he considers to
be the highlight achievement of his long career straddling both
law and politics, he was Attorney General in the Cabinet of
then Prime Minister, Arthur NR Robinson when insurgents
from the Jamaat al Muslimeen stormed the Parliament.
"My greatest contribution to the country was during the
attempted coup. The management of that period, from the
afternoon of the 27th, right through to a couple of months
later on and particularly for the five days. That has gone unno-
ticed, but it is not a problem. I think that, managing the
situation to make sure that there was no further loss of life,
that we were able to restore the democracy of this country.
It was under serious threat."
What brought him to that point was a desire to serve his
country. As a young lawyer working at his family s firm, Smart
was dissatisfied with the state of the country. The year was
"I found the country wasn t going well. Honestly. I remember
I saying for a country with a million people and all the wealth---
this was in the early and mid-70 s---telephones weren t working,
we weren t getting water and the roads were in mess. I became
concerned and got involved by the end of the 70 s with the
formation of the ONR, with Karl Hudson-Phillips as leader."
He was offered a salary of $4,000 when he became the
organisation s first general secretary, but turned it down and
took the year off from the law firm between 1980 and 1981
to focus on the election battle with the PNM.
Smart was not discouraged by the ONR s loss. As the 1986
elections approached, he decided to offer himself up for the
Diego Martin East seat, this time on an NAR ticket. The rest,
as is said, was history.
When asked how he felt about the state of T&T today,
Smart said he had taken off his political hat and, as First
Citizens chairman, intended to leave it off, unless politics
touched the bank directly.
at First Citizens
New chairman Smart gets to work
At the special meeting of the bank held on Tues-
day, June 17, 2014, the following individuals were
elected as directors:
• Anthony Smart
• Joel Pemberton
• Michelle Durham-Kissoon
• Courtenay Braemar Williams
• Jean-Pierre du Coudray
• Hazar Hosein
Shortly before the special meeting, the following
directors tendered their resignations:
• John Tang Nian
• Anthony Mohammed
At the bank's 17th Annual General Meeting held
on Monday, May 12, 2014, the following directors re-
tired from the board of FIRST with effect from May
• Nyree D Alfonso
• Rishi Baddaloo
At that meeting, the following directors were not
• Indu Shoba Jacelon
• Marlene Juman
Continued on Page 5
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