PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Thursday December 24, 2015 – Embattled Governor of the Central Bank Jwala Rambarran has been fired after weeks of controversy surrounding his announcement that the twin-island republic is officially in a recession and disclosing the names of companies that are the biggest foreign exchange buyers.
Former bank deputy governor Alvin Hilaire has been named as his replacement.
Rambarran was sent home on a recommendation from Cabinet, Minister of Finance Colm Imbert said. Acting president Christine Kangaloo signed off on the dismissal in the absence of President Anthony Carmona who is overseas.
“Cabinet took the decision after very careful deliberations,” Imbert said.
The minister was among those who harshly criticized Rambarran for the statements he made as he addressed the Fifth Monetary Policy Forum on December 4. He said the Governor was “discourteous” for making the announcement before communicating the situation to government first, in keeping with the Central Bank Act.
And the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce had accused Rambarran of betraying business’ confidence by giving the details of foreign exchange purchasers.
Former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who appointed Rambarran three years ago amid criticism that he was chosen over officials with better qualifications, accused the People’s National Movement (PNM) administration of victimization.
“I am shocked, but not surprised at the decision of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to instruct the acting president to fire Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambaran,” she said in a statement.
Persad-Bissessar further accused the government of entrapment, contending that Rambarran made the disclosures which have now cost him his job, only after Imbert asked the Central Bank to provide information on how the recent release of foreign exchange was distributed, and indicated that such information would be made public.
“This appears to be a case of entrapment, where the government clearly tried to set up the Governor with the request for information, which the Governor provided,” the Opposition Leader said.
“Section 8(6) of the legislation allows the Central Bank ‘to make public disclosure by any means considered appropriate by the bank, where such disclosure would be in the best interests of: (a) T&T’s financial system, or (b) the depositors, other customers, creditors or shareholders of such licensee,’” said Persad-Bissessar. “And Section 56 provides that ‘the preservation of secrecy is subject to what is necessary for the due performance of its objects’.”