BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday February 17, 2017 – It’s back to the law courts today for embattled Barbados Central Bank Governor Dr Delisle Worrell after receiving a 48-hour reprieve from the High Court on Wednesday to prevent his removal by Finance Minister Chris Sinckler.
An upbeat Worrell and his legal team emerged from the near three-hour hearing at the High Court confident of the merit of their case, even as they served notice that they were ready to head to the Caribbean Court of Justice if necessary.
Lead attorney Gregory Nicholls told journalists outside the courtroom that the case was not an “exercise in theatrics”, insisting that Minister Sinckler did not have the power to remove the Governor.
Last week, Sinckler had reportedly ordered Worrell to resign by Monday, February 13, or be fired, at the insistence of other senior Central Bank executives who have been critical of Governor’s management style.
Relations between the Minister and the Governor also deteriorated on the heels of public warning by Worrell that the Government had to live within its mean and stop the practice of printing money.
But Nicholls insisted that the Finance Minister misused his executive powers and this must not be allowed.
“He [Sinckler] did not have the power to get around the provisions of the [Central Bank] Act. The Act sets out how a director, including the Governor of the Central Bank, can be removed,” the Governor’s legal spokesman said.
“Until that process can be followed, then the Minister’s arrogation unto himself of the power to remove him by virtue of him signing a letter of engagement, deploying the Governor, then we can’t go outside the confines of the Central Bank Act,” the lawyer stressed.
To date, Sinckler has remained mum on the issue. Following Wednesday’s hearing, Solicitor General Jennifer Edward, Q.C, also declined to speak to the media.
Meanwhile, a former Central Bank Governor is standing in support of his counterpart.
Winston Cox, who was sacked from that post by the former Owen Arthur administration, stressed that the Finance Minister ought to shift his attention to the country’s depressing economic woes and leave Worrell alone.
“We need to have all our best hands on board to manage the situation at present,” he told the Barbados Today online newspaper. “It is very unfortunate that we are distracted from managing the economy.”