When Race Trumps Reason

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 18, 2012

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeYou work at an institution for ten years; you begin to like that institution. You grow to admire the intellectual caliber of the men and women who work there and you embalm those precious memories. Ultimately, you reverence that institution as a place where standards matter and excellence is the order of the day. You read Terrence Farrell’s Central Banking in a Developing Economy: A Study of Trinidad and Tobago, 1964 to 1989, you appreciate the origin of central banking in the nation, pre and post-independence. You realize the stature of the men who served this nation as governors (sadly there are no women) and you feel a sense of pride in your nation’s achievement. You realize that no matter what its limitations are, it tries to reward excellence signaling to the nation’s young men and women that achievement matters.

And then an announcement is made: Jwala Rabarran is the new governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, the premier bank of the region and the absolute envy of its neighbors. You think it’s a bad dream; a joke that Kamla and her Cabinet is making on the nation. You feel that they are merely teasing the society; savoring the pleasure it would receive when it realizes that Jwala was a mirage of someone’s wildest imagination; an illusion that will dissipate when reality steps in.

And you think Michael Mansoor, the executive chairman of CIBB First Citizen’s Bank; a former senator who was involved in financial and economic matters while he plied his trade there part time. He is a chartered accountant and former partner of Ernst and Young with a MBA from the University of Ontario. He is someone who had established his credentials as a solid financial mind of the Republic. One felt certain that Jawla must have been an apparition since Mansoor’s name had been sent to Cabinet two weeks prior, there being a certainty that he would be named governor although having an economist would have been more desirable for the post since the Minister of Finance is a banker.

But then I suspect that Mansoor was not Indian enough; perhaps he was too old; nor did he possess the right qualifications.

What then were Jawla’s qualifications for the job? He is young. That is true. But his youth cannot be a sufficient criterion for the top job at the most prestigious institution in the region. When Jwala joined the Bank in 1990, he was junior economist. When Winston Dookeran, his uncle-in-law, came to the bank he was promoted to Economist 2. Just before new-politics Dookeran left the job, he sent Jawla on rotation to the IMF, a routine posting for several economists in the Bank. Today, there are at least 6 economists who have done exactly what Jwala did so it is not exactly a big thing, although one should not sneeze at such a posting.

When Jwala returned to the bank he was promoted to the post of senior economist although he felt he should have been made chief economist, a post that was filled already. Indignant that he did not get that post, he left the bank and moved to CMMB, a small brokerage firm, for three years as its head of research. Nothing spectacular came out of that. We are still to learn of any major contributions that Jawla made to his field or what in his experience makes him a fit candidate for the job of governor of our Central Bank.

When Jwala joined the bank both Dr. Shelton Nicholls and Dr. Alvin Hilaire, deputy governor and chief economist at the bank respectively, were senior to him. Dr. Nicholls, a Ph. D from the University of London, is an outstanding economist who has published in several reputable journals and was a former director of the Caribbean Center of Monetary Studies, the leading center for monetary studies in the region. He was also a senior lecturer at UWI Economics Department.

Dr. Hilaire is quite as interesting and just as fitting for the job. He has the economic brilliance and possesses the relevant experience. But then he is African. When Dr. Hilaire joined the bank as a chief economist in June 2009, he had worked for the IMF for several years. From 2006 to 2009 he was IMF’s representative in Guinea and Sierra Leone; from 1997 to 2005 he worked at IMF headquarters in Washington, D.C. in the Policy Development and Western Hemisphere Department that included countries such as Croatia, the Cameroon, Columbia Nicaragua and Thailand, to name a few countries.

In the immediate future at least, Jwala will be in charge of these men. Even this can be overlooked. The real question is this: can the country feel safe that the island’s monetary fiscal policy is placed in the hands of a man who has no real experience in the area of fiscal and monetary policy and has not run an organization of this size before? Are we prepared to tell the nation that at this moment of our development that the only relevant factor in making national decisions of this magnitude is the race to which one belongs?

Some years ago, Ewart Williams went to the ratings agency in New York to plead the case that our international ratings remain where it is. Anyone who knows anything about international finance knows that a country’s borrowing from an international agency is pegged to its international bond rating. On a flight to New York, Wendell Mottley, our former Minister of Finance, told me of the pride he took in the masterful job that Governor Williams did in negotiating our country’s bond rating.

Naming a governor of a central Bank has little to with one’s race, religion or political affiliation. If he makes any wrong moves all of us will suffer and we will not just feel it in our pride. We will feel it in our pockets and that is the ultimate cost when race trumps reason and racism becomes the order of the day.

Does President Max Richard really have to acquiesce to this travesty?

20 Responses to “When Race Trumps Reason”


  • TMan
    July 16, 2012 at 11:26 am
    Recently there have been numerous complaints from several circles regarding the replacement of PNM political appointees. Keith Subero and other anti government journalists have been attacking the PP for appointing too many PP supporters to a variety of positions. Some have even suggested that too many members of the clan/ Indians are replacing the PNM appointed personnel. The President has even awakened from his slumber to strongly suggest in his unusual partisan speech to the Legislature that there might be problems in these PP appointments.
    Is it not fascinating to watch this parade of criticisms and listen to the disgruntled whispers in the capital criticizing the new regime for looking after the “clan”? Where were these critics when the PNM controlled the corridors of power and stacked the country with their political hacks and supporters? Every government Minister, parliamentary secretary, chief of police, commissioner of prisons, central bank governor, ports manager, state board member, etc. etc. were members of the PNM tribe or were quietly affiliated in some manner. It was wrong then and it is wrong now.
    The country must find a better, transparent, and objective process to fill its vacancies. It is futile to complain only when you have stopped receiving the government invitations to the free cocktail circuit.

  • The plaudits of some past governors have been noted. Interestingly, you failed to recognize some of the past mistakes made by past governors of the Central Bank. Exactly where is this article taking us? Don’t we all start from some point in our lives and when mistakes are made we learn from them and move on? Would you make the same comment with Mitt Romney chastising Obama for lacking financial management experience? Please leave race out of this equation and let Jwala put his qualifications and experience at work.

  • You see Folks! this is a Topic that every body afraid off. You hardly get a Text book about the Banking Business.Bankers and Money Launderers are placed in a pedestal, being worshiped by the Borrowers.
    The Borrowers are always indebted to the Lenders,You see any body can set up a bank, all you have to do is get Depositors, You could begin without having a cent.
    Lend people what is not yours on Credit, add interest and you begin to Function.
    Who could explain the World Bank? The IMF? What is the agenda behind these Structures? Lending, Credits, Who paying mind to the Cash that are being created out of thin Air? What is backing these loans, what is backing these Drafts?
    Bankers and Government seems to be in two different Circles,Yes! You seldom hearing about Government regulations on the Banking system.
    Are the Banking Industry being Audited by the GOV? Never heard of it? But you hearing about the GOV coming to the rescue of the Banks all over the Continent. But using Tax payers Dollars $$ if you please!!!
    To withdraw your own cash, you have to pay, anytime you use a Credit Card, you pay, a ATM Machine, you pay, Even writing out a check, you pay. At a certain percent you receive interest, without a high percentage in your deposit, you lose!!
    Hearing about Global Recession and Down Sizing? But the Global Summit Meeting running into the Millions $$$ and Billions $$$, the EU looking for help from the US, but the US is in debt.
    Who playing who here? They say, when the currency have no Face on it, it have no value, Check out some of the Eastern Caribbean Islands and the Caricom Regions? The Euro is out-dating the US now! Canadian is Toppling the US now, What is going on?
    Each Central Bank is used as a Machine to bring up or down the value of it’s Dollars. How come These small countries keep Borrowing Loans from different Localities- China, India and Central and South America?
    But the Money Cartels are the same.Does the central Bank tell the People what is the present Interest rates that have been accumulating for all these years? What this new Central Bank Governor have up his sleeves?
    A new Miracle in the Fifty Dollar Notes? Releasing more cash for Building Projects? Without paying heed to the Working Class needs and Sweat?
    Something is wrong Politically with the dollars!! Do we buy into everything now? Could we buy Morals and Spiritual Values Now? Pre -K and Kindergarten are being swamped into Dollars and Cents at an early age, When they grow up we know what would be their gods!!!
    As Wilfred the man with the high forehead was called Head Quarters, used to say, let me control the Dollars of the nation, and I don’t care about the Politicians… Good one Wilfred…

  • TMan, you might have justified Dr. Cudjoe’s statements with your response. I don’t think you meant to.
    You wrote: “Some have even suggested that too many members of the clan/Indians are replacing the PNM appointed personnel.”
    You further stated: “(They) were members of the PNM tribe or were quietly affiliated in some manner.”
    Are we now looking at race where party loyality existed? Then Dr. Cudjoe is correct, race is now trump. Think about it.

    • My point is that people like Cudjoe were quite contented when the PNM practised their brand of race, party loyalty and affiliation. They remained silent. Now that the new government seems to be doing the same thing they are very upset.Race has always been “trump”.
      There are many in T&T who now view the replacement appointments as some sort of affirmative action for a group which is now in the majority.There are many who also argue that the pool of qualified, educated blacks is rapidly shrinking in T&T. If Cudjoe is so concerned with the welfare and development of his people and I believe that he is, he should be focussing his energy on recommendations to motivate the young Black population to walk in the footsteps of their forefathers.

  • Linda Edwards, class of '67

    Tangential Comment, I Told You So.

    There are those who love to attack everything I say, whether supporting Raf or Selwyn as PNM etc.
    Now, I would have loved to refer to a piece I wrote about five years ago, pointing out that Central is the sex crimes capital of the country.
    Some yelled the usual R word. Ir was written around the time when two Cental businessmen, a father and son were charged with the rape of a retarded girl who was related to them.
    I referred to the video “Shattered Lives” made more than twenty years ago, based on a similar incident in Central. Now, my articles have all been deleted from this forum apparently, because friends of mine from abroad, looking for them can find nothing in my name. Change of regime affecting plitics, learning, valuable social commentary?
    Now comes the headline in the Express today, of a father in central impregnating his daughter, aged eleven, and the police officer in charge is mouthing my very thoughts and sentiments from years ago.
    We waste time assigning ulterior motives to people dedicated to moving this counry forward, and years later, after more five year olds have been raped,sold for sex, eight year olds murdered, and mentally challenged children abused by their own families, as well as school children raped by school officials and both commit suicide, to have the police “discover” that Central has a problem with sexual abuse of children.

    Now I call on Selwyn and Raffique to research and do columns on this issue. Shine some light into the darkness of the rape of children by their relatives.Incest is abundant, and the epidemic is central to Central. Now the mderator may decide to not publish this piece, some decisions have been made like that of late, so I will wait about two days, then contact those whose e-mails I know. I do not have Raf’s.

    • There have been cases of child sex abuse, incest, rape and murder of children in every part of Trinidad and Tobago. It serves no useful purpose to identify one area of the country as having an “incest epidemic”, as gloatingly and proudly, but incorrectly pointed out by Linda Williams. Crime in T&T is certainly not monopolized by any one group or ethnicity. As a matter of fact there seems to be an increase in criminal activity in the sugar belt, probably because many who live in the former sugar areas are now unemployed, suffering from economic hardship.
      The Minister of National Security recently mentioned some crime statistics to the media. 68% of the murders take places in Laventille.16-18% occur in the Carenage area and 6% take place in Diego Martin.
      Linda Edwards is a prolific writer. Let us look forward to her specific recommendations to curb this violence, as Port of Spain rapidly becomes the crime capital of the Caribbean.

    • I think Linda all over there are problems with sex. Have been on facebook lately and seen how the lil sister behave, posting all kinda lewd pics.

      • Be careful mamboo, as de grounds u are trotting on, is sacred- dem lil sistaz from de kinky headland, that you and similar others, are striving to disparage,aint have nutting on their counterparts ,from de East,South , or anywhere else on de planet for dat matter. If you wish , I can provide de cojent data for your edification.

      • Linda Edwards, class of '67

        Mamoo, specifically: Amy Annamuthodo, Hope Arismandez, the little girl of eight or nine who disappeared the first time her parent let her take a taxi home by herself, the 14 year old schoolgirl whose parents hired a taxi driver they trusted to take her to school, he raped and killed her, the other fourteen year old, mmaybe this year, who was having an affair with a counsellor in her school, on discvery, she committed suicide, he followed her two days later.He was 54. The five year old whose mother was using her body to raise funds for drugs, and whom the police arreste seven men, one as ol as 79, waiting, lined up, to have sex with her. The girl who back about 1984 commited suicide because of her father’s constantly raping her, snd she set the house on fire after writing a note to her teacher about it, -the stry behind Shattered Lives-these notorious cases were all in Central. MAybe you do not read the papers all the time, maybe you are new to this kind of inforation, but I have been taking notes for more than twenty-five years. Recent police willingness to get their hands dirty and arrest thhese perps, as well as the fact that the victims aare often murdered, has shown the spotlight more n this, but its been going on in Central for a very long time.
        Before a society attempts to “cure” a problem, it has to be identified, and the causes found.

  • TMan, something is wrong with the thinking of my fellow Trinis. Every time a criticism is made of this present Government, there is the cry, “where were you when the PNM was doing it,” or statements of that nature. Even the President got his licks for saying what he thought was wrong. People criticized the PNM – Rowley was fired for doing so. Remember? To me the former PM’s greatest achievement in his last term was having a police constable fired from his job.

    We have to remember the age we are living in – the electronic age. Everybody, everywhere, is seeing and reading. This present Government came into power with an international fanfare, and is being watched more than most – collation government, first female PM. There were high expectations at home and abroad.
    Is this Government living up to those expectations? Given that no one is perfect, throw off all Party affiliations, what do you think? Is there a new “we like it so” brigrade? Trying to compare this government with the ones before and come up with an answer is wrong. That is not how performance should be judged.
    It seems so obvious now, that every replacement is a certain race, people are going to and should talk. That is their rights as citizens. Saying that the PNM did the same thing, when confronted on every issue is illiterate.
    A Minister justified an appointment by saying it only takes Common Sense, then why do we need schools? How do you measure Common Sense? The hurtful thing here is that people actually buy into that kind of logic.
    TMan, who is your choice for President?

  • A quote from the Guardian

    ” The fact is that there is no tradition in T&T (unlike Jamaica and the England) of selecting a Central Bank governor from within the institution. Only one of the eight Central Bank Governors before Mr Rambarran was chosen internally. That person was Euric Bobb, who was appointed as Governor in August 1984 at the age of 40, after serving for more than six years as Deputy Governor. It is noteworthy that Dr Bobb did not serve out his five year term, choosing instead to resign in November 1987. The stories about the differences of opinion between Bobb and the NAR administration and between Ainsworth Harewood (who served from July 1992 to July 1997) and the Panday administration for two years are legendary.

    The fact that the three Central Bank candidates were “demonstrably superior” to Jwala (as they are without a doubt) would not have been a factor in the appointment as there were “demonstrably superior” candidates outside of the Central Bank such as Alison Lewis, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Wendell Mottley, former Minister of Finance, retired investment banker and Terrence Farrell himself. Is it better to appoint someone who is on the same economic wavelength as the party in power or for there to be squabbling, bickering and “pressure” on the Central Bank? Let’s not rush to judge our new Governor”.

  • Linda Edwards, class of '67

    I was talking specifically about SEX CRIMES, sex crimes against children, of which Central is the capital. From the movie made about it more than twenty years ago- Shattered Lives- to today, nothing much has changed in this area. Incest is very frequent there. Women writers cannot solve this issue. That’s why I am asking Raf and Selwyn to take it on.

  • How do we rightfully tackle these escalating problems that keeps popping up?
    Rape-
    Incest-
    Murder-
    Drugs-
    White Collar Crimes vs the petty crimes-???
    For one, let’s examine the connection. The Constitution with the by laws, guarantees first the separation of Civil powers, among the various heads of State.
    The rights and freedom of the citizenry. How do we go about dealing with these Homicides and Felonies? Is it through how one should appear in the case, meaning: without evidences and Facts?
    Nada! Let’s take for instance the response of the Law-for example :Aka: Police, they are there to uphold and protect the Law. Defend and Protect the rights of the individuals that may presumed innocent before being proven guilty.
    These Forces are there to uphold and defend the Law at all times. But wait a minute? When these officers who are subjecting themselves in the line of duty, could be Killed or Mame for Life in the line of duty.
    A Million Police Station, 1 Million Police on patrol, A million Police cars, another Million police offices as standby – SRP, With every town, city, district, Municipality, local districts, villages etc. having all these apparatus that comes with the Police and Arm forces.A Million Choppers, A Million Aircraft, A Million Blimp, A Million Close Circuit TVS.
    This in itself does not guarantees protection and reform.
    What we need to consider here is the Stringent Measures as the laws would and should provide- Serious PENALTY!!! If there is a lapse in the Penal system, ,all this show of force and armory are only pawns in the game.
    The Problem with the Justice system, not only in T&T is? There are no strong legislation that penalizes transgression for breaking of the laws.
    Just as the Creator of all things are Governed by Laws that cannot be changed, so too is the States in the various regions of the Earth.
    Who would tolerate anyone in the Public Arena that stands up and expresses that” there are no Laws to Govern the Country, The State does not function by Laws, the People are free to not abide by Laws!! What?? How long do we think that such a person would be tolerated in the free world?
    Tolerated on the Pulpit? the Podiums? the Stage? If Criminals and evil doers know that the Law is Lapse, and it cannot be carried out by one independent nation as it aught to be, but have to wait a few years before it reaches a higher council before it is rightfully taken up and is addressed, by constant dragging on and on that runs into YEARS!
    This is the exact situation that are being experienced by those on death row. Their decision are determined by another delegation that does not even dwell in the soil of the Land.
    Technologies, advance weapons, state of the arts equipments, CCTV, Tapping into phone calls, checking e-mails, spying on you, and the drama can go on and on, but to no avail.
    With the latest CSI, MCSI, DNA, Data Process, Files, GPS, Stat- elite centers,No strict Laws in operation giving the Criminals something to consider twice before committing the Crime.
    The Doing away with the Death Penalty, Corporal Punishment, Relapse in Disciplinarian, all have weaken our society, especially the criminal elements that is floating around.
    All these apparatus does and cannot solve Crimes.
    What about proper Education, Social e-quality, a balance of cash flow, instead of having all the cash caught in a few localities, by a few.
    Educational System for those who want to study!
    Trade Schools for those who wish to pursue a trade!
    Training and preparing others who are leaving of School to joint the real world, they should be equipped with proper insight and workable knowledge to respond.
    T&T can develop the Agricultural sector that will be able to export food to the various regions.Much employment can stem from this. farming and poultry, Cattle industries, Fruits and vegetables, Rice, Corn, Coconuts, Oil, Gas, Petroleum. The Sugarcane Industry should still be functioning in certain localities in the country. People of other places still depend upon Sugar as a commodity.
    You know! when Sugarcane was around, you seldom hearing about Diabetes, now its gone Diabetes are on the rise, with all these artificial sweeteners. Countries should halt and push back on all these generic seeds that cannot re-produce on its own, don’t be force to be tied in to no seed bank.
    No Fear of God in the Land- no respect for our fellowmen, no natural food, the Constance outbreak of new virus and diseases. Crimes of any order is taking over the hour.Dealing with the crime situation cannot only rely on lapse laws, crooked elements in the service,Favoritism by a few in power.
    A disarmed Population is at risk over and over again by criminal elements. Build a strong Citizenry and give licensed Conceal Arms to move around with. With this shooting spree that took place in Colorado US, if a few folks had concealed Licensed weapons, this would not have escalated as it did.
    Don’t break the Law, and come at the same time for the same law to protect you, this is nonsense!!!…

  • Looking out for my Article !!! Here

  • My Article about Addressing the Crime Situation in T& T, please respond on it, I posted it July22, 2012 at 1:22am

  • Linda Edwards, class of '67

    Another one: According to the Express ths Sunday, a Chauguanas truck driver has been arrested for sex with a 15 year old. Mamoo, you taking notes?

    • Linda, these things are not new. It has been happening all over TnT. But it is good to see the children coming forward and parents taking a closer look at daughters. That is the only way to break the cycle. Where I grew up almost every household had some kind of sexual deviancy.

      Here is a few, neigbour daughters, one with the neigbhour son and other with a fella where she worked. A few houses down one man had homo activities with another boy down the street. The next house a boy slept with his cousin she got pregnant and had his baby. Another house down a married woman is having an affair neighbourhood gigolo, another house down the 14 year old had a time with her uncle, opposite house the uncle slept with niece. Linda I could on, but almost every home had some kind of sexual deviancy.

      It is good news to know that these things are coming to the front and the nation will be better for it. Trinidad is a highly sexualized society, even in UWI 83% of the student population is sexually active. The carnival whining, grinding and calypso result in a higher population every October/November. And it is all across the nation, not only Central.

  • Getting back at the subject after the tangential discourse:

    Distasteful, unfair response from Dr Farrell

    Story Created: Jul 18, 2012 at 11:52 PM ECT

    I must register my disappointment with the myopic and deeply biased views expressed by Terrence Farrell in regard to the appointment of Jwala Rambarran as Governor of the Central Bank.

    I can recall no similar expression of like sentiment on the occasion of the appointment of any of Mr Rambarran’s predecessors. Dr Farrell sees the appointment as yet “another termitic (sic) assault on the institutions of State”.

    Has he been living here or abroad for the past 40-odd years?

    His harking back to what he calls the “Reshmi Ramnarine syndrome” is distasteful and suggests a tendency to profiling.

    Which of our several Central Bank governors in the past can be said to have satisfied Dr Farrell’s hope that “the process of selection would have been fair and transparent”? Has any of our past governors been “vetted in the public space” or by “parliamentary scrutiny”?

    Which governor can be said to have “asserted the independence of the Bank”? And Dr Farrell in his nostalgic foray is selectively oblivious to the CL Financial bacchanal and all the wheeling and dealing!
    It is truly distasteful indeed and reflects if not professional underdevelopment, then a glaring disregard for collegiality, when people in the same profession should seek to launch unprovoked personal attacks against legitimate government appointees who are seen as their colleagues, and seek to denigrate rather than encourage.

    In one fell swoop, he has not only belittled Mr Rambarran himself but has succeeded in undermining and devaluing the office of the Governor of the Central Bank.

    I am given to wondering what might have inspired such grossly uncivil behaviour. Can he not give the man the benefit of waiting to see how he performs? This country seems sick at all levels!

    Steve Smith
    via e-mail

  • In most developed countries,the Deputy Governors who Cudjoe so strongly believes in would never be considered. In fact they would have been brought before parliamentary committees or be subjected to senate hearings. We must never forget that the two Deputy Governors presided over two financial disasters:

    – The TT stock decline about 2005/6 which caused pension funds to lose hundreds of million of dollars.

    – The failure of CLICO which cost this country over ten billion dollars. In any developed country, those at the top would either resign or be dismissed.
    And I have not even mentioned the failure of the Central bank under Governor Williams in the HCU disaster.
    The problem is that some people believe that they are entitled to certain leadership positions in this country and are having great difficulty adjusting to the “upstarts”.

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