By Stephen Kangal
December 12, 2015
Updated: December 13, 2015
The ratio dicendi identified by Governor Jwala Rambaran for the historic and unprecedented disclosures of the highest users of the scarce, rapidly dwindling and vital stock of FOREX over the past three years may be summarized as high and compelling public interest, potential threat to the integrity of the sensitive and fragile current financial system and the CBTT’s own core remit as clearly set out in statutes and objects.
These ecological considerations that underpinned and appeared to justify his circumstantial albeit conditional disclosure of the names of private companies accessing the FOREX that is regarded as and is in fact public property or “patrimoney” may be summarized as follows:
- The high public involvement/outcry for the resolution of the market shortage of FOREX and the range of difficulties occasioned to and suffered by citizens and companies including SME’s in their quest to conduct legitimate international transactions expeditiously;
- The reversion to the 2014 system of FOREX distribution and allocation to banks ordered by the Minister of Finance, the release of US $500m gobbled up in a short time and the re-occurrence of the shortage at a time of intensified Xmas imports;
- Purchases of FOREX by Venezuelan nationals for the black market trade;
- The potential threat to the integrity of the current financial system posed by the plummeting of energy prices aggravated by the concatenation of calls for the devaluation of the $TT as a conservation antidote geared to stem the current tide of frenetic FOREX purchases;
- The fact that the confidentiality duty of the CBTT was not carte blanche but clearly conditional as unambiguously stated in Chap 79: Section 8(6) of the Financial Institutions Act.
- The calls made by the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and the general public to know (“where the money gone”) the recipients/beneficiaries of the US $500m ( public property) released by the CBTT that transformed and elevated the issue into a public interest matter that now evoked the transparency and accountability duty of care of the CBTT;
- The advent of the clutches of a recession and the consequent reduction of inflows of FOREX from the energy sector that will exacerbate and decimate the already fast dwindling stock of economic -driving FOREX below the US$10 bn mark.
Let me congratulate Governor Jwala Rambaran for mobilising the requisite testicular fortitude and courage to address the issue with full frontal nudity, surgically, creatively and in the national interest and not to have succumbed in imposed silence to the powerful capitalist ethic of commercial confidentiality even if using vital state resources.
Where’s the evidence?
December 13, 2015 – trinidadexpress.com
The Sunday Express at Page 15 (under the headline “Jwala’s defence of State resources”) published a letter by serial letter writer Stephen Kangal wherein he wrote: “The calls made by the Prime Minister… to know (‘where the money gone’)… transformed… the issue into a public interest matter that now evoked the transparency and accountability duty of care of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.”
In defence of the Governor’s disturbing actions of naming persons and entities, this is your paper being used by a clever letter writer to twist the facts to suit his own agenda.
I challenge Mr Kangal to show the public where and when did the Prime Minister ever call on the Governor or Central Bank to account for “where the money gone”.
As Prime Minister, while I may have had views on this and other issues, I was very careful not to do what Mr Kangal has cleverly, though incorrectly, ascribed to the Office of the Prime Minister, to justify the unacceptable conduct of the Governor who occupies a very sensitive public office.
I have no problem with him (Mr Kangal) congratulating the Governor for demonstrating “testicular fortitude”, but I take strong objection to him making the case for these testicles by falsely ascribing to me any statement or action that would be viewed as intemperate or ill-advised on my part.