Central Bank Governor Williams Must Resign

By Stephen Kangal
February 10, 2009

Central Bank Governor Ewart WilliamsIt is patently clear to me that had not CL Financial magnate Lawrence Duprey made his pre-emptive approach to Government in mid-January to mobilize State injection of liquidity into his cash-strapped investment bank, CIB, CMMB and insurance giants CLICO and British American it would have been business as usual to date.

But within the passage of a short time these major financial institutions would have eventually collapsed with catastrophic consequences for the savings of policy holders and depositors as well as for the rest of the economy of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. The Central Bank has been failing us the people of T&T for a long while. That is why Mr. Duprey the avant garde, visionary indigenous industrialist has retained our admiration. But the Government wants to hoff his crown jewels.

The CL Financial Group has control/ownership of an asset base of TT$ 100 billion that constitutes 25% of the country’s GDP. CLICO commandeers over 50% of the local insurance industry and administers a wide portfolio of pension-paying schemes, deposit and policies. It is the cash cow of the CLF empire.

Accordingly when in April 2008 it was discovered by the Central Bank that CLICO fell short of the requisite viable assets in its Central Bank- held Statutory Fund by billions that was a situation that could and should not be treated by the Governor of the Bank as he would with any other local insurance company. The potential collapse of CLICO in 2008 that was in trouble since 2004 would have generated destructive shock waves if not a devastating tsunami to inundate the economic and financial landscape of T&T.

Additionally the Central Bank cannot deny that it would have known that in November 2008 the CIB failed to effect payment of a maturing investment by NGC of US$10m. It would have also known as well as the Minister of Finance as Corporation Sole that CIB failed to pay two other NGC deposits totaling US$42m in December 2008. By the end of December 2008 it would have known that CL Financial also failed to make the necessary additions/adjustments to the huge short-fall in its Statutory Fund.

As a depositor at CIB I knew that time-consuming Central Bank approval had to be rigidly obtained since September 2008 for any variations in deposits, even change of names and encashment of deposits. Accordingly I am convinced that the Central Bank knew of the financial difficulties besieging the CIB at least since September 2008.

The Central Bank possessed of the cash-strapped information at CIB, CMMB, CLICO and British American did not inform the Minister of Finance on her admission of this development even though it ought to be aware of the potential fatal damage to economic life-line of Trinidad and Tobago were these institutions to go under.

The Governor of the Central Bank is therefore guilty of gross negligence. He unwittingly withheld critical information in his possession on the failing and near bankruptcy of four major financial institutions under its jurisdiction and control from the Government of T&T. The Government had to learn this from the head of CL Financial Mr Lawrence Duprey by mid-January and not from the Central Bank based on the public admission of Finance Minister Teshiera.

CB Governor Williams has no choice. He must do the honourable thing. He must resign forthwith for having inflicted on the people of T&T without rhyme or reason a grave financial situation that potentially threatened their stability with widespread pauperization.

The overwhelming evidence convicts him of being guilty of a lack of care for the people of T&T.

5 thoughts on “Central Bank Governor Williams Must Resign”

  1. Yes The Central Bank Govenor Williams should resign in all fairness to the people of T & T—Manning should resign too along with Finance Minister Teshiers. I am of the opinion the whole bunch of them had prior knowledge of all that was going on in the financial melt down. They betrayed their people.

  2. Pretty strong arguments. If all of this is “true” then what was the point of making amendments to the various acts. Are you suggesting therefore that this process was a cover up of sorts or “scapegoat” to distract from the initial oversight and lack of action on the part of the CB Governor? I would not like to think it.

  3. I am personally not convinced that the governor of the Central Bank is culpable in the CL Financial collapse.

    Mr Kamal refers to Lawrence Duprey as ‘the avant garde, visionary idiginous visionary industrialist’. Might not a contrary case be made against Mr. Duprey for having used the insurance premiums and deposits of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of ‘customers’ for many years to do his deals buying up company after company? Was it not in fact a giant Ponzi type scheme that was bound to collapse when prices of real estate, methanol and business in genaral declined?

    Mr Kamal claims that the CL Financial group had an asset base of perhaps TT$100B. He makes no mention of liabilities of the group. So far the public doesn’t know if they exceed the assets. They might.

  4. Mr. Kangal, based on your article, you seem to be a business partner of Mr. Duprey?!! It baffles me that you can support a man like Mr Duprey on this issue. Do you not realise there was no patriotism involved here but the greed of a business man who was concerned with his on excessive wealth accumulation while using the hard earned funds of the poor and middle class to invest in high risk assets? He is now begging at the feet of the government and ultimately taxpayers for forgiveness and capital injection. I do not believe the Governer should be fired as there has never been proper legislation or monitering tools in place, but I do believe all those involved with CLICO’s collapse should be aggressively purused for a refund of misused funds owed to its shareholders.

  5. It is inconceivable to me that the Governor of the central Bank would not be culpable in this situation. His job description already includes monitoring and oversight authority to safeguard the economic and financial welfare of the people of TNT. He should resign for dereliction of duty, if not for condonation of the fraud perpetrated against the citizens.

    The Finance Minister should also be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for failing to fully and publicly disclosing a clear conflict of interest and now lying about it!

    Mr. Duprey has done what those inspired and driven by pure greed have always done. They prey, while looking down, upon those they believe to be beneath them in intelligence and worth as human beings. They are contemptuous of their victims. Duprey needs to plead guilty to his crimes, and if he refuses, to be tried for them, and then sentenced to serve his remaining life in confession, contemplation and reflection upon his white collar deviance. As part of his snetence and rehabilitation program, he should be made to devise a plan and timetable for making restitution to his victims, who have been further raped by the government’s bailout scheme.

    Corruption is still King of TNT!

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