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Cudjoe's Grasping At Straws

By Stephen Kangal
August 29, 2007


Having been controversially appointed via the political patronage route to the Board of the Central Bank (CB), nondescript Dr. Selwyn Cudjoe has to earn his political keep by splitting hairs between economics, monetarism and politics and labouring in vain with annoying trivialities to demonstrate his lack of true professionalism.

Were Dr. Cudjoe a self-proclaimed genuine disciple of the truth as he claims to, he would have done the requisite research as a professional. He should have compared the original text of the speeches delivered by the former Governor of the Central Bank with the edited text of those included in Mr. Dookeran's book before casting premature, hasty, silly and politically motivated aspersions on the integrity of Dookeran the author.

Dr. Cudjoe, Sir, you are not in the economic and fiscal league of former CB Governor Dookeran so please do not go there. Stick to your study of the past and allow those who know the present to analyse it.

As an invitee who attended the Lok Jack Graduate Business School launch of the book entitled "Uncertainty, Stability and Challenges" let me inform Dr. Selwyn Cudjoe that Mr.Winston Dookeran was a fellow at the Weatherhead Centre For International Affairs in the early 90's. He was returned as a visiting scholar in 2002-03 where he put together the final manuscript that was published as "Stability, Uncertainty and Changes" and finally launched in T&T on 15 August 2007.

The Central Bank by agreement and with their approval agreed to the publication authored by Winston Dookeran. The Bank also assisted financially with the publication Mr. Dookeran spent a considerable sum in the production of the book and only after these expenses have been defrayed can the Central Bank expect to receive any payments.

Monetary policy that is determined exclusively by the Governor of the Central Bank has political consequences. Therefore the Bank's modus operandi in its economics portfolio is inseparable from and draws its raison d'etre and response to managing its fiscal and monetary operations from the prevailing political ecology. I hope that Dr. Cudjoe can appreciate this connexion.

After political appointee Governor Ewart Williams staked his full IMF experiences/credentials to conclude categorically, last November, that it was very difficult if not impossible in the short term for T&T to recover after inflation had breached the 10% "slippery slope" how come after eight months it is back to7.5% and has started to climb again?

Mr. Robert Mayers of CMMB also shares the concern and skepticism expressed by Mr. Dookeran on the sudden drop in the headline inflation rate.

Mr. Dookeran's comment in the Newsday article in question focused on food price inflation ( 23%) and not on headline inflation of 7.3%..Do you know the difference Dr. Cudjoe?

Although Dr. Cudjoe says that he does not write in his capacity as a Director of the Central Bank his concept of the truth is politically contaminated and distorted. He is in fact credited at the end of the Sunday Guardian article in question as a Director of the CB.

In his critique at the Book Launch Dr. Watson identified four pivotal considerations resulting from the publication.

These he said are:
  • It will contribute to scholarship and invaluable resource materials in T&T on the theory and practice of Central Banking in particular and the economic policy formulation process in general.
  • It constitutes a well documented page on the evolving economic history of T&T;
  • The author uses clear and convincing empirical data to justify his insightful economic and philosophical positions;
  • Mr. Dookeran ignored the restrictive and exclusive remit of his Governorship of the Central Bank to allow him to address his sincere concerns with treating with and removing inequality and poverty from the social landscape in Trinidad and Tobago.
Dr. Cudjoe may be well advised that he should not use the book launch organised by Mr. Dookeran at this "silly" season to hang his sheer ignorance of or denigrate Mr. Dookeran's visionary journey of getting the politics right in T&T to justify his Central Bank re-appointment.

He should focus on the foolishness, insensitivity, callousness and hardships being spawned on us by the freshly minted Emperor of La Fantasie Gardens from his impregnably exorbitantly priced new castle.

A word to the wise Dr. Cudjoe.

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