Govt seeks to replace Central Bank directors

The Cabinet last week submitted the names of Robert Mayers, Roger Hosein, Rabindranath Moonan, M Lalla and Shida Bolai to the President as the new directors of the Central Bank. Finance Minister Winston Dookeran proposes that the five replace Selwyn Cudjoe, Barbara Chatoor, Amelia Carrington, Norris Campbell and Carlyle Greaves.

The term of Central Bank’s public service director, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Alison Lewis expires on November 29, 2010.

The Central Bank Act states that the institution “shall be managed by a Board of Directors comprised of a Governor, not more than two Deputy Governors and not less than six other directors, two of whom may be public service directors.” According to the Act, the Governor, Deputy Governors and the other directors shall be appointed by the President by instrument in writing. The Governor is appointed for a term of five years while the ordinary directors and the public service directors “shall be appointed for a term of three years.” Cudjoe, Chatoor, Carrington and Greaves were all appointed in 2009 and their terms end in 2012, according to the Central Bank’s annual report for 2009.

The legislation governing the Central Bank sets out the reasons for which the President may terminate the appointment of directors:

• becomes of unsound mind or incapable of carrying out his duties.

• becomes bankrupt or compounds with, or suspends payment to, his creditors;

• is convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment;

• is convicted of any offence involving dishonesty;

• is guilty of misconduct in relation to his duties;

• is absent, except on leave granted by the Board, from all meetings of the Board held during two consecutive months or during any three months in any period of 12 months;

• fails to disclose a conflict of interest;

• contravenes any provision of any prescribed Code of Ethics in respect of which he is liable to termination of his appointment; and

• fails to carry out any of the duties or functions conferred or imposed on him under this Act.

None of these causes for termination apply to any of the existing directors, the Guardian was told. Contacted for comment, investment adviser, Robert Mayers, confirmed that he had been asked by Dookeran to serve but he had declined because of the conflict of interest involved in him serving as a director of Colfire, which is a subsidiary of Clico, which is under the control of the Central Bank. Similar concerns are being expressed about the appointment of Bolai, who is the general manager of TV-6 and therefore a senior executive of One Caribbean Media, a company in which Clico is the largest single shareholder with a 23 per cent stake.

The Central Bank assumed control of Clico in February 2009 after the company reported liquidity difficulties. If Bolai is confirmed as a Central Bank director, she would be the third TV6 employee to join the service of the Government, following Andy Johnson, who is the chief executive of the Government Information Services and Sasha Mohammed, who is a special adviser to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

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