T&T Central Bank Governor worried about industrial climate

(Trinidad Express) Central Bank governor Ewart Williams is more concerned that the industrial relations climate rather than the current political situation could have more of an impact on investors’ desire to get into the local economy.

“Investors understand there is a political process, and while things may seem to not be going smoothly, they tend to get resolved. There is no doubt that we have a long- standing record of political stability so the political question is not what will affect investors. We need to be careful of the industrial relations climate. That is my concern.

“We need to find a way to establish a more harmonious climate,” Williams told reporters after the annual Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman (OFSO) breakfast meeting on Thursday at the Bank’s auditorium in Port of Spain.

He suggested a tripartite commission for conflict resolution among government, trade unions and the private sector, adding that the need for such a forum was becoming more and more urgent.

Williams gave the feature address at the meeting, saying that while the Financial Services Ombudsman is empowered to treat with complaints specifically relating to certain financial service policies in the banking, finance and insurance sectors, the OFSO is restricted in its jurisdiction.

“The limited jurisdiction of the ombudsman scheme is an obvious weakness and a source of considerable irritation to complainants,” he said.

“I think it’s time the existing voluntary regime becomes enshrined in law. We could only include services in which we were in total agreement with service providers.

“A significant area of complaints (are) out of reach of the ombudsman. It is my view that given statutory backing the OFSO scheme will also be able to impose appropriate sanctions for non-compliance,” Williams said.

The total number of complaints from citizens to the OFSO about banks since its inception in 2003 has been 585; only 215 met the terms of reference. The number of complaints against insurance companies from 2005 to 2011 was 2,000, with the majority relating to auto insurance claims.


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