Massy chief concerned at foreign exchange disclosures

(Trinidad Guardian) President and chief executive of Massy Group, Gervais Warner, has expressed deep concern about the recent disclosure by Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran of the country’s 18 biggest foreign exchange buyers, saying it may have set a dangerous precedent.

The head of one of the country’s biggest conglomerates made the comment as he said he viewed Rambarran’s act a breach of confidentiality, adding they are now exploring their legal options in the matter.

“We had our legal team work over the weekend. Can he? We found that really he shouldn’t. The information that was used and disclosed is confidential to the commercial banks with whom we do our banking,” Warner told the T&T Guardian.

“If the Governor of the Central Bank can disclose confidential information that is shared with your commercial banks, just like that, he could share other information.

“He could share your personal information, or my personal information. I think it’s a really dangerous precedent and everyone in T&T should be concerned about it,” he added.

Several of the companies named by Rambarran last week have officially written to Finance Minister Colm Imbert alleging that the Central Bank governor may have been in breach of the Central Bank Act in disclosing their information.

The T&T Chamber of Commerce also released a statement expressing similar sentiments but Rambarran has defended his action, saying he acted in the public interest.

Imbert told the Senate this week that after receiving complaints from companies about the issue, he had advised his legal team to look into whether there was indeed a breach.

Addressing this, Warner said: “I think it is pretty obvious that there are some parts of the Act/laws that have been breached. I will sit back and wait to see what officials do about this.”

He said the Massy Group respected the right of the people to know and was big supporters of transparency.

“We are a publicly traded company. We disclose a lot of information all the time. We have no problem disclosing information that is either required by the authorities or if we think the public should know,” he said

However, Warner said Rambarran should have used industry data rather than individual company figures to make his point about the use of foreign exchange. He also wondered why the governor did not include companies in the foreign used vehicle sector.

He said publicly disclosing how much foreign exchange 18 companies used also gave the impression that they were putting it to their own use rather than for the purpose of satisfying public demand.

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