Rambarran says heard of firing from media

(Trinidad Guardian) Three days after being sacked as Central Bank governor, Jwala Rambarran on Saturday issued a strongly worded statement in which he accused the Government of mishandling the matter and threatened legal action.

Jwala Rambarran
Jwala Rambarran

In a two-page media release, Rambarran said two days before his appointment was revoked he met with Finance Minister Colm Imbert who at that time “had ample opportunity to raise such issues.”

Rambarran said he has been in contact with his lawyers over what he described as the “complete failure of Cabinet/acting President to abide by due process of law” and signalled his intention to take legal action. He said he first learned of his dismissal through the electronic media at about 10.30 pm on Wednesday night and received official notice of his termination at 6.30 on Christmas Eve, some 20 hours after the news first broke.

He said he was never contacted by acting President Christine Kangaloo “to solicit my views on any purported allegation or complaints.

“Indeed to date, I am not aware of the contents of the Cabinet documents and supporting material that were sent to the acting President,” he said.

Rambarran described his removal as surreptitious and questioned the timing as President Anthony Carmona was out of the country and a former People’s National Movement (PNM) minister of Legal Affairs was acting in that office. He said it “appears to be strategic and calculated with the incumbent President out of the jurisdiction”.

“Pertinent questions arise as to whether the Cabinet should have referred this complaint to the acting President having regard to the proximate relationship between the entity making the complaint and the decision maker,” he said. “The principles of apparent bias are well established in this country.”

Imbert mum

Imbert on Saturday told the Sunday Guardian because of Rambarran’s intention to approach the High Court, he would not be able to comment on the issue in the public domain.

“As stated in my press release, the Cabinet thought it was essential to restore confidence in the governance of the Central Bank and the confidentiality of the banking system,” he said, adding that the first step in restoring that lost confidence was the appointment of a new Central Bank Governor.

The Government has appointed Alvin Hilaire, the former deputy governor, as Central Bank Governor. His appointment is for five years.

Dr. Hilaire, who has worked at the Central Bank for a cumulative period of approximately 20 years, has held the positions of senior economist, chief economist and director of research. He had been serving in the position of deputy governor since April 2013.

The new Central Bank Governor has extensive experience in macroeconomic policy development and implementation, and monetary policy matters.

National Security Minister Major Edmund Dillon, who took the cabinet instruction for the dismissal to Kangaloo and then to Rambarran, on Saturday confirmed that the letter of revocation was delivered to Rambarran at 6.25 pm on Thursday evening.

In a brief telephone interview yesterday, Rambarran said he could not reveal who would be representing his legal interests. He said everything he needed to say was contained in his media release.

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