Jwala Rambarran breaks silence; goes to High Court to challenge dismissal

Date: 
Saturday, December 26, 2015 - 00:00

Dismissed Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran has broken his silence saying he first found out that he was being dismissed by an online media report, and signalling that he would be challenging in the High Court, the Cabinet's decision to dismissing him. 

Rambarran issued the media statement this afternoon.

The following is the full statement:

"By instrument of revocation dated Wednesday 23 rd of December, under the hand and seal of the Acting President, Her Excellency Christine Kangaloo, which I received at around 6:30pm on Thursday 24th December, my appointment as Governor of the Central Bank was terminated and revoked.

Having regard to the economic and democratic importance of the independent position of the Governor of the Central Bank and the intense public interest surrounding my removal, I believe it is my duty to place my preliminary views on these matters into the public domain.

Firstly, I wish to state, I only became aware of my termination as Governor through an online media report at about 10:30 pm on Wednesday 23rd December. At that point, I had not received the courtesy or formality of being officially informed:

(i) that the Acting President was supposedly considering my removal from office;

(ii) of any purported reason or rationale for my removal from office; and

(iii) that the referral of such a complaint was even being contemplated by Cabinet.

Secondly, at no point in time did the President and/or Acting President, who is entrusted with the sole discretion to effect the termination of my appointment as Governor, contact me to solicit my views on any purported allegations or complaints. Indeed, to date, I am still not aware of the contents of Cabinet documents and supporting material that were sent to the Acting President. Consequently, any such decision taken by the Acting President resulting in my removal as Governor of the Central Bank has been taken without my participation and to my complete exclusion, thereby depriving me of a fair, reasonable or any opportunity to make representations to correct or contradict any purported allegations against me.

I am in the process of consultations with my lawyers who have already expressed their concerns with respect to the complete failure of Cabinet and/or the Acting President to abide by due process of law.

Specifically, in relation to the Cabinet, there are concerns as to its complete failure to inform me of its intention to make a recommendation to the Acting President under Section 12 of the Central Bank Act and to afford me an opportunity to treat with any issue that it had relative to its view that I had breached the Central Bank Act.

This was notwithstanding that I met with the Minister of Finance on Tuesday December 22nd at 2:30 pm at which time he had ample opportunity to raise such issues. Indeed, had I been provided with such an opportunity I could have furnished the Minister with a legal opinion by eminent Queen's Counsel.

Further, I am extremely concerned about the surreptitious nature of my removal and the timing thereof which appears to be strategic and calculated with the incumbent President out of the jurisdiction. I am deeply troubled that the Cabinet opted to refer this complaint at a time when the person acting as President is both a former PNM Minister and Member of Parliament and was recommended to be President of the Senate by the current PNM administration. The principles of apparent bias are well established in this country and founded upon the maxim, "not only must justice be done; it must also be seen to be done."

Objectively speaking, 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.

For the record, I must also point out that the statement issued by the Central Bank dated December 8th obviously could not represent an exhaustive list of my reasons and considerations for making the necessary disclosures in the absence of any formal complaints against me at that time. Its use, therefore, cannot possibly be construed as allowing me a meaningful opportunity to be heard in relation to the matters placed before both the Cabinet and the Acting President.

Regrettably, I am now forced to defend my position in the High Court of Justice in the hope that the entrenched and established rules of procedural fairness and the sacrosanct principles of natural justice will be upheld.

I take this opportunity to thank the public, whose interests I have stood by and made pertinent disclosures, for their unwavering and continued support."