News
November 13, 2009
PM blasts Sir James’ attack on Sir Dwight

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has described Sir James Mitchell’s call for Sir Dwight Venner to resign as the Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) as “ridiculous”.{{more}}

At a recent “Vote No” rally in Paul’s Avenue, Sir James, who came out of retirement in September 2009, after an eight-year absence, told the crowd that he is not satisfied that the National Commercial Bank (NCB) is being properly monitored by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB).

“I think the Central Bank is negligent in the monitoring of the bank here. Negligent in the monitoring of financial institutions, and I am saying personally I appointed Dwight Venner … at the Central Bank and I think that it is time that Dwight Venner resign with the chaos of the financial community in these islands,” said Sir James, St.Vincent and the Grenadines longest serving prime minister.

SEARCHLIGHT was unable to reach Sir Dwight for a comment on the issue, but contacted Prime Minister Gonsalves who quickly lent his voice to Sir Dwight’s defence.

Gonsalves described Sir James as “entirely wrong” on this issue.

“Wholely wrong,” said Gonsalves.

“His analysis as to the financial challenges in the insurance industry and in the banking sector are entirely misplaced and for him to be going at a distinguished regional public servant like Sir Dwight, who has done yeoman service before this economic tsunami internationally, and who continues during this period to help to guide the sub-region, for him to attack, verbally abuse Sir Dwight in this unfounded manner, is entirely unacceptable.

“In fact it is ridiculous. It is a scaremongering and irresponsible tactic.”

Gonsalves refuted Mitchell’s claim that he appointed Sir Dwight as governor of the ECCB.

“He was appointed by the Monetary Council. He (Mitchell) would have been one of the members of the Monetary Council,” said Gonsalves.

Gonsalves called Sir James statements irresponsible.

“I have given the analysis with what’s wrong with British American and CLICO. Dwight Venner didn’t have anything to do with that and I have done the analysis about the weakened fragmented condition of the banks and the efforts which we are making to pull things together,” Gonsalves explained.

He identified the uniformed Banking Act and the new standards for banking as instruments that Sir Dwight piloted to strengthen the financial system.

Sir James also called on the Government to disclose how much money from the National Insurance Services had been invested in the British American Insurance Company.