Sir James calls for ECCB Governor’s resignation
March 5, 2013

Sir James calls for ECCB Governor’s resignation

A call has been made for the world’s longest serving central bank governor to demit office.{{more}}

Sir K. Dwight Venner, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), has been governor for 23 years, and while some may see this as a commendable achievement, a former prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), Sir James Mitchell, thinks it is time for Sir Dwight to go.

Sir James, who served as prime minister of SVG for 16 consecutive years, would also like to see changes to the legislation governing the ECCB.

The former prime minister said he is one of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) prime ministers who appointed Sir Dwight governor of the ECCB.

In an interview with IKTV on Sunday, Sir James said: “Dwight Venner has been there too long. He is the longest serving central bank governor in the world. We need fresh thinking and fresh vigilance of these financial institutions…. I put him there; I was one of the persons who put him there…. Same way we have to look for succession in politics, we have to look for succession in our institutions”.

In a booklet launched this week, and titled “St Vincent and the Grenadines The Ungovernable”, Sir James, on page 12, also said this of Sir Dwight: “He has been happy to become the longest-serving central-bank governor in the world, even with our regional economies mimicking Europe’s financial woes.”

The former Vincentian prime minister is peeved that the ECCB does not have regulatory power over non-bank financial institutions in the sub-region.

Commenting on the situation with the St Vincent Building and Loan Association, which on February 1, 2013 was taken over by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), Sir James said “When these things happen, I go back to basics. Where is the Central Bank in all of that? Where was the Central Bank with the destruction of the middle class by CLICO and British American in St Vincent and throughout the Caribbean. When I began to attack that during the referendum (November 2009), Dwight Venner says he has nothing to do with insurance companies. I suppose he will say now, he has nothing to do with building societies….”

Asked if it was the right approach for the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to step in, in relation to the St Vincent Building and Loan Association, Sir James said “Not only they should step in, the Central Bank should step in. And legislation should be changed to give the Central Bank authority to deal with all these institutions.

“What are they doing? Just checking with what money goes between RBTT and First Caribbean and so on and see the balancing of the accounts and so on? The Central Bank knows all about the movement of monies, you know, or supposed to know; that is what they have offices for in all of these parts, and it is really sad. A lot of the disasters following in our monetary system just like what is happening in monetary systems in other parts of the world.”

Sir Dwight, a Vincentian, assumed duties as the Governor of the ECCB in December 1989. Prior to that, Sir Cecil Jacobs served as Governor from 1973 to 1989. The next longest serving central bank governor in the world is the Governor of the Romanian Central Bank, Dr Mugur Isarescu, who was appointed in 1990.

SEARCHLIGHT contacted the ECCB yesterday for a comment from Sir Dwight, but up to press time last night, no response had been received.