T&T government welcomes court ruling against former Central Bank Governor

Jwala Rambarran
Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran

The Trinidad and Tobago government on Friday welcomed a High Court ruling dismissing an application for judicial review by former Central Bank governor Jwala Rambarran regarding his dismissal.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Finance said Justice Nadia Kangaloo dismissed Rambarran’s application for the Statement of Reasons, ruling there was non-excusable and insurmountable delay on his part.

Rambarran had in July 2016, commenced judicial review proceedings in the High Court to compel the Keith Rowley Cabinet to provide him with a Statement of Reasons under the Judicial Review Act in relation to the revocation of his appointment as the central bank’s governor in December 2015.

He had also sought under the Freedom of Information Act, to gain access to various correspondence between the Minister of Finance, the Office of the Prime Minister and the Office of the President in relation to the decision of the Cabinet to advise the President to revoke his appointment and to access the relevant Cabinet Note and Minute.

The judge noted that Rambarran had requested the Statement of Reasons, five and a half months after the revocation of his appointment.

Rowley’s Cabinet took decision

In December 2015, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said while the law does not permit a minister to terminate the appointment of a  Central Bank governor, “Cabinet, which is empowered under Sector 12 of the Central Bank Act, took a decision …after considering a number of legal opinions primarily dealing with the disclosure of the names and users of foreign exchange in Trinidad and Tobago to request the president to terminate the appointment of the governor of the Central Bank.”

Kamla shocked, not surprised

But in a statement then, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar, said she was “shocked but not surprised at the decision of the government … to instruct the acting president to fire the Central Bank governor.

The Court also ruled that Rambarran was guilty of non-disclosure in filing his claim.

In the statement issued Friday, the Ministry of Finance noted that the judge had “found it highly incredible that Mr. Rambarran – could not at this stage – not know the reasons for his dismissal, which were clearly stated in the Affidavit filed by the Minister of Finance.”

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