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WHOSE FOREIGN EXCHANGE? By Eugene Reynald

posted 8 Jan 2016, 06:36 by Gerry Kangalee
The Central Bank has always been a politicised institution and, therefore, has always been compromised; if not corrupted. But the Jwala fiasco has raised questions which are a challenge to all of that. For that he will be remembered and that honour was not earned, it was given to him by the unforced errors of those in Power.

I would declare here that my interest in all of this is to seek to ensure that our servants in the public sector start to serve our interest and not theirs. So far in this matter I am not seeing where or how this is being done – indeed I am seeing the opposite intent in what I shall hereafter call the Farrell Doctrine.

The parties affected by the supposed breach of confidentiality and secrecy by the Central Bank have the resources to seek redress in the Courts. I know of many normal citizens who have similar issues with the State and have had to do so. For example the State owes citizens some $700m for lands it has taken from them without compensation. In some instances the land was taken more than forty years ago. Those who are still alive have to take the State to Court in a long and arduous process to get their money and most, if not all of them, have far less resources than those parties who are the beneficiaries of foreign exchange. Those big boys just have to get off easy street and learn to suffer or do what most of us have to in Law in order to get justice.

Having dealt with that matter the others are:

Who owns the money earned from the oil and gas that is the patrimony of the people of the country? If the answer to that is it doesn’t belong to the citizens the question that necessarily follows is to whom does it belong? It has to be the State because they are in control of it, and if it is the State, it follows that it is owned by the citizens of the country.

It is on this simple logic that Farrell failed his acolytes. Abdulah is following him down that road to perdition. I thought he had learnt his lesson. We have a problem of making oracles out of persons who excel in a narrow field of expertise/knowledge and those who may be good researchers.

If we are to agree that the patrimony belongs to the people, does the public have a right to know all the facts associated with how this is earned and spent/distributed? Neither Rowley nor Imbert has as yet unequivocally answered this question but they have both inferred by their actions that we have no such right and have even communicated it through their economic advisor Terrence Farrell.

If that argument is allowed to stand then it can also be applied to all transactions by public officials involving public money and property. That would be giving public officials licence to be legally corrupt. I want to see if the Public, the Press and the supposed enlightened will follow their lead through the hard times to come – given this declaration.

If the public disses the Farrell Doctrine and decides that it has a right to know, the question arises as to whether the State has the right to keep information such as the type made public by Jwala, secret and confidential i.e. i) Whether the State has an obligation or duty to account to citizens for his stewardship/trusteeship regarding public funds and property? ii) Whether the State should be placing the rights of those to whom it secretly gives public funds/patrimony above the right of the public to know how its funds/patrimony is spent and generally how the State is managing it?

Both Rowley and Colm publicly stated that they would like to know where the foreign exchange is going. There is a record of this from the meeting at Piggott’s Corner and elsewhere. If they are telling the public this, is that a right that is theirs alone and not also one they would acknowledge belongs to all citizens?

The US has instituted laws that require nationals to declare funds which they hold in foreign banks - and to pay taxes on such funds. In many instances these funds would have been earned by these parties, unlike our local banks and merchants whose foreign accounts are filled with public money given to them by the State. Is there learning in this for “Rowley, Colm and them” that can be applied immediately before all these funds migrate to “safe places”.
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