Seeing eye to eye
Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler, while defending the right of this agency, which is one of his principal advisors, to voice an independent view, said there was no divide and he would not allow anyone to create a “chasm” between him and Governor Dr. DeLisle Worrell, or his ministry and the Central Bank.
Sinckler also said Worrell’s call for a new medium term adjustment strategy had been misinterpreted and overstated. He spoke on the issue last evening while fielding questions during a media conference at Government Headquarters.
“I am not going to allow people to try to use me or use the governor … to create this chasm between the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank because frankly there is not. We meet, we meet often, we talk everyday, and we ensure that we come up with the right policy prescription.”
The minister also said “I don’t know that that is true” to the suggestion that he and Government might not be following Central Bank advice.
“The Central Bank has a level of independence in the system that we guard very jealously. I am not one of those persons who calls the governor of the Central Bank and curses him in his ears as was (done) by other people, that is not my style. We allow the Central Bank the space to do what they have to do and to advise on economic policy,” he said.
“You look at what you have and you make policy accordingly. I think the governor’s comments were frankly blown way out of proportion. The governor basically said ‘Look, when we look at the fiscal performance we could see that it is off track and we need to take additional measures to ensure that we reposition it in the right way’.
“Now we have various views on what types of measures we will have to take and that is why we do consultation internally and externally. But if we all agree that that is the case, then we should do so,” he added.
Sinckler said he did not think Worrel “was saying that the whole thing is an entire failure, you must throw that away and start writing a new strategy, that’s not what I took from what he was saying”.
“I didn’t take that from his Press release and I certainly didn’t take it from his Press conference that was held,” he stated.
“So there is no divide. We listen to advise of the Central Bank as we listen to the advice of Economic Affairs Division of the Ministry of Finance, as we listen to the advice of line ministries, as we listen to the advice of external parties, and we try to create a symbiosis between all of those positions to come up with the appropriate way in which we should address these issues.
“If you are at war and you go to battle some days you will win fights and other days you may lose some people. You lament the fact that you have lost people, that there was collateral damage, but you don’t throw away your entire strategy, you go back to the tent, you meet with your generals, you say ‘Listen this did not work!’ or ‘This did not work in the way that we wanted, what can we do to bring this on track?’… and we adjust the policy accordingly,” he said. (SC)