‘Avi stays’

Skerrit rejects Arthur’s advice on appointing Avinash Persaud

He has been warned by former prime minister Owen Arthur not to do so, but Dominica’s prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit has rejected the former leader’s advice on the appointment of Barbadian economist Avinash Persaud as his special economic advisor on economic recovery post-Hurricane Maria.

In an interview with Barbados TODAY last month, Arthur had cautioned Skerrit to think twice about putting his country’s future in the hands of the ex-Paradise executive chairman, given his role in the “mangled” Four Seasons project (otherwise referred to as the Paradise development) in Barbados between 2010 and 2012.

“Any basic due diligence would tell you that . . . Paradise is mangled and the job of reconstruction of Dominica is massive. It is urgent and will be complex and priority should be given to people who have experience and skill sets to manage complex reconstructions,” Arthur had said after Persaud was seen accompanying Skerrit at meetings in New York and had subsequently revealed to Barbados TODAY that he was “prime minister Skerrit’s senior economic advisor tasked with helping the economic recovery and rebuilding”.

Arthur had not minced his words, stating that while the wreckage caused to Dominica so far could largely be blamed on category five hurricane winds and rains, “you cannot explain it [wreckage] in the case of Paradise” where Persaud was part of a team trying, but failing, to raise money to pay creditors.

However, in a national address last night, Skerrit was full of praise for Persaud, listing the economist’s many accomplishments and the many positions he has held internationally.

At the same time, while not mentioning Arthur by name, the Dominican leader took a dig at those who he said “would rather pontificate from a safe distance”.

He hailed Persaud as “the principal architect of our external funding and economic strategy” and as the ideal man for the new economic advisory post.

“He has been working closely with my team over the past few weeks . . .  [and] you are going to see a lot of him over the next six months,” Skerrit said in his address to the nation in which he pointed out that “a few years ago, Professor Persaud was ranked in the top ten of all economists in the world on the financial crisis by a panel of leading experts.

“No other Caribbean name was in the top 25. One of the reasons why he is up there is that he is not afraid to accept the toughest challenges when others would rather pontificate from a safe distance.

“He made his stamp on the policy world as one of a handful of economists who developed the new macro-prudential rules now applied to all international banks after the global financial crisis.

“Previously his work during the Asian financial crisis helped change the standard global approach to financial risk management and won him the Jacques de Larosiere Award [named after the French central banker and former managing director of the International Monetary Fund], “Skerrit said, adding that Persaud was a visiting scholar at both the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, as well as chairman of the regulatory sub committee of the United Nations Commission on Financial Reform and a member of the Pew Task Force to the US Senate Banking Committee.

“He was the independent expert member of the UK Government’s audit and risk committee in the middle of their banking crisis. He is well known amongst the senior international policy officials that we need to have access.

“Before his work in policy he was a senior executive at J. P. Morgan and UBS and this private sector background is also proving helpful as we work with private investors and foundations on debt-for-nature swaps and the like,” Skerrit further acknowledged, adding that “it is with some pride that I can say that the best person for this job internationally is one of our own, a Caribbean man”.

During last night’s address, Skerrit also acknowledged “the ongoing and invaluable support” of Irish businessman and Digicel founder Denis O’Brien to Dominica in its  “denuded” state.

He explained that “after rushing to check on us soon after Maria struck, he [O’Brien] has assisted us greatly by asking his network of influential connections to identify experts who could help us; also, he got them to us or us to them.

“He has also pressed his contacts to consider what they can offer us and some have outdone themselves. For instance, we hope to announce an extraordinarily generous gift in the power sphere next week when the details are confirmed,” the Dominican leader said, adding that “O’Brien has truly demonstrated his personal commitment and genuine friendship to the people of Dominica and for this, I and my team am exceptionally grateful”

O’Brien was listed among the world’s top 200 billionaires in 2015, three years after then Haitian president Michel Martelly awarded him with the National Order of Honour and Merit for his investments, contributions and promotion of Haiti.

28 Responses to ‘Avi stays’

  1. Leroy October 17, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    I trust Owen Arthurs judgement.

  2. Saga Boy October 17, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    AVi will be a very wealthy him in 4 years and I predict a financial scandal with him and his Bajan associates along with the PM of Dominica.

  3. Mark My Word October 18, 2017 at 12:26 am

    Hard Ears Skerrit yuh won’t hear yuh gine feel

  4. BIGSKY October 18, 2017 at 12:32 am

    I like Owen Arthur because he calls a spade a spade.

  5. BIGSKY October 18, 2017 at 12:59 am

    In all his statements I notice this Prime Minister mentions nothing about Barbados,we continue to send hundred of thousand of dollars in food stuff and aid whilst neglecting our citizens here in Barbados that badly need the help.I know of families who would like food stuff,school supplies,help with mortgages and all else.

    • Ras wain October 18, 2017 at 7:39 am

      And I know families who don’t, because they are trying to help themselves

    • Belfast October 18, 2017 at 10:59 pm

      To give and not to count the cost, to labour and ask for no reward. How many are aware that one of the top hotels on the West Coast provides a weekly meals-on-wheels service to many needy persons across the island, without making a song and dance about it.

  6. luther thorne October 18, 2017 at 2:10 am

    .”………….to as the Paradise development) in Barbados between 2010 and 2012, while Arthur was at the helm of Government………..”

    Reallt ???

    • Leroy October 18, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      Was a private venture til Gov decided to get onboard to save it, maybe Owen Uncovered some irregular practices after the fact.

      Try to keep up.

      • Leroy October 18, 2017 at 2:03 pm

        dis-regard the 2010-2012 typo.

  7. Richard Johnston October 18, 2017 at 5:43 am

    Why would you choose a tainted individual when there are hundreds of clean ones who would welcome the responsibility?

  8. Tryasyoulike October 18, 2017 at 6:38 am

    I see I said..

    Jealousy I said..

  9. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore October 18, 2017 at 6:43 am

    Blame for the inability of Four Seasons to get off the ground can’t be placed at the feet of Avi Persaud. He, like many other professionals before & after him, resigned in frustration because this DLP admin did the customary, played politics with that issue. Sinclair’s failures as MoF should never be placed at the feet of another. Dr Worrell as governor of the CCB was scapegoated for the economy’s failures while he gave prudent economic advice behind the scenes. If after a long illustrious career as an international economists & this is all Arthur can identify as his failings then Skerrit has secured the services of a gem.

  10. Harry October 18, 2017 at 6:47 am

    At the end of the day Avi & Skerrit – whom i have doubts about – will both be making plenty money. Avi is in my opinion a trickster, he made big $ “working” on behalf of Paradise with absolutely nothibg to show for all the big talk.

  11. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner October 18, 2017 at 6:53 am

    Guess time will tell if Arthur or Skerrit is right but one of them will be when it’s all said and done.And Barbados Today ya all pathetic Owen Arthur was not PM from 2010 to 2012 do anyone from your office read these stories before they printed.

    • Sharon Taylor
      Sharon Taylor October 18, 2017 at 8:12 am

      It’s the editor’s job to proof read and check for accuracy…. I think… Correct me if I am wrong Mr Editor….

    • Rawle Spooner
      Rawle Spooner October 18, 2017 at 8:20 am

      Sharon Taylor You are right on point.

    • Sharon Taylor
      Sharon Taylor October 18, 2017 at 8:29 am

      Back then, a journalist did not have all the tools these nowadays journalists have at their fingertips but they were on point with their reporting… Dem ppl used to head to d library, fa d old news papers to make sure their dates and names were correct…Now journalists are 10 years old, with no memory and bad grammar…

  12. Johnathan October 18, 2017 at 6:58 am

    He is a good bag boy so Skerrit will hold him. He isn’t black n them love money so there wont be a scandal. Just like whats happening in Barbados with the 7 white men and all the contracts.

  13. Sam Clarke October 18, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Dominica, if you thought hurricane Maria was bad, wait to you see the state after hurricane Persaud.

  14. Carson C Cadogan October 18, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Skerrit is not duty bound to accept any advice from Owen Arthur.

    But now that he hasn’t can we expect sabotage of Dominica??????

  15. Sharon Taylor
    Sharon Taylor October 18, 2017 at 8:10 am

    I ain’t k bout who d man is, or wa he do or wa he run into d ground! Why wunna smart ppl dat running countries does feel outsiders smarter than wunna own? You mean to tell me u ain’t had one single Dominican that you could have put in that position? Creating employment for one of your own…. Man look, idiots does reign, watch TnT and see how they does beat it hear….

  16. roger headley October 18, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Skerritt and God know why he keeping “Avi” in spite of …..

  17. straight talk October 18, 2017 at 10:52 am

    I am seeing a different side of Skerritt, he is under pressure and can’t handle it soon from now he will become aggressive that is if he is not there yet.

  18. archy perch October 18, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    You did what !!!! Disobeyed the best Prime Minister Barbados has ever had, the economic guru? How dare you.

  19. janette reifer October 18, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Skeritt don’t let me look at you from a far off.
    I know you are under real pressure.
    Remember Owen stood by your side at one point in time helping out with paying of your Civil Servants.
    Please don’t be dissing Barbados former PM as though he is that irrelevant.
    That name Persaud sounds Indian. So be careful, you might very well need Owen Arthur again. There is an old saying, “Never bite the hand that feed you.” Believe it or not!

  20. Milli Watt October 18, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    skeritt got to get the king maker and king joker from wrong he place ASAP

  21. Punt October 21, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Dominicas own Dr Thompson Fountain is just as qualified. however he is a member of the opposition. What a good chance lost to move beyond politics but I guess not eh.


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