Former Central Bank Governor, Jwala Rambarran, is going after Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert.
Imbert, already under pressure from various sectors because of his handling of the economy, is being accused of sabotaging Rambarran’s appointment as a senior advisor with US G-24 Secretariat because of a political and personal vendetta.
Rambarran made this disclosure in his judicial review case. On Thursday, he was granted leave by Justice Frank Seepersad in the San Fernando High Court to apply for judicial review against Imbert’s refusal to release through his Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) application for any communication the minister had with the G-24 director about him. The judge fixed the first case management hearing for November 22.
In his affidavit, Rambarran said since the revocation of his appointment as Governor on December 23, 2015, he has been having difficulty sourcing alternative employment.
He said in March 2016, the Washington-based G-24, of which Trinidad and Tobago is a member, invited applications for the position of senior advisor, an operational role.
Trinidad and Tobago has been represented by the Minister of Finance and the Central Bank Governor who serve as “Minister and Deputy”, respectively at G-24 meetings.
Rambarran said during his tenure as governor he functioned at ‘Minister/Deputy’ levels at G-24 meetings, headed official delegations of meetings of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, G-24 and Commonwealth Secretariat.
Rambarran said in April 2016 he applied and in July 2016 he was interviewed by a panel comprising G-24 director, Marilou Uy and three other G-24 officials from the Executive Director Officers at the IMF and World Bank.
He said on August 3, 2016, he accepted an offer of employment from the G-24 Secretariat and negotiations had reached an advance stage when things began hitting a snag.
He said on August 16, 2016 he received an email from the director stating that she needed to address the sensitivity that the minister might have on his appointment. Rambarran said he formed the impression that the minister was seeking to undermine and prevent his appointment.
Rambarran added “I was very surprised and confused by this development.”
Rambarran said on October 28, 2016, the director informed him that she had not received any word from the minister and if he was still interested the job she would be taking the next step in the recruitment process, including processing his H-18 passport.
Rambarran indicated that he was still interested and received confirmation on November 28, 2016, that his H-18 passport petition had been approved.
He continued, “On that same day, I also received a telephone call from the G-24 director, indicating that she had received very damaging correspondence from the Minister of Finance about me.
“She said it appeared to be a personal attack as he was totally against the G-24 hiring me as a senior advisor.”
He said he conveyed his shock and surprise to the director as the position was not a political one, but purely an administrative job.
He added, “I indicated that I felt I was the victim of political bias. I informed the director that the minister has a personal political vendetta against me and it was the only explanation for his actions.”
Rambarran said he also indicated to the director that the minister had a conflict of interest because he was instrumental in the revocation of his appointment as governor. He said the director inquired if he knew any top PNM official who could speak to the minister with a view to an amicable resolution.
He said on December 29, 2016, he was informed by email from the director, that the G-24 had decided not to go ahead with closing on the offer for the senior advisor role.
Rambarran said if the minister did make those damaging remarks about him then he is utilizing his position “in the furtherance of the execution of a personal and political vendetta that is based on political bias to victimise me.”
Rambarran indicated he had applied for several other positions with international organisation but he fears that his candidacy will face a similar fate if and when the minister is contacted.
Rambarran subsequently made an official application under the FOIA for any/and all correspondence, references and recommendation during the period June 2016 and January 2017 between the minister and G-24 in relation to himself.