Central Bank Governor Dr. Delisle Worrell (left) with Attorney Gregory Nicholls as they made their way into Court yesterday afternoon.
governor holds on
GOVERNOR of the Central Bank Dr. Delisle Worrell will have to wait until tomorrow to hear whether or not the injunction against efforts to have him removed from his post will be maintained or lifted.
Yesterday, a smiling Dr. Worrell arrived at 12:45p.m. at the Supreme Court Building with his legal team, led by attorney Gregory Nicholls. The unprecedented matter was heard by Justice Randall Worrell.
Nicholls emerged around 3:30pm, without his client, who reportedly left the building through another exit.
The attorney told the media that he is very confident about the arguments put before the Court yesterday. He stressed that this is a very serious legal matter and pointed out that should the decision not return in their favour, there are other legal options on the table, including the Court of Appeal and the Caribbean Court of Justice.
“This is a question about the absolute misuse of executive power.
“This is not a flippant decision by the Governor of the Central Bank. Coming here is not an exercise in theatrics. This is a serious matter and we will weigh all the options as the need arises. As far as I am concerned, this is a matter only of law,” Nicholls asserted.
“We contend that the Minister [of Finance] does not have the power to get around the provisions of the Act. The Act sets out how a director, including the governor of the Central Bank, can be removed, and until that process has been followed, then the Minister's arrogation unto himself of a power to remove him by virtue of him signing a letter of engagement imploring the governor... he can’t go outside of the confines of the Central Bank Act,” Nicholls exhorted.
The Attorney of 17 years said he was surprised to hear the case being made by the government. “It is almost as saying that you had to get rid of the governor because if you don't get rid of the governor the economy will collapse. That is what I understand part of their argument to be.”
“We have done the best that we could do in the short time that we have had to prepare ourselves and we are now justified in coming on Sunday evening, because when the governor got wind of this last Thursday we were a little unsure as to the seriousness of this, but had we not done so, by Monday morning a real misuse of the executive powers given to Parliament to the functionaries under the Central Bank Act would have occurred in our opinion, and you really can't get around what Parliament has set out in the Act - that should be due process.”
Nicholls told the media that whereas the Minister stated that the relationship between Dr. Worrell and himself had broken down, there are provisions in Section 49 of the Act which address matters related to this type of scenario, giving the Minister power to override the policy of the Bank and give directions.
“He must then lay that direction in the Official Gazette and lay it in Parliament and the Bank must automatically assume the policy as directed by the Minister. So that the fact that the Minister and the Governor has a disagreement as it relates to monetary or fiscal policy in Barbados is not in our respectful view the correct exercise of the powers of the Minister. He can go under Section 49 and give direction. If he wants to print money from now 'til the cows come home, he can do so, but he must do it through the provisions set out in the Act. To go outside the Act is unlawful,” he stated.
Nicholls explained that the Central Bank's Governor's case has not yet been filed, but expects this should be done today or tomorrow. The arguments so far have only been on whether the injunction should be discharged or maintained.
He revealed that the Minister of Finance has filed an affidavit in the proceedings. The other members of the Dr. Worrell’s legal team consist of Renee Butcher and Janice Brown and the Minister of Finance is being represented by the Solicitor General Jennifer Edwards QC and Donna Brathwaite QC. (JH)