It is official, the appointment of the youthful Kevin Greenidge was officially released yesterday. It ended weeks of speculation by the usual suspects an African was shoo-in to take the post.
The broad definition of the role of a Central Bank according to cbben.Thomson Reuters.com:
◦ Set and implement the monetary, credit, and other financial sector policies
◦ Provide central banking services to the government and financial sector
◦ Develop the financial sector and enhance confidence therein
It is fair to say in the context of Barbados the Central Bank and previous governors have been slaves to government’s directives with the exception of the widely influential Dr. Courtney Blackman. Who can forget the term popularized by Blackman that the position of Governor of the Central Bank “is a creature of the minister of finance’.
It is not surprising to some of us Mottley wanted to make her mark with the appointment in the same way Presidents of the USA fight to influence appointments to the US Supreme Court. The phlegmatic Cleviston Haynes would never have seen his term renewed by the internationally focused Prime Minister Mia Mottley keen on sourcing and implementing policies emanating from international financial institutions, namely the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and International Development Bank (IDB).
Dr. Kevin Greenidge has been a key influencer of government’s economic policy post 2018 and obviously gained the trust and respect of Prime Minister Mia Mottley. As far as the blogmaster is concerned the sitting Prime Minister under our system of government gets to select the individual to serve as Governor and therefore any selection made will generate political commentary. Greenidge has had the benefit of operating within the bowels of the IMF for many years given his 4 year secondment, the monetary and technical support role the IMF is expected to give Barbados – now operating under a BERT II Program – who better to operate as advisor to Mottley and act as an intermediary with former colleagues at the IMF. One must assume he has also acquired a familiarity with the corridors of associated interests in Washington.
We can assume given the latitude Greenidge was given to interact with the public in his previous role as senior financial consultant to the Government of Barbados, he earned the respect and trust of Mottley. As always we will have to wait to see how he grows into the role as Governor. Will he dispense duties of the office with the panache of a Courtney Blackman or carry the unflappable and stoic demeanor of a Calvin Springer, Kurtleigh King or Cleviston Haynes.
Some continue to argue a central bank has no effective role to play in the Barbados landscape, a small developing country with a culture of deep political involvement in public sector entities supported by an unsophisticated economy and financial environment. Some countries operate without Central Banks, why do we need one?