The Central Bank of Governor will soon have a new governor. It will be in the person of Kareem Michael. Prime Minister John Briceno confirmed to Love News today that Michael has been selected to replace Gustavo Manuel Vasquez, the former Central Bank Governor whose contract was terminated prematurely almost four months ago. In an email to staff, Vasquez wrote (unquote) “please be absolutely assured that I leave with my head up high as I tried my best to restore the integrity and operational autonomy of the Central Bank, and certainly faced stiff opposition from the Ministry of Finance and Special financial and economic sector interests.” (unquote) Michael is no stranger to the staff of the Central Bank. Michael is currently a Deputy Governor and according to PM Briceno, he has accepted the appointment.
John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “We’ve been in discussions with Mr.Kareem Michaels. We have looked high and low in trying to find who would be the most appropriate person to lead the Central Bank. We’ve looked even in the region. In the region the cost is way too high we wouldn’t have been able to afford it. We looked in Belize some of the people we were looking at were already retired and probably would not be adequate to come in and so we felt that Mr.Michaels who has been a career central banker and a member of the Central Bank has the experience. He knows the bank very well. He also understands government policy and understands the importance of the central bank working in tandem with the central government and believes that the best way to move the country forward is for the central bank and government working at the same time moving in the same direction. So after long discussions with different people and ministers and the board of directors their recommendation has been that we appoint Mr.Michaels as the governor of the Central Bank. Yes he has accepted. He’s a young man but brilliant, very intelligent, hard working and I know some of my colleagues have concerns because they think he comes from a UDP family but unfortunate but so what ? I mean I think we need to look at his qualifications and his sincerity and three his wanting to work at the Central Bank but at the same time wanting to cooperate and work in tandem with the government. From all that I have seen he meets all of those qualifications.”
Love News has learnt that the appointment of Michael as the new Central Bank Governor has angered many supporters of the PUP, primarily because the new Governor comes from a long line of UDP supporters and also because the post was not advertised. As we noted, Michael is no stranger to the Central Bank as the post of Deputy Governor was especially created for him under the previous administration. He had served in the capacity of Deputy Governor for two years, but was contracted to be the liquidator for Choice Bank Limited with a hefty payment. Whilst being the liquidator for Choice Bank he kept the Central Bank vehicle, and once he had wrapped up that assignment he was reinstalled as the Deputy Central Bank Governor. Michael does hold a Master of Public Administration Degree in Economics from the Columbia University in New York City as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Valdosta State University in Georgia, USA.