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Minister Usher Comments on GOB’s New Central Bank Governor

The government has selected Kareem Michael to replace Gustavo Manuel Vasquez as the Central Bank Governor. Prime Minister John Briceno confirmed the selection saying that while Michael comes from a UDP family, he has the qualification and desire to carry out the responsibilities. Briceno also acknowledges that some under the PUP party tent are not necessarily happy or comfortable with the selection due to Michael’s UDP background. And he is right. We’ve heard rumblings in the People’s United Party by senior members who are disgruntled with the Prime Minister’s choice. We asked Fort George Area Representative Henry Charles Usher about it.

Reporter: Do you believe that he’ll get along with the Minister of Finance and Economic Sector interests that Mr.Gustavo Manuel Vasquez said that he faced stiff opposition from and in your opinion would Mr.Michael be a rubber stamp for the powers that move in the background ?

Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Public Service, Constitutional and Political Reform: “Well I can tell you that the search for the replacement for the Central Bank Governor was done principally by the Prime Minister, by his team at the Ministry of Finance and they feel satisfied that Mr.Michael is up for the job so  I will respect the decision of the Prime Minister. Certainly in terms of their relationship if they feel that he is qualified and can work with them then certainly I will have to go with what they say. I think what is important is that we have in place a team at the Central Bank to carry out the fiscal objectives needed to turn this economy around and that’s what is the most important here. We want a Central Bank that is able to set monetary policy that will take this country forward. We saw terrible mistakes being made in the past in terms of monetary policy. A simple example is that US treasury note that was issued at 6%. Who issues a treasury note at 6% you know when there is so much cheaper paper or money available out there. It just was not being done in a productive or you know in a fashion that was above board. So I think it was important to have a team led by a governor but a team including the board of governors to make sure that they carry out the fiscal and monetary policy needed to turn this economy around.”

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.