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Duncan expected to replace Byles as EPOC co-chair

Published:Friday | November 18, 2016 | 12:00 AMJovan Johnson

Keith Duncan, chief executive officer of the Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) Group, is expected to replace Richard Byles as co-chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC).

Byles, the president and chief executive officer of Sagicor Group Jamaica Limited, informed committee members in an email yesterday that he was stepping down from the position but would remain on the committee as his company's representative.

"For the past three and a half years, I have had the opportunity to co-chair the committee, and I believe it is now a good time to have someone else take on this new agreement and lead it to a successful conclusion," Byles said in the email obtained by The Gleaner.

"It has been a rewarding journey, and I thank you wholeheartedly for your support."




EPOC was set up to monitor the implementation of the 2013 IMF deal, which was replaced last week by a-three-year programme.

Since the change of administration and appointment of Audley Shaw as finance minister, there were concerns in some quarters that Byles would have been replaced.

While in opposition, Shaw had repeatedly criticised Byles as being "a mouthpiece" for the People's National Party administration.

There were also concerns that the monitoring committee would not continue.

However, Shaw has given the assurance that the EPOC would remain although its structures would be reviewed.

"We fully intend to continue with EPOC," he said in an interview yesterday on Nationwide Radio. "We want to thank him (Byles) for the work that he has done. It has been tremendous work."

Shaw, meanwhile, said Duncan is the proposed co-chair and is "entirely appropriate". He's "an outstanding young businessman, who is willing to take up the mantle".

Duncan declined to speak on the matter, only stating that he believed the oversight committee should continue.

Byles also declined to comment on the matter.

EPOC comprises 11 representatives from the private and public sectors, civil society, and trade unions.

Bank of Jamaica Governor Brian Wynter is the other chairperson.