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Shortlist or selection of BOJ governor expected by September

Published:Friday | March 22, 2019 | 12:00 AM

A shortlist of candidates for the post of governor of the Bank of Jamaica, BOJ, and possibly a selection, is expected by September so that enough time will be available to make the transition in November this year when the incumbent Brian Wynter exits the position.

The process to find a new governor started some time ago, and last week the search committee advertised the position as part of the required steps, BOJ Senior Deputy Governor John Robinson told the Financial Gleaner.

He said Minister of Finance Dr Nigel Clarke has indicated that he is hoping that a shortlist of candidates or a selection will be made by September this year.

Robinson also confirmed that the role of chairman of the central bank will continue to be held by the governor of an independent BOJ.

“The intention is that the governor of the central bank will also be the chairman, as it is in most other central banks,” he said, referring to the bill to amend the Bank of Jamaica Act currently being examined by a joint select committee of Parliament.

Robinson said the difference is that there will be committees of the board which will have a more direct responsibility for several of the bank’s functions.

According to the amendment bill, the BOJ board will be responsible for strategy, policies, general oversight and administration of its affairs.

Under the existing BOJ Act, the minister of finance was mandated to appoint six members to the board. That is being replaced by a deputy governor appointed by the governor general, acting upon the recommendation of the bank, and five other directors also appointed by the governor general.

A new provision is contained in the bill that where a deputy governor no longer holds that office, the term of appointment as a member of the board will cease.

Clarke, in a statement posted on the ministry’s website in January this year, announced the commencement of the search for a new governor to succeed Wynter on the completion of his term of appointment in November 2019.

“As announced in 2017, Governor Wynter was asked to extend his appointment … for a further two years, to a total tenure of 10 years, in order to advance specific reforms and to play a central role in the formulation and consideration of the reform of the Bank of Jamaica Act,” the finance minister said.

The search committee is chaired by David Marston, who worked at the BOJ before embarking on a career at the International Monetary Fund. Its other members are Tony Lewars, former partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers; trade unionist Helene Davis-Whyte; and businessman Gary ‘Butch’ Hendrickson.

In tabling the amendment bill in Parliament in October last year, Clarke said the reforms were meant to clarify BOJ’s primary objective to maintain price stability, strengthening the institutional independence and accountability, putting in place an effective board decision-making structure, and restoring policy solvency of the central bank.