Barbados Finance Minister Chris Sinckler today fired the Governor of the Central Bank, Delisle Worrell, following a legal battle, that extended over some two weeks, over whether the politician has the authority to dismiss the top public servant.
Worrell’s dismissal this morning marks the culmination of suspense that gripped the nation since the Monday morning of Feb. 13, when news broke that the governor was on the Sunday night forced to take the unusual step of having a High Court judge bar Sinckler from firing him.
Sinckler had given the governor the ultimatum to either resign that Monday, or be fired.
Worrell’s injunction against Sinckler lasted until the following Thursday when it was removed because the same judge ruled that the finance minister was indeed empowered to dismiss the regulator of financial transactions of Barbados.
Lawyers for the Central Bank Governor got the injunction immediately re-instated by appealing the judge’s ruling, but on hearing the matter yesterday, the Appeals Court re-affirmed Sinckler’s right to fire Worrell.
Sinckler exercised that right to fire Worrell this morning.
Barbadians first got hint that all was not well between the former Central Bank governor Worrell and the administration of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart after the chief financial regulator published in early January, what he titled an ‘economic letter’, in which he made the surprise announcement that the government needs to halt its practice of taking new issuances of money from the Central Bank to pay its bills.
In spite of the fact that this practice, which economists call printing of money, had for years been criticised by Opposition politicians, business associations, and even the International Monetary Fund, Worrell had continued to do the government’s bidding and provide the unsupported currency.
Some commentators believe that his refusal to continue along that path was the root cause for his dismissal, though government’s stated reason is that the Board of Directors of the Central Bank had indicated that they are no longer willing to work with Worrell because of his reported high-handed manner of operating.