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Another resignation from EDAB
Economist Dr Ronald Ramkissoon is the latest member of the Cabinet-appointed Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) to quit, bringing to three the number of confirmed resignations from that body.
He told the T&T Guardian he stepped down because “not much has happened in respect of our submissions to the Government.”
Dr Ramkisoon’s resignation follows closely on that of trade unionist and Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) leader David Abdulah on April. There are reports that Professor Godfrey Mungal, one of two overseas-based members of the EDAB, has also quit.
Dr Ramkissoon said: “We think that the country needs strong a diversification strategy, a strong commitment and doing things differently. We have spoken about diversification for a long time and if we do not do anything differently then we are going to have the same results we have today which is really little or no diversification.”
He said unless there was a strong commitment to making radical changes in the way in which the country does business, the economy will not be diversified.
In his resignation letter dated April 5, Abdulah had said the work of the EDAB came to a halt after the resignation of then chairman Dr Terrence Farrell earlier this year. He also noted weakness in the EDAB being able to achieve its mandate as it is not institutionalised.
Reports that the EDAB may be scrapped completely and replaced by a recently appointed five-man Implementation Committee headed by businessman Christian Mouttet could not be confirmed up to late yesterday. That committee has been mandated to assess businesses interested in large and medium scale projects to get the economy stimulated. Its other members are retired banker Richard Young, chairman of the T&T International Finance Centre Management Company Limited, Blair Ferguson, Caribbean Airlines chairman Shameer Mohammed and Gloria Jones Nape, who is from Tobago.
Contacted from comment about these developments, CEO of the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Gabriel Faria said he is hoping for a statement from Government on the matter
Faria said he appreciated Abdulah’s rationale for resigning and added: “I hope that Government will provide more clarity around the role of the EDAB and the Implementation Committee so it’s clear to all parties about their roles and their expectations that we have from each body. I believe that both bodies have a role to fulfill.”
“Once it is clear how both the EDAB and the Implementation Committee fit into the master plan, things will be a lot more settled,” Faria said.
Abdulah, when contacted yesterday, called on Government to issue a statement.
“One would have thought there would have been some public statement by the Government about the future of the EDAB,” he said.
‘When Dr Farrell resigned there was no statement afterwards except to thank him for his services. There were two previous resignations, Trevor Lynch and Dr Rolph Balgobin, “ Abdulah added.
The Cabinet-appointed EDAB was mandated to provide advice to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, as well as maintain a strong focus on sound economic analysis, proper public sector management principles, and good governance. Its main focus is economic development through development and advocacy of policies, programmes and projects which bear on T&T’s long term development and transformation, specifically those that promote diversification of the economy.
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