There’s a part of me that ought have been dancing a jig yesterday. I read that the Minister of Finance may be stripped of certain powers related to the banking system. Yipee! In particular, the post holder has lost responsibility for appointing the Governor of the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) and will also lose the power of having direct responsibility for the monitoring of banks and other regulated financial institutions on the island. In addition, the BOJ Governor to now get the power to grant or revoke licences to deposit-taking institutions. This would bring the BOJ in line with the Financial Services Commission, which is empowered to grant and revoke licences for the institutions it supervises.
Bills tabled in the House of Representatives recently make these proposals. They propose that the BOJ Act be amended to allow for the governor to be appointed by the governor-general for a period not less than seven years–recommended by Cabinet, we can presume (so, it may not really matter that much).
But, there are a few wrinkles that make one a little uneasy. The minister with responsibility for finance may recommend to the governor-general that the governor may be removed for, among other things, failing to adequately discharge the functions of his office or failing to ensure that the bank achieves its targets. Also, at present, the governor, the senior deputy governor, and deputy governors are appointed by the minister for a period not exceeding five years. Despite a change in the way the governor is appointed, the minister will still be responsible for the appointment of the senior deputy governor and the deputy governors, who will be appointed for a period not longer than five years. I don’t understand that and hope that some consistency in appointments gets inserted when the bill is debated. Under the IMF programme, the bills must be passed by May.