Shareholders, policy holders and citizens pay the price for trusting Hiralal
Sometimes things ARE as they appear.
An August 24, 2009 photo “Banking on Republic” in Trinidad & Tobago’s Newsday shows the happy Trinidad & Tobago Inspector of Financial Institutions, Carl Hiralal, having the honour of cutting the ribbon to open a new Republic Bank branch. (Oh, did we forget to mention that Clico owns 33% of the Republic Bank?)
The promotional message is clear: T&T’s Inspector of Financial Institutions is publicly declaring his approval of the Republic Bank and the bank personnel who appear with him in the photo: Derwin Howell, David Dulal-Whiteway, Gregory Thomson and Susan Williams.
There are other improper messages being delivered too…
Inspector Hiralal appears to be part of the Republic Bank team, a participant in the venture. He is also seen as accepting something from the bank: the honour of being the only person to cut the ribbon.
Don’t say that the ceremony and symbolism don’t matter – it mattered to the Republic Bank.
Symbolism mattered enough to the Republic Bank to stage the opening ceremony for its new branch in a certain way. It wasn’t the the bank’s managing director who cut the ribbon. It wasn’t the newly promoted branch manager or the general manager of Commercial and Retail banking who received the honour.
It was Carl Hiralal, Inspector of Financial Institutions, who was honoured by, and was seen to promote, the Republic Bank.
That is quite a different message than should be given by the Inspector of Financial Institutions. It is reflective of an old attitude, a culture of corruption, where public officials didn’t know any better or pretended that they were above the cosy image they projected.
We think it is ethically and strategically wrong for Hiralal to allow his office and his position to be used for promotion by financial institutions he is supposed to be supervising – but this has been going on for years along with a luncheon here and a glass of champagne there after an opening.
Financial institutions and their personnel should respect and fear – yes, fear – the Inspector of Financial Institutions.
But there is no fear Carl Hiralal and there can’t be much respect either after the CL Financial and CLICO debacle.
As our friend Afra Raymond said in his article for BFP CL Financial – CLICO Investment Bank scandal. Inspector of Financial Institutions Carl Hiralal part of the cover-up…
“There is a way that the entire reading of Carl Hiralal’s affidavits is surreal. The very person who was supposed to safeguard us from extensive wrongdoing and risk-taking, now has to swear to the Court that the institution has failed so badly it needs to be wound-up.”
Afra describes the content of Carl Hiralal’s affidavits about CL Financial – CLICO Investment Bank as “disturbing”, “unbelievable” and “stunning”.
The people of Trinidad and Tobago and throughout the Caribbean and our diaspora relied upon the Inspector of Financial Institutions to protect them – to ensure that the financial institutions under his supervision toed the line and obeyed the rules.
Instead, Carl Hiralal cut ribbons, made friends and munched on little pates crisps. The people he was supposed to be supervising didn’t fear him. There was no need.
How about those “valuable” CL Financial, Clico assets?
Coming on two years ago in January of 2009, our friend at This beach called life said…
“For Trinidad and Tobago’s and the Caribbean’s sake I hope the valuable assets of CL Financial prove to be valuable.”
Our friend’s hope was misplaced and Trinidad & Tobago’s Inspector of Financial Institutions, Carl Hiralal, must in large measure take the blame.