October 23, 2020

OPINION: When financial dunces in the Caribbean become ministers of finance


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By Jolly Green

Ralph Gonsalves was Finance Minister of and the Grenadines, he has a little knowledge of finance but was most probably unfit to be finance minister. His performance has proven that, the state of the country’s finances have proven that, the loss of the NCB bank has proven that. Bad financial decisions such as Buccament Bay Resort and giving Dave Ames an investment citizenship have proven that. Building the Argyle International Airport, a project undertaken for political reasons, not for sound financial fiscal reasons has also proven that.

Then along comes his son who is said to be prime minister elect in any new Unity Labour Party government. Camillo Michael Gonsalves, a man that has no financial degrees and is even more dunce than his father prime minister Dr Ralph E Gonsalves when it come to finance. So why was Camillo appointed Minister of Finance of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on the 10 November 2017? Well some will simply say it’s because he is in line to the Gonsalves/Francis family dynasty leadership, some will say because his nepotistic father wanted him trained in that position because the position of finance minister is an executive or cabinet position in charge of one or more of government finances, economic policy and financial regulation, and just one step below being prime minister. So for sure Minister of Finance is in practice the most important cabinet post after the Prime Minister. Forget the post of permanent , a post said to be held by Sir Louis Straker, because that post is not a constitutionally legal position, there is no provision in the constitution for such a post.

If a Public Corporation or Limited Liability Company hires a Chief Financial Officer what do they look for in such a person?

The job of a chief financial officer comes with extensive responsibilities. As a senior executive you are responsible for an entire organization’s financial planning and cash flow monitoring. You must analyze a company’s financial strengths and weaknesses and suggest plans for improvement. At any given time you may be balancing the needs of various accounting and finance departments, while ensuring the company’s financial reports are accurate and completed by strict deadline. If you’re up for the task of becoming a CFO, the first thing you should focus on is your education. CFOs at medium- and large-sized companies determine which college degrees are required to be held by chief financial officers.

Here are the top eight degrees; one or more is required to be Chief Financial Officer: See attached

So if that kind of education is required to be a Chief Finance Officer in the business world, what should we expect in the world of running a country’s finances? Running a country’s finances is surely a much bigger and more complex task than running the finance of a corporation or company.

Of course what we should have and what we get in the Caribbean is way below par compared with what happens in first and second world countries.

What type of knowledge should a good minister of Finance have (Specific courses in college/masters degree/other) a good grounding in economics? At least they should have or be a Chartered Accountant, or Chartered Certified Accountant, or Bachelor of Mathematics (BMath), or have a PhD in Economics, even all of them would be preferential

On average, across the countries, 31 per cent of finance ministers have an advanced degree in economics. This ensures they have advanced numeracy and ability in analyzing large quantities of data and logical financial thinking. Even finance ministers of economically-troubled nations such as Greece and Portugal have finance ministers who are more highly educated in economics than their peers. For instance 69 per cent of Greek and 55 per cent of past Portuguese finance ministers have had a PhD in economics, but the rest have had qualifying degrees of some kind.

What we in can be sure of is that a family dynasty by way of Ralph Gonsalves and now unqualified controlling SVG’s finances are surely a major part of the country’s financial problems. If they don’t qualify to be a CFO in most corporations they certainly do not qualify to run our countries finances.

The finances best known of the Gonsalves, father and son, are for international financial scrounging and begging [IFSB] from states that require SVG’s backing at the United Nations, in one form or another.

It’s not just SVG, the problem extends throughout the Caribbean, and square pegs in round holes, makes Camillo a very dull boy, saying nothing of Doctor Salt who put VAT on salt and taxed people from the Grenadines to leave Saint Vincent by ferry.


This is the second in a series of essays debunking Camillo Gonsalves. My other Camillo Gonsalves essay is listed below, one to three should be read as one:

1-1/ Camillo Gonsalves and the Leapfrog Syndrome – Part 1

1-2/ Camillo Gonsalves and the Leapfrog Syndrome – Part 2

1-3/ Camillo Gonsalves and the Leapfrog Syndrome – Part 3

Letter: Camillo Gonsalves and the Leapfrog Syndrome – Part 3

Jolly Green, a giant of a man.

DISCLAMER: The opinion, belief and viewpoint expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinion, belief and viewpoint of iNews Cayman/ieyenews.com or official policies of iNews Cayman/ieyenews.com

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