The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is days away from the dawn of a new era with the official departure of Sir K. Dwight Venner who has been in the post of Governor since 1989.
Sir Dwight leaves his St. Kitts-based office on November 30, 2015; he was on contract for the past two years since he occupied the post past the retirement age.
Anguilla’s Chief Minister Victor Banks said in an interview with WinnFM radio in St. Kitts recently that “The search team…went out and they made a couple of selections and interviews. They had a number of applicants. They’ve narrowed it down to three applicants and they have indicated a preferred applicant,”.
The three interviewees for consideration were according to well placed sources, Dominican Dr. Valda Henry, the financial secretary of Grenada and a member of the Bank’s Board of Directors Timothy Antoine,
and Dr. Higinus Gene Leon of St. Lucia. It is widely speculated that former St;.Kitts-Nevis Financial Secretary and Ambassador Wendell Lawrence was also among those short listed .
Dr. Leon was selected and he has accepted the appointment.
A national of St. Lucia , Dr. Gene Leon is a Senior Resident Representative for the International Monetary Fund in Jamaica. He was a Deputy-Division Chief in the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the International Monetary Fund, which undertakes economic surveillance on the economies of the Gulf Cooperation Council. He has been at the IMF since 1996.
Prior to joining the Fund, he was the Director of the Research Department at the Central Bank of Barbados and taught at the Universities of Southampton and Kent in England and the State University of New York in the United States. Mr. Leon has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Southampton, England. His research interests are in applied econometrics and finance..
The new governor is taking up his position during a critical period in the history of the 32 year-old ECCB. The economies of the region are in shambles as the islands continue to be plagued by high levels of joblessness, crime and under production. Dr. Leon’s vision, management and leadership style will therefore determine the path of the Monetary Union.
“So he has to play a pivotal role in ensuring that they are well informed and apprised of the issues and continue to exert the kind of leadership that ensure that this formidable task that he is undertaking is done to the best of the ability and to the benefit of the region,” Chief Minister Banks told WINNfm speaking of the yet un-named new governor.