Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis responds to Turnquest and FNM proproganda headed for the Tribune in the morning…



Hoin. Michael Halkitis Minister of State for Finance

Sunday, 20th October, 2013

In 2011 and 2012 the Ministry of Finance engaged a number of individuals on a contract basis. Some of these individuals were attached to the business license and real property tax unit of the Ministry of Finance. These contracts were not standard public service contacts in several aspects.

Some of these contracts expired in 2012 and the remainder expired at various points during this year. All individuals were paid in accordance with their contracts including gratuities.

These individuals were kept employed notwithstanding that the contracts had expired, some expiring as far back as July 2012.

However, it is difficult to administer employees who are engaged in a manner not consistent with the public service norms. Therefore the decision was made to disengage these individuals and where employees were needed, new contracts consistent with public service rules would be issued. At disengagement these individuals were given remuneration which exceeded the legal requirement.

In the absence of new contracts, these individuals would languish in a proverbial no man’s land. For many of the individuals concerned, this process that we are now undergoing represents the first steps toward eventual regularization of their employment status.

This is purely an administrative matter. The FNM knows this and in a roundabout way, in their statement, they admit that they know this.
But true to form with the FNM, they seek to confuse the issue and impute improper motives where there are none.

Furthermore in their statement, the FNM accuses me as Minister of State for Finance of harbouring some sinister plan to send public servants home by alleging that I made some speech to that effect at an international conference last year.

While I did attend an international conference in Trinidad last year, I gave NO speech at that conference. This fact can be easily verified with a simple check of the list of speakers at the conference which was the first high level Caribbean forum jointly sponsored by the IMF,World Bank, Caribbean Development Bank and the IDB. The Bahamas hosted the second forum in September of this year.

What did happen is that at the conference in Trinidad last year, a reporter from a Bahamian newspaper asked me in the hall outside the meeting room how much money from the capital budget of the Bahamas goes as cash transfers to public corporations. I gave him the estimate and the reporter asked if this number was ideal and if not, what would be an ideal figure? I told the reporter that it would be the goal of the government to gradually reduce the need for the public treasury to have to transfer such sums of money to public corporations by gradually making those corporations more efficient.

No speech given at the conference and no talk of reducing the public service.

All of the matters raised in their statement could be easily verified if the FNM was interested in the truth instead of just getting up to political mischief.


Peter Turnquest LIED TO THE MEDIA – AGAIN!!!! Michael Halkitis never gave a speech at the conference Turnquest claimed – HERE IS THE ITINERARY FOR ALL TO SEE….

Monday September 3, 2012

6:00pm – 7:00pm

Registration – Hyatt Boardroom Terrace/Jade Room

7:00pm – 9:00pm

Welcome Reception–Hyatt Jade Room
Morning Session—Day 1—Tuesday, September 4, 2012

8:30am – 9:00am

Welcome by:
Hon. Winston Dookeran, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trinidad and Tobago
Warren Smith, President, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)
Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF)

(Open to Press)

9:00am – 9:15am


9:15am – 10:00am

Outlook for the World Economy, Latin America, and the Caribbean
– Saul Lizondo, Associate Director, Western Hemisphere Department, IMF

Small States Around the World: How Are They Different?
– Brad McDonald, Deputy Unit Chief, Strategy, Policy, and Review Department, IMF

10:00am – 10:15am

Coffee break

10:15am – 12:15pm

Economic Challenges Facing the Region

Moderator—Thomas Hockin, Executive Director, IMF

Keynote Speaker, Victor Bulmer-Thomas, Emeritus Professor at London University—Restoring Export-Led Growth in the Caribbean

Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Hon. Peter Phillips, Minister of Finance, Jamaica
Hon. Ashni Singh, Minister of Finance, Guyana

12:30pm – 2:00pm

Lunch: Address by IMF Deputy Managing Director Min Zhu on An Interconnected World
Afternoon Session— Day 1—Tuesday September 4, 2012

2:30pm –4:30pm

Topic 1: Growth and Competitiveness: A Way Forward

Moderator—Carla Barnett, Vice-President, CDB

Competitiveness in the Caribbean
– Aliona Cebotari, Deputy Division Chief, Western Hemisphere Department, IMF
Latvia’s Experience
– Ilmars Rimševics, Governor, Bank of Latvia
Policies for Stabilization and Growth in Small Very Open Economies
– DeLisle Worrell, Governor, Central Bank of Barbados

Hon. Nazim Burke, Minister of Finance, Grenada
Patrizia Tumbarello, Unit Chief, Asia and Pacific Department, IMF

Q & A

4:30pm – 4:45pm

Coffee break

4:45pm – 6:00pm

Topic 2: A Regional Approach for the Financial Sector

Moderator—Professor Compton Bourne, Executive Director, Caribbean Centre for Money and Finance (CCMF)

Regional Financial Stability
– Nita Thacker, Deputy Division Chief, Western Hemisphere Department, IMF
Supervisory Challenges in the Caribbean
– Courtney Christie-Veitch, Advisor, CARTAC
Private Sector Investment in the Financial Sector—Opportunities and Challenges
– Jun Zhang, Caribbean Regional Manager, International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Hon. Larry Howai, Minister of Finance, Trinidad and Tobago
Hon. Sir K. Dwight Venner, Governor, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank
Brian Wynter, Governor, Bank of Jamaica

Q & A


Dinner and Cultural Show Hosted by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago (Diplomatic Centre, St. Ann’s)
Morning Session—Day 2—Wednesday September 5, 2012

8:30am – 10:15am

Topic 3: Framework for Sustainable Fiscal Policy and How to Lower Debt

Moderator—Gerard Johnson, General Manager, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Fiscal Challenges in the Caribbean
– Therese Turner-Jones, Deputy Division Chief, Western Hemisphere Department, IMF
Debt Restructuring in the Caribbean
– Ian Durant, Economist, CDB

Dr. the Rt. Hon. Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, St. Kitts and Nevis
Hon. Harold Lovell, Minister of Finance, Antigua and Barbuda
John Moran, Secretary General, Department of Finance, Ireland

Q & A

10:15am – 10:30am

Coffee break

10:30am –12:00pm

Topic 4: Role of the International Community and the IMF

Moderator—Paulo Nogueira Batista, Executive Director, IMF

How Can the IMF and Other Partners Better Support Caribbean Reform Efforts?
– Hunter Monroe, Senior Economist, Western Hemisphere Department, IMF

Desiree Field-Ridley, Advisor, CARICOM
Juliet Melville, Director (Acting), Economics Department, CDB
Jwala Rambarran, Governor, Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago

Q & A

12:00pm – 12:30pm

Wrap up—Communiqué on Takeaways

Warren Smith, President, CDB
Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director, IMF


End of Conference

Press Conference (CDB, IMF, Trinidad and Tobago Authorities)

Organizing committee: Therese Turner-Jones, Gerardo Peraza
Conference coordinators: Francis Cyril Strodel, Irina Sirbu, Eneshi Kapijimpanga