The Opposition People’s National Party says Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke, was derelict and negligent in his oversight responsibilities as the minister in charge of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and Jamaica’s financial system.
The Opposition’s call comes against the background of the initial denial by Clarke of any knowledge of the crisis within Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL), followed by his acknowledgement that the FSC sent a report to him on April 3, 2020, describing serious problems within SSL, which he never even read much less acted upon.
In a release, Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Julian Robinson said: “It is unacceptable for the minister to say he did not read this report, given the critical supervisory role played by the FSC in the financial services industry, and his overall responsibility as minister. This is one of the most important agencies that report to the minister, and their reports to him should have been treated as a priority.”
The report sent to the minister in April 2020 flagged serious deficiencies in the operations of Stocks and Securities Ltd (SSL) which would warrant strong enforcement action on the part of the FSC to protect investors and Jamaica’s financial system.
While the minister does not have direct operational responsibility for the FSC, his ministerial oversight function should have caused him to question the appropriateness FSC’s glaringly ‘light touch’ recommendations, which were clearly inadequate given the serious nature of the problems identified at SSL.
The Opposition is reiterating its calls for the full disclosure of all reports by the FSC on the SSL, including all examination reports, and all correspondence that were sent to the minister and Ministry of Finance.