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PM: Karen Duncan’s posting at FSA temporary

PM: Karen Duncan’s  posting  at FSA  temporary

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Karen Duncan, the daughter-in-law of the Prime Minister, will only fill the post of executive director (ED) of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) temporarily, until a new executive director (ED) is appointed.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, in a call to the ‘Issue at Hand’ programme on WE FM, said the post became vacant on January 31 with the resignation, for health reasons, of former ED, Sharda Bollers.

He said the post was advertised and many persons applied, including three members of staff of the FSA.

Gonsalves said the board had not yet made a decision about who would be appointed ED and they did not want to appoint one of the current staff members to act in the position, as it would be unfair to that person if, in the end, he or she is not given the job.

“So, they decided in their judgement, to use someone who is on the board to be the temporary executive director until they finish the process of finding someone for the job. The law specifically provides for that,” the Prime Minister said, adding that Duncan, who is a senior crown counsel in the Office of the Attorney General (AG) and represents the AG on the board, did not want to take the acting position.

“She asked them not to. She told them she is not interested. In fact there are people who have urged her to apply for the job permanently. She said I am not interested in the job. I want to stay in the Attorney General’s chambers and practise my law broadly in the court on behalf of the State,” the Prime Minister disclosed.

He said the only other suitable choice for acting ED from among the board members was Stuart Haynes, ED of the National Insurance Services Ltd, but owing to Stewart’s heavy work load, that would not have been feasible.

The Prime Minister said chair of the Board of the FSA Leon Snagg begged Duncan to take the temporary acting appointment.

“…Leon begged her, because they had to get someone temporary and temporary might be two months. The law says three months. She said do it very quickly, don’t take three months to do it. I don’t want to stay three months. I would help you all out. They had to plead with her,” Gonsalves said.

Duncan is the wife of Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves, but the Prime Minister said the approval of the Minister of Finance is only required if a permanent appointment is being made.

“…If the board is appointing someone temporarily, all you have to do is to consult with the Minister and tell him what you are doing,” the Prime Minister said.

He said when the Finance Minister received the letter from the board about their decision to appoint Duncan as temporary ED, Camillo responded in writing that Duncan was his wife and he would refer the matter to the Cabinet.

“But the board doesn’t have to wait for the Cabinet. Once they write Camillo, they have done their consultation.”

Gonsalves said Duncan took up the post on Thursday, February 1.

The Prime Minister said the negative comments which are being made about Duncan are awful and unwarranted.

“They just want to beat up on this young lady for whatsoever reason. She has done nobody any wrong. She has come here; this is her adopted country. She has her two children; she is raising them here. It’s really awful…

“… She must be asking herself why did I take on this thing. I didn’t want it. I’m doing a favour and I’m getting beaten up on for nothing,” Gonsalves said.

The Prime Minister asked for right-thinking people to tell others to stop the negativity.