Keep politics out, urges Sir Neville
DEVELOPMENT FINANCIERS like the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) need to be “isolated” and “insulated” from political interference.
That is one of the key lessons left by Sir Arthur Lewis, the Barbados-based institution’s first president.
Sir Neville Nicholls, who worked with the late St. Lucian while he was at the helm of CDB, later becoming its third president, said Sir Arthur’s decision to adopt this stance when CDB was being established continued to benefit the financial institution.
Sir Neville was reflecting on the contribution of the late great Caribbean economist, who won the coveted Nobel Prize in Economics in 1979 and is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of development economics, during the official launch of the Sir Arthur Lewis Centenary 1915-2015 at the CDB’s conference centre, Wildey, St Michael.
“One of the conditions that Sir Arthur was insistent on was that for him to accept the presidency there would have to be an undertaking that no project could be put forward for consideration by the board directors without a favourable recommendation from the president. The condition was eventually accepted by CDB’s governors, who in turn requested that the president should keep the board of directors informed of the projects under consideration by the bank,” Sir Neville said.
“At this early stage, even before he had formally taken up the position of the president, I think it could be seen that Sir Arthur was seeking to ensure that CDB would be protected from political pressure in its lending operations.”
Also paying tribute were current CDB president Dr Warren Smith, his predecessor Professor Compton Bourne (via a video recording), University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus Principal Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, and Professor Mark Figueroa, Professorial Fellow at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies at UWI, Mona Campus, Jamaica.
They all hailed Sir Arthur “outstanding contribution” to world civilisation and modern economic thought. (SC)