Dear Governor Todd
I feel compelled to state for the record how truly dismayed I am by the way you have gone about making, and informing us of, your decision to abolish TCInvest.
Many of us greeted your inaugural promise to run a collaborative and transparent administration in good faith and with goodwill. And even though I have been moved on a few occasions since your inauguration to challenge you to honour it, that promise has never seemed more hollow than it did during the Forum’s closed session this morning.
I was so caught off guard when your Director of Strategy Philip Rushbrook informed me in the parking lot on Friday of your decision to abolish TCInvest that I requested an urgent meeting, which you graciously granted yesterday afternoon.
At that meeting you explained the reasons why you thought this decision was necessary. I countered by explaining that your reasoning was fundamentally flawed because it focused entirely on the mismanagement and abuse of the agency; i.e., to coin the phrase you used, perhaps unwittingly, you were throwing out the baby with the bath water.
To be fair, I gathered that you were basing your reasoning on a report by UK Advisor Stephen Turnbull, a copy of which you were kind enough to present to me midway through our meeting. But I felt constrained to question the reliability of its findings after glancing a section on the Business Development Center : I served as chairman of TCInvest for 5 years and director of the Business Development Center 10.
I thought it would give you pause when I pointed out that it strains credulity to think that any advisor could produce a comprehensive report on the functioning of this agency, let alone my department, without speaking to me.
In fact you paused long enough to reassure me that it was only a draft report and that you were quite prepared to grant my request for the Forum to hold a public hearing so that the proffered reasons for closing TCInvest could be properly examined.
Yet less than 24 hours later you were insisting in our closed session that there was no need for further discussion because your mind had been made up, presumably based on Mr. Turnbull’s flawed and incomplete draft report.
Let me hasten to clarify that I have never questioned your authority to make this or any other decision. Which makes me wonder why you continually assert – with the gratuitous force of a parent asserting her authority to discipline her child – that you have this authority.
My sole purpose for appealing to you on this and other matters was to get you to demonstrate that your talk about making your interim administration the most honest, open, and transparent in the Caribbean is not just hot air.
Alas, that you were adamant to the point of appearing defiant this morning about your decision to abolish TCInvest, despite the earnest pleadings of members for just a chance to be heard, made it clear to all present that my appeals to you have been in vain.
I hope you appreciate how much credence this gives to those who dismissed the Forum from the outset as nothing more than a rubber-stamp for the neo-colonial machinations of British interlopers.
This is profoundly regrettable and portends dire consequences for our UK-TCI relationship.
Chair TCI Consultative Forum