The Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission has not had a properly constituted board for nearly five months and the regulator of the local securities market is now operating with an acting chief executive officer, as the term of office of the former CEO, Hadyn Gittens came to an end on July 31, 2020.
Responding to queries from Express Business, the Commission disclosed that the term of the board ended on April 24, 2020.
The recommendations for the appointments to the board of the Commission come from the Ministry of Finance. The recommendations from the ministry are then reduced to a Cabinet Note and the approved Note is sent to the Office of the President, which issues the instruments of appointment.
Section 10 (2) of the Securities Act states: “The President shall appoint all the commissioners and shall appoint one of their number to be its chairman and another commissioner to be its deputy chairman.”
Asked if the Ministry of Finance was aware that the TTSEC is currently without either a board or a substantive CEO, an official there said: “There is Cabinet-appointed board, but the process is waiting on instruments from the President.”
Communications advisor to President Paula-Mae Weekes, Cheryl Lala, said the instruments of appointment for the new TTSEC board had been received by the Office of the President. But the instruments were sent back to the Cabinet secretariat because they contained “a few errors.”
The Ministry of Finance official said the incoming board of TTSEC bears a resemblence to the board whose term ended on April 24, except for the chairman. The previous chairman of the Commission is senior counsel Douglas Mendes, who is also president of the Law Association of T&T.
Under past board members on the TTSEC’s website are: Mendes as chairman; deputy chair Enid Zephyrine, who is a director in the Ministry of Finance; commissioner Suzette Taylor-Lee Chee, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance; commissioner Imtiaz Hosein, an accountant; commissioner Patrick Solomon, who is senior adviser at the Central Bank and commissioner Elaine Green, an attorney at law.
Section 10 (1) of the Securities Act states: “...the Commission shall consist of no more than nine nor fewer than five individuals, including—(a) an attorney-at-law of at least ten years standing; and (b) a senior officer from the Ministry (of Finance).”
Questioned on what the TTSEC would be able to do without a properly constituted board and if without a board, the Commission can levy fines on companies, approve new products, register new entities, a TTSEC spokesperson said: “The Commission’s operations continue as usual and matters which require the Board’s approval/resolution will be held until the appointment of a new board.”
On Monday, Hadyn Gittens confirmed that his three-year contract as CEO of the TTSEC expired on July 31, 2020.
Concerning the transition after the end Gittens’ contract, the Commission said: “When the contract of Mr Hadyn Gittens expired, Ms Lystra Lucillio, who holds the substantive position of deputy CEO, was appointed to act in the position of Chief Executive Officer, with the approval of the Minister of Finance, effective August 2, 2020.”
With respect to the appointment of a substantive CEO, section 22 of the Securities Act states:
22. (1) The Commission may, with the approval of the Minister, appoint its chief executive officer who shall not be a Commissioner.
(2) The Minister shall approve the terms and conditions of appointment of the chief executive officer.
(3) The chief executive officer shall perform such functions as may be conferred on him by the Commission....”