Former Central Bank governor Ewart Williams has refused to comment on statements made by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan about $305 million spent on legal fees by the Central Bank over a five-year period.
Approached by reporters at the Securities Dealers Association (SDATT) Annual Awards Dinner on Thursday night, Williams said he "will not be saying anything about what you read in the paper (Thursday) morning."
Speaking during the budget debate in the Senate on Wednesday, Ramlogan gave a breakdown of the figure he descibed as being paid for "out of the taxpayers' kitty".
• $113 million in legal fees paid by the Williams-led Central Bank between October 2007 and July 2012
• $103 million in legal matters relating to CL Financial Ltd
• $32.5 million for the Commission of Enquiry into CLICO/HCU and $57 million for fraud against the public.
Williams was the feature speaker at the SDATT awards, held at MovieTowne, Invaders Bay.
He urged the organisation to increase its lobbying for the passage of the Securities Industry Act and accelerate its promotion of new financing mechanisms, including a corporate bond market and venture capital window for small and medium enterprises.
Williams also lamented the country's heavy dependence on the energy sector and said if the country was to reach its economic potential, it needed a vibrant, diversified, competitive non-energy sector, and capital markets will be called upon to play an important role.
"I believe SDATT as an important part of the capital market infrastructure will need to bring the considerable expertise of its members to this critical task," he said.
Williams was also sceptical about Finance Minister Larry Howai's growth projections for 2013.
"The national budget assumes real growth for 2013 of 2.5 per cent. This may be on the high side. Even assuming the gas production returns to normal levels, the gov infrastructural programme is implemented as budgeted and private sector activity recovers, at the very least this projection carries high downside risk," he said, quipping, "That's another way of saying I don't believe it."