In a stunner move today - the government fired the governor of the Central Bank, Gustavo Manuel Vasquez - after less than 6 months in the job.
Vasquez took over the bank in April - eminently qualified with a spectacular CV - including 15 years at the IMF in Washington DC.
But, it seems the formal approach he brought to the job didn't earn him any friends in Belize's financial sector.
Reports say that Vasquez ran afoul of at least one major bank with his stern demands. But, other reports say higher up's at the Ministry of Finance found Vasquez inflexible and basically impossible to work with.
And that's why Sydney Campbell, a former governor in the Ralph Fonseca days was brought in - from the graveyard of PUP governments past - as Chairman of the Central Bank - and then promoted to Executive Chairman - to try and guide Vasquez.
For his part, reports suggest he felt that the Ministry of Finance was trying to run the independent bank like an arm of the Ministry.
So things weren't gelling, and led to today where Vasquez was informed that his instrument of appointment from the Governor General was being revoked. Basically, go home, "now". He sent an email to staff saying "I leave with my head up high as I tried my best to restore the integrity and operational autonomy of the bank and certainly faced stiff opposition form the Ministry of Finance and special financial and economic sector interests I (will) take ALL necessary actions to defend myself and my reputation." End quote.
That's a less than veiled suggestion hat all is not well in the regulatory area of the financial sector, but government sent out its own release putting a much more peaceable spin on things.
It says, "The Board of Directors of the Central Bank, after notification from the Minister of Finance, Prime Minister John Briceno, announces the departure of Mr. Gustavo Manuel Vasquez from the post of Governor of the Bank, effective today.
The current Chairman of the Bank's Board of Directors, Mr. Sydney Campbell, who himself is a former Governor of the Bank, has been directed by the Prime Minister to shepherd the Bank's operations until the appointment of the new Governor, which is expected shortly.
During this transition, the Board expects Deputy Governors, Kareem Michael and Marilyn Gardiner-Usher, along with the Bank's Senior Management and Staff, to collaborate closely with Chairman Campbell.
Mr. Vasquez had previously served as Advisor in the Office of the Governor and then as Governor since April 01 of this year.
The Prime Minister will advise the Governor General at an appropriate time regarding the designation of a new Governor of the Bank." End quote.
Now, what is interesting in all this is that Government will have to pay off Vasquez with one of those huge compensation agreements for early termination - which we're told could is starting with a demand for over a million US dollars.
Also worthy of note is that Manuel Vasquez was known to be a close friend of John and Jaime Briceno, from Orange walk like the both of them - but it seems the relationship quickly soured.
We'll see where this one goes, but it could end up in Court.