The Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Eastern Caribbean is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Sir Dwight Venner, former governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB)and former Director of Finance and Planning of Saint Lucia from 1981 to 1989.
Sir Dwight understood the role finance professionals could play in economic development and it was during his tenure as Director of Finance and Planning that Saint Lucia witnessed an unprecedented number of Accounting graduates and Chartered Accountants gain employment in the public sector. He also ensured that their compensation was in keeping with the critical role that they played.
It is no secret that Sir Dwight was indeed a visionary – a very methodical one at that – and one who made things happen. He was passionate about the sustainable development of the OECS in light of limited resources, and constantly emphasised that investments in infrastructure and innovation are crucial drivers of economic growth and development.
He was also passionate about structural transformation and its attendant reallocation of economic activity across the broad sectors of agriculture, manufacturing and services. It was under his watch that a number of supporting development institutions were established. He signaled to the world that although we are small, we are capable of creating institutions that support our economic growth agenda, and that we can run them successfully.
He saw the need for alternative financing methods to finance the investment needs within the OECS and so on October 19, 2001 the Eastern Caribbean Securities Market (ECSM) was launched. The launch of the ECSM gave rise to new issues, in particular corporate governance and financial literacy.
He proffered: “There are three areas and professions which will play a significant role in this new dispensation, namely, the legal profession, the accounting profession and the profession of journalism.”
Sir Dwight maintained that the accounting profession is crucial to the accurate rendering and analysis of financial statements and recognised the need to train a cadre of accountants who can effectively service the corporate sector. He urged the heads of government of the OECS towards the signing of the agreement establishing the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Eastern Caribbean on November 20, 2000, something that ultimately led to the launching of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Eastern Caribbean (ICAEC) in Saint Lucia in 2004. The formation of the Institute was intended to ensure that accounting professionals meet international standards in the delivery of their services so as to instil investor confidence in the level and quality of financial information emanating from the OECS Region.
Since its establishment, Sir Dwight rendered unwavering support to the ICAEC and, under his leadership, the ECCB facilitated a World Bank sponsored project to strengthen the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Eastern Caribbean. This included the training of some 81 chartered accountants in the delivery of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) to other chartered accountants, and the establishment and implementation of Bylaws and Rules for the ICAEC.
He embraced the international standards and led by example in ensuring that the ECCB became fully IFRS compliant ahead of its regional counterparts.
He also supported the accounting profession at the regional level, having delivered keynote addresses to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Eastern Caribbean at the annual conference on more than one occasion. He was pleased about the progress made by the ICAEC since its establishment but lamented the fact that Saint Vincent and the Grenadines had not yet enacted the ICAEC Agreement Act.
The ICAEC and the profession in the Eastern Caribbean have truly lost someone who championed their cause and mourn his passing. We extend heartfelt condolences to his family, his wife Lynda and his children, including his daughter Zinga who is also a Certified Public Accountant. We want you to know that the accounting profession across the OECS Region shares the pain you feel at this time, and we pray that you receive strength in knowing that the sacrifices that he and you, his family, made over the years are very much appreciated by all in the OECS and the world at large who benefited from his service.
May he rest in eternal peace.