Dr. Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon has resigned with immediate effect from his position as president of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The surprising resignation comes after months of being placed on administrative leave as an internal investigation proceeded at the regional financial institution.

In a three-page letter sent to the CDB by his St. Lucian lawyers, Leon stated he is of the opinion “he will never be treated fairly” by the bank following his suspension in January. The letter alleges violations of the bank’s charter, policies and regulations in how the investigation involving Leon has been conducted.

“Our client has therefore made the extremely difficult decision to resign his elected position of the President of the Bank with immediate effect,” the lawyers wrote.  They have given the CDB until May 4th to “negotiate an amicable separation” and indicated further legal action may follow.

Leon’s lawyers assert that the bank lost “all trust and confidence” in the president by failing to prevent “continued violations” of protocols regarding the elected leader’s treatment. They claim the investigation’s initiation and continuation have been “unconventional” and lacking due process.

While the specifics of the internal probe remain unclear, Leon’s lawyers state the allegations against him remain “bare, nonspecific” without details provided on “dates, subjects, places or references to the evidence.”

The CDB has not commented substantively, with acting president Isaac Solomon previously confirming only that “an internal administrative process” was ongoing involving Leon.  

Originally from St. Lucia, Leon was elected CDB president in January 2021 for a five-year term after over 20 years with the International Monetary Fund. His abrupt resignation ends a tumultuous tenure atop the regional development bank.