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Feb 15, 2016

CARICOM Ministers of Finance Meet to Discuss Correspondent Bank Crisis

Glen Ysaguirre

The opening ceremony of the Twenty-Seventh Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM is about to start in Placencia at the Placencia Hotel. Late arrivals by some heads of government have delayed the launch of the three-day summit. As far as we can tell, the Prime Ministers of Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the head of state from Haiti have sent delegations and will not make it to the summit. While the meeting officially begins on Tuesday morning, a gathering of high-level officials, comprising the Committee of Ministers of Finance on Correspondent Banking, met today on the peninsula to discuss a regional approach to the ongoing issue that is having an adverse impact on the economies of the region.  That working group, chaired by Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda, has formulated a plan of action to bring international attention to the matter.  That includes a proposal to take the issue as far as the United Nations.  According to Glen Ysaguirre, Governor of the Central Bank of Belize, a number of positive recommendations came out of today’s meeting.  Likewise, other affected CARICOM member states are now looking to Belize since government and local banking officials here have been taking a proactive approach in addressing the issue.

 

Glen Ysaguirre, Governor, Central Bank of Belize

“I think it was a very productive meeting.  There was a presentation being done by the Central Bank of Barbados on a report that they conducted in the region to assess the implications of correspondent banking and make some recommendations on the way forward.  The participation was very robust and it revealed to us that what we have been saying for quite some time that this correspondent banking issue is one of the most serious threats to the region.  It’s existential in nature and I think it is more serious in terms of its economic implications to the region than I would even want to think Climate Change for that matter, because it is most immediate and urgent.  Today we learned that a small Caribbean country Montserrat, which is an associate member of CARICOM, it has only two commercial banks and they had relationships with Bank of America and they have learned that Bank of America has given them notice that within thirty days they will terminate that.  That will be very devastating for that small economy.  Without a correspondent banking relationship that would do what even the volcano in Montseratt couldn’t have done which is to have those people evacuate that island under the threat of that volcano.  With correspondent banking without being cut off from access to the international financial system it will certainly force them to look otherwise for economic survival.  And the story is the same throughout the Caribbean.  Today we heard from all the countries across the region and what they are suffering in terms of this correspondent banking issue.  So they actually turned to Belize for some advice and guidance on the way forward, given that we have been trailblazing this issue for the last two years and based on the success they think we may have had with our recent trip in Washington in terms of getting the attention of the U.S. authorities and to have them clarify for the world to know that there is not an issue with Belize as a jurisdiction but this is a most unfortunate development on the whole de-risking issue.”

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1 Response for “CARICOM Ministers of Finance Meet to Discuss Correspondent Bank Crisis”

  1. Ricky Malthus says:

    This action by Caricom is pure grandstanding (BS). Caricom is BS organization created and manipulated by USA and Britain ( which wants to exit the EEU) to keep the coloureds on the plantations. All Caricom countries inclusive of Belize must approach the US government through its Treasury Department and prove that they are in compliance with the anti-drug and anti-money laundering laws. Barrow, Ysaguirre, and Caricom know this. So why are they trying to pull the wool over the eyes of their public? Try COMPLIANCE with ANTI-DRUG and ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING LAWS!!!! You will see the veil of corresponding banking lifting. You slaves on the plantation know nothing!!!! or you like being slaves!!! HA, HA!!

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