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Feb 17, 2016

CARICOM Chair Reiterates That Nothing is Wrong with Caribbean Jurisdiction

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Barrow and a delegation of high-level financial experts have concluded a round of meetings in the U.S. with regulatory and federal agencies. Nothing concrete came out of those meetings in terms of new correspondent banking relationships or the mending of old ones. But what has come out, according to the PM, is an assurance by all involved that there are absolutely no problems with the Belizean jurisdiction which may have been factors contributing to the crisis. Today Barrow says that the region is taking real steps forward, but in the meantime it is important to proceed on the basis that there is nothing wrong with the jurisdiction, and the solution to the problem lies elsewhere.

 

Dean Barrow, Chair, CARICOM
“One of the things we’ve talked about is the possibility of perhaps getting insurance that could see us then be in the position to pay the fines that would be levied against the correspondent banks if they get into trouble because of some transaction with us. There’s also talk that we might even offer to the U.S. that we be fined rather than the correspondent banks—but I don’t see how that would work. Jurisdictionally and legally I think there would be some problem with that. So the question of pursuing some sort of insurance is very much on the table.  The thing is that sort of thing might be a little bit longer term and we are faced with this immediate problem. On the question of corruption in government…none of our societies is absolutely free of that; no society in the world. There is corruption in the U.S. government; there is corruption in government everywhere. While we are always engaged with that issue and trying to do better, there is nothing I have heard from any regulator that suggests that that is an issue; to the extent that they are not happy in the U.S. with our record in terms of trafficking in persons, they are not happy with this, they are not happy with that. They engage us on those individual issues and they engage us in a way that leaves no doubt as to where they stand. That is why I repeat that I have to take them at their word when they say there is not a problem with our jurisdiction. You are talking about the United States of America, the only super…why would they? They are not going to be overawed by me; they are not going to be intimidated by me. Why would they feel that they would have to mince words with respect to problems with our jurisdiction if such problems exist? So I absolutely want to reject that notion and I also want to suggest that we should be careful because in a sense of these people are saying there’s nothing wrong with your jurisdiction, but we keep saying there must be more to it than that…perhaps there is something wrong. How long will it be before they start saying, “Oh, we’re telling you that there is nothing wrong and you are saying…maybe we know more than you do. Let us take another look at your jurisdiction.”

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