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Feb 18, 2016

Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua & Barbuda on De-risking

We have been reporting extensively on the loss of correspondent banks which was top on the agenda of the Twenty-Seventh Intersessional Meeting which concluded in Placencia on Wednesday. The ‘de-risking’ by the US banks is affecting negatively  critical services such as remittance transfers, credit card settlements  and has the potential to severely impact the tourism industry which many Caribbean economies depend on. The heads of government decided to establish a high level advocacy group, led by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne. Brown told News Five in an exclusive interview that the effects of de-risking are catastrophic.

 

Gaston Browne

Gaston Browne, Prime Minister, Antigua & Barbuda

“Clearly what is happening here is that the various banks within these jurisdictions, namely: Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, they have been faced with a number of fines for certain wrongdoings, in some instances withholding information and in many instances not complying with regulatory standards.  There is no evidence that the Caribbean has been a major area for money laundering or for terrorism financing.  So we have been in compliance with the anti-money laundering laws, the counter-financing terrorism laws.  We’ve been found to be fully compliant by a number of international organizations, including the FATF and the global forum but yet still there are states and even countries globally that continue to list our respective countries as tax havens.  And I think that too has created a degree of nervousness for the correspondent banks to the extent that they have taken the position that the potential risk of a fine which could be in the region of hundreds of millions of dollars or billions for that matter, does not justify that type of business.  So, in other words, correspondent banking relations have now become somewhat risky to the extent that these banks are now de-risking without thinking about the implications of literally de-linking CARICOM countries from the international payment system.  Clearly if you are not part of that international payment system you cannot settle your trade transactions, tourists wouldn’t be able to use their credit cards to pay for vacations to come to Belize.  So it has serious implications.”

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2 Responses for “Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua & Barbuda on De-risking”

  1. Joe says:

    Not even the US Congress, can help solve the de -risking problem. Pandora’s box has been open, and you can’t close it.
    It is the banks that they need to convince. I hope that smaller banks in the USA will help, the question is what warranty’s can be given, to assure that bad money is not in the system.

    One solution is to open a CC bank in the USA. Think about it.

  2. Primary Thief, Ali BaBarrow says:

    >no evidence that the Caribbean has been a major area for money laundering or for terrorism financing.

    This is correct, when we sell passports/Visas to Hezbollah, Zetas, Mello or any other criminal.

    This is all done with Belizean money, drugs, gold or diamonds. Our banks are not involved, we prefer Swiss banks and other places.

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