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Apr 25, 2022

CARICOM Leaders Want U.S. Banks to Be Held Responsible to Provide Open Service to the Region

Prime Minister Briceño said that, in many instances, the U.S. financial officials were not aware of the plight that Caribbean banks were facing. He said that the banks introduced stringent measures because the U.S. Congress passed rigid laws that can hold them liable in the tens of millions of dollars in fines if they are deemed to be managing money that are derived through illicit or illegal means. The U.S. officials are open to facilitate an audience between regional and U.S. banks, the PM informed.


John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“Let’s use Belize as an example, the former Governor of the Central Bank pointed out to me that we had services – Central Bank – with Bank of America. Bank of America was earning about three to four million dollars a year. And when Bank of America looked at the risk of providing these services, as opposed to the profits that they can make, they felt it was a risk that they would not take, so it’s called de-risking. That’s how that word “de-risking” has come about. So all of these banks have been cutting the services. I believe that they have a moral responsibility to provide these services for us. If they cut these financial services for us in the Caribbean, we’re dead. How will people in the U.S. be able to send money for their families here? How will we be able to pay for the imports that we’re bringing? How will people who want to buy from us in the tourism industry pay us if they cannot transfer these monies? One of the steps that we’ve taken is that Maxine Waters – and we’re very, very appreciative to her and three other representatives that came along with her – she said she is now going to call a House Committee meeting for their financial and banking services committee. She is going to call in these banks and she is going to invite us to come in so that we can then put our case to them. They’re hoping that they can amend some of the legislations, change some of the regulations to have certain carve-outs for small countries like us. And Maxine Waters have been making the point that we believe that we need to hold these banks responsible also, that they cannot cherry-pick, that when you have a license to provide services, you need to provide it to everyone.”

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