Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne (second right) chairing Monday morning’s meeting. He is joined by CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque (second left), Assistant Secretary-General Joseph Cox (right) and Evelyn Wayne, CARICOM Secretariat
PLACENCIA, Belize -- Ahead of Monday night’s opening of the CARICOM heads of government inter-sessional meeting in Belize, finance ministers deliberated in the morning on a regional response to a threat to the banking sector in member states.
The issue is the threat to correspondent banking relationships, or the possible loss of access to the international financial markets by mainly the regional indigenous banks. Several international banks, mainly in the US and Europe, have signaled to client banks in the region an unwillingness to continue carrying their business. The so-called ‘de-risking’ by the global banks threatens to impact several critical services including remittance transfers.
CARICOM heads established a committee of ministers of finance on correspondent banking, chaired by Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister and minister of finance, Gaston Browne, to lead the response to this issue. The committee is supported by leading regional institutions including the Committee of Central Bank Governors (CCBG), the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).
The recommendations from the committee’s meeting on Monday morning are expected to go before the heads during their discussions on Tuesday and Wednesday in Placencia, Belize.