CARICOM central bankers to table proposals on crisis to Heads

Regional central bank governors are to provide CARICOM Heads of Government with proposals by the end of this month on how the community can tackle the effects of the international financial and economic crisis.
This was agreed yesterday at a meeting of the heads in Belize.

And amid the global turmoil and the crisis that has gripped two regional financial giants: C L Financial and the Stanford Group, CARICOM Secretary General, Dr Edwin Carrington yesterday declared that a Pan CARICOM regulatory body is required.

“…if anything this period in global history has underscored for us in this Region is the absolute urgency for this Community to have the capacity to act and indeed to so act as one entity in such instances.  In moving towards a Single Market and Economy, the instances of Pan CARICOM enterprise demand a Pan CARICOM regulatory jurisdiction. A CARICOM Single Market and Economy cannot be governed and regulated by national instruments and institutions alone”, Carrington said as he addressed the 20th intersessional meeting of CARICOM Heads in Belize City.

A press release from the CARICOM Secretariat last evening said that the global situation was the premier item in the first business session. The release said that in closed door sessions the Heads mandated the Committee of Central Bank governors to “provide them with the current regulations to ascertain what could be utilised collectively to confront the challenges.”

Carrington, in his address at the opening of the summit, said that it was no exaggeration that the meeting was occurring at a time when the world was in the “greatest crisis in most of our lifetimes.” No country has been unscathed and even the most optimistic observer saw no early recovery from the crisis, Carrington said.

He declared that the impacts were multiple and that “our remittances are fast falling to pittances”. The Secretary General lamented that tourism has been severely hit, even in the lucrative winter season and this has affected air and land transportation, handicraft creation and entertainment with repercussions for employment and income for the self-employed.

Energy has also been battered in key economies and the financial sector has been shaken by the woes of Colonial Life Financial and the Stanford Group. He noted that in the face of the crisis, regional governments have taken action to limit the worst of the fallout in an effort to maintain the “most prized asset of any financial market – confidence”.

He contended that the community has also not been idle. The Bureau of the Heads of Government had considered the matter last November aided by an analysis by the CARICOM Secretariat and the committee of central bank governors.  In December last year, too, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) had also floated proposals and in January of this year the Council for Finance and Planning had met and had set up a task force under the CDB to fashion strategies.

He also praised the advocacy of President Bharrat Jagdeo on the question of avoided deforestation and posited that his voice must not be the only one to be heard from the region.

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