Clico crisis: ‘Regional cooperation lacking’

(Barbados Nation) – The region has not co-operated enough in terms of how each country regulates its financial matters, and the Clico crisis has painfully exposed this.

This is the view of Trinidad and Tobago’s Central Bank Governor, Ewart Williams, who admitted this on Wednesday at the end of the one-day regional leaders meeting between the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), along with Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago at the Hilton Barbados.

“One thing we need to recognise and we need to confess … is that perhaps there has not been sufficient regional co-operation on regulatory matters,” Williams told regional leaders and the media.

He said his own country – represented at the meeting by Prime Minister Patrick Manning, who had to leave early to host a press conference on the Summit of the Americas could not escape blame, noting that “sometimes one gets the impression we are going our separate ways, not realising that in the final analysis we are one regional space”.

Williams said if there was one thing the current regional financial crisis should underscore was the need for regional states to work more closely, not only to be able to anticipate crises but to respond in a co-ordinated way anytime another crisis arose.

“There are a number of lessons to be learned from this Clico issue, and it certainly is need for much more regional co-operation than has occurred in the past,” he added.

Williams pointed out that, even with the best regulation in the world, one could never guarantee that some institution would not face critical challenges – either because of exogenous factors or excessively risky behaviour.

He added that the job of the regulator was to seek to get an early-warning system in order to quickly recognise the institution that is finding itself in trouble, and secondly, to have arrangements in place not only to deal with the specific institution but to minimise contagion within the system.

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