New ECCB gov­er­nor out­lines his vi­sion to re­gional and lo­cal me­dia

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

BAS­SETERRE, St Kitts (SKNIS) -Me­dia prac­ti­tion­ers from across the East­ern Caribbean Cur­rency Union (ECCU) were given an op­por­tu­nity on Mon­day to in­ter­act with the new gov­er­nor of the East­ern Caribbean Cen­tral Bank (ECCB), Ti­mothy An­toine, as he out­lined his new vi­sion for bank­ing within the ECCU dur­ing a press con­fer­ence at the bank’s head­quar­ters in Bas­seterre, St Kitts.

An­toine’s vi­sion for the next five years and be­yond for the ECCU in­cludes the main­te­nance of a strong East­ern Caribbean (EC) dol­lar, de­liv­er­ing com­pre­hen­sive over­sight of the fi­nan­cial sys­tem that en­cour­ages the de­vel­op­ment of strong and re­silient fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions in­clud­ing in­dige­nous banks, mon­i­tor­ing cred­i­ble and ef­fec­tive fis­cal rules, pro­vid­ing thought lead­er­ship and in­flu­en­tial pol­icy ad­vice to mem­ber coun­tries to el­e­vate growth, de­vel­op­ment and em­ploy­ment, en­hanc­ing the bank’s ef­fec­tive­ness through higher lev­els of trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity and con­tin­u­ous learn­ing, busi­ness im­prove­ment and shar­ing with key stake­hold­ers.

Regi­nald An­der­son of Saint Lu­cia posed a ques­tion with re­gard to em­ploy­ment, de­vel­op­ment, growth and en­trepreneur­ship and queried the help­ful­ness of the bank in this re­gard.

“I think we have to look at the regime we have for small busi­ness sup­port,” said An­toine. “If you look at em­ploy­ment across the re­gion, in many coun­tries small busi­nesses ac­count for 40 per­cent to 50 per­cent of all em­ploy­ment in our coun­tries. There­fore, as an im­por­tant pol­icy, we have to en­sure that we give the req­ui­site sup­port to small busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. That means spe­cial fi­nanc­ing which you would not nec­es­sar­ily get from some of our com­mer­cial banks.”

He also spoke to the mat­ter of ex­port credit guar­an­tees to sup­port and en­cour­age ex­port in­dus­tries and firms.

“There are things we did as a bank years ago and we no longer do,” he said. “There may be good rea­sons why we need to re­visit those.”

St Kitts and Nevis’ me­dia prac­ti­tioner, Glen Bart, ques­tioned the pri­or­ity ar­eas that the gov­er­nor would ad­vise gov­ern­ments to get into, to sup­port or pro­mote the strength­en­ing of the econ­omy and the pri­vate sec­tor.

“I don’t want to be too pre­scrip­tive be­cause I did prom­ise you we have to lis­ten and we have to ad­vise but there are clearly some ar­eas of com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage,” said An­toine. “Whether it is geo­ther­mal in Do­minica or med­i­cal education and med­i­cal tourism in Gre­nada, do those things well and grow those ar­eas be­cause those are op­por­tu­ni­ties, and then look for the link­ages within the re­gion.”

The gov­er­nor noted that ev­ery­one has a con­tri­bu­tion to make; how­ever, the com­pet­i­tive­ness is im­por­tant. “There are dif­fer­ent things for dif­fer­ent coun­tries, a num­ber of coun­tries have na­tional strate­gic plans or are work­ing on them. I think we have to sup­port them; we have to see what in­fra­struc­ture we need be­cause in some cases the in­fra­struc­ture is lack­ing.”

Prior to en­gag­ing the me­dia, An­guilla Chief Min­is­ter Vic­tor Banks, chair­man of the Mon­e­tary Coun­cil, took the op­por­tu­nity to wel­come all present and de­scribed the event as mo­men­tous. He ex­plained that his task was to in­tro­duce the gov­er­nor of the cen­tral bank and noted that he is well known in the me­dia. Banks also took the op­por­tu­nity to thank the com­mit­tee that was in­volved in the process of se­lect­ing An­toine.

“We ar­rived to the con­clu­sion that in this pe­riod Gov­er­nor An­toine is well-suited to lead the East­ern Caribbean Cen­tral Bank and the ECCU at this pe­riod,” he said.

An­toine re­places Sir K. Dwight Ven­ner who re­tired as gov­er­nor of ECCB on Novem­ber 30, 2015 af­ter be­ing in that po­si­tion for over 25 years.

An­toine met with St Kitts and Nevis Prime Min­is­ter, Dr Ti­mothy Har­ris, on Mon­day at his of­fice in Bas­seterre.

Gov­er­nor of the East­ern Caribbean Cen­tral Bank,

Ti­mothy An­toine.

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