Wednesday 30th May, 2018 –Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, the Hon. Gaston Browne, who is currently attending the 48th Meeting of the Caribbean Development Bank in Grenada, has called upon his colleagues and member states of the region to seek a more perfect union to address the challenges being faced.
He was giving his response to remarks by the Chairman of the Board of Governors of CDB and Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell, during the Opening Ceremony of the Bank’s Annual Meeting in St. Georges.
Prime Minister Browne said that over the past financial year, borrowing member countries of the CDB have confronted challenges which accentuate the vulnerabilities of the islands. “Natural disasters are one thing; man-made catastrophes are another. The man-made catastrophes are mounting. They include de-risking and the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations which, at best, have pushed-up the cost of doing business by our countries and adversely affected our global competitiveness,” Prime Minister Browne stated.
He noted that action is not taken now; the region will continue to face the real possibility of being excluded from the world’s trading and financial system.
Prime Minister Browne also pointed out that the region has been coerced into accepting constraints on its capacity to compete in trade and goods; and now on financial services. The country’s leader further stated that those who control the global trade and financial system insist that competition in the areas of their advantage are good, but they deny regional governments the right to compete in financial services, particularly in taxation.
“We, in the Caribbean, have to seek a more perfect union in our response to these challenges. None of us will overcome them alone; our only chance is in collective action,” Prime Minister Browne concluded.
The CDB’s Annual Meeting continues until May 31, with seminars and forums at which the Bank’s Governors will receive updates on critical operational developments that could have implications for the Bank’s day-to-day management. They will also consider proposed strategic approaches that could enhance CDB’s effectiveness and responsiveness to its Borrowing Member Countries.