Renewed Commitment to Integration Process

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne

Thursday 6th September, 2018 –Prime Minister Gaston Browne says there is a renewed commitment to the regional integration process.

He was speaking at the end of the Sixth special meeting of the Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP), which he chaired in Bridgetown, Barbados.

He said the COFAP meeting discussed the regional framework for a deposit insurance system “which will establish a level of protection for depositors against losses due to the failure of financial institutions.

“The conference urged the urgent implementation by the Council for Finance and Planning for the Caribbean Community and this is especially important considering the failures of BAICO, CLICO and other financial institutions within the region…”

Browne said having this type of protection is “absolutely important” adding that discussions were also held on a community investment policy and an investment code, an incentive regime, an integrated capital market.

The prime minister revealed “We also agreed that the finalisation of the CARICOM Financial Services agreement should be expedited. These actions will strengthen the regional financial stability mechanisms,” he said, adding that the COFAP also approved in principle the objectives of the CARICOM credit reporting policy “’which among other things provides for the regulation of the operations of credit bureaus and cross border exchange of credit information within the Community”.

Browne described this as a ‘very important initiative” which he said will promote financial inclusion for CARICOM nationals as they live and work across the 15-member grouping.

Regarding the policies of the developed countries including the European Union to graduate some regional countries making it difficult for them to obtain concessionary loans as well as labelling them tax havens, Browne said “this issue remains a…threat to the region

“And we are seeking to dialogue with the various bodies within the EU…obviously at the top political level so that they can understand the consequences of their actions…that are now impacting on the region especially in the context of the proposed sanctions and the blacklisting.

“So this is an issue we are monitoring very closely and we are hoping that there will be certain interventions made within the next 30 days that hopefully will bring some relief to the various countries within the region,” Prime Minister Browne said.