Monday 09, July, 2012 – The role of the banking sector in the development of non-traditional sectors and rural/small communities was the highlight of an address delivered by Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony at the opening of the CIBC FirstCaribbean – Rodney Bay Branch, held on Sunday July 08, 2012.
Lamenting the absence of banking services such as Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) on the east and west coasts, Dr. Anthony issued a challenge to CIBC-FCIB and the entire banking sector to consider partnerships with existing institutions to provide such services in non-traditional markets.
Dr. Anthony said, “I also wish to challenge the banking sector to begin considering the expansion of banking services such as ATM machines into smaller but growing economic centres. For instance, after one heads south from Cul de Sac, whether along the East Coast or the West Coast, the next available banking services are an hour away. Yet, the communities of Anse la Raye and Dennery are both growing centres with the likelihood of expanded economic activities from eco-tourism tours, restaurants, festivals and small touristic properties. To these two communities, we can safely add the villages of Dennery and Micoud.”
The benefits, he says would go a long way in stirring up economic activity which would not only benefit the local community, but other citizens and tourists, given the strategic location of these communities, who serve as a passage between the north and south of Saint Lucia.
Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony gave the assurance that his administration would support this initiative by considering favourable requests for concessions to expand services to all villages and communities. This, he says is an important pillar in ensuring that there is equity in efforts to develop Saint Lucia. He emphasized that “no community [should be] made to feel remote, neglected and abandoned.”
While Dr. Anthony acknowledged steps taken to decentralize the services of the bank by placing ATMs at Supermarkets and Credit Unions, he believes that more can be done, with the assistance of Government and Partnership with established community organizations.
During his remarks, Prime Minister also expressed concern about the cost of inter-bank transactions, which he believes negatively affects the competitiveness of the region in this sector.