(CMC) – Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne is leading a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) delegation to the United States to participate in a roundtable discussion on de-risking and correspondent banking.
The discussion, which is being hosted by the US House Committee on Financial Services, will include legislators and bankers.
Caribbean countries have been arguing that the threat by banks in developed countries to withdraw correspondent banking services would exclude the region from the global finance and trading system with grave consequences for maintenance of financial stability, economic growth, remittance flows and poverty alleviation.
Earlier this year, Browne called for the establishment of a Caribbean bank that would allow the region to counteract the position of international banks regarding corresponding banking.
Browne, who is leading the region’s response to the issue, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the region has been making “slow progress” on dealing with the matter.
“But at the same time there’s still a problem. The corresponding banks continue to take this policy of risk and return, so as far as they are concerned the banks in the OECS (Organistion of Eastern Caribbean States) in particular are too small and they are in essence looking to bank larger banks within the region which then forces us to consolidate to have bigger banks.
“There may even be the need for us to have a Caribbean bank, that is a bank that is owned by various indigenous banks in the Caribbean and one that could have branches in the US diaspora, UK diaspora (and) Canadian diaspora in order to provide services to the Caribbean in the diaspora,” he said then.
The roundtable discussion follows a meeting in September between Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and US Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the US House Committee on Financial Services.
Apart from Browne, the other members of the CARICOM delegation include St Lucia’s Prime Minister and CARICOM chairman, Allen Chastanet, Trinidad and Tobago’s National Security Minister, Stuart Young and the CARICOM Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque.