Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips today stated that the loss of correspondent banking, increase of the unbanked, and disruption of the flow of remittance will pose serious threats to the economic and social stability of the Caribbean.
He made the statement while addressing a Caribbean Financial Access roundtable discussion today in Bridgetown, Barbados.
The Prime Minister joined several CARICOM leaders at the meeting and they all voted unanimously to launch an annual US-Caribbean Banking Forum roundtable meeting.
“Madam Chair, the loss of correspondent banking and the increase of the unbanked is a security challenge to the Caribbean, and I’m happy that we’re discussing this and we have arrived at a position where we will have this annual roundtable to deal with the challenges, it will be an opportunity for us to share ideas and cooperate as we move forward,” he said.
The Prime Minister added that Guyana is particularly interested in increasing correspondent banking, more so because the oil and gas economy will “propel us towards becoming an international financial centre”.
Correspondent banking facilitates country-to-country services and acts as an intermediary to facilitate wire transfers, conduct business transactions, accept deposits and gather documents on behalf of other banks.
Guyana’s participation in the one-day roundtable discussion on de-risking and correspondent banking came at a request from the Prime Minister of the Republic of Barbados, the Honourable Mia Mottley.
In a missive to His Excellency President Dr Irfaan Ali, Prime Minister Mottley indicated the importance of Guyana’s participation.
“This encounter will provide the ideal opportunity for us to engage with major players in the financial services industry in order to find solutions for these intractable issues.”
She added that Guyana’s “presence will definitely be very instrumental and important in addressing the myriad of problems associated with these issues”.
Prime Minister Phillips met with Prime Minister Mottley and Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, US Congresswoman Maxine Waters on Tuesday.
He is also expected to take part in a meeting with the CARICOM Heads of Government and a Special US Envoy led by US State representative Waters this evening.
The other regional leaders at the event include: the President of Suriname, H.E Chandrikapersad Santokhi; the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Keith Rowley; the Prime Minister of Belize, the Honourable John Antonio Briceño, the Prime Minister of Dominica, the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit; the Prime Minister of Grenada, the Honourable Keith Mitchell; the Prime Minister of St Lucia, the Honourable Philip Pierre and the Premier of the Cayman Islands, the Honourable Wayne Panton along with Ministerial representatives from Jamaica and St Vincent and the Grenadines.