Antiguan PM warns of ‘clear and present danger’ of impending correspondent banking crisisFriday, January 29, 2016
QUITO, Ecuador (CMC) – Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne has warned of what he described as a "clear and present danger" associated with the decline in correspondent banking relations among Caribbean countries.
"The system is pernicious, destructive and callous," Browne told a plenary session on Wednesday during IV Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) here.
"If Caribbean financial institutions lose correspondent banking relations, the following will take place: First, remittances from our diaspora, which are important to the foreign exchange earnings and the welfare of the poor in our society, will be adversely affected," he warned.
"Second, businesses will not be able to pay for goods and services they import, which are necessary for human existence," Browne added. "And third, the tourism industry, upon which we depend, will be fatally injured when payments cannot be made and revenues received."
"Participation in CELAC puts us in a group that has international weight and influence," the Antigua leader continued. "And it is, therefore, an excellent vehicle for bringing our concerns and issues to the attention of global decision-makers."
Browne also commended the burgeoning integration arrangements among the CELAC member states and the "invaluable support" being provided by the People’s Republic of China through the US$35-billion China-CELAC Fund, according to an Antigua and Barbuda Government statement.
The 21 heads of state who attended the one-day summit debated on a variety of political and economic topics before approving the 2016 action plan, including the peace progress in Colombia and the electoral crisis in Haiti.
At the summit’s conclusion, Ecuador handed over the bloc’s rotating presidency to the Dominican Republic.
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