Caribbean felt full brunt of climate change in 2017

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Dominica hurricane

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados,  CMC – In 2017, the Caribbean felt the full brunt of climate change with a warning that current trends indicate that there will be no respite.

Within a two-week period, Hurricanes Irma and Maria brought home the reality of the impact of climate change as they churned their way across the Lesser Antilles destroying everything in their paths. Hurricane Harvey had in August set the stage for what was to come; with devastation in Houston, Texas, amounting to nearly US$200billion.

“The unprecedented nature of this climatic event highlights the unusual nature of weather patterns that continue to affect nations across the globe,” the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Irwin LaRocque said in a message to United States President Donald Trump, as Harvey made landfall in the United States after whipping up strong winds and heavy rains in the Caribbean.

It took less than a month for his statement to bear fruit. Hurricanes Irma and Maria, two Category 5 storms left so many Caribbean islands devastated in September that the CARICOM Chairman and Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell said “there can be no question that for us in the Caribbean, climate change is an existential threat”. (more…)

‘Looming’ issue of de-risking in Region remains high on CFATF agenda

Delegates at the CFATF Meeting in Georgetown, Guyana (Photo via Department of Public Information)

Executive Director of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), Calvin Wilson has said that de-risking or the loss of correspondent banking relations is looming largely across the Caribbean region because of what is being perceived by international financial institutions as “high-risk jurisdictions operating in a high-risk region.”

Wilson is disagreeing with this perception on the basis that many of the countries have taken stringent steps to correct the deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, during their mutual evaluations. He disclosed that many of the formerly high-risk countries are now compliant or “largely compliant” with the standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

ALBA issues Declaration on solidarity with Caribbean

Alba 2017 photo

The Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA) grouping has come out in support of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on a number of matters including graduation, reparations, de-risking, and climate change.

The support came in the form of a Declaration of solidarity with the Caribbean that was issued at the conclusion of the Fifth Meeting of ALBA’s Political Council, held in Havana, Cuba on Monday 10 April. CARICOM Member States which are members of ALBA were represented at the Meeting.

Please see Declaration below:

We the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas – People Trade Treaty, at the 15th meeting of its Political Council in Havana:

Recognize the need to face together the challenges in order to achieve sustainable development, including our vulnerabilities as Caribbean countries and in particular as Small Island Developing States and countries in low lying coastal zones, especially in the economic and environmental areas, and to build more just and equitable societies; (more…)

Finland signals interest in CARICOM’s bio-energy

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The Government of Finland, through its newly accredited envoy to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), has expressed strong interest in exploring the bio-energy potential in mainland territories of CARICOM.

Speaking at the ceremony at the CARICOM Secretariat for the presentation of his Letter of Credence to CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, on Thursday 16 March, 2017, the new Finnish Ambassador, His Excellency Kukka Pietikaine said his country wanted to continue cooperation in renewable energy technologies.

He said forest-based bio-energy has a central role in Finland’s economy, with 80 per cent of its renewable energy coming from forest biomass. Indicating that CARICOM and Finland “should take a closer look” at the region’s bio-energy potential, he said that Finland was one of the global leaders in waste-to-energy solutions and a forerunner in bio-fuel technologies.

Another interesting field of cooperation between CARICOM and Finland, he said, could be the development of wave energy, with Finland also possessing “first class technologies in this field,” adding, “a preliminary wave energy assessment would be the first step for the development of the blue energy resources.”


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CDB funds project to prevent loss of correspondent banking relationships

March 17, 2017, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved funding of US$250,000 to strengthen financial transparency, and assist in preventing the loss of correspondent banking relationships (CBRs) in the Region.

In the Caribbean, CBRs facilitate a number of payment systems, including international trade, cross-border payments and receiving of remittances. Recently, some large international banks have started terminating or severely limiting their CBRs with smaller local and regional banks, in an effort to reduce exposure to risks associated with money-laundering and financing of terrorism. This process, known as de-risking, has negative implications for the Caribbean, potentially resulting the loss of trade relationships and negative economic impacts.

CBRs are fundamental to the efficient operation and resilience of the global financial system. This project will contribute to a more stable financial system in the Caribbean, which will in turn allow more banks to access CBRs, so that they can continue to carry out international transactions. This is critical if the Caribbean is to reduce poverty and spur economic development,” said Daniel Best, Director of Projects at the CDB. (more…)