Enhancing the Region’s Financial Safety-Net among measures getting COFAP support

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Finance and Planning Ministers from the Caribbean Community have agreed to the urgent need  for a deposit insurance system to provide some protection for depositors against losses due to the failure of financial institutions.

The Ministers held their sixth Meeting of the CARICOM Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP) under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda at the Ilaro Court in Barbados on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Browne, in a post meeting statement, said the measure was important given the recent failure of some financial institutions in the Region, including insurance companies BICO and CLICO.

“Even in the case of Antigua and Barbuda we had perhaps one of the most spectacular bank failures, in which we had the ABI Financial Group that went belly up. My government had to issue a deposit protection fund in the region of $250 million representing almost 10 percent of our GDP,” Prime Minister Bowne disclosed.

The Ministers also approved in principle the objectives of the CARICOM Credit Reporting policy, which among other things, provides for regulating the operations of Credit Bureaus and cross border exchange of credit information within the Community, further promoting regional growth and development.

CARICOM Heads of Government, at their July Meeting in Jamaica, mandated COFAP to finalise these and other instruments ahead of next year’s Heads of Government Meetings.  This week’s COFAP Meeting also considered an Investment Policy, an Investment code, and an Integration Capital Market beginning with the adoption of model Securities Legislation.

On the issue of CARICOM Member States being labelled as non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, the Ministers urged a more collaborative approach with the European authorities and other relevant international bodies.

“This area remains an existential threat to the Region and we are seeking to dialogue with various bodies and individuals within the EU at the highest political level so that they can understand the consequences of their actions,” Prime Minister Browne stated as he pointed to unilateral decisions taken by these bodies, including proposed sanctions and black listing that are now impacting the Region.

“We will work collectively on this matter. In fact we’re hoping that there will be certain interventions made within the next 30 days that will hopefully bring some relief to the various countries to avert any potential black listing and curtailment of technical support or grant aid.

 

Editors Note:  The Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP) consists of Ministers appointed by CARICOM Member States and the Council has primary responsibility for economic policy coordination and financial and monetary integration of Member States.

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