Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 19th 2017 Contents A12 news
guardian.co.tt Sunday, February 19, 2017
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders
have agreed to engage the services of lobbyists
at a cost of US$240,000 to deal with the issue
of the loss of correspondent banking facilities
currently facing the region, Prime Minister Dr
Keith Rowley has said.
Rowley made the statement yesterday at the Dip-
lomatic Lounge of the Piarco International Airport
following his return to this country from the Inter-
sessional Meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Gov-
ernment held in Guyana.
Rowley said the issue of de-risking in the banking
sector was one of "great interest" and "strong con-
cern" at the CARICOM meeting.
"The other area which was of great interest and I
would not want to say alarm but strong concern is the
whole question of the threat to our banking system
and the threat that this poses to economic collapse
in the region if we are in fact to find ourselves deter-
mined as a high risk area and lose our correspondent
banking facilities," he said.
According to a report by the International Monetary
Fund correspondent, banking with global banks allows
smaller banks access to the international payments
system including the facilitation of money transfers
and currency exchange.
"Without these banking relationships, businesses
are cut off from international trade and financing,
families are unable to collect remittances from rel-
atives working abroad, and foreign investors may be
unwilling to invest if there is a risk they will be unable
to repatriate their profits," the IMF stated.
A survey conducted by the Caribbean Association
of Banks shows banks in T&T are among 12 countries
in the region who have experienced loss of corre-
Residents of Enterprise, Chaguanas, were
greeted with gospel songs and prayers this morn-
ing as members of the Pillars of Truth church
marched through the streets demanding an end
to violent crime.
The march, led by Pastor Dale Des Vignes, start-
ed around 8 am in Longdenville, before proceeding
through the Enterprise community, toward the South-
ern Main Road, culminating at Montrose Junction.
From a music truck, Des Vignes called on the com-
munity, which has been plagued by violent crime, to
turn away from crime and turn to God.
"We are trying to show we are fed-up with criminal
activities in the community and we are demanding a
cease fire and asking them to put down their guns,"
Des Vignes said in an interview.
"Enough is enough and there has been enough
bloodshed and criminal activity in this community."
Des Vignes, who has been a pastor at the church
for almost a decade, said he had seen evidence that
young men in the community wanted to turn away
He said that often young men would come to the
church and ask for prayers and talk about wanting
to change their lives.
Yesterday was the church's fourth annual march,
and Des Vignes said the church was involved in ac-
tivities in the community to engage young people,
including skills training.
As residents stood to pray with the group, he said
he was sure the church will get a positive response
from the community.
One resident shouted "Thank God" as the group
approached, adding that the only thing which could
save the country from crime was God.
Rowley said Antigua and Barbuda's Prime
Minister Gaston Browne presented a report
on the issue at the CARICOM meeting.
"It (the report) maintains that we are at
great risk and a decision was taken at this
meeting to encourage all countries to move
with great urgency to ensure that we pass
the necessary legislation to ensure that we
are compliant with the international stand-
ards demanded of us and that we ensure
that we make every effort to lobby in the
relevant quarters so that our case is made
known and we do not get treated adversely
by accident," he said.
"Against this background the work of
the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda
indicated that he identified by that effort
adequate lobbying arrangements in place
but there was a cost to that and the cost is
US$240,000 and the heads agreed that that
cost should be incurred and the lobbyists
should be hired and put to work to join the
efforts made by CARICOM to ensure that
we stave off any further de-risking or loss
of correspondent banking access because
we at the level of CARICOM understand
the devastating effects that that is having
on those territories which are already ex-
posed to it and could have to those countries
which may fall to be de-risked or who may
lose their correspondent banking business,"
T&T has also been selected to host the
Caribbean Festival of Arts (Carifesta) 2019.
"We will immediately commence prepa-
rations so when the time comes we will
give a good account of ourselves hosting
the region in Trinidad and Tobago," Row-
CARICOM to hire lobbyists to
tackle threat to banking sector---PM
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