Outgoing Chairman of the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB), Carole Eleuthere-Jn Marie, has urged regional states to move speedily to implement agreements that will facilitate the establishment of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).
Speaking during the Association’s 39th Annual General Meeting at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James, on Wednesday (November 14), Mrs. Eleuthere-Jn Marie noted that current global economic challenges demand that CARICOM moves to put the agreed positions on the CSME in place to ensure the sustainability, growth and development of regional economies.
“With current world events demonstrating, more and more, the value of integration, the benefits of CAB and the difference we can make to the integration of the industry are immeasurable. There is need for us to build consensus and continue to collaborate with stakeholders in the financial services sector, in order for us to survive the challenges of the industry,” she said.
Mrs. Eleuthere-Jn Marie noted that the global economic outlook remains “grimly characterized” by high levels of unemployment, unsustainable debt and fiscal imbalances. These factors, she lamented, continue to impact the Caribbean nations, whose economies are “heavily dependent” on inflows of foreign direct investments, tourism, and trade in goods and services, largely originating from the Euro zone and the United States.
“Consequently, the financial services sector of the region is now at a juncture where the need to be innovative, steadfast and efficient is paramount in order to secure its very survival,” she underscored.
The CAB official contended that part of the solution, going forward, is to “navigate the future”, adding that the Association will continue it is mission of advancing its members’ interests through advocacy, networking, training, and other solutions. This, in the organization’s quest to strengthen the Caribbean’s financial services sector and position the industry’s sustainability and survival.
“It is my humble opinion that, now, more than ever, is an opportune time for the region to move speedily towards the implementation of the provisions under the CSME; and to make good, some issues of integration and consolidation, especially as it pertains to inter-regional trade in goods and services,” she posited
Mrs. Eleuthere-Jn Marie further contended that: “The current environment gives financial services institutions the opportunity to take bold strategic action in order to survive and grow. We, as stakeholders of the financial services industry, (must) take heed and position ourselves to build on our success, regroup, and learn from our failures”.
Meanwhile, the CAB’s incoming Chairman, Jamaica’s Carlton Barclay, urged members to “re-examine our strategies (as) we need to grapple with the matter of financial literacy; we need to modernize our systems and be more responsive; and be more proactive about doing business”.