‘ECCU open for membership’
January 28, 2005
‘ECCU open for membership’

“We are open for membership!”

With those words Governor of the East Caribbean Central Bank Sir K. Dwight Venner issued a call Tuesday for Caribbean states not members of the East Caribbean Currency Authority (ECCU) to join up.

Sir Dwight made the call as he responded to questions from his multinational audience, linked across the region and with Washington D.C. by radio videoconference and television following his address on the ECCU Economy in 2004 and Prospects for 2005 and Beyond. {{more}}

Commenting on the fact that persons express concern about Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica moving ahead with a the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), he emphasized that the OECS have “already achieved a high level of integration with a common judiciary, a common currency and central bank, joint foreign representation, a common directorate of civil aviation, pharmaceutical procurement, telecommunications regulation, banking regulation, and close collaboration in health, education and security matters”.

The bank Governor made the point that the ECCU comprises eight countries which is half of the entire CARICOM grouping.

He had earlier made the point in his address that our countries, which are among the smallest in the international community, had already made substantial progress in forging ahead with closer collaboration. He urged that we use the increase in size and critical mass as a platform for maintaining the current rate of growth, addressing the pressing fiscal and debt problems and restructuring the economies to make them more competitive. This way, he said, makes them capable of sustaining high rates of growth over long periods of time.

He therefore stressed that “a consistent level of real growth at the six per cent level would be critical for increasing income levels, lowering unemployment and reducing poverty”.

Sir Dwight said that under the umbrella of a wider economic and financial space within the currency union, it would be easier to effect public sector reform, financial sector reform, and private sector development.

He also noted that significant investments could be made in the health and education sectors and social safety nets and the tourism industry, the major catalyst for growth, would be most effective if the linkages could be made with agriculture and light manufacturing.

In his opinion finance and information and communication technology will be critical sectors, representing high technology activities, which would complement and be supportive of the traditional sectors.