On April 20, Chairwoman of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, Maxine Waters (D-CA), joined Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley to co-host a Caribbean Financial Access Roundtable at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Center in Barbados. The full-day roundtable focused on concrete proposals to tackle the challenges that small island states face due to the continued reduction of the availability of trade and financial services for their economies and people. In addition to Prime Minister Mottley, several CARICOM Heads of Government participated as did the CARICOM and OECS Secretaries-General. Senior representatives of U.S., Canadian, and Caribbean financial institutions also contributed as did industry experts from the Caribbean and the U.S.
Prime Minister Mottley opened the engagement with a welcome to the six-member Congressional Delegation led by Chairwoman Waters. She said, “We believe that we live in the same neighborhood. We are friends. We are family, and we have a vested interest in making this the best neighborhood possible for all of our citizens, and we recognize your commitment.” She added, “We are unflinching in our support for international efforts to stop crime, to stop terrorism, and to stop their financing.”
In her remarks, Congresswoman Waters said, “I am indeed committed to fostering greater inclusion within the financial services sector, and as Chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee of the United States House of Representatives, my committee has prioritized promoting financial access to traditionally marginalized and underbanked communities in the United States and abroad. For the Caribbean especially, this has long been a personal mission. Simply put, the Caribbean – its people and its culture – matter. The islands of the Caribbean are among America’s closest neighbors. We do tourism together, we do trade together, we secure the hemisphere together, and we’re family – both as a regional community and through the Caribbean diaspora in the United States.” She added, “We must work together to find ways to increase financial connections including correspondent banking services to and from the Caribbean.”
The international conference follows Chairwoman Waters’ previous high-level in-person CARICOM engagement on financial access and banking de-risking issues in November 2019, and highlights the importance of the U.S. relationship with the Caribbean and its diaspora, which has influential impact on American culture and economy with over 8 million people in the U.S. She is joined in Barbados by Financial Services Committee members Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), and other members of the United States House of Representatives Troy Carter (D-LA) and Stacy Plaskett (D-VI).