A crucial Conference in Antigua is set to address issues confronting the banking system in the Caribbean.
Pursuant to a mandate from Heads of Government of the [Caribbean Community](http://caricom.org) (CARICOM), Antigua this week will host a conference of high level representatives of the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD Global Forum on Tax matters, the Inter-American Development Bank, the CARICOM Secretariat, the Caribbean Development Bank and representatives of governments, central banks and regulatory authorities. Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne has responsibility for financial matters within CARICOM.
The majority of banks in Caribbean countries have experienced the loss of correspondent banking relations that threaten to sever the region from the world’s financial and trading system, unless it is arrested soon. The event is being held October 27-28, and reportedly is a ‘closed door’ forum of the stakeholders to address the problem through a frank dialogue, and looking for sustainable solutions.
The Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador, Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s point man in the organization of the conference, has said there will be a session on the *“unfortunate branding of Caribbean jurisdictions as tax havens”* – a wrongful branding *“the region has been fighting for over two decades”*. He also noted that in part this accounts for the fear that exists in US banks that they face high-cost risks by providing correspondent relations to Caribbean banks.
IMF Deputy Managing Director Zhang Tao will make a public statement on the second day of the conference on October 28. At the end of the conference, Browne will issue a ‘chairman’s statement’ on the outcomes and recommendations of its deliberations.
Next week, the IMF will host a High Level Caribbean Forum in Trinidad and Tobago, when the agenda (Session III) will include policies to address de-risking.
**Shifting Tides: Challenges and Opportunities**
The Trinidad forum will bring together Caribbean prime ministers, finance ministers and central bank governors, donors, and representatives from international financial institutions and the private sector to exchange views on the unique challenges and opportunities for the Caribbean region. It will address global and regional challenges (growth, competitiveness, and oil prices), spillovers from Cuba, and policies to address de-risking.
The Forum is being hosted by the International Monetary Fund and the Trinidad and Tobago authorities.