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Saint Lucia begins ECCU Dialogue


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Contact: Claudia Monlouis



Friday 16 March 2012  Saint Lucia has heeded the call of the  Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank -  the ECCB, Honourable Sir Dwight Venner  to  commence  a mature and  intense discussion on  the  2011 Eastern Caribbean  Currency Union  - ECCU Report.


This call was made against the backdrop of the economic performance of the ECCU countries, which as a group has been in recession since 2009.


The economic decline according to Sir Dwight can be mainly attributed to the adverse effects of the global financial and economic crisis on the region. Sir Dwight noted that these discussions were needed so as to build consensus on the kind of economy the Eastern Caribbean countries wished to have by the year 2020, in the context of the recently established OECS economic union.  


To this end the Government Information Service and National Television Network convened a panel discussion earlier this month featuring a cast of persons who pioneered in getting the public dialogue jump started. 


In analyzing the ECCU 2011 report one of the panellist, economist and Trade Policy Advisor Dr.  Thomas Samuel concurred that   the region cannot afford to approach the future with the same failed approaches of the past. He said the key players must confidently engage new paradigms.


“The recession manifested itself in a number of ways; principally you saw a softening in demand from the outside world because again we are very dependent on demand from the major economies that we trade with.  So first, export demand would have declined especially in our main sectors – tourism, finance and to some extent manufacturing.”


Dr. Samuel recommends an urgent attitudinal shift that will not only propel the region's economies through the crisis period but into a viable post global financial crisis position. This shift, he said, must be led particularly within the financial and private sectors. 


“The bigger picture over-arching or spanning across that period is deficit of confidence, which affects the posture of banks to lend and the outlook on the economy. This is what really caused the exacerbation or prolonging of the decline so to speak. It's sort of everyone hedging and being a little more risk averse, not putting in the resources to get a number of projects going in order to jump start the economy and stimulate economic activity. So basically you have a softening of demands and a deficit of confidence.”


The panel on this exclusive GIS/NTN analysis ECCU  2011 Report  included Managing Director of the Saint Lucia Development Bank Jean -Francois Sonson;  Director of Research and Policy in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs, Planning and Social Security Embert St. Juste    and  General Manager of the Caribbean Association of Banks Mary Popo.

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