Prime Minister's Press Secretary
Friday, April 15, 2005 - The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has
denied a claim by a former Prime Minister of St. Lucia that it said 25% of the
island’s economy is based on drugs and money laundering.
The claim that St. Lucia survived on an “underground economy” was made early
last month by former Prime Minister Sir John Compton.
In a statement to the press that was widely published locally, the former Prime
Minister and Minister of Finance questioned the economic growth statistics
presented by the current Government of St. Lucia and offered his own figures.
Sir John said in his statement: “Economic growth is not the U.S. million dollar
homes at Cap which distorts their statistics nor is it the high profits made by
the foreigners speculating in land in St. Lucia and it is not the underground
economy from drugs and money laundering which the Central Bank says accounts for
over 25% of St. Lucia’s economy.
Concerned that the claim was made by a former Prime Minister and Minister of
Finance and aware of the implications for the country if the Central Bank in
fact said so, Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony wrote to the Governor of the
Central Bank seeking clarification.
In his letter of March 23, 2005 to the Governor of the ECCB, Sir Dwight Venner,
Prime Minister Anthony asked for clarification as to whether it in fact said
what Sir John said it did, and if so where and when such a statement was made.
The Governor of the ECCB replied on
April 8, 2005 informing Prime Minister Anthony that no such statement was ever
made by the Central Bank, now or ever.
Sir Dwight said in his letter that he had “asked the Research Department to do a
search over the past several years to see if there was any reference” to Sir
John’s statement and “they have assured me that there is no such reference.”
Prime Minister Anthony said he is
“pleased to learn that the ECCB never said what Sir John said it did.”
According to Dr Anthony: “I did say in my letter to Sir Dwight that I doubted
the Central Bank would have made such a statement; and I did say that no one,
not even Sir John Compton, had the right to besmirch St. Lucia’s character and
reputation like this.”
The Prime Minister said: “I am pleased that the ECCB has clarified the matter,
more so because of its reputation as an institution with an international
reputation, which is responsible for maintaining the stability of our currency
and the safety and soundness of the Eastern Caribbean ‘s banking system.”
He said the ECCB, by its clarification of the situation, had reaffirmed that it
was “an institution whose functions are still being carried out in the objective
and professional manner which has been its hallmark since its establishment in
The Prime Minister said he hoped
“that Sir John will be man enough to now publicly admit that he knowingly wrote
and circulated, had published and broadcast throughout St. Lucia, a statement he
knew to be false, for the sole purpose of misleading the people of this