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Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. (IWN photo)
Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. (IWN photo)
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Last Friday’s meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) monetary council was a sobering experience for the newest prime minister in the sub-region, Antigua and Barbuda’s Gaston Browne.

“I do not wish to frighten anyone here in the sense that we have the skill, we have the ability, we certainly have the commitment to overcome any challenge, but I say here that all of our member states are in trouble and at least one or two is or are in dire straits,” Browne told the opening ceremony of the 59th meeting of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Authority in Kingstown on Saturday.

“It highlighted for me that the member states of the OECS are being severely buffeted by the winds of international economic turbulence so much so that if the Monetary Council did not already exist it would have to be invented,” said Browne, who was elected to office in June.

“Thankfully, the monetary council does exist and it informs and forms an integral part of the cluster of the regional economic and political governance arrangement that serve our member states so well.”

Browne said the OECS economic union has created a single space that allows the nine-member group to scale up its economic production and control the cost of providing goods and services that its people need.

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Browne declined to elaborate when asked to do so after the ceremony.

But he was not the only leader to speak in stark terms about the situation within the bloc.

Incoming chair of the OECS, Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit, said the OECS needs a large injection of financial resources.

“And that is where we call on our development partners to appreciate the challenges with which we are confronted.

“The challenge which we have, with the issue of debt, the issues of our banking system, our financial system, strengthening those institutions, we are going to need an injection of serious hard financial resources to address these challenges,” Skerrit said.

4 replies on “Some OECS nations in ‘dire straits’ economically”

  1. Christine da Silva says:

    Mr. Browne’s address was not all doom and gloom however.
    He also presented some very tangible, practical suggestions for a possible way forward, some that his country has already embarked on, that could be copied by other members of the OECS Union.

    It would be relevant to publish the entire text of Mr. Browne’s presentation

  2. Urlan Alexander says:

    It will be interesting to know the debts incurred by the OECS for the last 10 years. This must be done on a country by country basis to see which of these countries borrowed the most within that time frame and to analyse whether or not the monies borrowed were done to develop the people of the countries.

  3. True! They entire text would definitely explain the economic tsunami that is destroying the CARICOM and OECS nations. The leaders in these groups are selfish and self-centered. They talk about combining efforts to move the Caribbean islands forward, but do nothing to make them happen.
    I am sure SVG is one of those islands in dire financial straight. The airport is a money sink hole in the SVG economic outlook. It takes too much money from other worthwhile investments and projects, which would create jobs and a flowering economy.
    The SVG economy will not improve after the airport is completed after 2020. The lies being told about benefits from tourism and agriculture are playing out right now. The cocoa issue is a typical example and tourism figures are way below those of other islands. The economy of SVG is running on inertia and would remain that way for some time, no matter who win the next election.

  4. I wonder if Roosevelt Skerrit, know that the developed countries are monitoring everything that’s happening in the OECS countries? they will be reluctant to give monies to countries where $300 000 dollars will go missing just like, that and no one is locked up and charged in the court, also in some countries there are government ministries where monies go missing and no one is locked up or charged.

    These countries are very serious when it comes to corruption, no one is above the law.
    They also have to give account of how they use their people tax dollars and pounds.

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