CASTRIES, St. Lucia (CMC) — St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet says the Caribbean has lost an “unparalleled genius” after the former governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Sir Dwight Venner died at a hospital here on Thursday night.
“It goes without saying that Sir Dwight was a pioneer and among the most respected men in our region and has served the Caribbean and the financial fraternity with distinction.
“He is a genius in his own right and is especially dear to us in St. Lucia because of his role in the early development of our country following Independence. He was one of the key architects of government, intricately involved in our financial framework and the public service,” Prime Minister Chastanet said in a statement.
Sir Dwight, 70, died at the Tapion Hospital on the outskirts of the capital after attempts were being made to fly him out to the French island of Martinique for medical treatment.
“On behalf of the Government, I express condolences to the wife and family of Sir Dwight. Our condolences also go out to the people of Saint Vincent and Grenadines where he was born,” Chastanet noted.
“Few men can claim to have had the impact that Sir Dwight has had and thankfully his legacy and ideas will live on in the great works that he has written. He was a visionary and an unparalleled genius of a man.”
“The Caribbean has much to learn from Sir Dwight’s life and he will be an inspiration for decades to come. Our thoughts also go out to his colleagues and the staff of the ECCB and the local financial sector,” Chastanet added.
St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves described his countryman as “my very dear friend.
“He piloted the Central bank through rough waters, particularly consequent upon the 2008 global economic crisis … which gave rise to real banking difficulties particularly among indigenous banks in the Currency Union.
“He helped create many institutions to strengthen and buttress the financial system,” Gonsalves said, adding, “He was a regional integrationist… a strong Caribbean man. We will miss the counsel of Dwight Venner. He was a very faithful servant to the people of the region,” Gonsalves added.
In a statement, the St Kitts-based ECCB said that Sir Dwight’s passing comes less than eight weeks before the Monetary Council, in recognition of his immense contribution, had planned to honour him at a special ceremony at the ECCB Headquarters in St Kitts and Nevis.
“At that time, one of the buildings was to be named in his honour. It may be recalled that one of Sir Dwight’s many accomplishments was initiating and overseeing the construction and equipping of the current ECCB Headquarters,” the bank said.
Sir Dwight died just over a year after announcing his retirement in late November 2015 after 26 years of service in his position as governor of the ECCB that serves as a central bank for Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin islands.
Sir Dwight was the longest-serving governor of any central bank, monetary authority, or federal reserve, having served since 1989.