December 7th 2018


December 7th 2018


Over 300 delegates are expected to be involved in phase two of the 2019 Tradewinds Exercise, which will be held here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in June next year.

The Exercise, which has been dubbed TW19, will be held from June 14th to 19th 2019. An opening for the exercise took place this morning at Cabinet Room and Prime minister and Minister of National Security Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves explained that the Tradewinds which was held here before in 2004 is basically different kinds of simulation or training exercises is to improve the response to natural disasters other contemporary issues such as terrorism, transnational crime, human trafficking and drug trafficking among others. However Dr Gonsalves also dismissed claims that the exercise will entail the eradication of marijuana cultivation here.

The Annual military exercise is directed and sponsored by the United States Southern Command. TW19 will attract over 350 military, police and civilian personnel from several Caribbean islands, as well as the United States, Canada, France, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The exercise will also focus on maritime security, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and field training.


St Vincent and the Grenadines has received endorsement from the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean GRULAC for its candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the period 2020/2021.

Elections are due to be held in June of 2019. This country’s Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves announced last week that SVG will require a two thirds vote in the General Assembly of the United Nations to successfully win its bid in the vote. He added that the GRULAC endorsement will go a long way towards achieving this county’s objective. SVG, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council will be addressing issues of peace and international order. CARICOM has already given its endorsement for this country’s candidacy. If elected SVG will be the smallest country ever to be elected to sit on the UN Security Council and the first CARICOM country in over 20years, to have done so.

The other CARICOM countries were Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.


The National Qualifications Department has moved to increase access to its services and programmes with the official launch of a brand new website.

The sector skills development agency (SSDA) website was launched during a small ceremony last month.
According to local reports Kenroy Questelles, the director of the National Qualifications Department has hailed the launch as an accomplishment for the department. Questelles said many people still view TVET as being “for hands and not for head” and that the website was partly born out of this view. He added that the specific education sector has several different levels that persons may access. The director further noted that TVET qualifications compare to the national qualifications framework. Mr. Questelles also said the website will serve to forge a faster communication link with stakeholders.

And he hoped that persons would utilise the website and give feedback to make it even more developed. The website, which may be accessed via, features seven major headings: Home, Programmes, Institutes, Downloads, About Us, News and Information and Contact Us. Further anyone who requires information about TVET training, assessment and certification will be able to fill in the information on the website and get a response from the department. Clicking on a programme will also provide information on the courses involved and where that programme is being administered.

Application forms are also available for download and may be returned to the department by hand or via e-mail. There are four TVET institutes in St Vincent and the Grenadines and they are located in Barrouallie, Campden Park, Kingstown and Georgetown.



St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet says while the island’s unemployment rate has declined from 25 per cent  to 21.8 per cent during his administration’s two and a half year term , his Government remains extremely concerned about further reducing unemployment in the country.

“There is urgency in further reducing the  unemployment rate, although the number of people who are jobless has declined to 21.8 percent,”   Chastanet said.

According to the Government Information Service (GIS), the Prime Minister said the government will intensify efforts at increasing job opportunities on the island as 2019 unfolds. “Two sectors, namely, information technology and tourism/hospitality, continue to provide the avenue to achieve this. To date, 2000 new jobs have been created in the IT sector,” the Prime Minister noted.

Chastanet disclosed that recently,  one business house hired an additional 400 people; another  hired 400; while a local entrepreneur  has  staffing of between 300 – 400 people. “Ojo Labs, an IT Company based in the South is now hiring 230 workers with that number to climb to seven hundred by the end of next year. Four major international companies are currently in dialogue with Government on opening here. If successful, up to two thousand jobs will be available,”  Chastanet observed.

The GIS report said the positive direction in the local economy is expected to continue as the economy in the United States recovers and maintains growth. “The impact will be felt most in the tourism and hospitality sector. Consequently, government has moved to position St Lucians, particularly the youth, to take advantage of the opportunities.

With youth unemployment at 38.8 percent, decreasing from 45.01 percent in 2017, the National Apprenticeship Program has partnered with Monroe College in a new hospitality training program,” the Prime Minister said.


A former owner of the Banco Peravia bank in the Dominican Republic has been sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a US$1 billion money laundering scheme involving currency exchange.

Gabriel Arturo Jimenez Aray, a 50-year-old Venezuelan citizen residing in Chicago, Illinois and former owner of Banco Peravia, was sentenced by United States District Judge Robin Rosenberg last week in Florida, following his guilty plea on March 20 to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Jimenez admitted that, as part of the scheme, he conspired with Raul Gorrin Belisario, 50, and others to acquire Banco Peravia, through which he helped launder bribe money and scheme proceeds. Jimenez and his co-conspirators used the bank to pay bribes to Venezuelan government officials in exchange for contracts to conduct currency exchange schemes and to launder the money obtained from running those currency exchange schemes. He admitted that he facilitated illegal transactions and bribe payments to foreign officials and others via bank-issued credit cards, cash disbursements, wire transfers and other financial transactions.


December 6th 2018


As the Christmas season has commenced and activities will soon be heightened the Public Health Department is reminding persons to apply good health practices during this time.

It is therefore requesting that All persons desirous of slaughtering food animals for sale and for human consumption for the Christmas Season, to contact the District Environmental Health Officer, or the Public Health Department at 456-1991 or 457-1729 as soon as possible for information on the requirements for slaughtering. All information must reach the department on or before Friday 21st December 2018.

The department notes that it is an offence to offer meat for sale to the public without it being inspected according to the Public Health Act, 1977.

 It must also be noted that the practice of dressing animals on the ground and hanging meat on trees or posts, exposed to the elements, is not acceptable and will be subjected to condemnation.


Officials at the SVG Port Authority are urging persons who are expecting barrels for Christmas are to clear them expeditiously, to ensure that everyone can benefit from the duty-free concession currently being offered at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Port Authority.

According to local reports the appeal has come from Chief Operating Officer at the SVG Port Authority, Carl James. He said they want to have a streamlined and consistent flow of traffic at their Barrel collection points during this Christmas season and he is appealing to people to collect their cargo in a timely manner.

Mr. James said they have employed additional staff to ensure that the process of clearing barrels run smoothly during the busy Christmas season.

He added that from December 17th they will be also be extending their opening hours to ensure that they can accommodate all of their customers. The concession o Christmas barrels commenced on November 12th and will conclude on December 31st.


A call has been made by the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) for members of the Public to develop the local Coconut Industry.

CARDI Representative for the SVG Unit and Crop Protection Specialist, Gregory Linton says they currently have Coconut projects in eleven countries across the region and this year for CARDI Day, which was observed yesterday December 5th they held an exhibition which highlighted the potential of the Coconut Plant.

Mr. Linton says that many opportunities exist in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the wider Caribbean region in the Coconut Industry and even on the international market.  Mr. Linton says the Coconut industry has not been well managed but work has been progressing in the region to address this issue.


As the RSVG Police Force continues to spread the Christmas cheer in various communities throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Pan Against Crime Committee will join the Police Band for a grand Christmas concert in the Marriaqua Valley, this Friday December 07, commencing at 6:30pm. 

The concert will be staged at the junction opposite the Police Station in Mesopotamia beginning with songs of worship, followed by an Exhortation by Pastor Nolan James of the New Testament Church of God Mesopotamia.


Music and cultural performances will come from the Mesopotamia Steel Orchestra and Marriaqua Gov’t School.

 The Police Band will present its usual entertaining and exciting musical Christmas package. Members of the audience will also be given the opportunity to showcase their talent during an open segment of the program. Representatives of the NCCP and RSVG Police Force will bring remarks and Parliamentary Representative of the Area, Hon. St. Clair Jimmy Prince, will deliver a short Address. 

This Concert culminates activities staged during 2018 by the PAC Committee, to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The PAC Programme was launched in February 2008, and to date has established new steel bands in some 15 Communities and Schools throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  


December 5th 2018



Vincentians can look forward to a ‘wow’ experience for Christmas 2018, Minister of Tourism Hon. Cecil McKie has announced as he did the official count down to turn on the lights in Heritage Square to mark the official launch of Nine Mornings 2018. 

The jubilant minister announced that visitor arrivals is expected to increase, and American Airlines would also be making its inaugural trip to the Argyle International Airport (AIA) on December 15th.

Mr McKie said that as of December 1st to the 31st this year, this country will receive 58 cruise calls to the destination and will also welcome the yachting event to St. Vincent and the Grenadines called the Arc. He noted, “The month of December is an important month for St. Vincent and the Grenadines to shine and each and every one must play their part.” He said that in 2019 the committee will begin the process to have the festival recognised worldwide as a “world festival”. 

The Coull’s Hill community will start off the community lighting on December 8. The National Parks, Beaches and Rivers Authority will light up the Botanic Gardens on December 15th.

Meantime, the National Nine Mornings Committee launched its commemorative magazine on Sunday December 2, 2018, during the launch of the Mornings festival; they have also produced other 9 Mornings memorabilia which are available for purchase by the public. The magazine according to Michael Peters, Chairman of the National Nine Mornings Committee, is the first official document to focus on the Nine Mornings tradition here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.


Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves will deliver the feature address at the annual Governance meetings of the Caribbean Examinations Council CXC which will be held here this week. 

Remarks will also come from Minister of Education, St. Clair Prince, Sir Hilary Beckles, CXC Chairman; and CXC Registrar Glenroy Cumberbatch. The two major meetings – the meeting of the School Examinations Committee and the meeting of Council will be held on December 6th and 7th, under the Chairmanship of Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.

Meanwhile today……….Wednesday 5 December, a CXC team will meet with principals of secondary and primary schools at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College. 

This meeting is part of CXC’s stakeholder engagement programme and gives stakeholders in the host country the opportunity to ask questions, raise concerns and express their opinion directly with CXC officials. Awards will be presented for outstanding performances in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), and the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC).

On the night of Thursday December 6, the official Opening of Council and the presentation of awards for outstanding performance in the May/June examinations will take place at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown. 

This year’s awardees will come from Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago. Prior to the governance meetings, a delegation comprising CXC officials and the 15 awardees will pay courtesy calls on Governor General, Sir Frederick Ballantyne, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Education Minister St. Clair Prince, and Opposition Leader Dr. Godwin Friday. St Vincent and the Grenadines last hosted CXC governance meetings in 2006.


The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prison Service will be hosting a week of activities from this Sunday December 9th, under the theme: Holding Hands, Changing Lives for Re-integration. The activities are being held as the Prison Administration continues with its ongoing effort to rehabilitate Offenders and reduce crime.

The programme will be held from the 9th to 16th December, and would include, a Church Service, Community Outreach, Public Speaking for Inmates, a Family Day; Sports Day; Exhibition and Concert. 

The Prison Administration says the Church Service will be held this Sunday December 9th in the High Court Yard under tents. It will be open to the public to attend and will be conducted by the Kingstown Baptist Church.

The Community Outreach Programme is planned for Monday 10th, and is designed to aid in crime reduction by having inmates going out into the various different Communities and talking with people on the blocks, standing at the roadsides and other places.

The Public Speaking Competition will be held on the Compound of Her Majesty’s Prisons from 9.30 a.m. on Tuesday December 11th. The participants will speak for eight minutes on the topic: Crime: Its Causes and Solutions, as well as a two-minute impromptu presentation.

The Inmates Family Day will be held on the compound of Her Majesty’s Prisons in Kingstown and at the Belle Isle Correctional Facility on Wednesday 12th from 9.00 am. On this day inmates will be able to spend a half hour with their family under tents and share a meal. 


The Unity Labour Party ULP will hold its 23rd national convention on Sunday December 9th. 

The convention will take place at the Campden Park Secondary School. The event is being held under the theme ‘Preparing the way, five in a row’. Addresses will come form several officials of the party with the featured address from Political Leader ad Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves.

The open session commences at 9:30 am and following the luncheon period will be the closed business session. Speaking on his weekly radio program last night General Secretary of the Party Julian Francis said that the highlight of the closed business session will be the election of four offices of the party’s executive.

Mr. Francis has also urged that the different constituencies mobilize their various constituencies to attend Sunday’s event.



The Region of the Americas registered its last case of poliomyelitis in 1991, and in 1994 was the first in the world to receive certification from the World Health Organization (WHO) as free of the disease. Now, as the world moves towards the final stages of global elimination, countries of the Americas seek to consolidate measures to maintain elimination, avoid reintroduction and achieve this certification. “As long as there is even one infected child, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio.”

“As long as there is even one infected child, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio,” said Cuauh-témoc Ruiz-Matus, Chief of the Comprehensive Family Immunization Unit at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), during the inauguration of the 6th Regional Meeting on Polio: “On the way to global certification”, which takes place until 6 December in Guatemala City, organized by PAHO.

Poliomyelitis is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis in a matter of hours. While it has no cure, it can be prevented through vaccination. Children under the age of 5 are the most affected.

Cases of poliomyelitis have decreased by more than 99% globally, from an estimated 350,000 in 1988 in more than 125 endemic countries, to 27 reported so far in 2018 in just Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, it is estimated that if the goal of global eradication is not reached, there would be a resurgence around the world within ten years that could generate 200,000 new cases per year.

Rosamund Lewis, Team Leader of the Strategic Planning and Analysis, Polio Operations and Research Unit at WHO, said that “the world must thank the Region of the Americas for its patience, for being the first to eliminate polio and for continuing to wait for the rest of the world.” Lewis explained that there are challenges to reaching every child with vaccination and achieving global certification for elimination. She said that in Afghanistan, for example, more than 1 million children under the age of 5 have missed out on vaccination as part of immunization campaigns due to the conflict in the country.

PAHO Representative in Guatemala, Oscar Barreneche, highlighted that “maintaining standards of surveillance, containment and response to outbreaks, and vaccination is key” to protecting the Region’s population from a possible reintroduction of polio from imported cases or vaccine-derived cases.

This is why PAHO recommends the implementation of strong surveillance systems in order to detect any suspected cases of acute flaccid paralysis, as well as maintaining high vaccination coverage equal to, or greater than, 95% in all locations.

Health Minister of Guatemala, Roberto Molina. The country recorded its last case of polio in 1990. It is expected that by the end of the meeting, all countries of the Region will renew their commitment to keep the Americas polio-free and the world closer to global eradication.  

December 4th 2018


December 4th 2018


Phase two of the Tradewinds Exercise 2019, TW19 will be held in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The TW19 will take place from June 14th to June 19th, 2019.

This is the annual military exercise directed and sponsored by the United States Southern Command. There will be an opening exercise this Friday December 7th, 2018, at 10am at the Cabinet Room. Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves will address this event. TW19 will attract over 350 military, police and civilian personnel for several Caribbean islands, as well as the United States, Canada, France, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. TW19 will focus on maritime security, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and field training.

The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) is inviting residents of Calliaqua and surrounding communities, businesses, and representatives from critical agencies working and living within the Calliaqua Community to a meeting at the Calliaqua Anglican School on Thursday 6th December 2018, beginning at 5:00 p.m.

The objective of the meeting is to discuss the community readiness for disasters and to strengthen the community’s resilience to hazards. The meeting will also introduce the “Tsunami Ready Pilot Project” which will benefit coastal communities from Kingstown to Argyle of which Calliaqua is a beneficiary community.


The Crime Prevention Unit of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVPF), in an effort to enlighten the general public on crime prevention tips, will be holding its annual Christmas Crime Prevention Exhibition on Friday December 21, 2018 outside the Central Police Station from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

The event will be held under the theme; “Be involved, Stay informed, Make a difference!” Whistle stops will be done on Tuesday day December 18, 2018 in Kingstown and its suburbs. This is in order to sensitize the general public about the crimes that are prevalent at this time of the year and ways in which they can reduce, secure and protect themselves from these incidents of crime.


The Ministry of Culture launched the 2018 National Nine Mornings activities with the official lighting up of Heritage Square on Sunday December 2nd. 

The ceremony followed a candlelight march through the streets of Kingstown ending at Heritage Square. The march was accompanied by the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Band and community groups some with their own bands.

According to Lennox Bowman, Deputy Chair of the national Nine Mornings committee, this year had a record turn- out and participation. Addressing Sunday’s launch Bowman said the committee works year-round planning activities for the Christmas season to bring Christmas to Vincentians in true Vincentian style. He encouraged the audience to visit communities that are staging activities during the nine mornings, which officially starts on December 16th and ends on December 24th.

Minister of Tourism Hon. Cecil McKie did the official count down to turn on the lights in the Square. The Coulls Hill community will start off the community lighting on December 8. The National Parks, Beaches and Rivers Authority will light up the Botanic Gardens on December 15th. 

Meantime, the National Nine Mornings Committee launched its commemorative magazine on Sunday December 2, 2018, during the launch of the Mornings festival; they have also produced other 9 Mornings memorabilia which are available for purchase by the public. The magazine according to Michael Peters, Chairman of the National Nine Mornings Committee, is the first official document to focus on the Nine Mornings tradition here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.



The Public Sector Unions in Grenada have called a ceasefire in the fight for 25% gratuity payment as a meeting convened Tuesday with government officials that seemingly point to a possible solution to the month-long industrial impasse.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell speaks to media on the issue of gratuity at his official residence at Mt. Wheldale, St. George. The meeting was held at the Corporate and Intellectual Property Office and involved Economic Development Minister Oliver Joseph who has emerged as government’s leading spokesman on the issue.

 Among the agreements hammered out were that the Industrial action will be put on hold for the time being, the unions have established their 25% demarcation point in the gratuity with an option of a payment plan if the government has fiscal restrictions regarding it, the government team was tasked with the responsibility of putting forward suitable formulas to bring to Cabinet for consideration and to be communicated back to the unions on Tuesday, the two sides will discuss the proposals including counter-proposals on Tuesday and a meeting will be convened on Friday for both sides to come up with a framework on going forward.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell held an engagement with members of the media at his residence at Mt. Wheldale, St. George on Tuesday in which the 25% being demanded by the unions was the issue dealt with. He pointed an accusing finger at the union leaders, saying that they were interested only in discussing pension restoration and not pension reform and this could affect those workers who worked after 1985 and covered by the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).

December 3rd 2018


December 3rd 2018


Two important bilateral agreements were signed last Friday by Prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ghana, the Hon. Shirley Ayor-kor Botchway. The signing took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ghana. 

The first is a General Co-operation Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and the second, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ghana and the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Visa Waiver.  PM Gonsalves on this as he made a call to the Shakeup program on Friday.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Gonsalves also spoke on the importance of the formation of an African-Brazil-Caribbean Commission to enhance trade and economic cooperation, marine and air transport co-operation among others.

Prime Minister Gonsalves said the cooperation agreement is a very important one and Ghana a very important staging post for future development and cooperation. He added that the signing of the agreements is very important starting point. 

The General Co-operation Agreement covers areas including Agriculture, Education, Culture, ICT and Human Resource expertise. Ghanaians, before the visa waiver agreement did not require a Visa for travel to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, however there was a Visa requirement for citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for travel to Ghana. 

Dr Gonsalves further provided an update of the progress SVG is making with regards to its candidacy to sit on the UN Security Council where elections will be held in June of next year.


Thirty-five participants from nine different departments within the civil service are now better equipped to handle disasters and incidents involving mass casualties after successfully completing three days of training through the Incident Command System (ICS) training course.

Lead facilitator retired Brigadier General (RSS), Earl Arthurs in his remarks pointed out the government’s role in the provision of resourceful assistance, while the RSS provided the technical skills towards the training. He said the System is home-grown and was started in 2005 but became successful in 2007. In 2014 through the efforts led by CDEMA and other stakeholders the program was revamped. The Lead Facilitator disclosed that so far, training has been done in six other countries and there are plans to have all eighteen Caribbean states engaged in ICS Training. Arthurs added that as a small nation, this system will allow operators to gain support when there is a disaster.

The retired Brigadier General (RSS) revealed that participants were engaged in theoretical and field exercises. He noted that participants came from different disciplines and all performed as one unit. 

Commissioner of Police (Ag.), Colin John noted that this training was a success, noting that training of this nature is integral to disaster preparedness and safety in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Commissioner of Police added that one must “always be prepared for any eventuality.” He stressed also that participants must impart knowledge gained to ensure a safer St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

In delivering the keynote address, Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Housing, Land, Survey and Physical Planning, Hon. Montgomery Daniel, emphasized that a coordinated system for all departments to function ultimately will bring the best results. Minister Daniel said, “as first responders to an accident, one must be prepared and must be trained to provide basic medical care.”

 The Acting Prime Minister noted that the relevant processes must therefore be established for comfort and safety. 

The course was organized by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) in conjunction with the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, and the Regional Security System (RSS). The sessions culminated on Thursday 29th November 2018 at the NEMO conference room.


The SVG Coast Guard Service has come in for some high praises.  In a correspondence to Commander Brenton Caine, Commander of the SVG Coast Guard, the fishing community of Rose Place through a letter from the Goodwill Fisherman’s Co-operative Limited has conveyed thanks to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard Service for their swift and effective response in assisting a member of that community, who experienced difficulty at sea on the western side of the Fort Charlotte Point. 

The particulars relating to the incident revealed that on 22.11.18 about 1:45 p.m. a fisherman experienced distress at sea and after contacting the SVG Coast Guard base for assistance, the fisherman was rescued by a swift responding Coast Guard, whose officers were able to rescue and return him along with his boat safely to Rose Place.

According to the letter, the prompt and effective response from the Coast Guard averted a situation that could have possibly ended tragically for the fisherman involved. 

The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Colin John, along with the rank and file of the Police Force joins with the fishing community of Rose Place and commended Commander Brenton Cain and the rank and file officers of the Coast Guard Service for the diligence and bravery exhibited in executing their motto “dedicated to saving lives”



The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has confirmed that it has received an application from Republic Financial Holdings seeking regulatory approval to acquire the Bank of Nova Scotia’s operations and businesses in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).  This application was received on Tuesday, 27 November.

Pursuant to the Banking Act, the ECCB has commenced its review of this application. In this regard, the ECCB has held initial discussions with the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago and the Bank of Guyana. These regulators will collaborate on the review of this application. The ECCB will also confer with the Central Bank of St Maarten and Curacao. 

It is noted that the ECCB already regulates Republic Bank since it has an operation in Grenada. Republic also has a stake in a bank in Saint Lucia.It has come to the attention of the ECCB that there is some speculation that Republic’s acquisition of Scotiabank’s operations in the ECCU could lead to the depletion of the foreign reserves that back the  EC dollar. Such speculation is unfounded and unhelpful. The ECCB is clear and resolute about its mandate to protect the EC dollar and wishes to make it abundantly clear that it will continue to maintain very high levels of foreign reserves as it has done for the past 35 years.

The proposed acquisition has prompted discussion about the ownership of banking assets in the ECCU. At present, 55 per cent of banking assets are owned by three Canadian banks and Republic Financial Holdings and 45 per cent of banking assets are owned by indigenous (national) banks. The proposed acquisition, if approved, would not fundamentally change that ownership distribution, as 55 per cent of the banking assets would be owned by two Canadian banks and Republic Financial Holdings and 45 per cent of the banking assets would continue to be owned by our indigenous (national) banks.

From time to time, there will be changes in ownership of banks. Indeed, the proposed transaction is the latest in a series of consolidation moves by the Canadian banks. Citizens of and residents in the ECCU are encouraged to remain calm and stay abreast of developments in the banking sector.