Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maxine McClean, has taken Barbados’ concerns over de-risking on correspondent banking activity to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
In her address to the 71st session of the UNGA this afternoon, McClean said “the negative impacts of the economic and financial decisions of international financial and other institutions”, as well as “persistent and unwarranted attacks” on the island’s international financial services sector are detrimental to economic development.
“These actions threaten our economic stability and our ability to participate in global financial, trade and economic systems. They undermine our capacity to achieve full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals,” McClean said.
She also called for dialogue with development partners, as well as greater flexibility for Barbados and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
The issue of de-risking has been a major concern for member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) after several, including Barbados, Belize, Antigua and Jamaica, have reporting that they have begun feeling the impact of the decision by international banks to terminate or restrict correspondent banking relationships with those countries.
On the issue of the Sustainable Development Goals, McClean told the UNGA that there is need to act now in order to meet the 2030 deadline for achieving the targets.
“Barbados believes that partnership and collaboration will be the keys to fulfilling the promise of Agenda 2030. This is especially true for SIDS,” she said.
McClean pointed to last week’s launch of the 2016 Caribbean Human Development Report, noting that it highlighted the unique situation of SUDS and low-lying coastal states in the region.
“Three central issues stand out – They are vulnerability, resilience and sustainability. Barbados welcomes the report. It validates the consistent call by the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and of SIDS in general, for SIDS to be recognised as a “special case” for sustainable development,” she told the audience.
According to her, Government is devising and implementing strategies to strengthen social, economic and environmental resilience “consistent with our national growth and development philosophy”.
Minister McClean also reiterated Bridgetown’s support for CARICOM neighbours Belize and Guyana, in their protracted disputes with neighbouring states Guatemala and Venezuela.
She added that Barbados welcomes the progress towards normalisation of relations between Cuba and the United States, and looks forward to the complete removal of the decades-old embargo.