For the first time, four regional central bank Governors will take part in a joint public event that will see them discuss how the Caribbean can rebound after COVID-19.
The forum, dubbed COVID and Economic Policy: Protecting Jobs, Businesses, and the Economy, takes place a week from Thursday, at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast and live-streamed across the Caribbean.
During the 90-minute forum, the governors – Timothy Antoine of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank; Dr Richard Byles of Bank of Jamaica; Dr Gobind Ganga of Bank of Guyana, and Central Bank of Barbados Governor Cleviston Haynes – are expected to tackle issues related to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The moderator is veteran Caribbean journalist Julian Rogers, managing editor of the Jamaica Observer, and the central bankers are also expected to field callers’ questions from across the region.
“COVID-19 has been a truly disruptive event,” said Governor Haynes, the host of the event. “Even as we continue to deal with public health issues, we have to address the economic impact, which affects us all. We’re being faced with major unemployment, curfews and shutdowns that have brought business activity to a halt, and increased Government spending on healthcare.
“In this forum, we want to discuss the way forward for jobs, businesses and the overall economy. I am truly delighted that my regional counterparts are sharing the platform with me for these critical discussions.”
Haynes stressed that the forum is to inform the general public as well as policymakers and academics. He said: “This crisis has affected us all. The discussion about how we recover from it has to include us all. We are inviting Caribbean people from all walks of life to not only tune in but also to participate.”
Viewers from across the region will be able to pose their questions to him and his colleagues via telephone, email, social media, and WhatsApp.
Said the central banker: “We want to hear from our citizens, their issues and their ideas. We encourage Caribbean people from Georgetown in Guyana to Kingston, Jamaica to join us.”
COVID and Economic Policy: Protecting Jobs, Businesses, and the Economy is the first of several online Caribbean Economic Forums the Central Bank of Barbados will be hosting this year. The event is the virtual spinoff of the in-person event the Bank hosts annually.