BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, July 24, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Mr. Timothy Antoine is of the view that in the likelihood of a reliable COVID-19 vaccine being found, there can be a rapid recovery for the economies of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).
Responding to questions posed during the ECCB Virtual Media Conference for the presentation of the Communiqué for 96th Meeting of the ECCB Monetary Council on Friday, July 24, Governor Antoine based his optimism on the sub-regions careful management of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have proven in this pandemic that we are safe. We have some of the lowest rates [of infection] and the highest rates of recovery in the world. We have effectively contained this virus in our region,” the ECCB Governor said.
He added, “There’s a big appetite for people wanting to visit the Caribbean. Pre-pandemic 40 percent of the cruise market was in the Caribbean and combined with what we’ve done with COVID-19 management we think that we are very well placed as a region to benefit from a very quick return once people feel safe.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, who today, July 24, assumed the Chairmanship of the Monetary Council, stated that a gradual recovery for the ECCU is anticipated in 2021.
“While we have predicted that by 2023, we will be returning to the pre-pandemic levels of economic activity, that in itself means that each year we are expecting to see some improvement. So, as we move from year to year – 2021 for example – we are expecting to see some uptake in terms of tourist arrivals which will improve, and as we go beyond 2020 we are expecting to see further normalization in terms of a return to the pre-COVID level in that particular sector,” Prime Minister Harris said.
The St. Kitts and Nevis prime minister stated that during the next twelve months under his tenure as Chair of the Monetary Council, there will be a focus on three main areas—monetary stability, financial stability, and growth and competitiveness.