By Nerissa Golden
BRADES, Montserrat (GIU) — Premier of Montserrat Reuben Meade has called for a regional approach to deal with an increasing number of international regulations regarding financial services and international taxation.
He made the remarks at the 43rd meeting of the board of governors of the Caribbean Development Bank in St Lucia on Wednesday.
Meade told the finance ministers that the Caribbean is struggling to keep up to date with changing international standards such as FATCA and has spent millions on these regulations. He said the expertise and resources have placed tremendous pressure on already stretched budgets but was confident that more can be achieved collectively.
Further, he said the region will be better able to participate, respond and influence these matters internationally especially where they offend or do not take into account the region’s peculiarities.
“I raise this matter because all of the CDB borrowing member states are in some way affected by the increase international regulations and are struggling to respond. The Overseas Territories because of their size and resource base are one or two sector economies specifically in the areas of tourism and financial services. Over the past ten years, these areas have been threatened by actions taken globally to combat crime and corruption. Tourism, in particular has been affected by the falling levels of disposable income and we have seen many of the tourism plant being abandoned.
“These actions have serious implications for the territories because their economies are not sufficiently diversified to absorb the fallout from major reductions in income from tourism and financial services. The reality is that their entire economy can become unsustainable from failure or major disruption in these markets.
Meade concluded his address by calling on the CDB and the region to think about these broader strategic issues and to how they can strengthen policy coordination.