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ECCB new Governor early meet with OECS media, discusses his vision and mantra

timothy_antoine ECCB Governor speaks to OECS MediaOn February, 1 2016, via teleconference (planned to be a video conference) beaming from the East Caribbean Currency Bank (ECCB) headquarters in St. Kitts, Anguilla Chief Minister Victor Banks, chairman of the Monetary Council (ECCU), welcomed all present, especially the media (also at Agency offices throughout the OECS). He described the event as momentous, explaining that his task was to introduce the Governor of the Central Bank and noted that he is well known in the media.

The ECCU chairman also took the opportunity to thank the committee that was involved in the process of selecting the new Governor. “We arrived to the conclusion that in this period Governor Antoine is well suited to lead the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the ECCU at this period,” he said.

Media practitioners then interacted with the new ECCB Governor, Timothy Antoine, as he outlined his new vision for banking within the ECCU.

Antoine who replaces Sir K. Dwight Venner, who retired on November 30, 2015, after being in that position for over 25 years, spoke to the media. “You are here because I believe you are a very important partner and I am reaching out to you today and I am signalling to you we want to work with you very closely,” Governor Antoine opened, promising, “We will have periodic media engagements such as we have today. Time to time we will provide briefings on various issues where we get to present you get to ask questions and we have discussions.”

He advised that from time to time they will arrange workshops. “Sometimes we will initiate, sometimes you will signal to us you will like a session – and we are going to work with you because we also serve you as media even as you serve us as a region and as a bank,” he said.Gov teleconf meet OECS media DSC_2902

He informed that he had spoken earlier that day with management and staff, outlining three key messages. He said he reminded them firstly:  “…we are public servants…we must never take our position for granted, we must never take the Central Bank for granted. We are accountable to the people of this region and I wanted to affirm that as the Chief Public Servant of this bank that we are committed to serve.”

The “second key message,” he said: “…this is a time of enormous challenge and the Central Bank is called upon this time to lead in pursuit of structural transformation across our region; and we must step up,” recognising , he said, “that the bank has worked hard, the bank has done a lot of good work…”

Thirdly, “my final key message was our cause is noble and urgent, but we must do so and we can only do so through collective action within the bank and across the Currency Union,” noting that throughout his tenure at the bank, “this point of collective action is something you will hear again and again from us and from me.”

He then moved into his address and spoke of his vision for the bank and the ECCU for the next five years and beyond, under four strategic priorities, Financial Stability, Fiscal and Debt-stability, Growth, Competitiveness and Employment, and Enhancing Organizational Effectiveness. These include the maintenance of a strong Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar, delivering comprehensive oversight of the financial system that encourages the development of strong and resilient financial institutions including indigenous banks; monitoring credible and effective fiscal rules; providing though leadership and influential policy advice to member countries to elevate growth; development and employment; enhancing the banks effectiveness through higher levels of transparency and accountability; and continuous learning, business improvement and sharing with key stakeholders.

He had a Mantra which he described in the word STAR S “service excellence, team work, accountability and results. S stands for service excellence; T stands for teamwork; A accountability; “at the end of the day we must not make excuses, we must get on with the job and we must hold each other accountable”; and R stands for results.

Later as he responded to media questions: “Our people need to be able to operate in a very competitive environment because the rest of the world owes us nothing, they not waiting on us…. We have to be more competitive and the single economic and financial system is a very important outcome in that regard.”

He spoke to the issue of Employment hoping to see, “Single digit unemployment. And I put it differently, full employment…” he said, as he expressed in that regard, “particular concern about our youth. We understand that if we don’t reach out to our youth and gainfully employ them and provide them with opportunities we’re going to lose a generation…we must look at the issue of employment and finally a striving and thriving citizen.”

Along with the issue on employment, he was asked about growth and entrepreneurship and how the bank can assist in this regard.

“I think we have to look at the regime we have for small business support,” said the Governor. “If you look at employment across the region, in many countries small businesses account for 40 to 50 percent of all employment in our countries. Therefore, as an important policy we have to ensure that we give the requisite support to small business development. That means special financing which you would not necessarily get from some of our commercial banks,” mentioning that quite often small the disadvantage small businesses face compared to bigger businesses. He also spoke to the matter of export credit guarantees to support and encourage export industries and firms, commenting, “There are things we did as a bank years ago and we no longer do,” he said. “There may be good reasons why we need to revisit those.”

The Governor said he did not want to be too prescriptive, but advice to governments to support or promote the strengthening of the economy and the private sector, but reminded, “I did promise you we have to listen and we have to advise but there are clearly some areas of competitive advantage,” said Antoine. “Whether it is geothermal, or medical education and medical tourism,, do those things well and grow those areas because those are opportunities, and then look for the linkages within the region.”

In his direct delivery, the Governor said earlier about the Currency Union. “We have to make sure that our set-up allows us to deliver. We have to make sure we have a program of action that we have the resources, that we have the skill set, that our resources are aligned to priorities and that everything we do in the bank is aimed at those top three priorities that we just mentioned.”

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timothy_antoine ECCB Governor speaks to OECS MediaOn February, 1 2016, via teleconference (planned to be a video conference) beaming from the East Caribbean Currency Bank (ECCB) headquarters in St. Kitts, Anguilla Chief Minister Victor Banks, chairman of the Monetary Council (ECCU), welcomed all present, especially the media (also at Agency offices throughout the OECS). He described the event as momentous, explaining that his task was to introduce the Governor of the Central Bank and noted that he is well known in the media.

The ECCU chairman also took the opportunity to thank the committee that was involved in the process of selecting the new Governor. “We arrived to the conclusion that in this period Governor Antoine is well suited to lead the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the ECCU at this period,” he said.

Media practitioners then interacted with the new ECCB Governor, Timothy Antoine, as he outlined his new vision for banking within the ECCU.

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Antoine who replaces Sir K. Dwight Venner, who retired on November 30, 2015, after being in that position for over 25 years, spoke to the media. “You are here because I believe you are a very important partner and I am reaching out to you today and I am signalling to you we want to work with you very closely,” Governor Antoine opened, promising, “We will have periodic media engagements such as we have today. Time to time we will provide briefings on various issues where we get to present you get to ask questions and we have discussions.”

He advised that from time to time they will arrange workshops. “Sometimes we will initiate, sometimes you will signal to us you will like a session – and we are going to work with you because we also serve you as media even as you serve us as a region and as a bank,” he said.Gov teleconf meet OECS media DSC_2902

He informed that he had spoken earlier that day with management and staff, outlining three key messages. He said he reminded them firstly:  “…we are public servants…we must never take our position for granted, we must never take the Central Bank for granted. We are accountable to the people of this region and I wanted to affirm that as the Chief Public Servant of this bank that we are committed to serve.”

The “second key message,” he said: “…this is a time of enormous challenge and the Central Bank is called upon this time to lead in pursuit of structural transformation across our region; and we must step up,” recognising , he said, “that the bank has worked hard, the bank has done a lot of good work…”

Thirdly, “my final key message was our cause is noble and urgent, but we must do so and we can only do so through collective action within the bank and across the Currency Union,” noting that throughout his tenure at the bank, “this point of collective action is something you will hear again and again from us and from me.”

He then moved into his address and spoke of his vision for the bank and the ECCU for the next five years and beyond, under four strategic priorities, Financial Stability, Fiscal and Debt-stability, Growth, Competitiveness and Employment, and Enhancing Organizational Effectiveness. These include the maintenance of a strong Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar, delivering comprehensive oversight of the financial system that encourages the development of strong and resilient financial institutions including indigenous banks; monitoring credible and effective fiscal rules; providing though leadership and influential policy advice to member countries to elevate growth; development and employment; enhancing the banks effectiveness through higher levels of transparency and accountability; and continuous learning, business improvement and sharing with key stakeholders.

He had a Mantra which he described in the word STAR S “service excellence, team work, accountability and results. S stands for service excellence; T stands for teamwork; A accountability; “at the end of the day we must not make excuses, we must get on with the job and we must hold each other accountable”; and R stands for results.

Later as he responded to media questions: “Our people need to be able to operate in a very competitive environment because the rest of the world owes us nothing, they not waiting on us…. We have to be more competitive and the single economic and financial system is a very important outcome in that regard.”

He spoke to the issue of Employment hoping to see, “Single digit unemployment. And I put it differently, full employment…” he said, as he expressed in that regard, “particular concern about our youth. We understand that if we don’t reach out to our youth and gainfully employ them and provide them with opportunities we’re going to lose a generation…we must look at the issue of employment and finally a striving and thriving citizen.”

Along with the issue on employment, he was asked about growth and entrepreneurship and how the bank can assist in this regard.

“I think we have to look at the regime we have for small business support,” said the Governor. “If you look at employment across the region, in many countries small businesses account for 40 to 50 percent of all employment in our countries. Therefore, as an important policy we have to ensure that we give the requisite support to small business development. That means special financing which you would not necessarily get from some of our commercial banks,” mentioning that quite often small the disadvantage small businesses face compared to bigger businesses. He also spoke to the matter of export credit guarantees to support and encourage export industries and firms, commenting, “There are things we did as a bank years ago and we no longer do,” he said. “There may be good reasons why we need to revisit those.”

The Governor said he did not want to be too prescriptive, but advice to governments to support or promote the strengthening of the economy and the private sector, but reminded, “I did promise you we have to listen and we have to advise but there are clearly some areas of competitive advantage,” said Antoine. “Whether it is geothermal, or medical education and medical tourism,, do those things well and grow those areas because those are opportunities, and then look for the linkages within the region.”

In his direct delivery, the Governor said earlier about the Currency Union. “We have to make sure that our set-up allows us to deliver. We have to make sure we have a program of action that we have the resources, that we have the skill set, that our resources are aligned to priorities and that everything we do in the bank is aimed at those top three priorities that we just mentioned.”