Categorized | Local

State of the ECCU – Governor Venner presents Economic Review

by B. Roach

Sir Dwight Venner

On the evening of January 20, 2010 beginning at 8.00, a room of invitees gathered at the East Caribbean Central Bank agency office at Brades to watch and participate via video conference with Sir Dwight K. Venner, Governor of the East Caribbean Central Bank.

The occasion was to listen to the Governor’s presentation of his annual review on the economic circumstances, performance and prospects of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. The presentation was to address our “move forward in the stability and adjustment phase of our response to the economic and financial challenges that we continue to face.”

The Audience

A major extract of the address is published in this issue of The Montserrat Reporter. It said that “the recent performance of our economies has to be seen against the background of two factors:
1.    The unprecedented global financial and economic crisis which began in 2007; and
2.    The structure of our own economies.

The Governor said that there are some critical factors, which are fundamental to our progress which he cited.
1.    A major emphasis on justice, law and order to maintain and improve civil society as it is clear that increasing crime can cause major social and economic disruptions.
2.    A cost effective and efficient intra-regional transportation system to facilitate and ensure the success of the Economic Union.
3.    A concerted and strategic effort to transform the tourism industry to be the lead transformative sector, that is, to convert its present comparative advantage into a competitive one.

Following his presentation all the islands, including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent all took their turns as they appeared in commenting and asking questions of the Governor, two rounds. Montserrat asked questions surrounding all three of the Governor’s “critical factors which are fundamental to our progress…” concentrating on number 2 and 3.

In connection with 2 and 3 the Governor responded the question which came from the Editor of TMR, who recalled that the Governor in past recent reviews the Governor has been calling on the Governments to put in place “efficient intra-regional transportation system…” The Governor said all he and the concerned must do is to keep plugging at the idea until someone listens and act on it. “…we really have to keep on talking about it here actually until somebody gets the message. We can’t give up, because it is so obvious, that if you’re going to have an international arrangements, you have to have proper transportation arrangements. We have to keep drumming it in somebody’s head that is a very logical thing. The discussion on that I must agree with you, are not satisfactory at all, and I have suggested in some quarters that we start with a blank piece of paper and look at it in a very logical way to see if we can come to a reasonable conclusion,” he said

In the review, Sir Dwight said: “that the economic figure was better than the previous year…when the economy is contracted by seven percent, the contractions were largely affected by declines in construction and the tourism activity. Construction which has been one of the key productive sectors in the ECCU remained depressed in 2010 contracting by 21.8% due to the limited ability of foreign financing and reduced inflows of foreign direct investment.”

He said although there was some indication of an in increasing tourist arrivals in the later part of 2010, activity has not returned to pre global economic and financial crises levels. He added that the contraction in economic activity was also reflected in a decline in currency circulation which fell by 12.4% in 2010 following a 4.9% decrease in 2009.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by B. Roach

Sir Dwight Venner

On the evening of January 20, 2010 beginning at 8.00, a room of invitees gathered at the East Caribbean Central Bank agency office at Brades to watch and participate via video conference with Sir Dwight K. Venner, Governor of the East Caribbean Central Bank.

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The occasion was to listen to the Governor’s presentation of his annual review on the economic circumstances, performance and prospects of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. The presentation was to address our “move forward in the stability and adjustment phase of our response to the economic and financial challenges that we continue to face.”

The Audience

A major extract of the address is published in this issue of The Montserrat Reporter. It said that “the recent performance of our economies has to be seen against the background of two factors:
1.    The unprecedented global financial and economic crisis which began in 2007; and
2.    The structure of our own economies.

The Governor said that there are some critical factors, which are fundamental to our progress which he cited.
1.    A major emphasis on justice, law and order to maintain and improve civil society as it is clear that increasing crime can cause major social and economic disruptions.
2.    A cost effective and efficient intra-regional transportation system to facilitate and ensure the success of the Economic Union.
3.    A concerted and strategic effort to transform the tourism industry to be the lead transformative sector, that is, to convert its present comparative advantage into a competitive one.

Following his presentation all the islands, including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent all took their turns as they appeared in commenting and asking questions of the Governor, two rounds. Montserrat asked questions surrounding all three of the Governor’s “critical factors which are fundamental to our progress…” concentrating on number 2 and 3.

In connection with 2 and 3 the Governor responded the question which came from the Editor of TMR, who recalled that the Governor in past recent reviews the Governor has been calling on the Governments to put in place “efficient intra-regional transportation system…” The Governor said all he and the concerned must do is to keep plugging at the idea until someone listens and act on it. “…we really have to keep on talking about it here actually until somebody gets the message. We can’t give up, because it is so obvious, that if you’re going to have an international arrangements, you have to have proper transportation arrangements. We have to keep drumming it in somebody’s head that is a very logical thing. The discussion on that I must agree with you, are not satisfactory at all, and I have suggested in some quarters that we start with a blank piece of paper and look at it in a very logical way to see if we can come to a reasonable conclusion,” he said

In the review, Sir Dwight said: “that the economic figure was better than the previous year…when the economy is contracted by seven percent, the contractions were largely affected by declines in construction and the tourism activity. Construction which has been one of the key productive sectors in the ECCU remained depressed in 2010 contracting by 21.8% due to the limited ability of foreign financing and reduced inflows of foreign direct investment.”

He said although there was some indication of an in increasing tourist arrivals in the later part of 2010, activity has not returned to pre global economic and financial crises levels. He added that the contraction in economic activity was also reflected in a decline in currency circulation which fell by 12.4% in 2010 following a 4.9% decrease in 2009.