Antigua and Barbuda’s Foreign Affairs,Trade and Immigration Minister Mr. E.Paul Chet Greene has told a meeting of the OAS that the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations for many of the countries is a major threat to their survival
Addressing a Plenary Session of the 49TH ASSEMBLY OF THE ORGANISATION OF AMERICAN STATES IN MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA, Mr Greene said the rights of people to pursue their economic development has been recognised and codified since 1966 as a fundamental human right by the United Nations.
The Antigua and Barbuda representative said that in this connection, deprivation of CBRs is deprivation of a fundamental human right.
”Without CBRs, the global financial and trading system would come to a halt, and affected countries will drop into poverty from which recovery will be costly both in time and money, but more importantly in human life,” minister greene said.
The Antigua and Barbuda Foreing Minister said this grave threat has been hanging over the Caribbean now for almost half a decade; and it shows no sign of abating.
Minister Greene said that right now, in many parts of the Caribbean, the majority of banks are reduced to only one correspondent bank, and at an extremely high cost.
He said consequently, the cost of doing business is escalating, even as some member states try to cope with high debt, incurred largely by disasters.
“Whenever this issue of de-risking and CBRs has been raised in the OAS, some countries have shunted it aside, claiming that it should be handled in financial institutions,” mr greene indicated
The Antigua and Barbuda Foreign Minister pointed out that the problem is not simply financial; it is also about the rights of states not to collapse into poverty; not to fall into unemployment; not to descend into overwhelming crime.
`Minister Greene added that the Organisation of the American States must tackle these challenges within the hemisphere, because it represents the hemisphere.