Governments urged to regulate financial sector

BRIDGETOWN: Governor of the Barbados Central Bank (BCB), Dr. Marion Williams, is urging regional governments to move forward on a plan to put a regulatory system in place for the financial sector across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

She recently expressed concern that a standardized CARICOM financial services bill has already been drafted, but not finalized. The bill, which includes facilitating financial services and investment agreements, will provide a more harmonized legislative framework.

“The pace of implementation has been challenged recently by ongoing efforts of individual jurisdictions to reform their own national frameworks,” she said. “Global and regional crises do not wait, however, until we are ready.

“Recent new developments necessitate an acceleration of the pace of such work and ongoing events now spur us to re-evaluate mechanisms to prepare regional approaches to responding to such problems.”

Dr. Williams made the comments in an address to the Barbados Chamber of Commerce on the topic: “The global financial crisis – can we withstand the shock”.

She also pointed to the need for greater intra regional collaboration, particularly with respect to crisis management. According to Dr. Williams, this is vital given the levels of financial integration globally and the growing systemic relevance of cross-border corporate groups.

As a result, she said, a decision was made at the last meeting of regional Central Bank governors that the Caribbean Group of Bank Supervisors (CGBS) should develop a management protocol to deal with events like the current global financial crisis.

“The CGBS provided an outline of what such a protocol should include, but it remains a work in process and has been overtaken by events,” she said. “The plan is to be submitted to governors for their approval in May 2009.”

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