Caribbean Countries Call For Greater Collaboration

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Prime Minister David Thompson and Central Bank Governor, Dr. Marion Williams, at the farewell reception and dinner held in her honour.

Caribbean nations want Barbados to explain to them how "this small country, with limited resources, facing a crisis of the magnitude that it has, was able to achieve [sustainability] without having major social unrest, or political upheaval".

This is according to Prime Minister David Thompson. He made the comment recently, as he delivered remarks at the farewell cocktail reception and dinner in honour of Central Bank Governor, Dr. Marion Williams, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

According to Mr. Thompson, it was for this reason that countries in the region had been calling for greater collaboration, particularly as many of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States were facing potential IMF programmes.

The Prime Minister noted that Barbados had many attributes which had stood it well throughout its history and had assisted it in becoming the number one developing country in the world.

"There is a level of seriousness and application, fairness and balance; there is also a sense of what is Barbadian. I think the Central Bank of our country has stood out under respective governors and Marion Williams was a part of that team, every now and then in the forefront, giving Barbados the proud reputation which we now have," he stated.

In his tribute to Dr. Williams, Mr. Thompson said that he had recently travelled to many parts of the globe with her and had observed first-hand that the Governor was held in "extremely high esteem".

He added: "She is a proud Barbadian who does the job that she is paid to do and goes beyond the call of duty in ensuring that our country is successful, and can fly our flag wherever we go. I have witnessed that in all of the work I have had to do with her."

The Prime Minister added that Dr. Williams had so impressed the Government of Barbados that at the time of her retirement, it did not want to lose her services to the country. As a result, Dr. Williams will take up the post of Ambassador to Geneva.

Meanwhile, in her response, the retiring Governor said that the Central Bank had been one of the most stimulating places she had worked. She also noted that the job of Governor was not one that she had done alone, and thanked the 280 staff members who assisted her on a daily basis. She described them as persons of great merit, and indicated that this was reflected in the Bank’s product and output.

Dr. Williams also addressed the issue of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), pointing out that the countries in the region were too small to make a difference on their own.

"We need to give greater priority to regional efforts and to take seriously the deadlines we set ourselves for achieving the CSME. If the global economic recession and financial meltdown have taught us anything, it is that we are far more interconnected in the region than we give ourselves credit for, and as the world becomes more global, that is not likely to change. So, we have to stop thinking of ourselves as independent units and think of ourselves as a cohesive whole," she suggested.

Tributes to Dr. Williams were also paid by Acting Deputy Governor, Operations and Supervision, Cleviston Haynes; President, Barbados Bankers’ Association, Robert Le Hunte; and Member, Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. Justin Robinson.

gapplewhaite@barbados.gov.bb

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