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Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says there is an urgent need to address the emerging issue of the withdrawal of Correspondent Banking services to certain financial institutions in the Caribbean.
  • De-risking refers to financial institutions exiting relationships with, and closing the accounts of clients considered “high risk”.
  • “This trend hinders our participation in the global financial system and in international trade. This, in turn, creates serious obstacles in our efforts towards promoting investment,” Mr. Holness said.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon.  Andrew Holness, says there is an urgent need to address the emerging issue of the withdrawal of Correspondent Banking services to certain financial institutions in the Caribbean.

Delivering Jamaica’s policy statement at the 71st session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York on September 23, the Prime Minister said that de-risking threatens the economies of Caribbean states.

Correspondent banking relationships are essential to the global payment system, facilitating cross-border transactions, particularly for international trade, remittances and foreign direct investments (FDI).

De-risking refers to financial institutions exiting relationships with, and closing the accounts of clients considered “high risk”.

“This trend hinders our participation in the global financial system and in international trade. This, in turn, creates serious obstacles in our efforts towards promoting investment,” Mr. Holness said.

The Prime Minister said Jamaica respects and has been complying with financial regulatory standards and working within a rules-based, multilateral trade and financial system.

He pointed out that trade represents approximately 70 per cent of the Jamaican economy and, as such, de-risking measures threaten Jamaica’s integration and economic viability.

“Therefore, we encourage our international partners to take the approach of establishing principles that ensure inclusive development strategies based on a country’s ability to engage in a vibrant, dynamic international trading system,” the Prime Minister said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Holness said the hallmark of any civilised society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens.

“We must treat the issue of prevention of violence against our most vulnerable, particularly our women and children as a priority,” he emphasised.

The Prime Minister said that society must move to empower women to realise their full potential.

“Jamaica has a long track record of championing the rights of women and will continue to advocate for full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action,” Mr. Holness said.

“We also cannot leave our children behind.  In order for our children to realise their full potential, they must be provided with the opportunity to live in an environment that is free from fear and violence,” he stressed.

The Prime Minister called for the “early lifting” of the economic embargo against Cuba, pointing out that it is “out of step with recent actions to re-establish diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States”.

Present to hear the Prime Minister’s maiden address to the UN were Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith; Jamaica’s Permanent Representative to the UN, His Excellency, Courtenay Rattray; and Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency, Audrey Marks.