BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Feb. 11, 2016–The banking sector in the Caribbean—and particularly in Belize—has been experiencing major challenges due to the severing of correspondent banking relations by US banks, and the ensuing banking crisis will be high on the agenda of CARICOM leaders, who begin arriving in Belize today for regional meetings.
Since Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow is holding the chair for CARICOM for January to June 2016, Belize will host over 100 guests from sister CARICOM states on the occasion of the 27th Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM, to be convened at Belize Ocean Club in Placencia, Stann Creek, next week.
Belize last hosted CARICOM Heads of Government in March 2009, when it also held the rotating chairmanship of the regional integration body.
The Heads of Government meeting for 2016 will be declared open on Monday morning. Closed-door meetings are scheduled for Tuesday and the meeting will wrap up on Wednesday with a closing press conference.
Ahead of those meetings, Ministers of the Environment are scheduled to meet on Friday, and on Monday, Ministers of Finance are scheduled to hold a committee meeting with banking sector representatives, including representatives of the Eastern Caribbean Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank and Belize’s Central Bank Governor, to discuss the regional situation. It is expected that the Heads of Government will be fully apprised of the regional situation, when they deliberate in Placencia the next day.
Zika, an emerging public health concern across the Americas, is also high on the regional agenda, and the leaders are also expected to discuss the situation at the upcoming meeting after the presentation of a policy brief with policy recommendations for strengthening national and regional action, from representatives of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
No agenda has yet been released for the event.