by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank- Mr. Timothy N.J Antoine stands resolute that a sound payments system is important to keep the region’s financial system efficient and strong.
“At ECCB, we understand that payments are the lifeblood of any economy, and I have said it before, and I’ll say it again because that is the philosophy. The payment system must work for all except illicit actors.
The ECCB, in collaboration with the World Bank, facilitated its second Payments and Settlement Systems, International Organisations for Security Commissions and Principles of Financial Market Infrastructures Workshop on January 16 to 20, 2023.
During the opening ceremony of the workshop, Mr. Antoine urged participants to have clarity about their convictions and philosophy as it relates to payments.
“Enshrined in that philosophy are three principles, 1) safety, 2) efficiency, 3) inclusion. That is a starting point because that has to energise the work that you do in payments because it’s deep in your guts; you feel it in your heart. It’s not a mind thing. It’s a heart thing. You know that to truly transform this region, we have to effect the transformation of our payment system.”
The attendees, as described by Antoine, are the leaders of payments. He advised them to carry out the mission of the ECCB to “Advance the good of the people of the Currency Union.”
“Development always starts with a passion for people. That’s where it starts. It starts with a passion for people. You want to make their lives better, and everything we do thereafter must align with that passion and that admission.”
Trevor Phipps – Manager of Information Technology Caribbean Credit Cards Department, said the workshop was timely, as it brought to life some of the priority areas that need to be worked upon going forward.
The workshop highlighted certain areas that are critically important to the payment system and the overall stability of the region. It is something that we needed to be reminded of, and it highlighted several key areas that we need to focus on; we need to go back and review to see what we have missed, what we need to add and also where we need to strengthen our systems so that we can continue to deliver and be of value to the OECS.”
The key objectives of the workshop were to elevate institutional risks and awareness and strengthen resilience for payment operations.
The components of the workshop included a series of bilateral and multilateral meetings with stakeholders across the ECCU, the new payment system legislation and the payments system strategy that has been developed for the ECCU in collaboration with the World Bank.