BASSETERRE- The devastating hurricanes Irma and Maria derailed record growth by the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) this year, according to Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB).

ECCU Governor Timothy Antoine said , before the Category 5 hurricanes hit, the ECCU was on pace to record its fastest growth in a decade.

“This welcomed development was rudely interrupted and reversed by the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, two of the most powerful storms ever recorded. Five of our member countries were impacted with three receiving direct hits,” he said in his Christmas message.

However, he pointed out, in the aftermath of these storms, “the ECCU family spirit was on full display as we supported affected members”. Antoine also stressed that despite the impact of the hurricanes, the ECCB made significant strides “of which we can be justifiably proud. These include return to profitability and the launch of our strategic plan,” he said.

The 2017-2021 strategic plan, ‘Transforming the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union Together‘ focuses on economic transformation.

It seeks to achieve five goals: maintaining a strong and stable EC dollar; ensuring a strong, diversified and resilient financial sector; being the advisor of choice to participating  governments in pursuit of fiscal and debt sustainability; actively promoting the economic development of member territories; and enhancing organizational effectiveness to ensure responsiveness and service excellence.