BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – After a reliable COVID-19 vaccine is developed, there can be a rapid recovery for the economies of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), according to Timothy Antoine, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB).
Responding to questions posed during the ECCB Virtual Media Conference for the presentation of the Communiqué for 96th Meeting of the ECCB Monetary Council on Friday, Governor Antoine based his optimism on the sub-region’s careful management of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have proven in this pandemic that we are safe, said the ECCB Governor. We have some of the lowest rates [of infection] and the highest rates of recovery in the world. We have effectively contained this virus in our region.”
“There’s a big appetite for people wanting to visit the Caribbean. Pre-pandemic, 40 percent of the cruise market was in the Caribbean. Combined with what we’ve done with COVID-19 management we think that we are very well placed as a region to benefit from a very quick return once people feel safe.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, who on Friday assumed the Chairmanship of the Monetary Council, stated that a gradual recovery for the ECCU is anticipated in 2021.
The St. Kitts and Nevis prime minister predicted that during the next 12 months under his tenure as Chair of the Monetary Council, there will be a focus on three main areas—monetary stability, financial stability, and growth and competitiveness.
“We have predicted that by 2023, we will be returning to pre-pandemic levels of economic activity, that in itself means that each year we are expecting to see some improvement,” said Prime Minister Dr. Harris. “As we move from year to year – 2021 for example – we expect to see some uptake in terms of tourist arrivals which will improve. As we go beyond 2020 we are expecting to see further normalization in terms of a return to the pre-COVID level in that particular sector.”