Hurricanes Irma and Maria that swept through the Lesser Antilles in September “rudely interrupted and reversed” the significant stride that had been made by the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), the Governor of the St Kitts-based Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Timothy Antoine has said.
The ECCU groups the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.
Antoine said prior to the hurricanes that left trails of death and destruction in several Caribbean islands notably, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, the ECCU was “on pace to record its fastest growth in a decade”.
He said in 2017, the ECCB made significant strides “of which we can be justifiably proud” including the return to profitability and the launch of the strategic plan.
“The year 2017 has been one of mixed fortunes for the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. Until September, our Currency Union 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,” Antoine said, noting that in the aftermath of these storms, “the ECCU family spirit was on full display as we supported affected members.
“As people of faith, we are fortified in the knowledge that God is with us even in times of devastation and despair. He is with us in our bright days and dark days, our good times and bad times, our highs and lows.”
Antoine said that looking forward to 2018, “we are excited about the implementation of our Strategic Plan styled Transforming the ECCU Together.