The Prime Minister is demanding that the Caribbean region benefits from the US economy because of the country’s geographical position.
At the opening of roundtable discussions on de-risking and correspondent banking in Barbados on Wednesday, Dr Rowley said: “We are neighbours to the richest, most powerful economy in the world, and we are making not a request but a demand that we be allowed to participate and benefit from that accident of geography and history.”
He urged US congresswoman and chair of the roundtable discussion Maxine Waters to encourage decisions which will be mutually beneficial to the US and Caricom.
The discussion was co-chaired by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley. Accompanying Rowley were Republic Bank and First Citizens Bank representatives.
“Indigenous banking can grow and provide to the people of our region an area of economic activity which would be safe and productive for us.”
He said he was proud to see many buildings in Barbados with the logo of a Trinidad and Tobago bank.
“They got their footprint as far as Ghana.
“Our TT bank in Ghana is representative of how financial services could bring about growth and good processes for us.”
On being able to participate in the world’s economy, Rowley said: “Banking is something we can do, it is something we must be allowed to do, and it represents successful diversification of the economies of the Caribbean.”
He agreed with Mottley on the notion of stereotyping of banks from Caribbean countries which often cause them to be blacklisted.
“This family gathering should have a family position that we remain innocent until proven guilty, and therefore should not be listed for any wrongdoing that we have not participated in.”
He said despite TT not participating in offshore banking, TT banks are labeled as dangerous because of other Caribbean islands.
“What the banks are concerned about are the risks that could come from doing business with us. That is a position we find unacceptable because we believe there is great progress to be made from doing business with us.
“The facts will support that, not the fiction and discrimination.”
On ongoing issues, he said young people face trouble opening a bank account.
“That is not right. The regulations should encourage us to take part in banking.”