Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, told the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday that, along with
climate change and lingering indebtedness, Caribbean islands face another existential threat from the withdrawal by global banks of
correspondent banking relations to their financial institutions.
In the global campaign against money-laundering and terrorist financing, very strict penalties have been imposed on banks by
regulatory bodies in North America and Europe for any infringement of the stringent regulations.
Gaston explained that in this environment, where even the slightest infraction could expose a bank to a fine of hundreds of millions of
dollars, many have chosen to withdraw essential correspondent banking relations from financial institutions in the Caribbean, Central
America and Africa. He added that this process is called de-risking, however he calls it economic destruction.
Browne said while this trend is prevalent in a few regions, it will spread with global consequences unless checked by collective action.