Regional business people can strengthen the Single Market

Author  CMC
caribbean region/dr. errol cort.jpg
Dr. Errol Cort
 PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad
,-The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) SingleMarket (CSM) will be significantly strengthened once regional businesspeople help to develop the economies of all nations through financial investments, says a regional finance minister.
Antigua and Barbuda Finance and Economy Minister, Dr. Errol Cort, made the comments earlier this week at a news conference in Port of Spain, called to promote a bond issue initiative currently being undertaken by his government.

Cort said the Antigua and Barbuda government's T-Bills and Bond Issuesinitiative started in Antigua and Barbuda on February 13 and Trinidad was the third stop on the tour.
He said his government viewed Trinidad as a very important market since "there seems to be a lot of liquidity" in that country's financial system.

The Antigua government is proposing to issue treasury bills up to EC$51 million, to be distributed in three tranches of EC$17 million on March 15, mid-April and mid-May, and issue a ten-year EC$100 million bond in July.

Both the T-bills and the bond will be placed on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Market and will be open to all regional investors.
Cort said fears of currency shortage occurring in one CARICOM country because that country's business people choose to purchase T-bills or bonds in Antigua and Barbuda were unfounded.
He explained that the T-bill issue had a duration of 91 days and thismeant any investor who purchased a t-bill, but was no longer desirous of continuing that investment would get their monies back with interest.
Cort said the rates of return, 6.5 percent in the first instance for the T-bills and 8.25 percent for the bond, will be very attractive for regional iinvestors.
The minister revealed that several of this nation's leading financial institutions such as RBTT, Sagicor and Citibank were interested in the
offer placed on the table by Antigua and Barbuda.
The minister said it was "myopic" for anyone to believe that investment should be internal to any particular CARICOM nation given the realities of the CSME.
He added that this type of investment would be encouraged by the regional business community and would go "a long way in cementing the CSME that is being promoted at the level of the political directorate."