Yesterday we brought you the highlights of the press conference led by the Prime Minister of Belize surrounding the outcomes of his meetings in Washington DC as they relate to correspondent banking between the US and Belize. In essence, Prime Minister Barrow returned with no concrete solution to the banking challenges in Belize when it comes to the offshore and domestic sectors. He did come back with reports that Belize’s jurisdiction is not a black-listed country for the US Banks to do business with. The country’s status on that front is refreshing particularly considering the recent international reports and rankings for Belize from Transparency International and other agencies. The question of honesty did surface however, in terms of how straightforward and honest were the US parties being in the three main meetings held. According to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, it is not a matter of naivety but he sees no reason for those from the US to mislead the country.
“I don’t want you to think it’s because I am naive or believe that the Americans are inherently truth tellers and more moral than the rest of us but I don’t believe that they were snowing us, maybe that’s not the right term to use. I don’t think there would be any reason for them not to be straight with us because to be perfectly frank we are a small jurisdiction, what can we do to them, why would they need to play fast and loose, why would they need to jolly us along? I think in this case there was no reason at all for them to do other that be straight with us and I think they were straight.”
According to the Prime Minister, the regulators in the United States have all said that it is not under their directive of influence that banks are pulling out of Belize and that neither the Office of the Comptroller of Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the US Department of Treasury should be used as scapegoats. In yesterday’s briefing, Prime Minister Barrow announced that another bank from New York is expected to pull out shortly from Belize.