The Caribbean Community and in particular the OECS sub region has lost an icon in the name of Sir K Dwight Venner.
Sir K Dwight Venner for many years was the key figurehead advocating of economic and financial standards for the OECS sub region.
His stewardship at the helm of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) came at a time when the region was looking for economic growth and development balanced with financial and economic stability.
I personally knew Sir K Dwight Venner in various capacities over my career thus far in areas related to banking, finance and economic management. Most notably, I worked under his stewardship at the ECCB which is based in the federation of St Kitts and Nevis.
In my humble opinion, Sir K Dwight Venner in his term at the helm of the ECCB was known for the following key economic and financial dispositions:
1. His mantra for the maintenance of a strong and stable eastern Caribbean Currency, which he defended by promoting the development of foreign exchange earning sectors such as Agriculture and Tourism.
2. His promotion and defence of Central Bank independence from Government, which resulted in little or no borrowings by regional OECS Governments from the ECCB.
3. His promotion and defence of strong macroeconomic management by regional governments which include prudent fiscal management and sovereign debt sustainability.
4. His overseeing the creation of the Eastern Caribbean Home Mortgage Bank (ECHMB) which represented a secondary market for regional financial institutions such as the St Patrick’s Cooperative Credit Union Ltd to raise liquidity. Apart from being a shareholder of the ECHMB, the SPCCU in 2008 successfully utilize this institution to raise significant amount of liquidity to pump into the Montserrat economy.
5. His overseeing the creation of the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange which represented the first regional integrated securities market serving several independent countries where the regional governments and private sector companies can issue debt and equity financial instruments. Apart from being a shareholder of the ECSE, the SPCCU is a holder of debt instruments floated and traded in the ECSE.
6. Most recently he was able to pilot via the various regional governments the enactment of the New Harmonize Banking Act and the Eastern Caribbean Asset Management Corporation. These two pieces of legislation represented a significant upgrade to the OECS Banking Regulatory Regime and assisted in the successful resolution of indigenous banking difficulties in Antigua and Barbuda and Anguilla.
7. Finally, he was a strong promoter of amalgamation of the regional indigenous bank, which in his view would represent an overall strengthening in regional banking landscape.
Citizens and residents of Montserrat must never forget that Sir K Dwight Venner was at the helm of the ECCB, when that organization made a successful intervention and resolution of financial difficulties at the Bank of Montserrat. Therefore, the citizens and residents of Montserrat have much to be thankful for in terms of the contribution of Sir K Dwight Venner to the OECS region and in particular Montserrat.
On behalf of the St Patrick’s Cooperative Credit Union, I wish to extend my sincere condolences to his family and former colleagues at the ECCB, UWI and the Government of St Lucia. May god bless them and comfort them at this time.
Peter D. A. Queeley
St Patricks’ Cooperative Credit Union Ltd