The ECCB Celebrates 40 Years of Transformative Leadership and Innovation
by Lisa Beauchamp Jan 11, 2023
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has been diligently fulfilling its mission of “Advancing the good of the people of the Currency Union” for 40 years by maintaining monetary and financial stability and promoting growth and development.
It is the Monetary Authority for a population of more than 600,000 people spanning six sovereign states: Antigua and Barbuda, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Christopher (St Kitts) and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and two overseas territories of the United Kingdom: Anguilla and Montserrat.
The Agreement establishing the ECCB was signed by seven governments on 5 July 1983, and the Central Bank was officially commissioned on 1 October, 1983. Anguilla would join later on 1 April 1987.
The ECCB replaced the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority (ECCA), which was established in 1965. The ECCA headquarters was moved from Barbados to St. Kitts in May 1975, following Barbados’ withdrawal from the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority. The move to St. Kitts was overseen by the Managing Director of the ECCA, Sir Cecil Jacobs, a national of St. Kitts and Nevis. In 1983, the building at the corner of Church and Central Streets that housed the ECCA became the ECCB headquarters.
Sir Cecil Jacobs, who was then the first Governor of the ECCB, led an initial staff of 55 persons. He was ably assisted by Sir Errol Allen, a Vincentian, who served as Deputy Governor until his retirement on 31 March 2005.
The first ECCB Agency Office was established in Grenada on 1 November 1984, paving the way for the expansion of the ECCB’s footprint to all its member countries. On 21 November 1992, a ceremony was held to break ground for the construction of the new ECCB Headquarters at Bird Rock. The Bank moved into its new headquarters in August 1994 and it was officially opened on 29 October that year.
Sir Cecil Jacobs retired in September 1989 and Sir K. Dwight Venner, a Vincentian, became Governor of the ECCB from 1 December, 1989 and served until his retirement in November 2015. The present Governor, Mr. Timothy N. J. Antoine, a Grenadian, assumed the role on 1 February, 2016.
Ever in the vanguard of innovation, the ECCB on 31 March 2021 introduced DCash, the first Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) to be launched by a Currency Union.
“Over the past five years, the ECCB has received five global awards, all recognition of our initiatives and innovations as we continue to build on the rich legacy of our framers and founders,” Governor Antoine said at the Bank’s 40th Anniversary Launch on 19 January 2023.
In 2022, the ECCB received the Central Banking Green Initiative Award for installing its solar canopy project at the Bank’s headquarters and significantly reducing its carbon footprint, and the Best New Banknote Series Award from Reconnaissance International. In 2021, the ECCB received the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Infrastructure Award at the FinTech & RegTech Global Awards hosted by Central Banking. In 2018, Governor Antoine was named Central Bank Governor of the Year for the Caribbean by GlobalMarkets. In 2017, the ECCB was awarded at the World Institute for Action Learning (WIAL) Global Conference.
As the ECCB enters its 40th year, the Governor is adeptly supported by the institution’s first female Deputy Governor, Dr. Valda F. Henry, a national of The Commonwealth of Dominica, and Ms. D. Tracy Polius, a national of Saint Lucia, who serves as Chief Director (Policy). Dr. Henry succeeded Mr. Trevor Brathwaite of Saint Lucia, who served as the second Deputy Governor from 2006 to 2021.
There is no way to fit all that the ECCB is, does and means for the people and economy of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) into 500 words. Those who read this article are therefore invited to log on to the ECCB’s Virtual Museum when it launches this year, to get a full-fledged history of this pioneering Central Bank.
The leadership and staff of the ECCB proudly celebrate the Bank’s 40th (Ruby) Anniversary and dedicate this year of festivities to the people of the ECCU.
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Article submitted by the ECCB.