HOUSTON, Texas (Dec. 3): “The blacklisting of Guyana and the citation of Belize by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) could have serious ramifications for the banking industry if corrective measures are not taken,” warned Melissa Marchand, publisher of Global News Matters, which produces the fortnightly Market Dynamics Caribbean.

This week’s edition of the newsletter reports that CFATF assailed Guyana’s continuing inability to pass anti-money laundering laws and counter the financing of terrorism. CFATF also cited Belize for a number of deficiencies in agreed-upon standards for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

“This is why we are following these developments closely, as they pose a significant risk to the commercial banking sectors of the two countries, and in this interconnected economy, there could be repercussions in other parts of the region.”

Market Dynamics Caribbean also reported how the Caribbean spends heavily on importing its energy needs, but the latest edition saw some movement toward decreasing the region’s reliance on expensive, imported fossil fuel.

“It is interesting to see Caribbean countries and territories moving to reduce oil and gas imports, seriously develop their renewable energy sources and putting in place energy efficiency measures, because the majority of Caribbean nations spend precious foreign exchange earnings importing costly fossil fuels,” noted Marchand.

The current edition also looks at the introduction of measures in Puerto Rico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic aimed at reducing electricity costs. Puerto Rico is looking at introducing competition into the market. Including the private sector, Marchand contended, “would stimulate research across a range of specific environmental settings, technologies and best practices which will, in turn, produce a cyclical effect, as the stabilization of clean energy infrastructures will attract increased private sector and foreign investment.”

Tourism is the largest driver of regional economies, and Market Dynamics Caribbean reviewed encouraging news of efforts to generate new business from South America. Barbados and Chile agreed on possible direct service between the countries while Cuba welcomes Argentina as its fourth biggest market. Suriname and Venezuela are talking about an open skies pact. Not to be outdone, Aruba is optimistic that a familiarization trip with travel representatives from Brazil’s huge market will bear fruit.

Published every two weeks, Market Dynamics Caribbean covers more than 30 economies in the Caribbean region, including the Dutch, French, Spanish and English Caribbean. The newsletter provides up-to-date information on politics, the electoral landscape, regulatory outlook, legislation, public investment, and economic and industrial developments.