Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 03, 2020 (SKNIS): Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Dr. Timothy Antoine, has proposed several action points that could lead to saving lives and the economies within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“Follow the health protocols. You see, as we move to reopen the economy, what we are in fact doing is learning to live with COVID-19 because there is no vaccine for the virus. It therefore means that all of the protocols that we have been following we must continue to follow,” said Governor Antoine. “Our health requires that we do and our economies demand that we do. And if we don’t, if we get careless and complacent we are going to be forced back into lock-downs, shutdowns and will impose and heap upon ourselves more economic difficulty. So that is the key action point. This is not the time to let down your guard.”
The second action point mentioned at the May 02 edition of the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) COVID-19 Daily Briefing is that of expanding connectivity as staying connected is pivotal during the pandemic.
“It is pellucidly clear that connectivity and digital tools have been a lifeline in this pandemic. If you think about it you could not be hearing me and I could not be hearing from you without the digital tools. Schools, work, payments, all of these have been facilitated by digital tools. In this regard, I want to commend our telecommunications providers and SKELEC and, of course, all providers and utilities across the currency union,” he said. “And going forward, it is going to be imperative that we stay connected and connect the unconnected. And this is very important because what we have observed in this period is that the persons and households that have access to digital tools feared better and those who don’t have feared not so well, which is why our governments are now working to procure and deliver tools for students for example to continue their education,” Governor Antoine added.
He encouraged all to adopt a growth mindset as this can be viewed as a way of progressing to desired outcomes.
“The reality is that our world has changed – some call it a new normal, some call it a new regular, some call it a new usual – whatever your choice of words or expression, our world has changed and to cope we need a growth mindset. One of the most important qualities of a growth mindset is that it learns from problems and re-frames into opportunities. The reality is that this adversity presents opportunities,” said the Governor. “And so, I am heartened by the early evidence of some businesses that have basically revamped or tweaked their business models to include delivery of certain services and I think that is important. And I will make the point again, going forward, health and safety will be key to all and any business large or small.”
Governor Antoine made a clarion call for persons to manage their finances wisely.
“At this moment we do not know how long this pandemic will last so we must be prudent. Our working assumption is that this is a marathon, not a sprint. To manage our finances we must do the following: identify essential and non-essential spending – focus on your needs not your wants, avail yourself of financial relief, but I also want to challenge us to save something from what little we receive,” he noted.
Other action points mentioned were ‘feeding your faith, not your fears,’ ‘counting your blessings’ and ‘supporting regional solidarity.’