By: Premier-Hon. Joseph E. Farrell
I extend warm greetings to you my fellow Montserratians, residents, and friends of Montserrat.
Each year, the month of October is recognised as Financial Information Month (FIM) in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), and as Premier and Minister of Finance it brings me great pleasure to declare the month open, under the theme “Building Financial Resilience: in a Covid-19 Environment”.
Financial Information Month is an annual educational campaign by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), implemented since 2002, as part of efforts to empower individuals to be financially sound, using various financial skills, such as financial management and investment, as they chart their own personal development, and by extension that of the region.
Here on Montserrat, our financial partners are:
- the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC),
- Bank of Montserrat Ltd,
- Financial Services Commission,
- Montserrat Building Society Ltd,
- St. Patricks Cooperative Credit Union,
- Social Security Fund,
- Ministries of Finance and Education.
Collectively, we all play a role in educating our citizens in pursuit of the ECCB’s goal of “a financially developed and vibrant Eastern Caribbean Currency Union that fosters strong and sustainable economic growth and the improved well-being of the residents and citizens”.
This year’s global COVID-19 pandemic brought into sharp focus the need for individuals on Montserrat, Government and private sector organisations to employ critical financial management skills to navigate the COVID-19 induced challenges confronting us. And so this year’s theme, ‘Building Financial Resilience in a COVID-19 Environment’ is most appropriate, as we, collectively, now have to manage our finances and explore ways to generate wealth during these uncertain ‘rainy days’.
This is why your participation in the local activities from October 4th is so important.
During the month, you will be exposed to insightful information, tips, and advice on ways in which you can bounce back, and perhaps in an even stronger position than you were before COVID-19.
We know that technology is a key enabler for our economy, and indeed we have had to rely significantly on technology to work, communicate, and conduct business during the past few months. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there will be educational discussions during the week on how to use the internet as a tool in the ‘new normal’.
This year’s FIM activities were trimmed in light of COVID-19 which has resulted in protocols which we must uphold. However, the substance and impactful nature of the educational content remains untouched, and so I implore you to listen and participate in the interactive panel discussions and presentations which will be broadcast on Radio Montserrat and other media platforms.
A key message in some of the discussions, will be empowering our citizens on creating opportunities from COVID-19.
Our forefathers always admonished us to ‘save for rainy days’ but now we have to go beyond that and think of innovative ways to earn, generate income and still save even during those ‘rainy days’.
COVID-19 has indeed pushed all of us out of our comfort zones, and so the radio discussions will highlight how opportunities can emerge from adversities.
The activities also cater to our youth, who can participate in the radio quizzes, a virtual games night which will focus on financial games and a presentation to College students on ‘living through rainy days-how to manage money in challenging times’.
Plans have also been made for FIM partners and friends to participate in a ‘wellness walk from Salem to Isles Bay and yoga session’. And I am pleased that the event organisers have included COVID-19 protocols as part of this activity.
Beyond FIM month and the activities here, I urge all of us to implement the financial tips which will be shared this week, into our everyday live. Develop a personal plan, set your goals and work towards them, explore investment opportunities and save as much or as little as you can –every dollar counts! And Teach your children to do the same.
I express my thanks and appreciation to the local ECCB Agency Office and its partners, for coordinating these activities which I am confident will be implemented professionally and which will be useful for our people.
It is with a sense of expectation, that I declare the 2020 Financial Information Month campaign on Montserrat officially open.
God’s blessings be on all of you.