On the recommendation of the ECCB Board of Directors, the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has approved grant funding, in the sum of EC$4.0m (EC$500,000 each), to the ECCB Member Governments, to help in their fight against the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Montserrat is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union along with Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Christopher (St Kitts) and Nevis, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. The ECCB is fully cognisant of the potential economic, financial and social impact of COVID-19 on member countries. Half of the grant was disbursed on March 13 to purchase testing and other critical equipment to detect, contain and manage COVID-19.
The remainder will be utilised to procure equipment and supplies such as ventilators and drugs through the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Pharmaceutical Procurement Service (OECS PPS), a bulk procurement mechanism.
In commenting on the decision, the Chairman of the Monetary Council, Dr Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance for Grenada noted: “we are facing an unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. Our countries are very appreciative of this thoughtful and practical gesture by the Bank”.