||Central Bank Of Barbados
Throughout 2020, the Central Bank of Barbados was involved in a number of initiatives and activities both related to its core business of promoting economic, monetary, and financial stability; and more broadly to supporting and promoting the arts, education, and culture.
This article, the first in a four-part series, looks back at some of the Bank’s activities and initiatives over the past 12 months. Read part two, three and four here.
With all that has happened in 2020, it’s easy to forget that the way it began was rather typical. Early in the quarter, the Central Bank of Barbados hosted a number of events, but by March, the national tone had changed.
Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Awards
In January, Sharma Taylor took first prize at the 22nd Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Competition, beating out 69 other entrants and walking away with a cash prize of $10,000 for her collection of short stories, “Hollow Calabash”, which she described as “stories where characters grapple with things they have lost or are trying to gain but never really do.”
The night’s other winners included Claudia Clarke, who took second prize of her entry, “CircleSquare” and Anderson Lowe, for his short story collection “Inside the Black Belly Sheep.”
Speaking during the ceremony, Governor Haynes explained why the Central Bank, despite its core business being macroeconomic matters, created and continues to support the FCLE:
“We all believed in the vision of our founding father, Sir Courtney Blackman, that a central bank in a small economy must be involved in nation building. And what is promoting and showing tangible support for an activity that imbues a strong sense of national identity in our citizens if it is not a form of nation building?”
Fish and Dragon Festival
Later in January, the Bank partnered with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to stage the 6th Fish and Dragon Festival. The festival, which celebrates the more than 40 years of diplomatic relations between Barbados and China, attracted more than 8,000 attendees, who flocked to the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium to watch China’s Jilin troupe along with martial arts displays and local entertainers.
The 2021 Fish and Dragon will be held as a virtual event.
Changes to Monetary Policy
By March, the COVID-19 pandemic had reached the island and a nationwide lockdown went into effect. With many Barbadians at least temporarily out of work, commercial banks offered their clients moratoria on loan payments. In response, the Central Bank adjusted its monetary policy, reducing the overnight lending rate and the securities ratio for deposit-taking financial institutions to ensure they remained stable. It also offered liquidity support in the form of collateralised loans to these institutions, however as of December, none have had to utilise this facility.