Central Bank Economist Kester Guy Returns from U.S. Embassy Sponsored International Visitor Leadership Programme

Enriching and enlightening” was how Central Bank economist Kester Guy summed up his time in the United States recently for an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) on the topic of U.S.- Caribbean Financial Systems and the Federal Banks.

Guy, along with three other finance officials from Trinidad, Jamaica and the Bahamas, participated in a specialized IVLP which was tailored for Caribbean representatives. The IVLP, which ran from July 12 to July 23, examined the connections between the U.S. and Caribbean financial systems, with focus on the impact of the global financial crisis and U.S investment in the region.

The IVLP is the Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. While there are different versions of the program based upon both profession and number of countries involved in a given program, all have the objective of bringing together emerging leaders in their respective professions to learn from how U.S. experts in this profession operate, and to share best practices with the other program fellows who hail from either the same world region and often the globe.

Launched in 1940, the IVLP is a professional exchange program that seeks to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations through carefully designed short-term visits to the U.S. for current and emerging foreign leaders.  Over 4,000 IVLP fellows come to the United States from all over the world each year. Since its inception in 1940, thousands of distinguished individuals have participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program, including more than 290 current and former Chiefs of State and Heads of Government, thousands of cabinet-level ministers, and many other distinguished leaders from the public and private sectors.

Launched in 1940, the IVLP is a professional exchange program that seeks to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations through carefully designed short-term visits to the U.S. for current and emerging foreign leaders. Over 4,000 IVLP fellows come to the United States from all over the world each year. Since its inception in 1940, thousands of distinguished individuals have participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program, including more than 290 current and former Chiefs of State and Heads of Government, thousands of cabinet-level ministers, and many other distinguished leaders from the public and private sectors.

The ‘U.S.- Caribbean Financial Systems and the Federal Banks’ program examined the U.S. financial markets and institutions in their domestic and global contexts, with the intent of explaining U.S. perspectives on international economic and monetary issues.

During the twelve-day program, the IVLP fellows also analyzed and discussed some of the root causes of the global financial crisis and its implications for U.S.-Caribbean financial relations.

They also discussed U.S. investment in the emerging markets of the Caribbean and programs that assists developing markets in the region.

To get a holistic view of the U.S. financial system and the crisis that has affected it in the last two years, Guy and the IVLP fellows visited officials in Washington D.C, New York City and Atlanta.

In D.C., participants spent the first five days meeting with federal officials, including members of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, the U.S. Department of Treasury and members of the U.S. Congressional Committee on Financial Services.

The IVLP fellows then moved on to New York City for a firsthand look at how the city at the heart of the financial crisis continues to deal with it. In New York, Guy and his colleagues met with officials of mega investment firm Goldman Sachs, representatives of the State of New York Banking Department and a representative of Standard & Poor’s. The meetings with the Banking Department and Standard & Poor’s officials had a special focus on the Caribbean financial industry.

The last stop was in Atlanta, Georgia. After analyzing financial regulation and the financial industry from a macro level, the purpose of this visit was to look at the impact within the United States on a state and city level – how Wall Street and K Street policies and decisions affect ‘Main Street.’

Guy said he was particularly impressed by the level of interaction and genuine exchange which the IVLP trip entailed. He noted that the program was not all one-way communication from U.S. financial industry officials, but rather that he and the other Caribbean Fellows were able to give their own input and lay out their own experiences in financial industry regulation and supervision.

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