Inaugural meeting of the ECCB took place in St.Kitts-Nevis in 1984

ST KITTS, January 30, 2022 – On January 20, 1984, thirty-eight years ago, the inaugural meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) was held and was chaired by the first Governor, the late Sir Cecil A. Jacobs, a national of St Kitts and Nevis. The meeting was held at the Fort Thomas Hotel in St Kitts.The complete list of Monetary Council Members and Alternates who were present at the first meeting reads as follows:

Government of Antigua and Barbuda – A. Guishard, Financial Secretary;

Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica Mary Eugenia Charles, Prime Minister;

Government of Grenada L. F. Wilson Jr, Director General, Finance;

Government of Montserrat, John Osborne, Chief Minister;

Government of St Kitts) and Nevis, Simeon Daniel, Minister of Finance;

Government of Saint Lucia, John Compton, Prime Minister.

The 100th Meeting of the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) was held on 22 October 2021, via videoconference, under the Chairmanship of the Honourable Joseph Easton Farrell, Premier and Minister for Finance of Montserrat.Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Timothy Harris represented St Kitts and Nevis.In 1946, a West Indian Currency Conference saw Barbados, British Guiana, the Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and the Windward Islands agree to establish a unified decimal currency system based on a West Indian dollar to replace the current arrangement of having three different Boards of Commissioners of Currency (for Barbados (which also served the Leeward and Windward Islands), British Guiana and Trinidad & Tobago).In 1949, the British government formalized the dollar system of accounts in British Guiana and the Eastern Caribbean territories by introducing the British West Indies dollar (BWI$) at the already existing conversion rate of $4.80 per pound sterling (or $1 = 4 shillings 2 pence). It was one of the many experimental political and economic ventures tested by the British government to form a uniform system within the British West Indies territories. The symbol “BWI$” for frequently used and the currency was known verbally as the “Beewee” (slang for British West Indies) dollar. Shortly thereafter in the 1950, the British Caribbean Currency Board (BCCB) was set up in Trinidad with the sole right to issue notes and coins of the new unified currency and given the mandate of keeping full foreign exchange cover to ensure convertibility at $4.80 per pound sterling. In 1951, the British Virgin Islands joined the arrangement, but this led to discontent because that territory was more naturally drawn to the currency of the neighbouring U.S. Virgin Islands. In 1961, the British Virgin Islands withdrew from the arrangement and adopted the U.S. dollar.Until 1955, the BWI$ existed only as banknotes in conjunction with sterling fractional coinage. Decimal coins replaced the sterling coins in 1955. These decimal coins were denominated in cents, with each cent worth one halfpenny in sterling.In 1958, the West Indies Federation was established and the BWI$ was its currency. However, although Jamaica (including the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands) was part of the West Indies Federation, it retained the Jamaican pound, despite adopting the BWI$ as legal tender from 1954.[9] Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands were already long established users of the sterling accounts system of pounds, shillings, and pence.In 1964 Jamaica ended the legal tender status of the BWI$[9] and Trinidad and Tobago withdrew from the currency union (adopting the Trinidad and Tobago dollar) forcing the movement of the headquarters of the BCCB to Barbados[6] and soon the “BWI$” dollar lost its regional support.In 1965, the British West Indies dollar of the now defunct West Indies Federation was replaced at par by the Eastern Caribbean dollar and the BCCB was replaced by the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority or ECCA (established by the Eastern Caribbean Currency Agreement 1965). British Guiana withdrew from the currency union the following year. Grenada, which had used the Trinidad and Tobago dollar from 1964, rejoined the common currency arrangement in 1968. Barbados withdrew from the currency union in 1972, following which the ECCA headquarters were moved to St. Kitts at the request of then Premier Robert Bradshaw who was also the Minister of Finance. Bradshaw had served as Federal Minister of Finance in the West Indies Federation.Between 1965 and 1983, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority issued the EC$, with banknotes from 1965 and coins from 1981. The EC$ is now issued by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, based in the city of Basseterre, in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The bank was established by an agreement (the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Agreement) signed at Port of Spain on 5 July 1983.The exchange rate of $4.80 = £1 sterling (equivalent to the old $1 = 4s 2d) continued until 1976 for the new Eastern Caribbean dollar.Until 1981, the coins of the BWI$ circulated. In 1982, a new series of coins was introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 25 cents and 1 dollar. The 1- and 5-cent coins were scalloped in shape while the 2-cent coin was square. These three were struck in aluminum. The 10- and 25-cent coins were round and cupro-nickel. The dollar was aluminum bronze and also round. The round, aluminum bronze dollar coin was replaced in 1989 with a decagonal, cupro-nickel type. In 2002 new and larger round-shaped 1-, 2-, and 5-cent pieces were introduced, along with a new 1-dollar coin which was also round. The effigy of Higher denominations exist, but these were issued only as medal-coins. 1- and 2-cent coins were withdrawn from circulation in July 2015, and remained legal tender until 30 June 2020In 1965, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority issued banknotes in denominations of 1, 5, 20 and 100 dollars, all featuring Pietro Annigoni’s 1956 portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in regalia of the Order of the Garter. The first issues in the name of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank in 1985 were of the same denominations, with the addition of 10-dollar notes. The last 1-dollar notes were issued in 1989 and 50-dollar notes were introduced in 1993. On 1 April 2008, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank issued a new series of banknotes which are like the preceding issues, except for omitting both the barcode and the country code letters which form part of the serial number on current notes.] In 2012, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank issued a series of banknotes with Braille features in an effort to provide notes which are easier for blind and visually impaired persons to use. The raised Braille characters on the upgraded notes feature a cricket theme in the form of balls and stumps. These characters have been added to the 10-, 20-, 50-, and 100-dollar notes.In 2019, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank introduced a new family of notes produced in polymer substrate presented in a vertical format.Governors of the ECCBImage 1 – Sir Cecil Jacobs, 1973 to 1989Image 2 – Sir K Dwight Venner, 1989 to 2015Image 3 – Timothy Antoine, since 2015Image 4 – Top floors of this building accommodated the home of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority (ECCA). Image 5 – Present home of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB)

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