News Releases

Navigating Forex Challenges: Strategic Insights from Dr. Terrence Farrell and a UWI-Led Panel

For Release Upon Receipt - February 23, 2024

St. Augustine

St. Augustine, February, 23, 2024 – Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad & Tobago, Dr. Terrence Farrell, challenged attendees at the recent “FOREX Flows and Woes” virtual seminar held on January 26, 2024 with a thought-provoking question when he stated. "The foreign exchange situation is not dire; we are not by any means in any crisis. So how do we explain then that people complain that they have little access to foreign exchange?", which set the stage for a dynamic and insightful discussion. Hosted by The University of the West Indies (The UWI) St. Augustine Campus in collaboration with the Trade and Economic Development Unit, Department of Economics under the Faculty of Social Sciences, the seminar explored the intricacies of the FOREX market. Moreover, the seminar shed light on the critical impact these dynamics have on small and medium enterprises, as well as their profound implications for everyday individuals. 

In a compelling keynote address, Dr. Farrell shed light on the challenges of limited foreign exchange (forex) access for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the average citizen, attributing the issue to the distribution mechanisms employed by commercial banks. He emphasized the critical influence of banking relationships on forex availability, stating, "The amount of the foreign exchange you get depends on the relationship you have with your commercial bank." Dr. Farrell also tackled the common perception that larger corporations enjoy preferential access to forex, explaining, "Bigger companies are the ones bringing in more goods that everybody buys. The problem there, is the distributional effect and whether or not that mal distribution then does have certain other kinds of knock-on consequences." This insightful commentary highlighted the intricate dynamics between bank policies, corporate size, and their broader economic implications, sparking a vital conversation on equitable forex distribution. 

Furthermore, building on his initial insights, Dr. Farrell delved further into the complexities of Trinidad and Tobago's foreign exchange landscape. He meticulously unpacked the origins of the country's forex, its trading mechanisms, and offered profound insights into the persistent imbalance between demand and supply. This exploration was part of a broader dialogue, enriched by a panel of eminent speakers who collectively examined the interplay of critical factors shaping the FOREX market. The other members of the panel included Professor Roger Hosein, Professor of Economics at The UWI, St Augustine, Mr. Michael Annisette (Trade Unionist), and Dr. Rebecca Gookool-Bosland, Economist. Their analysis provided a comprehensive understanding of the challenges hindering Trinidad and Tobago's economic growth, forecasting future trends, and proposing actionable strategies for individuals, businesses, and the broader economy to navigate these hurdles effectively. 

In this context of economic scrutiny, the concept of the "necessity entrepreneur" emerged as a focal point, spotlighting individuals propelled into entrepreneurship by survival instincts rather than opportunity. This notion, reflective of the current economic strain and the volatile nature of the FOREX market, underscored the adaptive strategies individuals resort to in the face of financial adversity. 

A crucial platform for understanding the nuances of foreign exchange accessibility and its broader economic implications, this seminar forms part of The UWI's National Conversations Series, and served as a key platform for knowledge exchange, promoting research-based solutions and fostering partnerships between academia and industry. The UWI believes that the insights shared during this event contributed significantly to a more informed public discourse on economic matters crucial to our national community. 

The insightful webinar can be viewed on The UWI St. Augustine YouTube Channel 


About The University of the West Indies 

The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development, residing at the center of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region for over 75 years. 

From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with nearly 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Global Campus, and global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. 

The UWI offers over 1000 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and the wider world. 

The UWI has been consistently ranked among the best in the world by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education (THE). Since The UWI’s 2018 debut in THE’s rankings, it has performed well in multiple schemes—among them including World University Rankings, Golden Age University Rankings (between 50 and 80 years old), Latin America Rankings, and the Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Well-being; Gender Equality and Climate Action. 

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