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May 30, 2018

C.D.B. Pulls Region Together on Resilience

The Caribbean Development Bank’s Board of Governors is holding its annual two-day meeting in Grenada, in the Eastern Caribbean. The meetings and seminars that began today and continue through Thursday are structured around the region’s resilience. That buzzword, resilience, is anchored in the commitment of the bank’s members to pursue the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals to end all forms of poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change by 2030, while ensuring that no one is left behind. The Bank’s strategy focuses on three key areas of regional development: energy, agriculture, and transportation. News Five’s Aaron Humes has a report.

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

Opening today’s ceremony in St. George’s, Grenada, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, chair of the Bank’s Board of Governors, lauded what is being done for the region in the area of resilience and response to disasters.

 

Keith Mitchell

Dr. Keith Mitchell, Chair, Board of Governors, C.D.B.

“Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, all, I would also like to complement the president, CDB Board of Directors and Management on the following important initiatives which were approved by the Board since the last Board of Governors meeting, and which will contribute significantly to building resilience in the region. Some of the salient achievements include: one, the creation of an Infrastructure Trust Fund with support from the Government of Mexico, through which grants and concessionary loans are provided for climate-resilient infrastructure; two, the AFD loan and grant financing facility to fund infrastructure projects, with environmental and climate benefits in eligible BMCs; three, the European Investment Bank’s- Second Climate Action Line of Credit, with an increase in Principal Amount. I was honored to be a signatory for this welcomed and timely facility, especially in anticipation of increased demands for concessional resources to assist with post-natural disaster reconstruction.”

 

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, speaking for the remaining borrowing member countries, outlined the still harmful economic issues affecting all Caribbean countries, and took a shot at international partners that he said had not properly taken the region’s concerns to heart.

 

Gaston Browne

Gaston Browne, Prime Minister, Antigua and Barbuda

“The man-made catastrophes are mounting. They include de-risking; the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations which, at best, have pushed up the cost of doing business by our countries and adversely affected our global competitiveness. At worse, we continue to face the real possibility of being excluded from the world’s trading and financial system. Similarly, we have been coerced into accepting constraints on our capacity to compete in trade-in goods; and now on financial services. Those who control the global trade and financial system insist that competition in the areas of their advantage are good, but they deny us the right to compete in financial services, particularly in differentiated taxation to attract investments. They have sought to deny us our rights to operate well-regulated investor immigration, gaming and offshore banking industries, using the deceptive notion that they are harmful to them. The reality is, their policies are harmful to us and evidently designed to keep us in economic dependency. Every niche we seek to establish to diversify our economies and provide for our peoples, they conveniently find harmful. The question is what next? They may soon resolve that our very existence is harmful to them.”

 

After citing energy, agriculture and transportation as key areas to focus on for the Bank in the coming year, President Dr. William Warren Smith closed with a call to action.

 

William Warren Smith

Dr. William Warren Smith, President, Caribbean Development Bank

“Chairman, the challenges and vulnerabilities of small developing states are very familiar to us all. Our region has had to cope with countless natural disasters and other shocks throughout its history. And we have demonstrated repeatedly our ability to “bounce back” from such disastrous events. However, our responses have been largely reactionary; and the cost of responding has been rising steadily, undermining other efforts to get onto a sustainable development platform. To be winners, Chairman, we must plan to win, prepare to win and expect to win. The events of last year’s hurricane season led to the adoption of the slogan “Build back better”. It underscores the determination of the people of our region to triumph over our vulnerabilities. We have a long and proud history of triumphing over adversity. We hail from small and relatively poor countries, yet we compete and perform with distinction, on the world stage, in varied fields of endeavor, be it business, sports, the creative arts, or increasingly, politics. In short, we know how to win; and Chairman, we will win!”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

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