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IMFF

Improvements in economic prospects for Caribbean/Latin America – IMF

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, CMC – The International Monetary Fund (IMF), says economic prospects for the region are generally improving and modest growth is expected in 2018 and 2019.

The IMF, in its Regional Economic Outlook Update for Latin America and the Caribbean, released on Thursday, said the positive outlook is supported by growth in the United States following the recent U.S. tax reform.

IMFFHowever, the international lending agency noted that some of the islands that were hit hard during the 2017 hurricane season face a protracted recovery.

One such country is Dominica.

“In Dominica,  gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to decline by 16 percent in 2018, before rebounding in 2019 as reconstruction gathers pace.”

The IMF also noted that overall, recent trends in the world economy and financial markets are good news for  the Caribbean and Latin America.

“Global growth and trade are on an upswing, and we expect the momentum to continue in 2018.  Stronger commodity prices have also helped the region rebound.”

The report said consumption and exports were the main growth drivers last year and the recovery is broad based across the region.

“Encouragingly, investment is no longer a drag, and is expected to be an important factor behind the acceleration in output this year and next. Inflation came down significantly in 2017 in many countries, providing some scope for easing monetary policy.”

The Washington based lending agency said that while Mexico, Central America, and parts of the Caribbean are benefitting from stronger growth in the United States, growth in South America is mainly driven by the end of recessions in Brazil, Argentina, and Ecuador, as well as higher commodity prices.

It said that in the United States, reforms to U.S. corporate and personal income taxes passed in December 2017 will likely raise private investment and private consumption over the short term

The report also revealed that in Central America and the Dominican Republic, output growth remains robust, helped by stronger than anticipated remittances flows, improved financial conditions, and good harvests.

However it was also stated that some risks could hurt the region’s recovery – including upcoming elections in some countries  – an event that could cfreate economic and policy uncertainties in the next year.

“Pressures for inward-looking policies in advanced economies—including through a retreat from cross-border integration—and factors such as global geopolitical tensions and extreme weather events could compound these uncertainties.”

The IMF said  in looking beyond the near term, the region also faces serious medium-term challenges.

“As we have been emphasizing, despite the current economic acceleration, Latin America’s output growth is returning to an underwhelming mean. Subdued potential growth and downside medium-term risks call for further efforts to rebuild buffers and implement structural policies to address growth bottlenecks and improve resilience.”

The lending institution said countries that need to lower  fiscal deficits should give attention to the fine balance between preserving inclusive growth and stabilizing high public debt, which has been rising.

“To better withstand future shocks, maintaining exchange rate flexibility, and further improving central bank communication and transparency would increase the resilience and effectiveness of monetary policy,” the IMF stated.

CMC/kb/2018

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Dr. Clarice Barnes

A Peach of a time! Montserrat Women’s Festival 2018

Dr. Clarice Barnes

    By Dr. Vernie Clarice Barnes

 January 7th 2018, one day beyond the last day of Christmas, the festivities are over but not quite so for the women who joined Brenda Perkins (Peaches) in an exclusively women last lap at the Good Life Night Club.  Approximately one hundred and fifty (150) elegantly dressed women of all ages   spent time relaxing, playing games, discussing, eating and drinking the best.  This “Women’s  Festival” has been happening for eight years and is the brainchild of Peaches who recognised that women needed this retreat after working hard to make Christmas and the Festival enjoyable for their families and the community. Coincidentally, a similar activity (Women’s Christmas) is held in Ireland around this time. It began in rural communities but has now spread to the cities, USA and the UK where Irish people have settled. It is gaining popularity as a well deserved bonus for women.

I attended the “Women’s Festival” for the first time this year and found it to be impressive.  I was particularly impressed by the discussion of Women’s views of Montserrat Culture, Christmas and the Festival. Mrs. Cynthia Dyett did an excellent job of facilitating wide participation.  Women spoke passionately on issues of the meaning of Festival, participation, cultural transfer and women’s role in processes that will ensure the sustainability of the Montserrat culture and Festival. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary with responsibility for Festivals might consider adding the “Women’s Festival” in his growing list of Montserrat festivities that he perceives to be of importance to development.  I hasten to suggest that a summary of the issues discussed might prove useful to the Festival Committee.

The Honourable Minister with responsibility for Gender Affairs, Mrs. Delmaude Ryan was in the gathering. She spoke of the need for Diasporic Montserratians to join hands with locals to improve participation in Festival.  This is a significant call given that most participants in adult troupes and bands are women. Montserrat is not known for active women’s groups comparative to the activism found elsewhere in the Region.  It has no visible Women’s Desk, No National Organisation of Women; indeed no national machinery for promoting women’s affairs outside of the Social Services. Montserrat stands alone in the region in this regard. I know that we gathered as women for food, relaxation and fun but from the time the gathering chose to enter into a discussion of a current issue serious business relating to women and Montserrat had to emerge.  This event is clearly a great rallying ground for women. 

Applauds are due Peaches and her team which includes Mrs Petronella Browne and Miss Maureen Phillips for sensitively facilitating a successful Peach of a time.

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Tourist arrivals

Bartlett says tourist harrasment remains a “vexing issue”

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan. 15, CMC – Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says visitor harassment must be curtailed in order to safeguard the gains and surpass the industry’s progress acheived last year.

Bartlett who was speaking at a function in the western city of Montego Bay on the weekend, said visitor harassment remains an issue for the tourism sector.

Tourist arrivals“We made history in Jamaica when we welcomed 4.3 million visitors to the island (in 2017). The sector (also generated) approximately US$3 billion in earnings, representing an 11.2 per cent increase (over 2016).

“We cannot afford to reverse the gains we have made and continue to make. This is why it is so important to curb the vexing issue of visitor harassment so that our thriving tourism sector can experience further expansion,” the minister said.

He pointed out that the industry, having soared to levels “beyond our wildest imagination” in 2017, must be “protected at all costs”.

Bartlett said despite challenges with visitor harassment, recent surveys indicate that up to 60 per cent of tourists are “very satisfied” with the Jamaican experience, with 42 per cent being repeat visitors.

“Our intention is for those numbers to be higher…so we have no room for complacency. The visit should resonate so well with those who land on our soil that they will unhesitatingly give us an A plus rating consistently,” he emphasised.

Bartlett said, in this regard, industry stakeholders have a pivotal role to play in safeguarding the sector, adding that “we have to be very firm in our pledge to decrease incidents of harassment and, over time, see to its elimination”.

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Donald Trump

Caribbean Pan-African leaders declare Trump ‘persona non-grata’

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jan. 15, CMC – About 90 Pan-African organizations and leaders in the Caribbean have declared United States President Donald J. Trump “persona non-grata” for reported racist remarks he made last week about Haiti and African nations.

The leaders said that Trump made himself unwelcome with his vulgar insults against Haiti and African countries, saying that they likely speak for the entire African Diaspora.

Donald TrumpThe declaration was authored on Saturday by the “pan-Africanist and socialist popular forces of Barbados,” and submitted to the people and civil society organizations of the Caribbean for their endorsement and adoption.

Among the organizations and leaders supporting and endorsing the declaration are: the Clement Payne Movement of Barbados; Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration (CMPI); Caribbean Pan-African Network (CPAN); Peoples Empowerment Party (Barbados); Pan-African Federalist Movement – Caribbean Region Committee; International Committee of Black Peoples (Guadeloupe); Jamaica-Cuba Friendship Association; Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago; Organization for the Victory of the People (Guyana); Black Consciousness Movement of Guyana; and the International Movement for Reparations (Martinique).

“We, the under-signed representatives of the sovereign people of the Caribbean, hereby declare that President Donald Trump of the United States of America is ‘persona non-grata’ in our Caribbean region,” the declaration said.

“We further declare that as a ‘persona non-grata,’ President Donald Trump is NOT welcome in any territory of the Caribbean; and we hereby confirm that we – the Caribbean people – will petition our governments, vehemently protest against any Trump visit, and engage in popular demonstrations designed to prevent President Donald Trump’s entry into any portion of the sovereign territory of our Caribbean region,” it adds.

“As sons and daughters of the Caribbean, we hereby affirm that the continent of Africa is the revered motherland of a sizable majority of our people and that the Republic of Haiti – the seminal architect of the destruction of the system of chattel slavery that held our ancestors in bondage – is the foundational cornerstone of our Caribbean civilization,” the declaration continues. “And we, therefore, consider that any insult or attack that is directed at the African continent or at the Republic of Haiti is intrinsically an insult and attack that is directed at us as well.

“We further affirm that we Caribbean people – in light of our history of experiencing, resisting and surviving the most horrendous forms of enslavement and colonialism – consciously regard ourselves as champions and defenders of the dignity and fundamental human rights of all Black or African people, and that we are guided by an over-arching and non-negotiable principle of zero tolerance of any manifestation of anti-Black or anti-African racism or discrimination,” it says.

Pan-Africanist David Comissiong (speaking)
Pan-Africanist David Comissiong (speaking)

It is against this background that the declaration says: “we, the sovereign people of the Caribbean, have determined that by describing the nations of Africa, the Republic of Haiti and the Central American nation of El Salvador as ‘shithole’ countries, US President Donald Trump has committed a despicable and unpardonable act of anti-Black, anti-African, anti-Brown racism that has served to further energize and fortify the vile White supremacy system that the said President Trump has self-consciously sought to champion and lead.”

The declaration says that: “We, the sovereign people of the Caribbean, hereby declare to the entire world that we vehemently and unreservedly denounce President Donald Trump and the evil and inhuman White supremacy value system that he represents.”

After three days of denunciations from around the world, including many in the Caribbean and the Caribbean Diaspora, Trump declared on Sunday that he is “not a racist,” even as the uproar over his vulgar remarks on immigration overshadowed critical issues facing the US, including efforts to protect young undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants and avert a government shutdown.

“I’m not a racist,” said Trump late Sunday as he arrived at Trump International Golf Club in Florida for dinner with California Republic Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader, who attended the meeting on Thursday at the White House, where Trump reportedly made the disparaging remarks about Haiti and African nations.

“I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you,” Trump told reporters.

The remarks represent Trump’s first direct response to accusations of racism that have dogged him since he allegedly asked “Why are we having all these people from shit hole countries come here?” in the meeting on immigration on Thursday, referring to Haiti and African nations.

Trump reportedly queried why Washington does not instead welcome more immigrants from countries such as Norway, which is overwhelmingly White.

But while Trump has denied using the vulgar language, the lone Democratic senator at the meeting insisted that he did.

Trump’s latest comments were a departure from the White House’s initial statement last week, which did not deny the comments.

The alleged remarks brought down furious condemnation on Trump from Democrats and media talking heads.

Derrick Johnson, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the largest and oldest civil rights organization in the United States on Friday told CNN  –  “We know he’s a racist; he’s demonstrated that. He’s a racist both in his actions and his words.”

Johnson said the issue will help to motivate African-American voters in the 2018 mid-term elections.

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CARICOM

CARICOM condemns reported comments by US President regarding Haiti

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jan. 13, CMC – The 15 member regional grouping, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) says it is deeply disturbed by reports about the use of derogatory and repulsive language by the President of the United States in respect to the French speaking CARICM nation of Haiti, and other developing countries.
CARICOMIn a statement on Saturday, CARICOM said it “condemns in the strongest terms, the unenlightened views reportedly expressed”.
The regional body also pointed to what it says is a “pattern of denigrating Haiti and its citizens in what seems to be a concerted attempt to perpetuate a negative narrative of the country. We are especially saddened that such narrative emerged around the time of the anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake which took so many lives of citizens in that country.”

“The Caribbean Community expresses its full support for the dignified statement of the Government of the Republic of Haiti in reaction to this highly offensive reference.”
According to CARICOM it should be recalled that Haiti is the second democracy in the Western Hemisphere after the United States and that Haitians continue to contribute significantly in many spheres to the global community and particularly to the United States of America.

“CARICOM therefore views this insult to the character of the countries named and their citizens as totally unacceptable,” the statement noted.

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SLIDE5

Mudslides being monitored in Martinique

FORT-DE-FRANCE, Martinique, Jan. 11, CMC – The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) has sought to clarify reports circulating on social media, of volcanic activity taking place on the island.

SLIDE5In a statement on Thursday, NEMO said  images being circulated  are not pyroclastic flows, but rather rapid flowing volcanic mudslide of rock debris and water known as “lahar” which occurred in the river Prêcheur  – in the northern end of the island earlier this week.

According to NEMO, the mud flows are due to recent heavy rains on the island.

The river Prêcheur is located between Mount Pelée and the extinct Mont Conil volcanoes.

“The island has experienced occurrences of lahar in previous years; and a more recent occurrence was on June 19, 2010 where twenty houses near the Prêcheur river had been impacted without causing loss of life,” NEMO said.

Pyroclastic flows are fast-moving current of hot gas and volcanic matter made up of high-density mix of hot lava blocks, pumice, ash and volcanic gas. They move at very high speed down volcanic slopes, typically following valleys.

NEMO  says the Volcanic and Seismological Observatory of Martinique has established an active intelligence unit that will continue to monitor the development of the phenomenon .

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President David Granger-300x160

Regional briefs –

Jamaica records more than 20 per cent increase in murders

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Dec 26, CMC – Jamaica has recorded a 21 per cent increase in murders with one more week to go before the end of 2017, according to figures released by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

The JCF’s Periodic Serious and Violent Crimes Review show that 1, 581 people were murdered, an increase of 257 for the corresponding figure last year.

crimeeeeeThe figures show that St. James, the suburban parish, located on the north-west end of the island, recorded the highest number of killings with 325 followed by St Andrew, south east of here with 88, with the southern parish of Clarendon 166, Westmoreland, the westernmost parish recording  147, St Catherine North 138 and Kingston Western 125.

The police also recorded 1443 reported cases of shootings, compared with 1100 over the corresponding period last year.

According to the police figures, nearly 100 people have been murdered so far this month with illegal funs featuring in 82 per cent of all the murders recorded for the year.

The police said that 53 children were killed during the year so far as well as eight police officers.

The authorities said they have seized 846 illegal guns so far this year and 21,000 rounds of ammunition as compared to 632 illegal guns and 8,000 rounds of ammunition last year.

The number of people shot and killed by police increased from 93 last year to 156 people so far in 2017.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Dec. 24, CMC – President David Granger, has pardoned five women who have completed part of their prison sentence for non-violent offenses.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, Granger has signed off and granted the Presidential pardon to Shabana Asgar, 34, Shellon David,24, Ronella Junor, 27 Maxine Baird Sampson,27 Reina Vargas, 54.

The Ministry says the prisoners “have each served a portion of their respective sentences for offences ranging from larceny, fraud and giving false oath.”

The pardons will take effect on Monday – Christmas day.

Since taking office in 2015, the President has been offering pardons to non-violent women and youths who find themselves behind bars.

Once freed, they will participate in programmes geared towards reintegrating them into society.

Gunmen kill three in early morning raid

by STAFF WRITER

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Dec 23, CMC – Police are searching for gunmen who killed three people but spared the lives of two children during an early home invasion on Saturday.

The police said that the incident occurred at Cunupia, a town in central Trinidad. The authorities said a woman was among those killed. They have identified the victims as Vinta James, Wellington Thomas and Tristan Guy.

Resident said that gunshots were heard at around 6.00 am (local time) and later saw a group of men fleeing the area.

Two of those killed were found on a bed while the third was found in a corridor to the home.

Two children, who were said to be in the house at the time were not harmed.

So far this year, more than 473 people have been murdered in Trinidad and Tobago. Last year, the death toll stood at 463.

Two killed in plane crash

by STAFF WRITER

 

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands, Dec. 24, CMC – An investigation has been launched into a plane crash that killed two people here  on Saturday.

The police report that the small plane crashed shorting after take off.

The plane was enroute to The Bahamas.

According to the CEO of the Airport Authority here, John Smith, the aircraft was enguled in flames and thick smoke when it crashed on a road close to the airport.

The police have not released the idenities of those killed.

Two killed as vehicle ploughs into crowd

by STAFF WRITER

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Dec 26, CMC – At least two people were killed and 18 others injured after a vehicle ploughed into a group of young people celebrating Christmas in the K-Soleil neighbourhood of , Gonaïves in northern Haiti, the authorities have said.

The driver of the vehicle is reported to have fled the scene of the accident that left 23-year-old Robenson Ulcera and 27 year-old Jean-Fito Marc dead.

The authorities said that 18 people including some as young as 13-years-old were also injured and taken to the hospital of La Providence.

They said that the causes of the accident remain unknown, but the Justice of the Peace, Blondel Petit-Frère, who was accompanied by members of the National Police of Haiti (PNH) , said he believes that the driver may have been under the influence of alcohol or that the brakes of the vehicle had malfunctioned.

Police seize nearly 150 pounds of cocaine

by STAFF WRITER

 

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Dec 26, CMC – A taxi driver is due to appear in court later this week after police said they found more than 145 pounds of cocaine in a cooking gas cylinder on Sunday.

The authorities said that they found the drugs after carrying out a search of the man’s vehicle at his home in the Boodhoo’s Housing Scheme, West Coast Demerara.

On cutting up the gas cylinder, the police said that they found the drugs and arrested the unidentified taxi driver.

The value of the drugs were not disclosed.

 

 

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David Jessop

Consultant says new US security policy raises difficult questions for the Caribbean

LONDON, Dec.24, CMC – A consultant with the London-based Caribbean Council says the Trump administration’s new United States security policy raises difficult questions for the Caribbean.

Writing under the syndicated column, “The View from Europe”, David Jessop says that, by law, every US President must publish a national security strategy.

David Jessop

The objective, he says, is to provide the highest-level guidance on the responses required by the country’s military, diplomatic, and executive branches to real or perceived threats.

Last Tuesday, following a speech by Trump outlining his approach to national security, Jessop noted that the White House released a 53-three-page document setting out how his administration intends putting “America First” in the world.

Jessop says the strategy paper paints a bleak picture, seeing all states as being in a” relentless competition for power and influence.”

The US, the strategy argues, according to Jessop, has been “weak and must now become engaged in a determined struggle to restore the unipolarity it achieved when it won the Cold War.”

The strategy “all but rejects interdependence and multilateralism, suggesting that what happens in the world today is a zero-sum game in which only by advancing US principles will prosperity spread around the globe,” according to Jessop.

He noted that the document has some broad themes: “’America First’ will be the ‘foundation of US leadership in the world through outcomes, not ideology’, a policy described as ‘principled realism’; China and Russia want to ‘shape a world antithetical to our interests and values’, and are perceived to be challenging US power, influence and interests; unless they and others adapt their thinking, the US ‘will compete with all tools of national power’ to ensure ‘that the regions of the world are not dominated by one power’”.

Whether one accepts the underlying philosophy or the interpretation of history or not, Jessop says that the document has “potentially profound implications for any nation or government that sees the world differently.

“Although it contains some positive language, for instance on organized crime, corrupt officials, terrorism, and engaging the private sector in development, it suggests that a divide is likely to emerge between the US and the Caribbean if Washington decides to deploy its world view in a regional context,” he writes.

“Any reading of the whole document suggests numerous points of divergence,” he adds. “The most obvious relates to China, which over the last decade has become for almost all nations in the region an important investor, trade partner, and advocate of issues of vital importance, most notably climate change.”

Jessop says the section of the new US strategy paper on the Western Hemisphere “could not be clearer.”

That section says “competitors have found operating space in the hemisphere.  China seeks to pull the region into its orbit through state-led investments and loans.”

The document criticizes both Cuba and Venezuela, and Russia and China’s relationship with both, noting that the US “will isolate governments that refuse to act as responsible partners in advancing hemispheric peace and prosperity”.

The section, according to Jessop, indicates that, together with Canada, the US will deliver in the Western hemisphere a policy that “limits the malign influence of non-hemispheric forces,” while, as in the past, working to increase economic opportunities for all, improving governance, and reducing the power of criminal organizations.

“Whether Canada sees the region in this way – what this means for example for Grenada’s reported request to China’s Development Bank to help draft a national development strategy; how US policy will in future relate to the Caribbean’s special relationship with Cuba, enshrined in the recent declaration at a CARICOM-Cuba summit in Antigua; or how it might relate to the possible rescue of Venezuela’s mismanaged oil sector by Russia Rosneft – are just some examples of the practical issues the region is going to have to reconcile in its dialogue with Washington,” Jessop writes.

“More importantly still, the region is going to have to take a position on what the document totally fails to mention: the existential issue of climate change,” he adds. “Not only does the strategy paper fail to recognize global warming, vulnerability, or smallness, it suggests that US interests in future, in relation to natural disasters, will solely relate to building resilience at a domestic level while for others placing emphasis on the export of fossil fuels and renewable technology.”

Elsewhere, Jessop says the document introduces new conditionalities.

“When it comes to future US development assistance this ‘must support America’s national interests’, contains potentially contentious language in its qualified support for multilateral institutions, and more generally suggests that the US will respond negatively to those nations that do not support its foreign policy,” he says.

For the Caribbean, this will likely pose a conundrum, Jessop says.

“Smallness, the importance of the US and a trade and investment partner, its physical location, its good relations with neighbors and others that the US now sees as an unwelcome influence, and CARICOM’s renewed drive for a rapid multilateral response to climate change, all suggest that future relations with Washington may become difficult.What now seems to be on offer is far from the approach taken by the Obama administration foreign policy, which had healed many hemispheric rifts,” he adds. “If followed through on, the Trump doctrine will be divisive and significantly less in the interests of the region and its desire for a joined up global approach to its future development.”

The Caribbean Council is a long-established trade and investment consultancy and membership organization, specialized in providing advisory services to companies, trade associations, governments, public sector organizations, and regional organizations.

Through its activities, the Caribbean Council said it supports responsible private-sector led investment and development in the Caribbean, Cuba and Central America.

The former managing director of the Caribbean Council, Jessop says he has worked on Caribbean issues for over 40 years and continues to speak and write on Caribbean issues.

He is the editor of our “Caribbean Insight” and “Cuba Briefing” publications.

Jessop is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Caribbean Central American Action (CCAA) in Washington, D.C. and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).

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cdb

CDB approves US$76 million to boost development results in St. Kitts and Nevis

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados,  CMC – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has announced a programme of assistance of US$76.2 million for St. Kitts and Nevis over the period 2017 to 2021.

On Thursday, the Bank’s Board of Directors approved the new strategy, which will support economic and social development, environmental protection and infrastructure enhancement.

cdb“This programme will support the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in maximising its development potential. It is designed to help the country diversify its economy and increase its exports, while addressing challenges related to skills and productivity, competitiveness, social issues, gender and climate change,” said Dr. Justin Ram, the CDB’s Director of Economics.

“The Strategy outlines how CDB will engage with St. Kitts and Nevis over the four-year period, and focuses on delivering sustainable development results for the country and its people,” he added.

The proposed programme of assistance is built on three pillars  – economic development and enhanced livelihoods; inclusive social development and environmental protection and infrastructure enhancement.

The Country Strategy is a joint collaboration between the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and CDB.

The Bank consulted with stakeholders, including Government officials and development partners, emphasising country ownership of the proposed programme of assistance.

Salient issues that emerged during these discussions, including urgent sector priorities and ongoing interventions supported by other development partners, have been taken into account.

The approved Country Strategy for the federation draws on lessons learnt and experiences from the implementation of the previous Strategy (2013 to 2016).

It includes a mix of finance for capital projects and technical assistance. Individual projects will be appraised by CDB and, if deemed to be viable, will then be presented to the Board of Directors for approval, following which disbursements will commence.

CDB providing funds for infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Irma in Antigua and Barbuda

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Dec 15, CMC – The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) says it has approved US$29 million in funding to the Antigua and Barbuda government to assist with recovery efforts after the passage of Hurricane Irma in September.

The bank said the funds will be used to rehabilitate and reconstruct critical infrastructure in the transportation, education, water and sanitation, and agriculture sectors.

Barbuda hurHurricane Irma impacted the twin-island nation on September 6, 2017, making landfall in Barbuda as a Category 5 hurricane, destroying housing, crops, livestock and fishing vessels, and also severely impacted the island’s water supply.

“The destruction caused by Hurricane Irma adversely impacted the lives of many citizens of Antigua and Barbuda. At CDB, we worked very closely with our in-country counterparts to develop the interventions captured in this project, which will support the Government’s efforts towards a comprehensive and sustainable approach to the redevelopment process, as it aims to ‘build back better.

“We expect the project to significantly contribute to the restoration of livelihoods that were adversely impacted by the passage of the hurricane. The outcome for Antigua and Barbuda will not only be more resilient infrastructure but also more resilient institutions and people,” said Director of Projects at CDB, Daniel Best.

The bank said the project has several components including reconstruction of 11km of road as well as the reconstruction and rehabilitation of education institutions in both Antigua and Barbuda and construction of teacher accommodation in Barbuda.

CDB said it had previously provided a US$200,000 Emergency Relief Grant and an Immediate Response Loan in the amount of US$750,000 in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

In addition, the bank has approved a loan of US$11.8 million to assist the government in meeting its financial obligations to external partners.

CDB announces US$100 million country strategy for Haiti 

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Dec. 14, CMC – The Barbados based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), is supporting the Government of Haiti in reducing poverty, building resilience, and achieving sustained economic growth for all.

HaitiflagA new Country Strategy, approved by CDB’s Board of Directors on Thursday, proposes a programme of assistance of US$100 million for the period 2017 to 2021 to help Haiti meet its development priorities.

This total includes US$45 million in grant resources.

“The Government of Haiti has set an ambitious development agenda to unlock the country’s growth potential and build a dynamic, resilient and competitive economy. This Country Strategy, jointly developed with the Government, is designed to deliver strong development impact, particularly in agriculture, education and training, and sustainable energy,” said Dr. Justin Ram, Director of Economics, CDB.

The five-year Strategy focuses on three main themes – Agriculture and community development;Sustainable energy development and education and training.

Gender equality, regional cooperation and integration, and environmental sustainability considerations will also be mainstreamed across all CDB interventions delivered under the programme of assistance.

CDB consulted with Government officials and stakeholders to ensure the design of the Country Strategy aligns with the strategic development priorities of Haiti, promotes coordination among development partners and donors, and identifies opportunities for collaboration among them.

The Country Strategy is aligned with CDB’s strategic objectives of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development, and promoting good governance. The Strategy was crafted within a results management framework that will be the principal tool used to monitor implementation and the achievement of results.

CDB’s previous Country Strategy for Haiti was for the period 2013 to 2016.

The resource envelope of US$42 million in grants supported the Education for All Phase II Project; the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project II; interventions in agriculture and rural development; the payment of Haiti’s premiums for coverage under CCRIF SPC; environmental projects; and technical assistance for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) development.

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Carib tours

Caribbean countries urged to re-think tourism strategy to improve competitveness

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Dec 12, CMC – A senior official of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says the Caribbean must take a more inclusive and environmentally sustainable approach to improve competitiveness in the tourism industry.

IDB Country Manager for the Caribbean, Therese Turner-Jones, said that the global environment is not what it was 10 years ago, because of climate change, and, as such, requires new approaches to infrastructural development and coastal resilience.

Carib tours“It is very important that climate change be mainstreamed as an idea when we are thinking about what kind of infrastructure we are building around tourism and that where we are putting our most important physical assets for tourism are well protected,” Turner-Jones told the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).

“Otherwise, we could end up like countries in the region that were recently affected by hurricanes and were, in many cases, stripped of economic activities, as the infrastructure was devastated,” she added.

The Country Manager suggested that a smarter approach must be taken in terms of “how we build, what we build, how we cool our buildings and how we generate energy”.

Turner-Jones said that a big cost to the tourism product in the Caribbean is energy, and practical solutions must be implemented to reduce the cost of electricity, with focus placed on renewable energy.

“So, the region must look at renewable energy as a way to reduce cost, and also having that conversation with developers about the types of hotels that they are building and what are their sources of energy and water, and making sure that we are putting in the kinds of infrastructure that make sense for the country,” she said, adding that the region should consider creative ways of using technology to drive industry growth.

“We are living in a world where technology is driving every single industry, and tourism will not be exempted, so we must think of more creative ways to use technology in what we offer, whether it is in marketing, the way we communicate in what we offer on the creative industries side, and figure out how we can connect the visitors to musicians, artistes and all the creative talents that exist in the region,”  Turner-Jones said.

She said that the IDB will soon be hosting a regional policy dialogue with the Caribbean tourism ministers to discuss some of these matters and recommendations, in order to improve market share and increase economic benefit from the tourism sector.

“It would be good to think about what we can do in the Caribbean to create a model that is sustainable and can be replicated elsewhere in the world. We have an opportunity to do that because we have the geographic diversity that some other regions do not have.

“We also have highly talented and creative people that make our product very interesting, so we have a lot of assets to capitalise on,” Turner-Jones said, emphasising that Caribbean countries have to seize opportunities as they are presented.

“When we look at workers for the future for the Caribbean, in 2027 they have to be much different from those in 2017; they must be more globally oriented, speak languages and be more familiar with technology,” she said.

Posted in International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments

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