by Linda Straker
Grenada now chairs the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell says that he intends to use the opportunity to collaborate with the bank on regional integration initiatives.
Prime Minister Mitchell is in Barbados today, meeting with, and delivering a presentation to the staff of the bank, his first visit to the CDB since he assumed the one year chairmanship of the Board of Governors of the Caribbean’s premier financial institution, in late May 2017. The one day trip will see the new chairman meeting the staff of CDB and delivering his presentation, which is centred around Small States and the role that institutions like the CDB play in their development.
“For example, Grenada will propose the setting up of specific regional committees with a view to developing pragmatic action plans to implement some of the recommendations (or variants thereof) from CDB’s thematic studies on (i) youth unemployment; (ii) regional transport; (iii) growth and productivity; and (iv) regional tourism,” Dr Mitchell said.
“As Chair of the Small States Forum, Grenada aims to carve out a space for the CDB to act as a bridge builder between CARICOM and international partners, in shaping the discourse and action, on issues such as innovative options for financing development, debt forgiveness, and recognition of small states’ vulnerability, in the context of aid graduation policies.”
“With Grenada, specifically, and the region as a whole, now holding the chair of the Small States Forum, the CDB has a good opportunity to position itself to highlight the unique issues and challenges facing regional small island economies in the dialogue at this global level,” he elaborated further.
Among the priority action areas that the Forum will be addressing at the global level are: vulnerability as a criterion for concessional financing; Predictability of concessional financing through IDA (front loading and fast tracking; Debt sustainability; Diversification of small states economies and Access to financial markets (de-risking)
Dr Mitchell told the staff that other priority areas of focus would be: The Blue Economy; Renewable Energy; Information and Communication Technology and Capacity Building.
The staff was also told that CDB must continue to play an integral role in a united and focused approach to advancing regional development.
“This Bank is the only indigenous development institution in the Caribbean. Your operational ethos is deeply and uniquely rooted in our Caribbean identity and traditions. The Bank is of the Caribbean, for the Caribbean,” he said as he told the staff that it is time for the CDB to think about organising information to promote wider access to that information to the international community for development planning.”
Prime Minister Mitchell returns to Grenada on Friday evening. In his absence, Honourable Gregory Bowen is the Acting Prime Minister.
The text of the Prime Minister’s address follows.