Caribbean Leaders Urged to Work Together to Address Global Financial Crisis


Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Senator Don Wehby, has urged the leaders of the Caribbean to work together to take steps to sustain their economies, in the face of the global economic turmoil.
Senator Wehby, who was addressing the plenary session of the 32nd annual Caribbean and Central America Conference held recently in downtown Miami, said that even as individual countries work to implement mitigation measures, by working together, greater success can be achieved.
The Minister, who spoke on the topic: ‘Financial Fallout – Is the Government Ready’, stated that, locally, the Government is taking steps to stave off the worst effects of the financial meltdown, including accessing cheaper loans from multi-lateral institutions to stimulate the productive sector and maintain financial stability, while certain areas of the productive sector are being closely monitored.
Turning to the impact of the crisis on tourism, Senator Wehby said that the arrivals figures have been encouraging, showing an increase over last year. He informed that a five per cent increase is projected for the winter months with added flights from Europe and Canada. He said, further, that an “aggressive advertising campaign is being undertaken” to sustain existing markets and tap into new ones.
As it relates to remittances, Senator Wehby said that this area remained steady, and foresees no major reduction in the short-term, while indicating that the current reduction in oil prices is expected to create savings of more than US$1billion.
He further informed that the Government has appointed a planning committee, comprised of representatives from the Government, the Opposition, the private sector, and labour unions, which will look at how the country will navigate its way through the economic crisis.
Senator Wehby further pointed to the usefulness of the regular meetings with the Bank of Jamaica and the Planning Institute of Jamaica, in monitoring the impact of the financial meltdown on the nation’s economy.
The three-day Miami conference primarily focused on the global financial crisis, and the ensuing economic downturn on Caribbean and Latin American economies.
The event brought together leaders from the region, along with representatives from the government and private sectors, and civil society to discuss the issue and other subject matters, including agribusiness, energy, telecommunications, transportation and logistics, tourism, disaster preparedness, and maritime security.

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