JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is calling for the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to give priority to addressing the problem of high debt, which, he says, is impeding growth in the region.
  • The Prime Minister, in the meantime, hailed the achievements of the 46-year-old CDB, noting that the entity is a manifestation of “what we can achieve as Caribbean people through thoughtful collaboration and reciprocal cooperation.”
  • The CDB assists borrowing member countries to optimise the use of their resources, develop their economies and expand production and trade.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is calling for the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to give priority to addressing the problem of high debt, which, he says, is impeding growth in the region.

He said that while regional leaders “have made some bad choices in fiscal management and economic affairs,” the high debt being carried by Caribbean states “cannot all be blamed on weak management or poor governance.

“On the contrary, much of the debt that we carry has been as a result of vulnerabilities to natural disasters…and exposure to the vagaries of commodity price volatility,” the Prime Minister contended.

He was addressing the opening of the 46th annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the CDB at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James on Wednesday (May 18).

He noted that while debt forgiveness is not an option, the region could consider a debt for policy swap as one way of reducing high debt levels.

The Prime Minister said the CDB also has a role to play in helping countries to increase intra-regional trade and implementing policies that maximise the use of productive assets, chief among which are the people.

“The CDB must also focus on strategies for the diversification of the regional economy consistent with our comparative and competitive advantages,” he noted.

The Prime Minister said that while the region continues to focus on attracting foreign investments for growth, countries must also concentrate resources on policies that transform their economies, reduce public bureaucracies, reform tax systems, promote economic efficiencies and broaden access to finance.

“This is no easy task and the CDB has a crucial role to play in the transformation. The countries of the Caribbean must pursue economic growth and the multilateral agencies and…the CDB must stand with the leaders of the Caribbean in promoting policies inclusive of sustainable growth,” he said.

The Prime Minister, in the meantime, hailed the achievements of the 46-year-old CDB, noting that the entity is a manifestation of “what we can achieve as Caribbean people through thoughtful collaboration and reciprocal cooperation.”

“Jamaica and indeed the region take great pride in the CDB and its enduring achievements over the last 46 years. The CDB has done well in serving its member states and I believe I speak on behalf of all the leaders of the Caribbean in saying that we expect an even more impactful future for the bank,” the Prime Minister said.

The CDB assists borrowing member countries to optimise the use of their resources, develop their economies and expand production and trade. It also promotes private and public investments, encourages financial upturn in the region, and facilitates business activity and expansion.

Other functions of the bank are: to mobilise financial resources from within and outside of the region for development; provide technical assistance to its regional borrowing members; support regional and local financial institutions and a regional market for credit and savings; and support and stimulate the development of capital markets in the region.