CARICOM Heads on Wednesday agreed on the need to immediately improve the fiscal structures in place to address climate change and adaptation. Notably, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, a former Head of State, finance minister, and revered economist, has been appointed to lead the way on this front. Providing updates on these and other matters following a series of meetings at the Marriott Hotel was Caricom Chairman and President of Guyana, Dr. Irfaan Ali.

Ali said there was agreement on consolidating the financing of the region for growth and development as well as articulating a clearer strategy for adaptation funding.

“We want to align our financing to ensure the growth of the region and ensure we deal with adaptation and resilience in a more frontal manner. We also took important decisions to energize the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) and ensure it moves in an aggressive way; in a way that supports our collective development,” said the CARICOM Chair.

Ali then gave the floor to his colleague, Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, to expound on the said strategies.

PM Mottley noted that financing is the oxygen of response to climate change and adaptation. As such, the framework on this must be front and center. She further noted that the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) was established to be able to recognize that in a single market, there will be winners and losers. For the disadvantaged ones, she said there needs to be access to a greater compensation package. With this in mind, PM Mottley said there was agreement on the next contribution cycle to replenish the fund so that those nations affected can receive assistance. Mottley noted, however, that this level of financing is not enough.

“We need a clearer platform for adaptation and resilience as well as a pathway to secure sustainable and equitable growth for our people, and we will therefore do two things. Separate from the contribution cycle, we have agreed to establish a working group for greater finance for Caribbean development, and this will be chaired by Guyana’s Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo,” said Mottley.

Within four months, she said that the group will provide a report with the requisite recommendations to unlock more financing for the region.

There was also agreement for a US$75 million contribution for the Barbados based Blue-Green Bank. Guyana and the Bahamas have agreed to contribute US$15M each. Mottley said the goal is to reach US$100M so that disbursements can begin.

On CSME, there was an agreement to relax the six month time period for workers moving around the region. A draft on this matter is expected to be produced by March 30.

Finally, there was agreement for an expert group of ICT persons to be established to advise CARICOM on key technological advancements for the region.

The foregoing agreements were made during the 46th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, which formally opened at the National Cultural Center on Sunday, February 25, 2024.


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