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Friday, May 19, 2006 

Portia urges Caribbean to stem poverty, boost growth
published: Friday May 19, 2006

Claudine Housen, Staff Reporter

Portia Simpson Miller delivering her maiden Budget Debate speech as Prime Minister on May 9. The Prime Minister on Wednesday charged Caribbean leaders to push for economic stability and sustainable growth. - FILE


PRIME MINISTER Portia Simpson Miller says Caribbean countries need to work towards ensuring macro-economic stability and promoting sustainable growth.

Speaking at the start of the 36th annual meeting of the Caribbean Development Bank's board of governors in Montego Bay on Wednesday, Prime Minister Simpson Miller said new policies needed to be created in light of the Caribbean's entry into the "post-trade preference era."

She said governments must continue to promote macroeconomic stability and also "place greater emphasis on sustainable growth and development to raise the standard of living of those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder." She said they should also encourage the establishment of new industries and modernise existing firms that have long-term viability.


According to Mrs. Simpson Miller, there are clear policy prescriptions which must be put in place to secure the macroeconomic future of the Caribbean. She said the new policies must ensure a greater investment in human capital and take advantage of other underutilised resources across the Caribbean.

Drawing from the success of the tourism, entertainment, sports and food processing in the international marketplace, Mrs. Simpson Miller also suggested that financial assistance be given to the business sector.

"It is an indisputable fact that business persons and entertainers have gone much further in realising the benefits of integration than legislative arrangements," she said. "To enhance and support what has already taken place, there must be the availability of relatively cheap credit and a supporting framework for micro, small and medium size enterprises (as) it has been shown that in more developed countries it is this sector which will be the driving force for accelerated economic growth."

Noting that successful implementation also requires popular support, Prime Minister Simpson Miller said simpler communication methods need to be employed when disseminating information.

"I believe that the policy makers in the region have been found wanting in clearly articulating the benefits of the deepening regional integration process (and) as a result of this many people still have not made the transition of thinking in terms of a regional market and opportunities available," she said. "This needs to be communicated by way of a less technical campaign so that everyone in the region can understand."

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