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Wednesday, June 14, 2006 

Classification hurting Caribbean, says PM

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

PRIME Minister Portia Simpson Miller has expressed concern that despite the presence of pockets of extreme poverty in some Caribbean states and their vulnerability to external shocks, their reclassification as middle-income countries has affected the flow of development aid to the region.
She said that the conditionalities attached to the aid, which the region has been receiving, were not sufficiently flexible to enable governments to meet the demands of those most in need.
Simpson Miller was speaking in Washington, DC on Sunday during talks with US Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who called on her. The prime minister is in Washington attending the Inter-American Development Bank's 'Building Opportunities for the Majority' conference.

Simpson Miller said sustainable development could not be achieved if the welfare of the poor was not addressed, and that a number of countries were being adversely affected. She suggested that multi-national agencies should reconsider their approach to development financing as a means of helping governments to find ways of bringing the poor into the mainstream of economic activity.

Congresswoman Waters, in the meantime, raised the possibility of a conference between legislators in the United States and Caribbean states to discuss a plan for development in the region.

She said a number of issues would have to be addressed, including how to reduce the burden caused by global trade policies, as well as the new regulations that have been implemented in the post 9/11 era. She said such a conference could examine the redefinition of factors that are used as indicators of development.
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