Sunday, July 30, 2006 

Caribbean economist praises fiscal consolidation in Dominica

Saturday, July 29, 2006

ROSEAU, Dominica : The dramatic turnaround in Dominica’s fiscal situation has come in for high praise from a leading Caribbean economist

Chief Economist at Caribbean Money Market Brokers Research Centre, Jwala Rambarran, commented on Dominica’s macroeconomic performance at a post budget seminar organised by CMMB at the Fort Young Hotel last week.

Rambarran delivered a presentation on the 2006/2007 Budget presented by Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and Planning, Roosevelt Skerrit, focussing on the country’s recent macroeconomic performance in the context of the regional and international economic environment.

The Caribbean economist said: “In terms of fiscal performance, Dominica has shown what I consider to be the strongest fiscal consolidation effort in the Eastern Caribbean. As a matter of fact, in the wider Caribbean region, no other country except Jamaica can boast of a stronger consolidation effort, especially in the short space of three years.”

Dominica’s overall macroeconomic performance received good reviews from the leading economist.

“You have managed to raise the Revenue to GDP ratio, from 28% of GDP in the crisis to about 33% of GDP now. Part of that is aided by the fact that you have growth taking place. But there have been improvements in terms of tax administration and collecting revenues.

“In terms of interest payments, that was averaging 5% of GDP a few years aback. And now it is down to just under 3% of GDP. That reflects the fiscal consolidation effort and the success of the debt restructuring exercise.”

The reduction in the public sector wage bill was also noted by the leading economist. Dominica’s wage bill stood at 17% of GDP in 2002, among the highest in the Region at the time. At the end of the 2005/2006 fiscal year, the wage bill stood at 13.7% of GDP. The Government expects to reduce it further to 13.1 % by the end of the 2006/2007 fiscal year, falling to 12.25 % by fiscal year 2008/2009.

Rambarran also commended the Government for a significant improvement in the overall balance:” Moving from an overall deficit at the height of the crisis of just over 8.5% of GDP ... That has now swung to a small overall surplus of 0.3% this year.

“That really speaks to how much effort has gone into fiscal performance. It has been very commendable. And clearly you can see it in terms of the Public Sector Debt to GDP ratio, which has come down from a high of 130% which was clearly unsustainable, and now it is declining. The last number showed it at 86% at the end of the last fiscal year.”

Dominica’s performance under the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility arrangement was also described in favourable language: “When you look at Dominica’s performance under this PRGF programme, you do see a very good track record of macroeconomic performance. I have looked at programmes all over the world, especially PRGF programmes and I could tell you what I have seen here stands out globally in terms of fiscal effort.

“A lot of countries under PRGF programmes do not meet the performance criteria and even if they meet it, they don’t meet it with the kind of margins like Dominica. It has done quite well.”

This public announcement of the dramatic improvement in Dominica’s fiscal situation by Rambarran is considered to be good news for the Government and, more importantly, good news for the people of Dominica.

According to an official press release, Rambarran’s statements confirm that the Government of Dominica, under the leadership of the then Prime Minister, Pierre Charles, was right to embark upon a Programme of Economic Stabilisation and Recovery in June 2002, despite the considerable political risks.

The government says that Dominica’s economy is now on an upward growth trajectory and is also firmly on the path to fiscal and debt sustainability.


The View from Europe
Bad news for the Caribbean

The suspension of the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) multilateral round in Geneva on July 24 is bad news for the Caribbean.

The inability of the world's leading economic powers and the advanced developing economies to reach a compromise on reductions in subsidies and tariffs occurs just as Caribbean leaders are seeking a measured transition into a well-regulated global economy for the Caribbean Single Market and Economy. What happens next is unclear, but there are signs that the G8, which includes the US, EU and Japan, may focus on rebalancing their own economic inter-relationships in the hope that this and an accommodation with nations such as China, Russia, India and Brazil may enhance economic prospects and by extension move forward the world economy.

What this suggests is that the Caribbean has entered a period of intense uncertainty and will need to review carefully its options as the original sequencing of the international trade negotiations in which it is involved no longer has relevance.

Talking about the region's prospects at a private lunch held after the suspension of the WTO round, the Prime Minister of one of the region's more successful economies remained upbeat but did not underestimate the challenge facing the region. He described to global financial institutions the situation in which the Caribbean now finds itself.

To paraphrase his remarks: 'What might happen in any hemispheric movement to free trade remained uncertain. The United States' intentions towards the Caribbean in respect of any bilateral trade arrangement with the region were unclear. Now was the time for consolidating the Caribbean Single Market and Economy and making the negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe - the most significant of the trade negotiations that the region is left with - truly developmental and responsive to the region's future rather than its past. This was a moment to ensure that Europe came to see the EPA in the context of the new Caribbean economy in which services played a pre-eminent role and in which agriculture was re-organised to ensure regional food security.'

What is certain is that an EPA with Europe is the only substantive development-oriented trade negotiation that the Caribbean has left on the table. For this reason a successful outcome for both the Caribbean and for Europe has quite suddenly become a matter of over-riding and strategic importance. Over the last few months new themes have emerged that point to what may happen next and the challenge facing the Caribbean. Paramount among these is the sense that any multilateral move to trade liberalisation is now a function of the electoral cycle in key economies such as the US and Japan and that development is off the agenda. In the days following the collapse of the round EC Trade Commis-sioner Peter Mandelson suggested the extraction of the development components of the Doha package so as to create an early harvest for the most needy developing countries. But swift US rejection of this and the early implementation of the already agreed global duty free and quota free access for the poorest nations graphically illustrated that the US has no intention of agreeing to any development initiatives that might threaten the Republican Party's electoral prospects.

The second is that some major trading nations and regions, in the absence of an ambitious and comprehensive global trade liberalisation agreement, will intensify their drive for bilateral and bi-regional trade arrangements.

In the case of Europe, EC Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson seems to be suggesting that bilateralism and bi-regionalism is an alternative route. Speaking after the suspension of the Doha round he stated that Europe will focus intensively on its EPAs with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. "We will use these as a trade instrument at the service of development, seeking to compensate where we can for the lost benefits those poorer developing countries would have gained through early completion of the Round," he said. It has also been apparent for some months within Brussels that there will be a rapid acceleration of negotiations for free trade agreements with Mercosur, the Andean nations and with Central America as well as with other parts of the world.

Thirdly it is likely that trade relations will become more aggressive and litigious. Only those countries able to offer higher value exported products or services that are competitive and not subject to preferential arrangements will escape WTO complaints. There is now the increased likelihood of more advanced developing countries pursuing WTO cases against any form of preferential advantage that they believe is inequitably given by the US, Europe or other major markets to regions like the Caribbean.

Put more directly, any continuing preferential arrangement on agriculture granted by Europe to the ACP may become subject to continual challenge from Latin or other nations that feel disadvantaged by the continuation of such arrangements.

And fourthly, the growing crusade led by medium-size developing nations to end rapidly post-colonial preferential relationships will accelerate.

This has worrying implications for any attempt to maintain a degree of preference within an EPA and could make achieving a consensus on a WTO waiver for an EPA difficult. Some Latin nations are far from happy about the extension of the WTO waiver for the United States Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (the CBI initiative) as they no longer see any reason why the Caribbean or others with post-colonial relationships should be treated differently. Not only might this be their approach if an EPA was seen to continue to offer preferences diminishing over time but it is also likely that bi-regional negotiations between Europe and Latin America will result in regions like Central America expecting the same treatment for commodities and goods as is granted to the Caribbean.

Taken together these four trends suggest that the global development agenda is fading fast and mercantilism may now hold sway.

There are no easy answers in any of this for the Caribbean. The world has become a yet more complex place for small economies to relate to. Europe has once again taken on an importance for the Caribbean. The summer break provides a time for reflection.

Previous columns can be found at

(Editor's note: From next week David Jessop will be on leave. The View from Europe will return on September 10, 2006.)

© Stabroek News


In-depth look at a Caribbean giant
published: Sunday | July 30, 2006

Eric Williams and the Making of the Modern Caribbean

Author: Colin A. Palmer

Publisher: Ian Randle

Reviewer: Barbara Nelson

Drawing from extensive archival sources, including newly available British documents, Colin A. Palmer provides the first scholarly biography of Eric Eustace Williams, the man who founded Trinidad and Tobago's first modern political party in 1956 and became that nation's first Prime Minister.

Palmer says the study is not intended to be a full-scale biography of Williams, although it does have biographical attributes.

It is, however, a political history because it examines Williams' role in shaping the political development of the Anglophone Caribbean between 1956 and 1970.

The book is conceived as an intellectual history as Williams, a prolific scholar, was more than any other British West Indian politician of his time committed to the life of the mind and the world of books.

Early years

Palmer describes Williams, "the child of economically challenged parents," as an avid reader who attended Queens Royal College as a youngster, and "a dominant, haunting and polarising presence" in the life of Trinidad and Tobago.

Born in September, 1911, in a small house on Oxford Street in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, Williams lived outside of his homeland during the years 1931-48. He completed undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Oxford and between 1939 and 1948 served on the faculty of Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Later, he served on the Anglo-American Caribbean Commission and its successor, the Caribbean Commission. He, however, used Trinidad as his base.

After he left the Caribbean Commission in June 1955, Williams began to give a series of lectures at the Trinidad Public Library to educate the people about their history and to promote a sense of West Indian nationalism. Soon, he moved out to Woodford Square in Port-of-Spain (which he renamed the University of Woodford Square) and lectured thousands about their history, topical matters and other issues.

Eric Williams, who always boasted of the ethnic diversity of Trinidad and Tobago, saw the opportunity in 1956 to establish a political party. With his supporters, he formally started the People's National Movement (PNM), Trinidad and Tobago's first modern political party. This was in preparation for the general elections scheduled for later that year.

In less than one year after the party was formed, the PNM candidates won 13 of 25 seats in the general elections that September. Eric Williams was sworn in as Chief Minister in October, and for the next 25 years dominated not only the PNM, but also the political life of his country.

This absorbing book about the indefatigable and charismatic Williams has eight chapters:

Chapter 1: Intellectual Decolonisation sets the context for understanding Williams' positions and actions regarding the West Indies Federation.

Chapter 2: The Challenge of Political and Economic Integration.

Chapter 3: The Struggle for Chaguaramas.

Chapter 4: Eric Williams and the Golden Handshake - that is the parting gift on the occasion of the nation's independence. This chapter also discusses Eric Williams the human being.

Chapter 5: Courting Grenada. When Williams undertook the futile task of integrating Grenada into unitary statehood with Trinidad and Tobago.

Chapter 6: Bleeding Guiana. Williams tried to mediate the racially-inspired internecine warfare in British Guiana.

Chapter 7: Eric Williams, Africa and Africans. Looks at his attitudes to these.

Chapter 8: The Economics and Politics of Race. Here, the author looks at the racial question in Trinidad and Tobago and shows how the language of race became a metaphor for the society's ills.

The study ends in 1970 with a look at the suppression of the Black-Power inspired February Revolution. This was a horrible, personal and political crisis for the controversial Williams.

Eric Williams wrote Capitalism and Slavery, considered by the author to be his most important and enduring book. He knew first-hand the psychological damage experienced by colonised peoples and that forced him to assume the burden of helping to make the people of Trinidad and Tobago whole again.

A place in history

I found the word pictures of the ambitious and brilliant Williams very intriguing - he was "possessed of a caustic tongue", "spoke the language of the intellectual" but "drew his strength from ordinary citizens" and was "never ambivalent about the necessity for a Federal Union."

Palmer demonstrates very clearly how the development of the Caribbean was interwoven with the evolution of a regional anti-colonial consciousness, and affirms that the capacity to imagine a different and better future for a people and the possession of the will to challenge and lead them to achieve their possibilities has secured for Williams a central place in the history of the modern Caribbean.

Colin A. Palmer is Dodge Professor of History at Princeton University and author, editor, and co-editor of numerous books, including The Modern Caribbean.

(Williams) knew first-hand the psychological damage experienced by colonised peoples and ... assume(d) the burden of helping to make the people of Trinidad and Tobago whole again.

© Copyright 1997-2006 Gleaner Company Ltd.

Thursday, July 27, 2006 

IICA deepens collaboration with public and private sector partners
Web Posted - Thu Jul 27 2006
During 2005, the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA) Office in Barbados deepened its collaboration with public and private-sector partners in the agri-food, tourism, and environment sectors, and also established new partnerships for collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Culture.

This point was made in IICAs Barbados 2005 Annual Report: The Contribution of IICA to the Development of Agriculture and Rural Communities.

According to the report, IICAs work in Barbados focused on several on-the ground technology applications, with the erection of a greenhouse in St. Lucy and the establishment of a vermicomposting project in St. Andrew.

The organisation also renewed its efforts with youth, women and organic farmers, providing support for their institutional strengthening and training. IICA also made progress with respect to the manufacture of indigenous craft bearing the Barbados Blackbelly sheep logo. IICAs AgroTourism Linkages Centre recorded five significant achievements in 2005, the first being the approval by the Organisation of American States (OAS) of a regional project in support of AgroTourism linkages in the amount of US$444 000. The three-year project is aimed at strengthening linkages between Agriculture and Tourism linkages in seven countries. The other four milestones were the co-ordination and co-hosting of an international workshop on AgroTourism with funding and support from two European Union (EU) partners during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA); the official signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between IICA and the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) at the CWA; the launch of a new Distance Learning Course on Agro-Eco Tourism, and partnership with the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) on the Culinary Alliance of Barbados.

IICA also provided support to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MAR) with respect to the training of MAR officers in Canada, and sponsorship of their participation in meetings of World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva as well as in meetings in the region dealing with agricultural health and food safety issues. In addition, the institution also supported the participation and training of women and youth farmers and agro-entrepreneurs in several national and regional meetings, covering development and investment opportunities in the Botanicals Industry, Agro-Tourism and Organic Agriculture.

The reports executive summary highlighted the contribution of the IICA and the development of rural communities in Barbados for the year 2005. The results of IICAs programme of work is reported under the following seven areas: Facilitating competitiveness and global trade; promoting food safety and agricultural health; strengthening rural communities; hemispheric integration; developing human capital; environmental management; and institutional modernisation.

The primary focus of IICAs Technical Cooperation Agenda for Barbados in 2005 was on deepening relations with the various stakeholders at the national, regional, hemispheric and international levels through collaboration on interventions that would impact on rural livelihoods. The Offices Agro-Tourism Centre received a tremendous boost to the tune of US $119 000 from the OAS to initiate projects in seven Caribbean countries. Collaboration among IICA, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and Ministries of Agriculture in the Region, resulted in some 105 persons being trained throughout the region in compost production using earthworms. Thirty-one persons were trained in Barbados. The Office remained committed to the Association of Women in Agriculture (AWIA), and the Barbados Agricultural Forum for Youth (BAFY) by supporting their participation at local and regional workshops, while donating computers to AWIA and the Organic Growers and Consumers Association (OGCA) to aid in their organisational management.

A major achievement of the Office in Barbados was its support for the strategic development of three competitive products, namely Barbados Blackbelly sheep, hot peppers and herbals. In the area of Agro-Tourism Linkages, the Office conducted a series of roundtable policy meetings aimed at documenting the policy initiatives, identifying stakeholders, and quantifying the levels of linkage between the two sectors. The Agro-Tourism Committee hosted a booth at the National Agricultural Exhibition  AgroFest, showcasing art, craft and souvenirs produced from Barbados Blackbelly sheep. The AgroTourism Committee also supported a workshop for artisans on the manufacture of craft and souvenirs based on the Barbados Blackbelly Sheep logo. Approval for US$119 000 was received from the OAS for a regional Agro-Tourism project involving seven countries. The official signing of the project took place in Barbados and the programme was officially launched in six countries by the end of the year. In October, during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA), the Office coordinated an international Agro-Tourism workshop, funded by the Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA), and supported by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and Government of St. Kitts & Nevis. Eighty five participants were in attendance and a framework for a regional agrotourism strategy was developed.

Additional developments in Agro-Tourism included the inclusion of IICA on the newly established Culinary Alliance of Barbados and submission of proposals to the CHA for a pilot Adopt-A-Farm project for five Caribbean countries. As IICAs nominated representative to the Board of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and the advocacy committee of the CHA, the Representative attended Board meetings, and also delivered presentations on the role of linkages in sustainable tourism development.

Barbados Advocate ©2000


Indigenous Knowledge and Development: The Need for Sustained Dialogues

The prevailing relationships between cultural practices, the environment and indigenous knowledge clearly justify attention when looking into patterns of changes, and the impacts of technological innovations, and economic expansion on the well-being of indigenous people.

The ever-increasing drive of globalization typologies have heightened the scope of transformational processes by weighing heavily upon some traditional and cultural modes on the division of labor, livelihoods and capabilities.

For indigenous people the realities behind these structural changes, and their impacts on their traditional livelihoods and the conservation of their biodiversity call for concerted efforts to mitigate the effects and disparities associated with massive economic adjustments.

The issues at bay provide some interesting perspectives, specifically when approaching the diverse facets linked with equity in cultural and economic opportunities. And to move further into this debate a dialogue set by the Development Gateway: dgCulture and Development Group examine one aspect liaised with the problematique of cultural diversity, and the context to drive social and economic development for indigenous communities.
These starting points, highlighting the necessity to converge toward rational assessments and expansion of public discussions about these issues, and the increasing needs to guarantee capabilities, and participation in decision-making.

Creative Commons License


Focusing on Gender

An Assessment of Gender Integration in UNFPA Materials Produced Between 1997 and Early 2005

Author: UNFPA
No. of pages: 71
Publication date: 2006
Languages: English

Available in the following formats:


This report presents the findings of the evaluative inquiry carried out by the Division of Oversight Services in 2005 with the objectives to assess the quality, packaging and design of gender-related messages being communicated to UNFPA staff as well as the utility and utilization of these materials. The assessment was conducted using the 'appreciative inquiry approach', which seeks to identify what works well and what leads to good practices. The report presents good practices of communication of gender concepts and their mainstreaming into all UNFPA materials; reveals challenges and promotes a common understanding of what should be done at the organizational level to institutionalize strengths and achievements in current practice.

Copyright (c) United Nations Population Fund, 2003. All rights reserved


July, 27 - 10:33 AM

Economist Victor Canto suggests taxes unification to stop evasion

SANTO DOMINGO.- Economist Víctor Canto proposed yesterday for the government to establish only two 15% taxes, Industrial Goods Transference, ITEBIS (sales tax), and Capital Gain, the collections of such would be more efficient, the fiscal evasion would be avoided and the economic growth would be uniform therefore it would benefit all Dominicans the same way.

The specialist in economic subjects made the declarations during a press conference in which economists Marino Ginebra and Roberto Martinez also participated.

Canto, who has resided for years in the United States, but closely follows the Dominican unfolding economics, said: “if opportunities and growth are created, the problem is solved, now there is an opportunity problem, its necessary to grow and produce, when those two take place it pays off".

He noted that economic well being is not present in the people’s pockets.

The economist reiterated “when there is growth, its easy for people to find employment; and this is not happening in Dominican Republic”.

He said “there is growth but, it is not uniform, there are some that have it real good and lots that have it real bad”.

Dominican Today - Portal Alta Tecnologia

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 

Transnational Migration: A Prospective View

The dynamics of transnational migration have been over the last couple of years, part of growing scholarly research to better comprehend and integrate policy measures that take into account various experiences and perspectives in terms of human development, rights and the outlooks between inclusion and exclusion.

In a nutshell to get better comprehension about the patterns driving transnational or international migrations, researchers and policy-makers have to investigate and merge a long line of variables, amidst which family, households and gender are also integral parts within the institutionalized social relationships that mold migratory flows and settlement.

In a recent presentation by ECLAC: “International migration from Latin American and the Caribbean to Ibero-America: characteristics, challenges and opportunities”, the steps to enlarge understandings and policy measures vis-à-vis international migration (in the Ibero-American context) are reviewed in the lights of the challenges, and opportunities that come to play with the Latin American and Caribbean settings.

Creative Commons License


7/26/2006 3:23:00 PM
Big turnout for public meeting on the economy
Islanders concerned about the state of the economy and the housing market packed the Leopard's Club to capacity last night.

The forum was dominated by discussion on ways to open up the island's prosperity to a wider portion of the community - particularly for young black males.

It looked at what should be done about the through-the-roof cost of housing and the plight of small business owners.

It was the first in a series of public meetings organized by government about sustainable development.

The problems the island faces are in part due to its success in drawing capital and international business, according to Craig Simmons, an economics lecturer at Bermuda College.

"For the first time ever we have to question our own economic success," he said. "Like my father was fond of saying about the Americans, 'they've got more money than brains.'"

That success has driven up the cost of living in all areas and created a culture of greed, Mr. Simmons added.

Small business owners and aspiring home owners voiced their frustration during the forum's question and answer period.

One member of the public said institutional racism was still very much alive in Bermuda, and said any plan to better Bermuda would fail unless this problem was addressed.

Panelist and social commentator Rolfe Commissiong agreed, and noted that Bermudians of all colours have been afraid to acknowledge the problem of racism in recent years.

"[Racism] is the 3,000-pound gorilla in the closet … we can't build sustainable development until we address this issue," he said.

Others who stood up to ask questions wanted to know what could be done about the lack of space for small business, how housing and property prices could be brought down to within the reach of working people, and what to do about the poor work ethic among many young Bermudians.

"I'm actually thinking of approaching immigration [to hire foreign workers]," said one small business owner, referring to her difficulty in finding a hard-working young Bermudian to work in her shop.

Another audience member wondered how he could buy a house without having to work for the rest of his life in order to pay for it. The audience member said he saved to have a house built, but the contractor he hired "built it totally wrong, and it's nowhere near completion."

"How do you get a house unless your parents own one?" he said

"We as black Bermudians struggle to be heard," said yet another member of the crowd, which was made up of a diverse mix of black and white, men and women, young and old.

Calvin Smith, a former PLP senator and newspaper columnist, asked if it would be beneficial to slow down Bermuda's red-hot economic development in order to bring prices down to more reasonable levels.

Butterfield Bank president and panelist Alan Thompson said that by slowing down development, Bermuda would run the risk of reversing it.

"I think we'll see land prices come down … in line with supply and demand," he said.

Mr. Thompson also said at one point in the forum that unless a plan of action was crafted, he worried that the sustainable development strategy and the discussion surrounding it might be all for naught.

"Our analysis may equal paralysis," he said.

Copyright 2006, Bermuda Sun Ltd.


Pro-Poor Budgeting: Myth or Reality? The Social Investment for Children Initiative in Jamaica

The combination of pro-poor budgeting in Poverty Reduction Strategies has garnered for development policy and administration some critical assumptions when it comes to the implementation of programs, and the relevance of some policy decisions.

As a matter of fact, to bring about changes and efficiency in the policy arena the supply of information and the role of evidence-based practices are paramount to capture the right determinants about poverty and inequality measures. And along those lines the current trends vis-à-vis pro-poor budgeting have been unveiling distinctive paths, where matters of governance and participatory-policy making become essential to address concerns liaised with the different objectives and choices brought about by the PRSPs.

As an interesting element to broaden development alternatives, the advent of budget work highlights the necessity to streamline research in regards to the impacts of budgetary strategies and policies to tackle public expenditures, and social interventions. For such elements are closely associated with the costs behind the implementation of PRSPs.

In this debate, comparative analyses of objectives are crucial in order to carefully weigh the impacts of evaluation mechanisms when it comes to choices and the harmonization of policies between programs.

As an example, an interesting initiative in Jamaica follows up the process behind Children’s budget (here) and its overall impact on social investments and government allocations to the social sector.

Creative Commons License


IMF Says Eastern Caribbean Is Doing Well, by Amanda Banks,, London 26 July 2006

David O. Robinson, head of an International Monetary Fund staff mission to the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) countries, said recently that most Eastern Caribbean countries are benefiting from good economic conditions in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Said Mr Robinson:

"Recent economic outcomes have been strong — growth for the ECCU region accelerated in 2005 to about 4½ percent, largely due to a recovery in tourism, and increased construction activity ahead of the 2007 Cricket World Cup. While inflationary pressures have emerged due to the strong economic activity and higher world oil prices, inflation has remained in the low single digits, anchored by the regional monetary arrangement at the ECCB. Fiscal positions also improved, with the central government primary balance (the overall balance of the government minus interest payments) recording a small surplus for the first time in nearly a decade.

"Buoyed by continued growth in the region's main tourism markets — the United States and the UK — as well as the ongoing high level of construction activity, near-term growth prospects remain strong in most countries. This supportive environment provides a window to enhance the flexibility of the region's economies that will be important to enable the region to take advantage of the new opportunities provided by the CSME (Caribbean Single Market and Economy) and the increasing globalization of the world economy, as well as to adjust to the further decline of trade preferences for bananas and sugar. Sustaining growth once the impetus dissipates from the construction boom ahead of the Cricket World Cup will be key to maintaining and further improving living standards in the region.

"Despite the improvement in fiscal outcomes seen in 2005 and restructuring agreements reached with creditors in three countries — Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Grenada — debt burdens remain high throughout the region. Interest outlays by countries in the region restrict the fiscal space available to pursue social agendas and address emerging concerns such as HIV/AIDS. Important reforms to place the fiscal balances on a firmer footing are underway in many countries—including through the introduction of value added taxes—and it is essential that improved fiscal positions are sustained. In this context, care will be needed to ensure that public sector investments are yielding adequate social rates of return and that tax incentives are not unduly eroding tax bases."

The IMF mission is visiting the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union countries during July and August to conduct the Fund's 2006 ECCU regional discussions. It will visit the six IMF member countries of the ECCU — Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines — and key regional institutions, including the Caribbean Development Bank, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

The IMF mission visited Antigua and Barbuda during July 17-19, 2006. The IMF team thanked the authorities of Antigua and Barbuda for 'insightful and open' discussions. Said Mr Robinson: "The authorities are implementing a bold reform agenda designed to strengthen prospects for private investment and to restore normalcy in fiscal and debt relations. The recent surge in private investment and strengthening of the fiscal accounts are early signs that these efforts are bearing fruit. We wish them every success in their continued efforts."

Copyright TAX-NEWS.COM 1999 to 2003


Aid, Aid and the Haitian Landscape for Development

The recent conference held by international donors about Haiti has raised some significant hopes for the country (see here and here), and its emerging government.

Amidst those perspectives, the Haitian government sees those pledges from donors as ways to tackle economic and social development schemes, and to stabilize its national security in the lights of rising violence.

In fact, in the eyes of some government officials, the potential of foreign aid disbursements could lead to sustainable development, and long-term reinforcement of the Haitian sovereignty.

As interesting as those arguments can be, several questions also emerge vis-à-vis the Haitian case, and the prospects of Aid Effectiveness. Let us recall among other things that increased aid has to be carried out in parallel to substantial reforms, and effective policy measures. Where such measures could be aimed to address matters of absorption capacity, and adjustments towards some constraints that might be liaised with the political economy framework.

Not trying to be over-simplistic about these matters, the effectiveness of aid, and the future of Haiti can be highly dependent on two factors, namely: Political Sustainability, and Quality, where those two characteristics could certainly help to bolster the country’s capacity to target specific social and economic programs, and at the same time strengthen their political jostling.

Creative Commons License

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 

ACS intensifies its efforts on Caribbean Sea Initiative

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad: The First Meeting of the Follow-Up Commission for the Caribbean Sea Initiative, will be held on Thursday, July 27, 2006, at the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) Secretariat in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago to move ahead in the work undertaken by the ACS in this respect.

The ACS hosted its first meeting on the Caribbean Sea in May of 2003, at which time the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) had examined the status of the proposal for securing the international recognition of the Caribbean Sea as a Special Area in the context of Sustainable Development.

The ACS Ministers, at their ordinary meeting in Port of Spain in March of this year, agreed on the creation of a Follow-Up Commission which would build on the work already done by the TAG, devising a work programme not only to implement the Caribbean Sea Initiative and the UNGA Res. 59/230, "Promoting an Integrated Approach to the Caribbean Area in the Context of Sustainable Development", but more importantly to ensure that a future resolution captures more of the essence of the proposal from the ACS. The Commission's composition will also benefit from participation of representatives of the ACS Member States.

As ACS Legal Adviser, Sheldon McDonald, explains, "This new structure is qualitatively different from the TAG. The former, while doing valuable work was purely advisory. This Commission is an inter-governmental agency, with a multi-disciplinary composition to ensure that it is able to tackle all the critical issues involved in securing acceptance by the international community of the need to declare the Caribbean Sea a Special Area in the context of sustainable development."

Though this first meeting is expected to deal with the Commission's structure, financing and procedures, its future activities are essential to the implementation of the Caribbean Sea initiative, which will bestow on the peoples of the Greater Caribbean the power to tackle the uses and abuses of the Caribbean Sea. This will be achieved by seeking to ensure greater harmonisation of the planning and implementation of the numerous activities which directly and indirectly impact upon the Caribbean.

The inaugural meeting, apart from deciding on procedural issues, will begin to tackle the mandate to develop an action-oriented programme of work. Additionally, the meeting will plan the strategies to be utilised to ensure that the issue is fully ventilated at the Sixty-First Session of the UN General Assembly later this year. In this regard, plans are already advanced for the holding of a special meeting of the Commission at the UN Headquarters coinciding with the debate on resolution 59/230.

The Association of Caribbean States is the organization for consultation, cooperation and concerted action in trade, transport, sustainable tourism and natural disasters in the Greater Caribbean. Its Member States are Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela. Its Associate Members are Aruba, France on behalf of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, and the Netherlands Antilles.

Copyright © 2003-2006 Caribbean Net News All Rights Reserved


Ministry of Education & Youth

Senate Approves Bill to Establish Caribbean
Accreditation Authority

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education
and Youth, Senator Noel Monteith

A Bill to establish the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other health professions was approved by the Senate on July 21.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Youth, Senator Noel Monteith, who piloted the Bill, said the need for a regional accreditation body came about after the United Kingdom government confirmed its intention to abolish legislation that recognised overseas qualifications of medical practitioners, such as those within the Caribbean.

He pointed out that the removal of accreditation was seen as being critical, noting that "this, therefore, obviated the need to continue with the reviews of the previously recognised qualifications, such as that of the University of the West Indies (UWI), leaving a void of accreditation by an internationally recognised body".

Accreditation for persons training in medicine at the University College in the West Indies, which preceded the UWI was previously issued by the University of London.

However, after the UWI was granted its independence in 1962, graduates of the UWI's medical programme subsequently received automatic recognition from the General Medical Council (GMC) of Great Britain. Accreditation status from the Council allowed graduates the ability to register and practise in other British Commonwealth countries.

Accreditation by the GMC continued over the years, with the Council members visiting the UWI and the other medical schools that were subsequently established in other Caribbean territories, to examine their syllabuses, the levels of qualifications, and the support mechanisms for medicine.

Notwithstanding the discontinuation of accreditation by the GMC, Senator Monteith told the Senate that, "this move by the GMC had nothing to do with the quality of the programme offered by UWI", but was instead, a direct result of a commitment to their region within the European Union.

The State Minister pointed out that in light of this, for the UWI and other medical schools in the region to remain attractive to regional and international students, their programme offerings had to be recognised to be of international standard, at home and abroad.

He further informed that the proposal to establish a Caribbean Accreditation Authority was approved and endorsed by a number of CARICOM groups, inclusive of the Council of Human and Social Development, the Conference of the Heads of Government, and the Legal Affairs Committee in 2003.

Eight countries in the region are signatories to the agreement to establish the Authority. They are Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname.

As a consequence of the Accreditation Authority, Senator Monteith said that medical accreditation programmes of medical schools in the participating CARICOM countries would be certified.

Additionally, the Authority will seek "to have mutual recognition with other established medical accreditation bodies and will be responsible for an ongoing review of the accreditation standards", he noted.

Membership of the Authority, he said, would comprise three persons nominated jointly by academic institutions in the community offering training in medicine, other than dental and veterinary medicine; one person nominated jointly by academic institutions in the community offering training in dental medicine; one person nominated jointly by academic institutions in the community offering training in veterinary medicine; two persons nominated jointly by regional organisations representing civil society; two students enrolled in training programmes in medicine at the academic institutions in the community and nominated by the institutions; two persons from outside the region who have expertise in the accreditation of training programmes in medicine or health professions; one person representing the Caribbean Association of Medical Councils; three representatives, each appointed by a contracting party selected by the Secretary General on a rotational basis; and the Executive Director, who shall be an ex-officio member.

In her contribution to the debate, Opposition Senator, Shirley Williams expressed concern on the matter of funding, and the amount of financial allocation to be made to the Accreditation Authority.

"I would like to know how we calculated the budget and what Jamaica's contribution is. Whilst we do agree with the concept and welcome the formation.we want to know what the financial input is going to be from taxpayers," Senator Williams queried.

Responding, Senator Monteith explained that there was a standard formula that was utilised by CARICOM in determining the funding that each member state contributed to the Authority. He disclosed that Jamaica's annual contribution to the Authority was US$64,052.82 per year for the first three years.

Also making their contributions to debate were Leader of Opposition Business, Senator Anthony Johnson and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Anthony Hylton.

Senator Johnson said that in seeking to establish the Authority, it was important that beyond the Caribbean, "the world believes that our Authority will be objective and independent".

He argued that there must be a system in place whereby the Authority functioned independently of the UWI.

"We have to ensure also that the relationship between this body and the other bodies is objectively stated," the Opposition Senator said.

In his address, Senator Hylton pointed out that at the recently concluded CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in St. Kitts, a decision was taken to expand the categories of persons, for which the free movement provisions of the revised Treaty of Chagauramas would apply immediately.

"While any arrangements contained in the Bill anticipate that it is the higher level of the medical profession, such as the doctors and veterinarians who will be impacted, the nurses themselves in short order will form part of this arrangement, and that I think will further facilitate the free movement of goods, persons, and services within the single market arrangements," he added.

Copyright © 1996 -2003, Jamaica Information Service, All rights reserved.


Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Governor says
education skills “must put people in satisfying jobs” (238/2006)

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JULY 25TH 2006 (CUOPM) – Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Sir K. Dwight Venner said member countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union must ensure that education plays a key role in upgrading the levels of economic activity and competitiveness of their respective economies and that education skill levels though high in the Eastern Caribbean “must put people in satisfying jobs.”

“The education levels though high, are sometimes not specific with respect to skills, …and so we really have to make very significant investment in intellectual capital, in education basically and trade imports specific activities,” Sir Dwight said in an exclusive interview with the Communications Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister (CUOPM).

“So for example, you have a tourism industry, but you need to educate people to take positions at all levels in the tourism industry, to management, technical areas, we must educate our people in those particular areas,” said Sir Dwight, who was a guest on the programme “National Echo.”

He said investments in basic infrastructure such as roads, telecommunications, electricity utilities, water are also important to economic development. “Those are very significant and in terms of productivity the ability to adapt modern technology to our particular needs those are critically issues,” said Sir Dwight, who recently headed a Task Force to make recommendations for an Eastern Caribbean Economic Union.

The Central Bank Governor said that the report, which was presented to the OECS Authority two weeks ago, is required to move the OECS process forward from the original Treaty of Basseterre.

“We think the change over the 25 years and given the movements in the region, the CSME and other international arrangements, we need to upgrade the Treaty of Basseterre to new arrangements, which involves moving to a Common Market and Economic Union,” said Sir Dwight.

He said that the highlight of the Report is that the Treaty of Basseterre will now take on an element called supra nationality, “which means across the board configuration of economic and political arrangements.”

“There will be more centralisation decision making. All elements of the execution of the new treaty, the institutional arrangements are being put in place so that implementation would be much more effective. Also with respect to economic arrangements, we would be headed towards the single financial and economic space, meaning that the impediments to movement of capital and labour, across the OECS would be significantly removed,” said Sir Dwight in the interview.

He said the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union faces domestic, regiuonal and international challenges.

“The primary international challenge now has to do with globalisation, trade liberalisation. We are party to several arrangements like the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the European Partnership Arrangement and the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) and with the Free Trade Association of the Americas (FTAA), lurking some where in the background,” said Sir Dwight, who also pointed out that the price of oil is a very significant factor for OECS at this time.

He said that for the OECS nations that produce commodities like sugar and bananas, the new trade regimes, “mean that the preferences for these commodities are being removed ever so gradually, but eventually, it will all be removed and so therefore, we have to move to new levels of activity.”

Regionally, the challenge for the OECS is the CSME. “How do we incorporate ourselves successfully into the CSME and one of the reasons for having an Economic Union in the OECS is to see if, as a bloc, we can integrate ourselves successfully into the CSME,” said Sir Dwight.

He said that on the domestic level, the issues of high debt and low productivity as well as the challenges of poverty and HIV/AIDS and poverty are issues that are being tackled.

“These are issues that we have to treat, but one of the philosophical approaches to the OECS arrangement is that we are better able to cope as a bloc than as individual countries,” Sir Dwight said.

Copyright © 2005 By The Government Of St. Christopher (St. Kitts) & Nevis

Monday, July 24, 2006 

Caribbean Civil Society participation weak at

Only a disappointing three civil society representatives from the Caribbean attended the UNGASS+5 meeting in June in New York.

Programme Co-ordinator of the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA), Merle Mendonca was among the three that attended and her participation at UNGASS was made possible by former GHRA executives living in New York. She said her organisation knew of the concerns of the civil society group for the UNGASS and had, along with Guyana's National AIDS Committee (NAC), lobbied the government in the run up to the UNAGSS.

All of civil society's concerns were not addressed when the political declaration by the governments were released but Mendonca said despite the weaknesses in the document with respect to timelines and giving a clearer definition of vulnerable people, it is still a strong lobbying tool for civil society. The GHRA will strongly encourage the NAC for the wide circulation of the Declaration of Commitments (DoC) and ensure that all organisations use it as a measuring tool and ensure that its principles are included in national documents such as the national strategic plan.

Head of Guyana's Association of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (G+) who attended the UNGASS+5, Nadia Wilson* said after the meeting she has concluded that while Guyana has done a lot there is still so much more to be done if the country is to effectively fight HIV/AIDS.

Her major concern is the fact that while there is funding for the fight, in many cases the funding does not include provision of food for infected persons. She pointed out that it makes no sense for persons to be given treatment when their diets are deficient. She explained that for the treatment to achieve the required results they need a healthy and balanced diet.

But despite the shortcomings, Wilson said after listening to presentations from around the world, she thinks Guyanese still have "…a lot to thank God for." She said there is need for everyone to understand that HIV is everybody's business and persons should come out and get tested and if they are positive then join the treatment programme that is free.

Country reports, she said, made her aware that politics has really been a major setback for the fight against the virus. She agrees with Mendonca that there is need for the political declaration to be widely discussed locally and its commitments taken seriously.

Indigenous people missing

Both women had high praises for the presentation made by Prime Minister of St Kitts & Nevis, Denzil Douglas who is also the Chairman of the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) adding that they support his 2010 commitments.

Mendonca said his presentation was useful, but coming from Guyana she felt that he should have included indigenous people in his list of vulnerable people. In his presentation Douglas noted that the Caribbean is a complex mosaic of 29 countries with a prevalence of HIV second only to Sun-Saharan Africa, adding that there is a great deal of concern in the region over the overall expansion and feminisation of the epidemic.

"A total of 300,000 persons are currently living with HIV in the region including 30,000 people who became infected in 2005. The prevalence rate in women 15-24 years is two to six times higher than men of similar group," the Prime Minister said.

Douglas, on behalf of his Caribbean counterparts, gave a number of commitments which would be achieved by 2010 when the next UNGASS is scheduled. These include health and social systems forming a basis for an improved integrated network of services for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support and that every country would introduce legislation and a policy framework to protect the vulnerable populations. Further, the Prime Minister committed that by 2010 every Caribbean woman, man and child would have access to relevant information, knowledge and support services by which to take preventative action.

"By 2010, the Caribbean would have drastically reduced the spread of this disease through universal access," Douglas said.

The G+ representative to UNGASS said after hearing the Prime Minister's address, as an HIV infected person, she felt that there was still hope for people like her in the Caribbean once the work was done towards achieving the commitments.

But there is a great deal to be done to achieve the commitments set. Mendonca explained that work needs to be done in coordination, monitoring and evaluation of the HIV response to ensure accountability, transparency and inclusiveness by all major players. She pointed out that a number of governments do not seem to include civil society at all levels resulting in the country having weak and ill-informed national strategic plans.

Turning to Guyana's new national strategic plan set to be released soon, Mendonca said the draft she saw two months ago was very weak in terms of the UNAIDS 3 1s (One strategic framework, one monitoring and evaluation mechanism, and one national authority).

* Not her real name

The article above is part of a five-country series on the Caribbean's HIV/AIDS response since individual governments signed the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS Declaration of Commitment in 2001.

It is now five years since those promises were made and time to assess the progress made. This is a collaborative effort between Panos Caribbean and Stabroek News.

© Stabroek News


COUNTDOWN TO DENBIGH - Caribbean agriculture officials to flock show this year
published: Monday | July 24, 2006


CARIBBEAN FARMING officials will trek to Jamaica early next month for the Denbigh Agricultural Show as they scout out opportunities for marketing their produce.

Organisers of the annual show say they have received confirmation of attendance from officials in Bermuda, Trinidad and Tobago and St. Maarten for the August 5 to 7 event, set to take place at Denbigh, Clarendon.

Attendance requests have also come in from The Cayman Islands and Barbados, said Lawrence Madden, chief executive officer of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, hosts of the show.

Mr. Madden said the CARICOM Single Market, pressed into operation earlier this year, had ignited interest in regional players in the farming sector who are eyeing the Denbigh show as a marketplace to promote their goods.

He said the event also had the potential to bring increased investment and trade to the local economy.

But the appeal of Denbigh has extended beyond the Caribbean, with interests in North America and Europe also clamouring to participate in the show.

"We have had serious enquiries from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands, and the list is expected to increase," Mr. Madden said. "We are unsure of the role that the international countries will play this year, as we are still awaiting details of their objectives."

Business leaders across Jamaican communities in these countries have displayed interest in the show, viewing it as a fillip to their 'Eat Jamaican' campaign. The JAS CEO said they saw the show as an economic venture and an opportunity to vacation in Jamaica.

This is the 54th staging of the agricultural show.

© Copyright 1997-2006 Gleaner Company Ltd.

Friday, July 21, 2006 

21 July 2006

Eastern Caribbean Nations Benefiting from U.S. Economic Growth

International Monetary Fund reports on Eastern Caribbean economy

Washington -- Most Eastern Caribbean countries are benefiting from good economic conditions in the United States and the United Kingdom, says the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In a July 19 statement, the IMF said the near-term growth prospects in most of the Eastern Caribbean's countries "remain strong" as their economies are "buoyed" by tourism from the United States and the United Kingdom.

The IMF said a high level of construction activity in the Eastern Caribbean also is improving the region's economy.

IMF official David Robinson, who will head a staff mission by his organization to the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union countries in July and August, said his visit will focus on the "economic prospects, opportunities, and challenges" facing that currency union. The six countries in that group are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Robinson said growth in the region has been strong, largely due to a recovery in tourism, and increased construction activity in preparation for the 2007 Cricket World Cup, which will be played in a number of countries in the Caribbean region. The Cup's championship match is scheduled for April 28, 2007, in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The IMF official said that while "inflationary pressures" in the Eastern Caribbean have emerged due to the strong economic activity and higher world oil prices, inflation in the region has remained in the low single digits.

Robinson said the economic growth would help the region take advantage of new opportunities provided by what is called the Caribbean Single Market and Economy, which is designed to enhance the region's competitiveness by providing for the free movement of goods and services, labor and capital in the Caribbean.

In addition, Robinson said the region needs to take advantage of the "increasing globalization of the world economy, as well as to adjust to the further decline of trade preferences for bananas and sugar." However, sustaining growth "once the impetus dissipates from the construction boom ahead of the Cricket World Cup will be key to maintaining and further improving living standards" in the region, Robinson said.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) operates an Eastern Caribbean program that provides about $17 million annually to promote economic development, legal reform, trade-capacity building and HIV/AIDS assistance to the region's small island countries. USAID operates an office in Barbados that directly administers the Eastern Caribbean program.

The full text of the IMF statement on the Eastern Caribbean is available on the fund’s Web site.

For more on U.S. policy, see The Caribbean.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

About me

  • I'm Em Asomba
  • From United States
My profile
Skype Me™!

Poverty & Social Development: A Caribbean Perspective is powered by Blogspot and Gecko & Fly.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
Join the Google Adsense program and learn how to make money online.