Saturday, September 30, 2006 

Land Ownerships and Property Rights in the CARICOM

I bet now that for some governments in the CARICOM, the meanings of land ownerships and property rights are taking a whole new dimension as those matters are gradually turning into hot political potatoes. As a matter of fact, the last couple of decades witnessed some zealous initiatives under which governments’ sales of lands to foreign conglomerates are now infusing sour tastes vis-à-vis future prospects in terms of wealth creation, and the full attainments of development objectives to address balanced economic planning and resource management practices.

On one hand, these issues as critical as they can be, bring-forth for policy-makers another aspect in the debate over the determinants of economic developments while on the other hand come to lights the integration of property rights, and the statute of limitations to define time limits on ownership claims.

These elements can be challenging dynamics to deal with, given the fact that if we center an analysis of economic growth, development and the demands exacerbated by property rights on the nature and changes that affect some economies, then come to the front-burners, matters liaised with the quality of the public sector bureaucracy, the efficiency of the legal systems, and of course the big “C” word = Corruption.

Nonetheless, they are critical to be addressed this in order to bolster development capacity and results, and also integrate the factors liaised with property re-development schemes, and assure a certain level of transparency and accountability in the systems.


ECLAC: “Improving Caribbean Household Survey”

It’s official ECLEC has just launched its project on an harmonized and integrated social statistics database for the Caribbean. Named, “Improving Caribbean Household Survey”, the project will first introduce a one stop platform for statistical and social variables based on household surveys for the region. As an innovative tool, this project will provide a comparative basis that will use ICT to strengthen capacity development, and knowledge management. The aim being the support and facilitation of data transmission/dissemination to enhance learning capacity vis-à-vis data collection protocols, definitions and classification for social indicators, see here.

And in More News from ECLAC

*Meetings to Examine Women’s Political Participation and Contributions to Economy and Social Protection

*ECLAC Notes N°47
Date: August 2006

  • ECLAC Forecasts 5% Growth in 2006 for Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Changing Role of the Family in Social Protection
  • Op-ed by ECLAC's Executive Secretary, José Luis Machinea. Latin America and the High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development
  • Highlights. On the Difference between Resources Generated within the Region and the Resources Available to its Residents
  • Indicators
  • Science, Innovation and Competitiveness: Experiences from Australia and New Zealand
  • Recent titles
  • Calendar of events


Thursday, September 28, 2006 

Global Challenges HIV/AIDS in Caribbean Is 'Single Greatest Threat' to Region's Security; More U.S. Funding Is Needed, Official Says
[Sep 28, 2006]
Kerrie Symmonds, minister of state for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Barbados, on Tuesday at the Fifth Caribbean Chiefs of Mission Conference on HIV/AIDS said HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean "poses the single greatest threat to the region's security," the Caribbean Media Corporation reports (Caribbean Media Corporation, 9/26).

Full Article


Bermuda: Unintended Consequences in the Socio-Economic Balance between Gender!!!!
When we talk about Gender & Development, the clear emphases are to work upon the reduction of disparities between men and women and to make sure that priorities and resources are aligned together as much as possible to improve the quality of strategies and policies. These elements set in motion to counter unbalances vis-à-vis the distribution and access to opportunities and the guarantee of social inclusion.

Over the last couple of years, there have been clear recognitions of the needs to streamline gender policies in order to meet women’s needs and address structural changes toward their advancement, in efforts to curb and mitigate the effects of poverty and assure comprehensive progress in terms of development.
And with all things being equals, to address these perspectives adaptive models of policy call for the integration of measures or reforms to touch certain initiatives to provide equality in education, employment or political participation among others.

But along these routes, it is also important to stress that policy measures can also bring-in a set of unintended consequences, as they are being witnessed in Bermuda under the form of a cross-gender educational gap, where a mix in gender policy, reverses in cultural traditions and changing demographics have placed men within an unbalanced loop in terms of socio-economic distribution, see Op-ed.


Sir Ronald Sanders Warns Caribbean States Against EU, by Amanda Banks,, London 28 September 2006

Sir Ronald Sanders, formerly a senior Caribbean diplomat, said last week that Governments and financial sector authorities in the Caribbean should be very watchful of the European Union's attempt to broaden the scope of the Savings Tax Directive.

Earlier this month it was reported that European Union Commissioner for Taxation, Laszlo Kovacs, is seeking to extend the Directive to Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Macao, Bahrain, Dubai, Canada and the Bahamas.

Full Article (Subscription)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 

PM says Investments in Infrastructural Projects Will Pay Dividends Beyond Cricket World Cup
Tuesday, September 27, 2006 – Saint Lucia’s active programme of national infrastructural development is aimed at transforming and modernizing the island's physical and economic landscape. And those projects associated with the 2007 Cricket World Cup, while preparing for the greatest sporting even the island will ever have hosted, are also geared at leaving an enduring legacy that will go beyond the boundary of the game.

Full Article


Trade, Trade, Macroeconomic Stability and Development Policy: Where to for SIDS?
The U.N. General Assembly provided Caribbean leaders with a heralding tribune to voice their concerns about the current nature of trade policy, and the waves of imbalances that they forge on local economies, and more specifically in the contexts that surround Small Islands Developing States (SIDS).

Two years ago, the prospects liaised with a global economic recovery mainly emphasized greater openness to international trade and finance. And to date, there is still a quagmire that sets on fire matters of sustainability and benefits for all countries, as it appears that greater and greater incidences are witnessed in terms of unequal growth distribution, environmental protection, among others.

As pointed out by one Caribbean government official:

the international community needs to make adjustments for “the differences in levels of development among the economies and the asymmetries that exist between developed and developing countries.

Rightly said though, if we consider the facts that current openness to international trade and finance has not delivered or fully enabled the settings of sustained interactions between external financing, domestic investments and export growth for some of those countries.
And secondly, the necessity to adjust the problematique anchored with trade imbalances has still not been approached, and minimize any action vis-à-vis the implementation of development strategies, as matters of macroeconomic stability, and the relevance of appropriate multilateral regulations are left dangling in a room with no immediate answers to deal with the impacts of exogenous shocks on some of these islands, and their capacity to address head-on poverty reduction strategies and national planning.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006 

How Technology could Contribute to a Sustainable Future
The integration of scenario-planning has been a valuable tool to generate discussions and policy options about conceivable paths toward balanced global futures, as distinct challenges earmark the strategic directions and leadership needed to carry out change with sustainable development.

As we move further into the consolidation of globalization patterns, it has become clear that sustainable development is a notion to be reckoned with, as it addresses critical alternatives in terms of choices (individual/collectives), growth and the socio-economic development of nations.
In this regard, a framework developed by the Great Transition Initiative (GTI) has been touching these dialogues with an aim toward the analysis of diverse interpretations behind transformational praxis and the constructs of political, institutional, human/environmental and systems-thinking archetypes.

And amid those series an interesting component was laid-out about the role of science & technology, and how advances in scientific knowledge could be leveraged for greater benefits or impacts on community development.
Of course, these are perspectives that involve important policy changes to tackle balanced industrial development in line with economic and social progress. These elements linked to increased concerns and demands brought by rapid urbanization, food security, differences between rural and urban standards of living and unequal distribution of income.
As a matter of fact, those lines draw the complexity of the challenges, and the needs to generate appropriate technologies, and identify what technology would be necessary to gauge tomorrow’s needs as they evolve in fast changing environments.

*How Technology could contribute to a Sustainable Future. Technological Evolution and Human Choice


Ministry of National Development

Belize and CABEI sign Agreement

Belmopan - 25 September, 2006
An Association Agreement was signed today at the Office of the Prime Minister between the Government of Belize and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI). This agreement enables Belize to be incorporated to CABEI as a Non-founding Beneficiary Member.

Full Article



Financing for Development: Rural Water Supply and Sanitation for Haiti

To many observers, investments in infrastructures can be seen as viable catalysts to reduce disparities and pockets of poverty in some regions.

Of course, it goes without saying that the association between growth and infrastructure development is sine qua non with a country’s specifics, and the appropriate mix of lending and non-lending assistance to remove some constraints and guarantee the delivery and provisions of supporting financing schemes. And when looking into these dimensions it is interesting to weigh in the challenges liaised with water supply and sanitation.

As a matter of fact, addressing the problem of low-access to water supply and sanitation for some countries goes a long way within time-bound objectives and indicators for international development seen in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), where the attainments of such targets imply the expansion of cumulative investments, and the mobilization of international sources to cover those requirements.
And for the viability of collaborative activities, the integration of a harmonized mechanism is a pre-requisite to convey
synchronized responses in order to meet these challenges.

In Haiti for example, the disbursement of a US$15 million loan by the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) to tackle water and sanitation programs in rural communities is gearing right into those grounds with an emphasis upon the strengthening of operational and financial capacity through cost-recovery mechanisms.

This could be an interesting framework, where the implementation of such an endeavor will highlight the necessity to streamline a national coordination process, and at the same time provide monitoring and evaluation (M&E) with additional foot-prints to assess the country’s performance in terms of poverty reduction goals and results when gauging its institutional capacity to harness financing, infrastructure development and stakeholders’ involvement.

Monday, September 25, 2006 

Where does the Media stand in the CSME Roll-out
The role and position of the media to document various political, economic and social developments has always been envisioned as an integral tool to facilitate and educate citizens when it comes to their perceptions and attitudes about the effects of some changes on their communities.
In fact by trying to curve appropriate strategies in terms of communication and knowledge dissemination re the ongoing developments that evolve around some regional agendas, these practices are unvaluable to tackle head-on campaigns of education and at the same time assure effectiveness in regards to the historic steps and targets behind the unveiling of regional integration frameworks.

The Caribbean shouldn’t be an exception to the rules notwithstanding the technical requirements needed to embark on capacity development strategies, as the roll-out of the CSME has become more than ever an increasing and unavoidable factor for the region.

Hoyte believes that as the region embarks on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) "our Fourth Estate profession is pivotally positioned to play a critical role in reducing the gaps of ignorance and misunderstanding".

The argument is straightforward: Unless there's a substantial narrowing of the 'gaps of ignorance and misunderstanding' that have plagued previous plans for regional integration, the current effort in the CSME will not deliver fully on its promise.


Security and Sovereignty!!!!
If some of you have missed this news, it seems like if the ever-increasing insecurity landscape in Haiti is now turning into a case of lost sovereignty. From all accounts, it appears that concerns over the country’s governance, and the government’s capability to improve it have more or less prompted some international donors to spread a certain gospel against the growth and proliferation of illegal arms, see here.


Saturday, September 23, 2006 

Calling for Cultural Change in Health Delivery System and Effectiveness in the Bahamas

By introducing the change process that is taking place in the Health-Care delivery system for the Bahamasvision for an effective health-care system”, Dr. Nottage, Minister of Health has been drumming up the re-development of a streamlined NHI scheme with an overtone toward better management procedures for the public sector, that harbors a strong emphasis on performance or results-based approaches.

In fact, behind this idea, there has been no shortage of discussions, given the needs to pinpoint and address the involvement of government in health-care, and the methods of financing in sights to support and expand access to health insurance by taking into accounts proposals to align objectives through changes applied to the behavior of health-care consumers, and of course accompanied with some kinda form of tax incentives, see here (for some critical views).


Sex Workers’ Rights and the Debate over Regulation or Submission….
I just bumped into this article re the CSME and free movement of people, in which the author points to matters of human trafficking and the increased development of a commercial sex industry in the region.

A key feature of heavily touristed areas and highly mobile populations is the increased presence of commercial sex industry,” notes Dr Peggy McEnvoy in Caribbean Crossroads. McEnvoy adds that given the illegal nature of both their work and residence, CSWs are invisible to social, health and protective services tax.

These issues are no isolated cases, and despite increased attention imparted on trafficking in women and children, we find ourselves pinned in a paradigmatic landscape where wording and working definitions of ‘trafficking’ are still put to the test.
And it has become clear that progress in regards to advocacy initiatives and research strategies are tied up in a framework where concerns over migration, and the simple elimination of prostitution have taken control over the protection of human rights.

Thursday, September 21, 2006 

Child Malnutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean
Newsletter: Number 2
Date April 2005
ISSN: 1816-7543

A particularly crucial issue.In the context of the Millennium Development Goals,
we dedicate this second edition of Challenges to the issue of child malnutrition
in Latin America and the Caribbean.Likewise, the President of Chile, Michelle
Bachelet, as Chief of State and Paediatritian, sets forth arguments calling on
governments and citizens to mobilize for children's rights to adequate


Sales Tax and Fiscal Policy: Where to Find the Right Equilibrium
By aiming with an unabashed determination toward the setting of Sales Tax measures, the government of Antigua & Barbuda is embarking into a sensitive route where the final outcomes might turn into a nightmarish journey in regards to their long-term capacity to control inflation and at the same time ensuring macroeconomic stability.
As those measures are undertaken, controversies have also started to boil in regards to the relevance of such a mechanism, and above all the drawbacks that could be experienced through rising cost of living and a decrease in consumption levels.

Those goods that are going to climb, and it is estimated that the cost of living might rise over 10 per cent. The goods which are zero rated they are not new. They are already enjoying no consumption tax.

As I see it, and referring to the above mentioned article, the political dimension and willingness to open up consultations with all stakeholders about these issues should be necessary steps for the government, instead of a playing it alone kinda demeanor. It is true that indirect taxes can be effective ways to generate quick revenues for governments, but on the other hand a strong balance between different tax regimes is a more appropriate framework to ensure and improve income distribution and harmonization between different earning brackets.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006 - Philipsburg, St. Maarten, N.A.
Population figures
The figures quoted by Minister of Justice David Dick concerning the composition of St. Maarten’s population (see yesterday’s edition) may not be altogether precise; they do not lie. Even if the number of illegal residents would prove to be considerably less than Dick’s 20,000, it is clear that the island is faced with an enormous challenge. Mind you, not only because of the “illegal problem,” but more because of the registered 50,000. Of that number only 50 per cent holds a Dutch passport and of those only a small number can claim to be “born here” St. Maarteners. The other 25,000 are foreigners holding the required papers to reside on the island mostly for a limited time span.

Full Article

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 

Ministry experiencing challenges in dealing with the homeless
Web Posted - Wed Sep 20 2006
The area of housing for the homeless is a major challenge facing the Ministry of Social Transformation.

Full Article


A Step forward for Jamaica’s Progress in Poverty Reduction.. But Still Many Hurdles to Cross
A few days ago, came the announcement by the Jamaican Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (Senator Franklyn) of a breakthrough in the country’s performance vis-à-vis its national policy and strategies in poverty reduction.The decrease in poverty level from 28.4% in 1990 to 14.8 percent in 2005 represents significant steps forward that have greatly impacted upon the standard of living.
However, it is quite sure that the challenges ahead are many, and on the methodological and practical sides of policy analysis and reviews, these elements raise some interesting points about the ways survey data can be used to improve and enhance the policy process.

As pointed by the Minister, these advances have been carried out by increasing inflows of remittances that alone cannot play substitutes in the loss of human capital, and the brain-drain that has been affecting the country.

Thus, thorough analysis of these dynamics and their effects on the standard of living should position the inputs from household budget data, income and expenditure surveys within a comprehensive framework, to equip monitoring and evaluation (M&E) mechanisms with the relevant statistical and econometric models to tackle the substance of policy options. Where in the examples of migratory patterns, remittances flows, labor mobility, we do have direct impacts upon the nature and choices of public policies as they affect patterns of household demands and the types of inward developments needed to address the poverty questions.


19th September, 2006

Full Article

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 

Migration Dynamics and Policy Choices (II)
I couldn’t leave the previous post on migration policy alone, and I found quite interesting the points raised in this article re another aspect in the migration conundrum for the Caribbean.
This aspect lies with the impacts and expansion of free-trade on local economies, and how those patterns will affect the movement of people, and on the same token on the choices of public policy to adjust standards of living with balanced economic growth.


IMF Executive Board Deems Haiti Eligible for Assistance Under the HIPC Initiative
Press Release No. 06/206

September 18, 2006

Mr. Takatoshi Kato, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today:....

Full Press Release



Migration Dynamics and Policy Choices
In a recent book by Lant Pritchett, “Let Their People Come: Breaking the Gridlock on Global Labor Mobility”, the problematique of cross-border mobility for unskilled labor, is traced in parallel with the increasing pressures applied by demographic expansions, and the political constructs that frame migration policies within integrated and liberalized economies.

What’s in it for the poor, and more specifically for developing nations are crucial to be addressed, given the fact that properly managed migration flows can deliver major benefits in terms of development and poverty reduction.

In fact in this ongoing debate, the whole paradigm center matters of impacts (distributional costs and benefits) around political and ethical issues that more than often drive policymaking within clustered channels wrapped around conservative views and approaches to migration policies and regulations.
If we consider for one second, or turn around the current discourses vis-à-vis costs and benefits projections, it might occur that evenly distributed migration patterns between and within countries could streamline approaches/strategies to enhance the distributional factors toward certain types of migration in order to make it work for the poor.

It goes without saying that these ideas are really interesting for the Caribbean and its regional development goals due to the fact that over the last couple of years, we have been witnessing severe imbalances between its international migration patterns, and the needs to harmonize a regional migration framework to compensate its losses in terms of human capital, labor market distribution and welfare stabilization, see here.

In an increasingly liberalized and integrated global economy, with more open capital and goods and services markets, the highly restricted and heavily regulated markets for global labor are an oddity. In this controversial book, CGD non-resident fellow Lant Pritchett examines the potentials and perils of greater cross-border mobility of unskilled labor -- within poor world regions and between poor and rich countries. Pritchett argues that irresistible demographic forces for greater international labor mobility are being checked by immovable anti-immigration ideas of rich-country citizens. He highlights the difficult political and ethical issues that the movement of people across national borders presents to the current system and proposes breaking the gridlock through policies that support development while also being politically acceptable in rich countries. These include greater use of temporary worker permits, permit rationing, reliance on bilateral rather than multilateral agreements, and protection of migrants' fundamental human rights. Pritchett's discussion of ways to break the deadlock is a provocative contribution to the growing debate on one of the most important and difficult issues of the 21st century.

Monday, September 18, 2006 

More than 9,000 families waiting for public housing
Monday, September 18, 2006
By José Fernández Colón
PONCE (AP) – Housing Department Secretary Jorge Rivera Jiménez on Sunday said there are currently 9,135 families waiting for public housing services.

Full Article


Local Government Reform 2006
As a commendable step forward, and in order to gain support for its Local Government Reform Agenda, the Government of Trinidad & Tobago (Ministry of Local Government) has issued this Draft White Paper which follows suit on the Vision 2020 program aiming toward the implementation of Regional Development and Sustainable Communities framework.

At its core, readers can get acquainted to the different thematic areas that will accompany the reform process, namely:

  • Legislative reviews of bye-laws and regulations;
  • Re-definition of the roles of the Ministry of Local Government and Municipal Corporations;
  • Re-definition of boundaries, functions responsibilities;
  • Corporate restructuring of the Ministry of Local Government and Municipal Corporations;
  • Institutional Strengthening and capacity building;
  • Determination of human resources/technical and key funding requirements;
  • Delegation of operational activities from the Ministry Local Government to Municipal Corporations;
  • De-linking of the regional corporations from the administrative structure of the Ministry of Local Government;
  • Transfer of resources from ministries and departments to Local Government level;
  • Determination of an agency, which will be responsible for Local Government bodies;

However, there is a tiny missing note. And in fact I think that it would have been useful to provide a link (web) or email address in the document, this in order to render and ease the development of public consultations with all stakeholders. Streamlining this process by opening up channels of communications vis-à-vis the hot topics behind the reform, could provide policy-makers with more evidence and opinions relevant to this dynamic of change as an ongoing and evolving mechanism.



That difficult quest for literacy
Monday, September 18, 2006
Those old enough will remember the missionary-like zeal with which many responded in the early to mid-70s to the call by the late Mr Michael Manley for the abolition of illiteracy.

Full Editorial

Sunday, September 17, 2006 

Aid and the Politics of Politics…
I have always been amazed by the various ways under which foreign and economic aid have been used as instruments of self-gratifying humanity.
And in another chapter of such a long and diverse history, the announcement by the Taiwanese president of increasing economic cooperation with some Latin-American and Caribbean countries, just seems like too good to be true.
I’m not saying that these prospects won’t have significant impacts on some local economies, but on the other hand tying foreign aid with some kinda foreign policy outreach, can also prove at times as a recipe for disasters.

Alas, nowadays more than ever, ideological approaches to foreign assistance programs are the norms rather than the exceptions. So, let us wait and see what will come out from those too idyllic arrangements.


Caribbean Festival of Arts reinforces Identity

Port of Spain, sep 16 (Prensa Latina) Caribbean nations are preparing for the region's most important cultural event: the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA), says Ruben Silie Valdez, Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States.

Full Article


LICUS: Toward an Understanding of Fragility and Countries’ Governance. What’s in it for The Caribbean Community and Haiti….
For some countries the impacts of development strategies and the role of the international community will have to be strengthened to really carry out sound policy analyses, donors’ programmatic and aid allocations to attack the root-causes of poverty, instability and the institutionalization and prioritization of inclusive reforms processes.

In what can be seen as a dramatic increase in the numbers of fragile states, over the last couple of years a report by the World Bank has been computing those figures with a staggering evolution that has scaled up from 17 to 25.

Among some of the characteristics used to define a fragile state, the use of indicators such as the World Bank’s Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) classify results under five categories of performance to harbor a working definition of fragility that reveal the extent, and lack of functioning for governments to attend to the needs of their people, and on the same token to commit on the implementation of Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS), and social development programs.

It is clear though that to make “development work” in such contexts, and guarantee the sustainability of programs and the analysis of appropriate policies can be a huge challenge given the fact that at times donors choose to pull out when things get sour.

“Past International engagement with these countries has failed to yield significant improvement and donors and others continue to struggle with how best to assist fragile states. LICUS are characterized by weak policies, institutions and governance. The Bank identified 25 such countries in fiscal year 2005. These 25 countries have a number of similarities: their infant mortality rate is a third higher than that of other low-income countries, life expectancy is lower, and their maternal mortality rate is about 20 percent higher.”

However, as staggering as those figures can be, the tasks ahead for the international community is more than ever of great concerns, this in order to shift the current rhetoric and aim toward the implementation of a broad transformational agenda that will steer differences and impacts to enhance capacity and willingness.
For the Caribbean region, these perspectives do matter given the dire situations faced by Haiti on a daily basis where poverty in its midst is a constant reminder of the threats associated with regional destabilization, security and the costs associated with crisis responses.

*LICUS (Low-Income Countries Under Stress)
*Fragile states risks instability

Friday, September 15, 2006 

IMF report suggests increase in VAT
Web Posted - Fri Sep 15 2006
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) is again calling on the Barbados government to increase the value added tax (VAT).

Full Article


Where does Fiscal Policies stand in the Development Process for the Caribbean? (II)
Still documenting the issues of fiscal policies and reforms in the Caribbean, I have found this article re Antigua & Barbuda highlighting the introduction of their reform package dubbed: “The Home-grown Adjustment Programme”. This project undertaken by the Ministry of Finance is an overhaul of the fiscal structure with an emphasis to streamline public services. As you will see the program is aiming to improve the delivery of fiscal mechanisms to smoothen, the impacts of debt stocks strengthen revenues and curb expenditures.

  • Fiscal reforms to be made available to public


Thursday, September 14, 2006
Patterson says Caribbean should not fear the C.S.M.E.
He will be giving a major address tonight at the Bliss before being honoured with the Order of Belize. But this afternoon News Five's Stewart Krohn sat down with former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson for an extensive interview to be aired in the Caribbean. Among the many topics discussed was the implementation of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy. For Patterson the C.S.M.E. is the product of a very carefully negotiated process and CARICOM nations should not fear the economic integration that it brings.

Full Article

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