Wednesday, November 29, 2006 

Transparency and Public Disclosure: The IMF Article IV Consultations
It was quite a remarkable piece in the Barbados Advocate re the application of the famous IMF Article IV Consultations, see here.
As a matter of fact, the points clearly raised and articulated the irrelevant position of such a framework in terms of procedures and benchmarking when it comes to financial and fiscal discipline as seen by the IMF vis-à-vis small economies, and of course for Caribbean states.

And taken within a broad spectrum, these issues highlight the whole problematique in regards to the coherence of the international economic system, and better representation for developing and emerging economies.
It goes without saying that the building blocks behind the Article IV underline the needs for reforms at country levels, and of course as these dynamics are set in motion, there should also be an adequate and comprehensive preparatory process to address at full length matters of transparency and disclosures in the assessments of economic reform programs, the debt questions, and the socio-economic contexts that evolve along those lines.


Swapping the Debts for Social Investments

“Debt Swaps” also known as the process of forgiving monetary debts in exchange of certain priority actions by debtors, has been part of the agenda brought-forth by some members of CARIFORUM in meetings with the European Union, see here.

By emphasizing the importance of an action plan toward the implementation of social investment schemes, this debt swaps proposal, is indeed interesting to help focus on restructuring strategies, to carry-out economic and social change through debt reductions that can also reach out to public and private creditors.

More on Debt Swaps

*Energizing Third World Economies: The Role of Debt-Equity Swaps
*Jeffrey Sachs to Poor Nations: ‘Forget Debt, Spend on AIDS’
*CSROS Working Initiative to Reduce Debt Burden and Apply Debt-for-Nature Swaps in Indonesia
*Speech by his Excellency Dr. Leonel Fernandez Reyna, President of the Dominican Republic

Friday, November 24, 2006 

What to Choose!
In the complicated world of moral, political and economic challenges, what could be the best way forward to move economic growth and prospects for development?

Time is up now. If some of you said: “The Private Sector”, allow me to pass along this invitation to examine Antigua & Barbuda’s framework for sustained economic growth.
At the core of this process lies ahead the expansion of macro-economic policies to facilitate growth through a mix of legislations to address tax relief and credit mechanisms for business entities involved in certain areas that support human development. Check this out!

Thursday, November 23, 2006 

Science & Technology do Matter When It Comes to Socio-Economic Developments
Numerous appeals have stressed the role of Science & Technology as enablers for change and socio-economic progress, and in one instance (here).

Of course, it goes without saying that the expansion of such capacities goes along with the integration of constructive dialogues, and above all a clear understanding of the relationships between the enhancement of quality of life and continuous developments for new technologies as they should befall within the spectrums of various economic, political and social determinants.

At these junctures a known problematique to counter the ripple effects of “digital divide” or “technological divide”, comes with the notion of “equal distribution” in technological innovations within and between countries, through broad legislative authorities.
And a better way to reach those goals, is to work toward the implementation of equal architectures to bridge the gaps in terms of knowledge base between developed and developing nations.

In his own words, Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada:

The Caribbean must collectively harness science and technology or risk falling further behind the developed world, says Grenadian Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, who holds the portfolio within CARICOM.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006 

Golding plans to slash taxes

published: Wednesday | November 22, 2006

Opposition Leader Bruce Golding says a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP)-led administration would remove Education Tax and HEART deductions and replace these revenue sources with low-interest loans from multinational agencies including the World Bank.

Full Article


República Dominicana:
El Seibo, primer Pueblo del Milenio

La provincia dominicana de El Seibo tiene identificadas las intervenciones necesarias para alcanzar los ocho Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio y además sabe cuánto debe invertir para lograrlos.

La Oficina de Desarrollo Humano del Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD), conjuntamente con la Comisión Presidencial para los Objetivos del Milenio y el Desarrollo Sostenible (COPDES) y el Despacho de la Primera Dama, llevó a cabo la elaboración de un estudio de evaluación de las necesidades y costos que se requieren para alcanzar los Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio (ODM) en El Seibo para el año 2015.

A raíz de este estudio, único de su tipo en la región de América Latina y el Caribe, se concluyó que para que los ODM se alcancen en El Seibo para 2015 sería necesaria una inversión total de 2,300 dólares por persona en el periodo comprendido entre 2006 y 2015.

La población de El Seibo es de 90,000 habitantes (1.7% de la población total dominicana), de los que el 21% vive en pobreza extrema -casi tres veces el promedio nacional-, por lo que ocupa el sexto lugar entre las provincias más pobre del país. Sus mayores carencias se encuentran en las áreas de infraestructuras, de caminos vecinales y carreteras, de salud y agua potable y saneamiento.

Full Access to Document (En Espanol)


Tuesday, November 21, 2006 

Constructing a Viable Approach to Deter Violence Against Children
‘Violence against Children’ is a topic, or I should rather say a phenomenon that has been taking, unprecedented forms, and disturbing themes.
In all consequences, these issues bring to the fore-front the needs to strengthen investigative analyzes, and protective regulations to curb these ills.

An in the recent UN gathering in Panama about these perspectives, calls for strong inquiries re the social and economic conditions that nurture such dynamics, were rolled-out as quintessential components to carry-out transformational change at societal levels.

All countries can and must put an end to violence against children,” said Professor Pinheiro. “We are talking about transforming the whole mindset of societies and the underlying social and economic conditions of violence. Children are sick of being considered ‘the future’. They are living today and they want to live without violence.

As a high-level meeting between experts, international organizations and government leaders in Latin-America and the Caribbean (LAC), this summit fomented some clear brain-storming about the crucial dots to lay-down a comprehensive agenda in matters of prevention, legislation and capacity development for Rights-Based Approaches in social development tailored to the region (LAC).


Intellectual Property Rights: An E.U Definition toward the EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement), and the Caribbean Framework
Oh Lord! In a sudden reversal of fortunes, the European Union (E.U.) has outlined intellectual property standards as core components for upcoming discussions re global trade rules, see here.

As I read this article one question came to my mind, and that vis-à-vis the definition of protection (what kind of?), and how it should be provided to standards.
We can all agree that this is no easy approach, if we take into consideration the nature of intellectual property and intellectual property laws.

If anyone out-there, can provide some insights about these issues, please do so.

* Cartoon: Courtesy of Nicholson Cartoons

Friday, November 17, 2006 

An Educational Approach into the Relations between Language and Literacy in the Trinidadian Context
Now turning to the ever growing prospects in open educational resources, this module by Barbara Joseph was developed for teachers in Trinidad & Tobago to address the various facets of language, communication and literacy.

This open course explores three components in the relations between language and teaching, and the Trinidadian settings, and how processes in experiential learning could help educators adapt curriculums, and make analytical sense of these dynamics in regards to concepts and theories.

From here to start

Thursday, November 16, 2006 

Democracy also comes with Gender Equity
In her new capacity as elected president of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), setting the right agenda means for Dr. Jacqui Quinn-Leandro to re-adjust the relationship between the concept of liberalism, and women’s struggle.

As much touted issues in these debates, diversity and democracy as concepts and practices vis-à-vis women’s rights have too often been seen as opposing principles.
Thus, discrepancies that have deeply affected the many ways under which women’s anti-discriminatory provisions and laws were defined.
And within this paradigm, the construct of women and gender equity, and provisions in the laws have to be re-assessed in order to revamp matters of development, and the subsequent interpretation of poverty whether at the regional, national or international levels.

Even though we have made significant strides in women’s representation, there is still discrimination against women where these rights are concerned,” she told the delegates. Building on remarks by the body’s Secretary General Dr. Jose Insulza, that democracy without gender equity is half-baked democracy, Dr. Quinn-Leandro took the idea a step further declaring, “Since women make up more than half of the world population, democracy without gender equity is not yet in the oven.


2nd Round of the Policy Delphi about ICT (for the Year 2010) in Latin- America and the Caribbean (LAC)

This is the direct access (here) to the second round of public consultations about the future of ICT in Latin-America and the Caribbean. As a continuum of the Regional Action Plan eLAC 2007, this open discussion platform touches the various issues in terms of policy implementations and regulations about the state of ICT in the region, and priorities to the year 2010.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006 

Regional Public Goods (RPGs): Setting Rooms for Regional Cooperation in Latin-America and the Caribbean (LAC)

As an effort to bridge and overcome some gaps about the concept of Regional Public Goods (RPGs), the IDB has launched an initiative that aims to reinforce academic collaborations about the multi-faceted aspects of these issues.
Under a grant of US$ 600,000, this endeavor will look into the setting of collaborative patterns among countries of Latin-America and the Caribbean to stimulate the promotion of Regional Public Goods (RPGs) in matters of science, technology, education and cultural activities, see Regional Public Goods.

As a joint project between the IDB’s Initiative of Regional Public Goods and 700 universities and research centers in the LAC, this project expands the level of cooperation, and assistance between a multi-lateral development bank and regional actors to examine the various facets behind financing mechanisms and foreign assistance. A practice that could carry some viable economic benefits, and above all provide a better understanding about the role of RPGs, as resources to help strengthen capacity development, partnerships and economic integration.



‘Women Empowering Women’
This will be the theme for the upcoming National Women’s Week in the Bahamas. An event that will run from November 26th to December 2nd, 2006.

In today’s Bahamian society, women continue to grapple with challenges in several areas including financial stability, domestic violence and health issues,” she said. “The week’s activities will focus on several of these issues including women’s involvement in politics.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 

Non-State Actors advisory panel
Web Posted - Tue Nov 14 2006
CIVIL society groups will now have a greater say in the decision-making process between Barbados and the European Union (EU).

This was made certain yesterday with the signing of a memorandum of understanding establishing a Non-State Actors (NSAs) Advisory Panel here.

Full Article


Monday, November 13, 2006 

Ayiti: ‘The Cost of Life’

No worries, and thanks god, this is no pessimistic news about Haiti. Many thanks to the PSD blog, which pointed this interactive computer game which is a simulation about the cost of living, and well-being, as experienced on a daily basis by thousands of people over there.

And this game is part of an awareness campaign launched by Gamelab, Global Kids and UNICEF about two crucial issues, namely education and poverty in Haiti. See, and interact with Ayiti: The Cost of Life.


Sunday, November 12, 2006 

Will Concentration On a New Agriculture Change Lives in Rural Areas of Caribbean Countries

This the title of a piece by Deniece Alleyne, which took the second place in an essay competition organized by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA)

In this essay, she explores the linkage between agricultural development and the role of technological innovations to curb migration flows, and increased poverty levels, social divide affecting rural areas of the Caribbean.
She pin-points a socio-historical link in regards to current governments’ policies and perceptions toward agricultural and rural development, and how techno-structural should be addressed to re-engineer the development potentials of agricultural endeavors through the use of new and innovative business models.


In the Caribbean, it’s been all about the Role and Standing of Civil Society
Bringing civil society as an active participant in development, can add substantive leverage in the formulation of policy, and in the implementation and development of action plans.
And within this framework, an evolving relationship has to move toward the expansion of dialogues and participation between CSOs, and governments. Such a route benefiting for the contributions of local knowledge, technical expertise and social capital, in the ways local problems should be taken on.

As some observers are pointing out, in the Caribbean this issue has become a factor of great importance given the dire needs to revamp some social landscapes, and counter through effective actions all the structural imbalances that have been feeding on and impacting on the socio-economic fabric, and well-being of some communities.

Why does it appear as if society is painfully swallowing harmful doses of negative actions? Where is the soul? From kidnappings to teenage murderers to the jailing of politicians, to the declaration by organisation called Transparency International that of one of Caricom’s member nation’s is among the most corrupt nations in the world etc etc.

This revolving door of criminality and social ills have clearly given us a cause to stop and take a deep breath of bewilderment, bordering on despair. It has indeed been a challenging time which has caused society to swallow all of this in consistently harmful doses, like pills made of arsenic, coated with acid.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 


Is the Spanish acronym for: “Mejoramiento de las Encuesta de Hoyares y la Medicion de Condiciones de Vida”, and which in english stands for: “Program for the Improvement of Surveys and the Measurement of Living Conditions in latin-America and the Caribbean.

Linking research and policy in poverty assessments has never been an easy task to go about. Nevertheless, taken from a broad spectrum this platform which is a joint initiative by the World Bank, the IDB and ECLAC heightens some positive perspectives to strengthen the technical capacity for national statistical systems in Latin-America and the Caribbean.

And taking this as an invitation to check it out, I can assure that there won’t be any waist of time given the availability and scope of resources displayed there.


Wednesday, November 8, 2006 - Philipsburg, St Maarten, N.A.
Laveist, youth department
embark on youth projects

PHILIPSBURG--Youth and Social Affairs Commissioner Louie Laveist and the Department of Youth and Cultural Affairs have teamed up to embark over the next few weeks on a number of youth-related projects geared towards empowering youth, weeding out youth violence and encouraging young people to be positive and to succeed.

Full Article


Oh, la, la, these Bad and Old Corruption Issues
It is interesting to note that from the latest Transparency International (TI) Corruption Index, that Barbados made the marks with a ranking of 24 (Corruption Perception Index 2005).
Now on a regional standing, what is left for other Caribbean nations? I do not wanna sound like a pessimistic dude, but the news seem to be somber for other countries as Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti, Cuba, Grenada, Guyana, the Dominican Republic (DR), and Suriname.

So, where to from there! And according to the old say, when there’s a problem, there’s always a solution.
I do not think that the pursuit of a single-minded approach to corruption can lead to clear and straightforward appreciations of the problems.
And within this paradigm taking into accounts the various aspects behind governance practices are quintessential, in order to gradually move into reforms, and above all, how to legitimize the implementation of transparent and accountable regulations vis-à-vis the provision and management of public resources.

In a normative sense (more or less so), we are currently vying for the integration of ‘global’ standards, norms, compliance or ethics to strengthen public administration. One question though: Could this sole approach help to fully carry-out profound reforms, given the known structural differences that prevail between jurisdictions, organizational forms of governance and economies?

Nonetheless, it is sure that in this uphill battle, the link between corruption and development is more than ever of a pressing order, which of course calls for greater attention, not seen from narrow perspectives, but rather through more descriptive and broad approaches to review some of the old prescriptive anti-corruption guidelines.
Such a shift in thinking could be a useful tone, due to the fact that the construct of corruption over the past decades, has strongly emphasized and leaned toward one-sided assessments about weak governance frameworks for developing nations, which in fact has left little room for discussions about the root-causes of the phenomenon.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 

Talking about Caribbean Indigenous Knowledge and Language
Too often in the context of development practices, the issues of indigenous knowledge and languages are passed by.
And despite ongoing
efforts by indigenous people throughout the world to make the points about the revitalization of their languages, which represents a great part in the diffusion of their knowledge, development circles are opening themselves up very slowly to the values and issues raised in this paradox.

The calls behind such movements underline a strong dynamic, where the maintenance of cultural identity and integrity are bound together in efforts to cope with all the structural changes that have been moving their concepts of communities, and social practices.
And a better way to un
derstand these elements is to work toward the development of bodies of knowledge, as platforms that document indigenous life and practices, as those constructs have evolved though different patterns of change entrenched in deep socio-historical clusters.

A good step forward would be this joint initiative by UNESCO, and the University of the West Indies, at Mona which in itself is an innovative approach within this paradigm to explore the diversity behind the Caribbean Indigenous languages and their evolutions/constraints experienced over time “The first authoritative website on Caribbean Indigenous and Endangered Language (CIEL).

Monday, November 06, 2006 

Barbados Investment and Development Corporation

The Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) is the industrial development agency of the Barbados Government. It has special responsibility for promoting and facilitating the establishment and expansion of business enterprises in Barbados, and for export promotion of Barbados' goods and services.

The BIDC also administers the Government's incentive program for industry and provides a variety of free advisory services for companies looking to establish business entities on the island, especially in the areas of Information Technology, Manufacturing and Financial Services. In implementing this function, the BIDC, through its six divisions, acts as a catalyst, facilitator and coordinator, in ensuring that the requirements of its clients are met.




The Role of FDIs (Foreign Direct Investments) to Sustain Economic Expansion and Growth for Eastern Caribbean Member States

The effects of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) on economic development, can take various forms, as to sustain the pace of growth.
It has been clearly demonstrated that the impacts of FDIs can be quite significant as to facilitate, and reach certain level of economic expansion.
However, it is also important to stress that behind such framework, any type of growth for an economy is highly dependent on many factors, and the channels used in order to capitalize and fully benefit from them. On one hand, if FDIs can be largely credited to the expansion and growth of exports, on the other hand they are rarely benefiting for human capital development.

And to better understand these dynamics, there are several ways to examine the constraints in terms of growth process, and how governments’ policies can direct FDI flows toward priority sectors, and map out practical human resources development schemes.

As a matter of fact, the latest communiqué from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) depicts a strong period of sustained economic growth for member states of the ECCU, up to 2007. Where a great part of those outcomes are directly linked to huge inflows of FDIs on tourism led construction activities, see here.

Sunday, November 05, 2006 

Youth Development Issues: Rated High in Caribbean Development
The upcoming release by the Commonwealth Youth Programme Caribbean Centre, titled: “Building the Future Today”, will provide social workers and NGOs with a blueprint to examine existing evaluations, and operational definitions of youth development programs.

This project will feature a broad base review of the current state of findings to approach the characteristics of positive youth development, and the theoretical and empirical groundings behind the lessons learned over the last decades of practices.

Thursday, November 02, 2006 

entra21: Preparing Youth in Latin America and the Caribbean to Enter the Modern Workplace

"Para Información en Español, clic aquí."

The International Youth Foundation (IYF) and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank have joined forces to prepare workers for the jobs of the new economy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Together we created a US$29 million program, entra 21, to co-finance youth employment projects in information technology (IT). This four-year collaboration aims to:

  • Support local projects that train young people and assist them in securing jobs that require IT skills
  • Create partnerships among nonprofit organizations, governments, and businesses to meet the IT training and employment needs of the region
  • Identify, document, and disseminate best practices in training, job placement, and collaboration among participating organizations



Globalization and Regional Integration: Still so Many Question to Ponder
In recent remarks on the subject of the CSME, and the impacts of globalization on the Caribbean, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller defined among others, that:

The region,

must now stand even more firmly as an economic bloc and devise and implement strategies based on each island's strengthens and competitive advantages

Globalization is a “fait accompli”, and despite all the imperfections that lie in the system, it is of the utmost importance for small and emerging economies to devise and develop mutual relations, as to fully harmonize the ongoing process that unfold with globalization and regional integration.

And If we move beyond the negative terms that have been lingering over the globalization phenomenon, some positive gains might fall out of a regional integration framework, that tackles and addresses adjustments in terms of governance, and the instrumentation of an overall supporting environment to accelerate, and facilitate socio-economic development.
It goes without saying that shortcomings will always manifest themselves. Nonetheless, a cohesive and comprehensive approach to the issues can also arm regional governments with the necessary insights to articulate the constructs of counter-measures to smoothen the impacts of the structural changes, as those dynamics impact upon the creation and distribution of wealth.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006 

Government's e-learning project to enhance education
CARL GILCHRIST, Observer staff reporter
Wednesday, November 01, 2006

GOVERNMENT'S US$50 -million investment in an e-learning project, launched earlier this year, is expected to significantly enhance the quality of secondary teaching and learning.

Full Article


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