Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is to hold critical discussions with the directorate of the Inter- American Development Bank in Barbados next month. Speaking at a news conference this morning to update the media on the October 1 to 3 Inter- American Forum on Microenterprise in Barbados, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler disclosed that the Prime Minister would be meeting separately with the directors, in order to help them make more informed decisions about funding local initiatives, rather than judging based on what was read about Barbados in a dossier thousands of miles away.
Sinckler said the 14 directors of the IDB would be attending the conference known as the 2012 Foromic Barbados, and the Government would be making special arrangements to facilitate discussions with them, considering that Barbados has more than $200 million in projects on contract with that international financial institution.
“We have discussed that at Cabinet, that we will, more likely than not, have a special arrangement for the directors. Of course, they’re the people who really make the decisions, in terms of management decisions in the bank,” the minister of finance noted.
“Barbados of course,” he added, “have a number of projects under contract with the Inter-American Development Bank that we are working on at various stages, and it’s going to be important for them to be able to understand. It gives them an opportunity to understand the country itself.
“Because, you know, it’s okay to be in Washington and make a decision on a country called Barbados that you may not have visited and may not know anything about, other than what you read in a dossier which is given to you, a brief.”
Sinckler added this was therefore a great opportunity for Barbados to meet the directors, who represent the entire membership of the bank.
“I know that Prime Minister Stuart has expressed a deep interest in having an informal, relaxed meeting with those directors in which we can exchange views,” the minister pointed out. The Country Representative of the IDB, Joel Branski revealed that the institution’s president, the executive vice-president, other vice-presidents, the general director of the Multi-Lateral Investment Fund and all the senior management of the bank would be participating in the Foromic event.
“The IDB has 14 directors that represent the whole membership of the IDB, so they’ll all be here too. So they’ll be very important for Barbados, very important for us, and we are very glad that the Government of Barbados agrees in co-organising the conference with us,” Branski added.
He identified two major collateral benefits which Barbados would derive from staging the conference, the first for an English-speaking country in this hemisphere.
“It shows again the capacity of Barbados for organising those kinds of large events. It’s been done in the past, and it’s been done again. Another collateral benefit is to receive hundreds of visitors from Latin America, North America, Asia, Europe; people that wouldn’t normally come to Barbados…. They will fall in love with Barbados, as everybody else, and they ill come back again. They will explain what is Barbados to their friends and relatives. So this is very important,” he added. (EJ)