THE CARICOM Development Fund has pledged its continued assistance to disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors in CARICOM.
This assurance came from CDF’s CEO, ambassador Lorne McDonnough, at the recent signing of the CDF Headquarters Agreement with the Barbados Government.
He explained that the CDF’s efforts in this regard were a part of its mandate to assist these countries in being able to better participate in the CARICOM Single Market and to recover from adverse shocks, thereby building the confidence to advance on the Single Economy.
“Although one of the objectives of the CDF is to help the larger territories/economies to support their weaker sectors and, at the same time, develop national capacities to become internationally competitive; the fact that they waived their right for assistance in this funding cycle is a perfect demonstration of how they are providing support for the structurally disadvantaged in our Community.
“The Government of Barbados has been a leading advocate in the international community for special attention to be paid to smaller economies. CARICOM is leading by example,” the ambassador noted.
He added that since 2011, the CDF had committed a total of US$35.5 million of financial assistance to Belize, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and just recently signed agreements with Guyana and St. Kitts and Nevis valued at US$7.2 million.
“The signing of the Headquarters Agreement fulfils the legal requirements of the Agreement Relating to the Operation of the CDF and finally elevates the raft of privileges and immunities conferred, from the realm of cordial diplomacy to that of agreed and binding responsibilities of the respective parties,” he explained.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, complimented the CDF for its work and pledged the Government’s continued commitment to the fund.
“It is a pleasure of mine to be able to sign this agreement. We will continue to support the Fund as we do other projects in the integration process.
“We anticipate that this fund will serve the purpose for which it was established and we will do whatever we can to act as a catalyst, not only for the mobilisation but also the execution of the various projects which will call on the resources of the fund.
“We recognise that there are a number of countries, those lesser developed member states, primarily members of the OECS and the highly indebted … as well, that should be given the opportunity to realise some of the benefits of this Fund.
“It is critical though, that as we seek to support them, that we also recognise the absolute importance of maintaining the fund and mobilise resources on an ongoing basis.”