In spite of their relative economic success, many countries in the Eastern Caribbean continue to be very vulnerable jurisdictions.
Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator Maxine McClean, raised this concern in the Upper Chamber today while leading off debate in the Loans (Latin America Development Bank) Bill, 2015.
Contending that in spite of its economic success, Barbados remains a vulnerable jurisdiction, McClean said: “The issue of graduation has impacted on countries like ours and we are in the process of arguing and lobbying both with bilateral and multilateral partners in various circles on this issue.
“As recently as the last United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and many of his counterparts would have made a case, over and over again, that the methodology, the criterion that has been used, the Gross Domestic Product, per capita income does not reflect the true vulnerabilities of our countries particularly those that are small island developing states like Barbados, or low lying states like Guyana or Suriname,” she added.
“Therefore the decision by these lending entities to graduate us has served to disadvantage us. We have been disadvantaged by our inability to access concessionary financing in a situation where Government must continue to function in a primary role as development agent, as stimulating the economy, as by in putting in place infrastructural projects to facilitate social development and to facilitate our economic development,” Mc Clean went on.
McClean, who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, told the Upper Chamber that under these conditions, Barbados was forced to look for alternative sources in order to engage in borrowing at good rates of interest.
“I acknowledge the efforts of the current Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler, in his search for options and in that search we have come up with CAF or the Development Bank of Latin America. This is a bank that was formed specifically to address the needs of its membership.
“It started out as a relatively small bank in terms of its membership. It was created in 1970 and at present has a membership of 19 countries including 17 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, Barbados being one of the most recent members,” McClean said.
The Leader of Government Business said this is an important option for Barbados because the country has a challenge to source development capital at good rates.
McClean told fellow parliamentarians that funds provided by CAF would assist in addressing such issues as water resources management, Sargassum seaweed on the south coast and the rehabilitation of the road network. (NC)