CARICOM Development Fund Moving Forward with Country Assistance Programmes

Over US$13 Million for Belize, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines

Bridgetown, 3 March 2011: Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines are expected to sign Country Assistance Programmes (CAPs) with the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) by early April. The CDF will provide loans and grants totaling US$6, 102,000.00 to Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines will receive a CAP of US$4,210,000.00. Last week the CDF signed a CAP with the Government of Belize valued at approximately US$3.5 million. Belize will be able to draw down on the funds in a matter of weeks after complying with the initial conditions precedent to disbursement.

In the case of Belize and Saint Lucia, the majority of the resources will be used to assist the private sector in building capacity and retooling plant and equipment to enhance their regional and global competitiveness. In the case of St Vincent and the Grenadines the CDF will fund paving works, runway lighting and generators for the new Argyle International Airport.

The CDF Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ambassador Lorne McDonnough, briefed the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Honourable Freundel Stuart in his capacity as Prime Minister with Lead responsibility for the CSME on the status of the CDF. Prime Minister Stuart is also the Chairman of the Task Force for Resource Mobilisation for the CDF. Ambassador McDonnough also held discussions with the Chairman of CARICOM, the Prime Minister of Grenada, the Honourable Tillman Thomas.

The CEO of the CDF reiterated to both Prime Ministers that the CDF remained cognisant of the economic challenges faced by CARICOM Member States in an environment affected by the global economic down turn and increasing oil prices. He committed the CDF to working assiduously to assist Member States to access opportunities within the CSME.

Notwithstanding a hostile economic environment, McDonnough noted that six CARICOM Member States have fully paid their contributions to the CDF, three of which are net contributors during the funding period 2008-2012. Four Member States, not yet compliant, have indicated their intention to pay their contribution by mid-year and the two others hope to be compliant by the fourth quarter of 2011. In order to access CAPs, Member States have to be fully paid-up.

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