Basseterre, St. Kitts — Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris has advocated for a “fresh start” to tackling the challenges of Caribbean development. He was at the time delivering an address as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) at the opening ceremony of the Forty-Fifth Meeting of the CDB’s Board of Governors [held May 20 – 21, 2015] at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.
“So how about a fresh start in tackling our development challenges. We have some ideas to offer: How about an integrated regional approach to the production and distribution of alternative energy, be it blue or green energy? Wouldn’t it be a game changer if the Caribbean assumed leadership in alternative energy export? That would have enormous implication for the cost of doing business and development in the region? A leadership role here will do wonders for our competitiveness.”
The Prime Minister spoke to the need for member states to work together to improve regional competitiveness and said the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has a leading role to play. “Imagine a new OECS space with St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, leading in geothermal energy for the sub-region, Puerto Rico, the French overseas territories and southern islands. Imagine the results – New jobs, new skills, new source of foreign exchange, new dynamics in trade and sustainable development too. If we can work together coordinating, sharing and leveraging resources, harmonising regulations across jurisdictions in respect of alternative energy and power purchasing agreements (PPAs), we will create an amazing platform from which the CDB can act as enabler of resources and optimize resources from the Climate Fund. Let us have a fresh start in alternative energy.”
Prime Minister Harris also proffered a fresh approach for countries involved in the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) industry and said the CDB along with other stakeholders and partners have a big role to play in its development, for the benefit of the people of the region. “What about a fresh start in our approach to the economic citizenship programme? Rather than competition between St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, etc. over due diligence, let us develop best practices in the industry as a whole and burnish our credentials as leaders in this industry. St Kitts and Nevis as the oldest and best in the Citizenship by Investment Programme will host a Conference in the near future on International best practices in CBI. We invite all countries to come, learn and join us working together for common good. We invite CDB, US Treasury, EU, Canada and all who can help to come share with us.”
The two-day meeting of the Board of Governors was held under the theme, “Turning The Corner – Reshaping The Caribbean Agenda For Sustainable Development”.