Senior Minister Harris and Financial Secretary attend CDB Board of Governors Meeting in Trinidad

Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 25TH 2011 (CUOPM) – Senior Minister and Minister of Agriculture, International Trade, Consumer Affairs, Industry, Marine Resources and Constituency Empowerment, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris is representing The Federation’s Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas at the 41st Annual General Meeting of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

Dr. Harris, appointed Temporary Governor by Dr. Douglas, and Financial Secretary, Mrs. Janet Harris, Alternate Governor are in Trinidad for the two-day meeting, being held against the background for a new growth trajectory to help ease the insecurity affecting Caribbean economies.

CMC reports that newly-appointed CDB president, Dr. Warren Smith said economic conditions in the region remained depressed, with only seven countries – The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Guyana, St. Lucia and the Turks and Caicos Islands – reporting growth in 2010.

But he said demand for CDB financing was sustained, with approvals of loans and grants reaching approximately US$300 million compared with US$167 million in 2009.

Net transfer of resources- which is disbursements of grants and loans less repayments of principal, interest and charges – between CDB and its borrowing member countries amounted to US$180 million n in 2010, considerably in excess of net resource transfers of US$70 million in 2009.

Smith, the fifth president of the region’s premier financial lending institution, said he expects most Caribbean countries to return to economic growth this year.

Financial Secretary, Mrs. Janet Harris

“However, the weak fiscal position will continue to be challenging and will require sustained emphasis on fiscal consolidation and careful debt management. Additionally, many of the gains made in the past decade in poverty reduction have been undermined or reversed. There will be increased emphasis on restoring these gains,” he said.

But Smith said that while the Caribbean has witnessed impressive improvements in socio-economic performance over the past five decades, issues about the quality of the education system remain a major concern; sustained growth and development continue to elude many countries; and poverty remains unacceptably high.

He said the region is “displaying a distinct lack of agility in side-stepping the confluence of development challenges that give rise to anxiety amongst our people, that is, a generalized sense of losing control of their destiny in a number of critical areas of social and economic life.

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