19 October, 2019 – Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Honourable Allen Chastanet, Prime Minister of St. Lucia join leaders from the CARICOM region, other Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from Small States for a Forum at the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings to discuss debt vulnerabilities and financial resilience to disaster shocks.
In a private meeting prior to the start of today’s (Saturday, October 19) Small States Forum, Prime Minister Harris engaged in dialogue with UN Secretary-General, H.E Antonio Guterres; H.E. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum of Fiji, Chair of the Small States Forum; and Manuela Ferro, Vice President of Operations Policy and Country Services of the World Bank about the vulnerabilities of small states and the importance and strength of small states voicing their experiences in an effort to raise visibility and collaboration in the call for greater resources to be made available to small island states, including the replenishment of International Development Association (IDA) funding. Small states, like St. Kitts and Nevis, face unique development challenges due to their small population and economic base, which expose them to vulnerable shocks such as natural disasters and climate change.
The Small States Forum (SSF) provides a significant platform for policy dialogue among nations that share similar challenges and an opportunity to examine how the World Bank can assist in addressing their special development needs. The SSF comprises 42 countries whose population is less than 1.5 million and 8 members with a population greater than 1.5 million.
The UN Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, in addressing the opening session of the Forum reiterated his commitment to the development of Small States. The World Bank President, Mr. David Malpass, also joined the discourse, articulating similar commitment. Leaders from several regional institutions also participated in the Forum, including CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Mr. Timothy Antoine and President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. William Warren Smith.
The Prime Minister’s delegation to the Small States Forum included Ambasador Everson Hull, Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS); Mr. Edward Gift, Comptroller of Inland Revenue; and Ms. Kemoy Liburd-Chow, Counsellor and Alternate Representative at the Embassy and Permanent Mission of St. Kitts and Nevis to the OAS.