BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, June 5, 2019 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – A call was made today (Wednesday, June 5) for Caribbean countries to adopt new transformational strategies so that the region not only survives but prosper in an ever evolving digital world.
That call was made by Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, who was at the time responding to the Chairperson’s Welcome Address at the opening ceremony of the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) 49th Annual Board of Governors Meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
In her official message to the delegates of the annual meeting, Chair of the CDB Board of Directors, the Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis stated that, “Embracing the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals as an indicator for transformation will complement our national and international development agendas.”
Responding on behalf of the CDB’s Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs), Prime Minister Harris indicated that “Transformation”, which is the theme guiding the discussions of the two-day meeting, is important for all of us “and we are happy that we are focusing on that particular matter at this time.”
Dr. Harris added, “We are challenged in the region in the context of crime and violence and this is so among too many of the member states or the Borrowing Member Countries, and we would hope again that as part of the transformation…which is the theme for this particular session, that we will find ways of addressing those matters, bringing again more people into the mainstream and providing them with opportunities so that they can pursue their own pathways for development.”
Seizing the opportunities in the agricultural sector, building a more resilient Caribbean region and the creation of a digital Caribbean are the three main matters expected to garner much discussions during the two-day meeting.
As it relates to the role of agriculture and its ability to play an even more significant role in the development of regional economies, Prime Minister Harris again subscribed to the idea of a comprehensive set of transformational strategies to rectify this matter.
“For many of the bank’s Borrowing Member Countries, the leakage from food importation is a significant one and if we could really harness that within the context of the region we could have substantial improvement in our economic growth rates. So how we are going to be able to, as it were, transform agriculture to play its rightful place in the context of health issues which are critical and in the context of our own battle with NCDs [non-communicable diseases] that is going to be important.”
Prime Minister Harris is among around 400 delegates which include Prime Ministers and Government Ministers from the CDB’s 19 Borrowing Member Countries, representatives of the private sector, members of civil society and the media, attending the 49th Annual Board of Governors Meeting from June 5-6.
Also present at the meeting is the Financial Secretary in the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, Mrs. Hilary Hazel.