Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 26, 2017 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) — The Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) took place in Washington, D.C. over the interval October 9 to 14, 2017.
Given the critical importance of the 2018 Budget Estimates Meetings – which came on the heels of Hurricanes Irma and Maria – and the need for the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Harris, to preside over the Budget deliberations at the Ministry of Finance in St. Kitts, the St. Kitts and Nevis delegation at the World Bank and IMF annual meetings was led by H.E. Dr. Everson W. Hull, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States and H.E. Dr. Thelma Phillip-Browne, Ambassador to the United States of America.
This year’s meetings had a strong focus on the CARICOM region and Small Island Developing States, which have been hit hard by the recent hurricanes – Irma and Maria. There were a number of positive developments:
• A strong and persuasive case was made by the CARICOM group that the magnitude and scope of the damage done was unprecedented. In response, there was acceptance by the World Bank Group of a willingness to be flexible with the rules on funding to accommodate the new climate change realities that have impacted small island states such as St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, and Antigua and Barbuda.
• There was a general acceptance of the need to revise building codes to withstand hurricane winds of up to 200 miles per hour; to introduce a special vulnerability index for evaluating assistance for states that have graduated to higher per capita income levels; to allow a 10-year grace period on concessionary loans for states that have lost their major source of revenues, and to increase the use of underground power lines.
• The St. Kitts and Nevis delegation participated with other CARICOM member states in a briefing at the National Press Club and conveyed messages to the American people on a number of regional concerns relating to, inter alia, the damaging effects of climate change and the denial of access to correspondent banking services.
• In a meeting with Sir Richard Branson and his private sector team, St. Kitts and Nevis embraced plans for reducing reliance on fossil fuels and establishing the Caribbean as the World’s First Climate Smart Zone.
The Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, would like to express his sincere thanks to Ambassadors Dr. Everson W. Hull and Dr. Thelma Phillip-Browne for representing him at these very important meetings.