Value of CDB underscored
PRIME Minister Mia Amor Mottley has commended the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for reaching its golden anniversary, noting that the Bank has had a relationship with every Prime Minister of Barbados since Independence and has provided almost $1 billion in development capital over the past five decades.
Her comments came as she delivered an address at the CDB’s 50th anniversary thanksgiving service held at the Frank Collymore Hall on Sunday evening, where she stated: “If ever this region needed the oxygen of finance for the thrust of development is now, as we face a series of existential crises that threaten to destabilise our progress since Independence.”
Reflecting that some of the challenges which were highlighted by past leaders of the Caribbean Development Bank are still being seen in 2020, Prime Minister Mottley has challenged the Bank to look at ways in which the region can move forward to the next level.
“I ask myself therefore as we stand here and as Chair of CARICOM: What is the intervening factor that is now necessary to move rhetoric to action to move this region to the next level of development? I don’t believe that there is any magic in it, but I do believe it is about commitment, staying the course and staying focused.”
It is against this backdrop that she asked that a commitment be made in a way that is measurable. “Commit in a way that is fuelled by our concern and care not just for those who appear to be doing well, but for those who have not gotten on the train yet,” she said.
The Prime Minister highlighted the importance of tapping into renewable energy resources. “I am comfortable and confident that within the walls of the CDB, the Caribbean Community and other regional institutions and our governments, we have the capacity to come up with the financial instruments that can result in our population, our people, benefiting in real ways from the profits to be determined as a result of the exploitation of the sun, the water, the wind that can be used to power our nations as we fight the battles against the climate crisis.”
Prime Minister Mottley says she also looks forward to the CDB working with the Regional Development Fund to allow the region to be able to proposition the Bank and the Fund to work with the savings of the people of the region, “...who are being inappropriately served by interest rates of 0.01 per cent or less on their savings, to find instruments to build out our own societies”.
She said a strategic goal must be placed on the health of the region. “We have once again the opportunity to bring a bounty to Caribbean farmers, in Caribbean households, by saving money by what they grow instead of spending money and valuable foreign exchange to import from another man’s land,” she noted.
The Prime Minister also stressed the importance of incorporating the youth of the region to carry the baton of the CDB.
“I’d like to urge the Bank to help us reach out to young Caribbean citizens and to create that space for conversation and that space as you celebrate your 50th year... But I want to hear honestly the voices of those under 25, because they are the ones who must have the passion and who must have the commitment and who must have the vision to take us to the next stage,” she said.