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STATEMENT BY OBSERVER, Dr Carla Barnett, Deputy SecretarY-General,  Caribbean Community, AT THE THIRTIETH MEETING OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE CARIBBEAN DEVELOPMENT BANK, 10-11 May 2000, the bahamas

Honourable William C. Allen, Governor for The Bahamas and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Distinguished Governors, President Sir Neville Nicholls, Vice Presidents, Directors and Staff of the CDB, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am honoured and pleased to bring you greetings from the Caribbean Community Secretariat on the occasion of the 30th Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank. The Secretary-General has particularly asked that I express his regret that he is unable to be here. He is currently in the United Kingdom participating, along with the Foreign Ministers of the Region, in the Second Caribbean – UK Forum. He sends his best wishes for a fruitful meeting and for another successful year ahead for the CDB.

Mr. Chairman, I wish to compliment you and the people of The Bahamas for the excellent arrangements put in place for this meeting and to express my appreciation for the gracious hospitality which we are all enjoying.

We also take this opportunity to congratulate the President and staff of the CDB for another successful year of operations notwithstanding the increasingly difficult global environment through which the countries of the Region, and their premier development bank, must make their way. Please accept our best wishes for continued improvement in the future.

Mr. Chairman, the CARICOM Secretariat deeply appreciates the positive and fruitful relationship which it continues to enjoy with the CDB. In this regard, as both institutions continue to seek to improve internal operational efficiency and effectiveness in meeting the requirements of our Members in the Region, the need for an even more structured relationship is rapidly emerging. We therefore look forward to engaging with the CDB soon with a view to advancing the development of modes of collaboration that serve to strengthen both institutions’ capacities to serve the Region as partners in the integration process.

Indeed, Mr. Chairman, the role and functioning of Community institutions are issues engaging attention at the highest levels of the Community. This is not a concern only with the need for Community institutions to work together to minimise duplication of effort, and to rationalise programmes of work in the context of declining resource availability – matters on which there already is general agreement.

The concern is a larger more strategic one which revolves around the need to examine the centrality of the functions of Community Institutions in advancing the integration process and to seek to strengthen those institutions which are critical to the process. It is this latter concern which led to the decision of the 7th Special Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government to review the role and functioning of institutions of the Community, including, of course, the Secretariat. As the Community continues to strengthen and deepen the integration process through the establishment of the Single Market and Economy, it is appropriate and critically important that the institutions vital to its success are also strengthened.

At the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas in 1973, the architects of the Caribbean Community had ascribed a fundamental developmental role to the CDB: broad social and economic infrastructure development with special attention to the needs of the less developed countries of the Region. The role of the CDB is even more vital as we move to the Single Market and Economy, particularly if we see the Single Market and Economy as the platform from which the Community inserts itself into the evolving global economy.

In this process, the CDB will continue to be an important source of finance, technical assistance and policy advice as the Community seeks to create a competitive environment to take advantage of opportunities which arise out of the re-negotiation of our trading relationships.

The guidance and support of the CDB will be crucial as the Community takes up the challenge of boosting the services sector, which is fast becoming, if it has not already become, the most important generator of wealth and economic development globally.

In the context of the Single Market and Economy, the Community is seeking to modernise and harmonise national laws for trade, finance and investment as well as the larger macro-economic policy framework. Through the Single Market and Economy as well, the Community aims to mobilise the human resources endowment of the Regions to produce at competitive levels. In all these undertakings, the role and function of the CDB will be key.

Mr. Chairman, we note the rich discussions which have taken place in relation to CDB’s Strategic Plan for 2000-2004 and I wish to extend our best wishes as the Bank moves to respond effectively to the economic and social development needs of the Borrowing Member Countries. The needs and consequent demands of the BMCs are ever growing as they battle with the strategic imperatives of the twenty-first century. As the development bank of the region, the CDB continues to find new and creative ways to meet these demands. It must not only be commended for its success but also supported in its efforts to improve its prospects.

In closing, Mr Chairman, I wish to re-affirm the full and collaborative support of the CARICOM Secretariat for the CDB as it continues, in its service to the Community, to promote the achievement of an improved quality of life for the people of our region.

Thank you.

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