Caribbean group meeting to be shifted from Washington
-- issue to feature at CARICOM summit here
Guyana Chronicle
June 22, 2002

Related Links: Articles on the Caribbean
Letters Menu Archival Menu

PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo has indicated that talks are under way for the Caribbean to host the next Caribbean Group for Cooperation in Economic Development (CGCED) annual meeting, formerly held by the World Bank at its headquarters in the United States.

Briefing reporters here Tuesday after his return from the last annual CGCED meeting in Washington, D.C., President Jagdeo said it was decided at that meeting that the region should host the CGCED forum.

He noted that under the CGCED forum, the region met the entire donor community to discuss developmental issues and other policy framework for developing individual countries.

The 16th meeting of the CGCED was chaired by the World Bank, June 10-13 at its headquarters in Washington but that was the last to be chaired by this institution after 25 years, the President reported.

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) could be the institution to host the CGCED meetings in the future. However, the final decision is expected to be made known after the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government summit to be held in Guyana in early July at which time the issue will be featured, Mr. Jagdeo said.

He said delegates at the CGCED annual meeting had differing views on the format for the next meeting and the topics to be included on the agenda, but all this will be addressed at the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting.

He said Guyana's position on the topics for the next meeting is that whatever is discussed must be topical issues that will contribute to the advancement and betterment of the life of the people immediately, rather than resulting in agreements that will take an excessively long period to be implemented.

The meeting usually focusses on key development issues facing the Caribbean region, including developmental plans and the policies in these.

However, in recent years the organisation has lost its effectiveness, and the next meeting will be tasked with making the CGCED more effective, the President said.

He said, too, that the donor community would have pledged additional sums to countries in which they are already funding developmental projects, but this has ceased for sometime now.

The CGCED has been used mainly as an instrument for policy dialogue, because it's "a unique forum which brings together the donor community with the various Caribbean countries", Mr. Jagdeo told reporters.

According to him, the CGCED has played an extremely important role since the return of democracy in Guyana in 1992.

In those earlier periods, the group had a considerable role in providing developmental support to Guyana, which at that time was the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, he said.

The President's presence at the meeting was reflective of the organisation's contribution in both the past and hopefully, the future, in meeting developmental targets.

The CGCED is the main consultative group for the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean, as well as for Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

It was established in 1977 to provide a single forum for policymakers in the Caribbean countries, given their common characteristics and constraints, to maintain a direct dialogue with the international donor community.

Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago are the 15 Caribbean member countries.

The Steering Committee comprises representatives of the CDB, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), CARICOM, the Organisation of American States (OAS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the University of the West Indies (UWI), the World Bank (Secretariat), Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States.

The Steering Committee meets on an ad hoc basis, but at least once a year in addition to the official CGCED meetings. The ad hoc meetings are usually to decide the agenda and work programme of the main meetings.

This year's sessions addressed several issues, including discussions of four important regional studies currently being undertaken:

** The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Study, presented by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) and the Caribbean Development Bank.

** Creating a comprehensive Caribbean programme for natural risk and disaster mitigation.

** Caribbean youth and social development.

** The Caribbean Economic Overview 2002: Macro-economic Volatility, household vulnerability, and institutional and policy responses in the Caribbean countries, all prepared by the World Bank in consultation and with inputs from regional institutions.

Guyana's individual case focussing on its developmental strategies was heard on the final day of the meeting.

The Co-Chairs of the CGCED, Prime Minister Denzil Douglas of St. Kitts and Nevis, and Mr. David de Ferranti, Vice President of the Latin America and Caribbean Region of the World Bank, addressed the opening session. (GOVERNMENT INFORMATION AGENCY)