Giving the Caribbean a chance
July 9, 2002
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The proposal that is, as advanced by the President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, that the next meeting of the World Bank-initiated Caribbean Group for Cooperation in Economic Development (CGCED) should be held in the Caribbean.
The Caribbean Development Bank, he feels, would be a key player in helping to make this a reality.
As an umbrella coordinating donors group, the CGCED has been meeting on a regular basis every two years since in the 1970s. But always the Caribbean's representatives have had to travel to Washington for such meetings.
Incidentally, this is also the case with respect to the annual Miami Conference on the Caribbean, a private sector initiative, with heads of government of the region or their delegated representatives routinely having to travel to Florida for that event.
The World Bank, like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is headquartered in Washington and could make out a case for having all the resources at its command for any meeting, such as the CGCED's, it organises. In addition to its own awareness that in relation to accommodation facilities these would readily be available for any number of regional delegates.
The organisers and sponsors of the Miami Conference on the Caribbean can perhaps advance a similar argument.
However, in both instances, the World Bank and the MCC organisers must also appreciate that, in the ultimate analysis, they are focusing on the Caribbean, its needs and potentials, its weaknesses and strengths, its future, a region that bridges the two Americas.
Whatever may be our shortcomings, it cannot be justifiably claimed that the wider Caribbean region, that includes the four major language areas of the Hemisphere, lacks either the intellectual capacity or the accommodation facilities to host the Miami Conference on the Caribbean and at least one meeting of the CGCED.
There are Caribbean Community states that readily come to mind to host a meeting of the CGCED.
For instance, The Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, and not necessarily in that order of preference.
With adequate notice and appropriate cooperation there should really be no significant difficulties in the Caribbean hosting a CGCED meeting or the annual Miami Conference on the Caribbean.
The regional airlines like BWIA, Air Jamaica and bodies such as the Caribbean Tourism Organisation and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA ) should be only too willing to make either or both of these events take place in the Caribbean.
(Reprinted from the 'Daily Nation' of Barbados)