This year the Caribbean experienced its most destructive hurricane season in decades. While large countries dominated the headlines, the small island nation of Dominica suffered the worst devastation it has ever seen. Josh Toussaint-Strauss visits his family in the country and asks, with next year forecast to be worse, how Dominicans see their future. (The Guardian)
December 14, 2017, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved US$29M in funding to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, to assist with recovery efforts after the passage of Hurricane Irma in September. The funds will be used to rehabilitate and reconstruct critical infrastructure in the transportation, education, water and sanitation, and agriculture sectors.
Hurricane Irma impacted the twin-island nation on September 6, 2017, making landfall in Barbuda as a category five hurricane. In Barbuda, the hurricane destroyed housing, crops, livestock and fishing vessels, and also severely impacted the island’s water supply. The Antigua State College was also affected by heavy winds and rains, while storm surges and flooding caused additional damage to many roads.
“The destruction caused by Hurricane Irma adversely impacted the lives of many citizens of Antigua and Barbuda. At CDB, we worked very closely with our in-country counterparts to develop the interventions captured in this project, which will support the Government’s efforts towards a comprehensive and sustainable approach to the redevelopment process, as it aims to ‘build back better’. We expect the project to significantly contribute to the restoration of livelihoods that were adversely impacted by the passage of the hurricane. The outcome for Antigua and Barbuda will not only be more resilient infrastructure but also more resilient institutions and people,” said Director of Projects at CDB, Daniel Best.
The Bahamas on Monday underscored the importance of maintaining strong relations within CARICOM with the accreditation of a new Ambassador. The Ceremony took place at the Headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.
Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, in accepting the credentials of H.E. Reuben Rahming, noted
that The Bahamas has been a valued member of CARICOM, promoting the Region’s interests in tourism, for which the Prime Minister has lead responsibility within the CARICOM Quasi-Cabinet.
With respect to The Bahamas’ leadership of the tourism sector, the Secretary-General said he looked forward to working with Mr. Rahming to advance the work of the Interim Tourism Working Group, whose establishment was mandated by CARICOM Heads of Government in recognition of the primary role of tourism in the regional economy.
This year, many small and vulnerable economies in the Caribbean, including some in CARICOM, notably Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, The Bahamas, Haiti, British Virgin Islands (BVI), Anguilla, Turks and Caicos suffered massive devastation and absolute destruction of critical infrastructure from two unprecedented hurricanes, fueled by global warming and climate change.
Colleague Ministers, many of these countries are faced with the herculean task of reconstructing their entire economies. Recovery and redevelopment, including that of their productive capacity, will take several years.
For many of these countries, the timeframes associated with the UN Sustainable Development Goals no longer apply.
It is for these reasons that the time has now come for focused global attention to be paid to the impact of climate change on trade and the vulnerability of Small States, like those in CARICOM, whose attempts to insert themselves effectively into the global trading system frequently suffers from the devastating effects of natural disasters.
Accordingly, CARICOM calls on this Conference to support the Declarations of the Small Economies of the OECS and that of the Ministers of the Small and Vulnerable Economies Group, for the full flexibility of the multilateral trading system be deployed regarding the reconstruction measures that may be undertaken by the affected Members so that these be considered compatible with the WTO Agreements.
Extract from Statement on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) delivered by the Minister of Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise development and Consumer Affairs of Saint Lucia, Hon. Bradley Felix at the Eleventh World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 11 December 2017.
The Member States in attendance include: Barbados, led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Dominica; Grenada; Haiti; Guyana; Jamaica, led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; St. Kitts/Nevis; Saint Lucia, led by the Minister of Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs; St. Vincent & the Grenadines led by the Minster of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; and Trinidad and Tobago. CARICOM representatives are playing an active role in the Conference; the Minister of Jamaica is a Facilitator for the negotiations on Fisheries Subsidies Disciplines and is chairing those discussions; and the Minister of Barbados is the Co-ordinator of the ACP Group, thereby representing the Group in the negotiations.
In light of a questioning of the need for special and differential treatment for developing countries ( by the USA, in particular,) and a calling into question of a developmental approach in the WTO, CARICOM places great importance on a re-affirmation by the Conference of the multilateral trading system as embodied by the WTO Agreements, that fully provides special and differential treatment for developing countries, especially Small and Vulnerable Economies such as those in the region, in order to assist their insertion into the global trading system.
Read Minister Felix’ full remarks: