Devastation brought out generosity, spirit of togetherness – CARICOM Chairman

Chairman of CARICOM, Dr. the Rt Hon Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada
Chairman of CARICOM, Dr. the Rt Hon Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada





There is no doubt that 2017 has been a most eventful year for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).  We experienced a scale of multi-country devastation never before seen in the Region as two category five Hurricanes, Irma and Maria, raged through the Caribbean within two weeks.

The Governments and people of our Community immediately responded to assist their brothers and sisters with the generosity and spirit of togetherness which is our trademark. I therefore must pay tribute to those who so willingly extended a helping hand in the hour of need of our brothers and sisters in the stricken countries.

Even before the hurricane season was over, the resilient people that we are, we had begun to rally. We determined that we could use the rebuilding process to become the first climate resilient region in the world.  Recognising that we did not have the resources to achieve that goal on our own, we sought the assistance of the international community.

First, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), we organised the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference, “Building a More Climate-Resilient Community,” which was held in November at the UN Headquarters in New York.  It brought together nearly 400 high-level representatives from governments, multilateral and civil society organisations and the private sector, and raised more than US$1.3 billion in pledges and over $1 billion in loans and debt relief.

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World Bank official urges Caribbean countries to transit to blue economy

Jorge Familiar, Vice President, Latin America and the Caribbean at the World Bank. (Photo via CMC)
Jorge Familiar, Vice President, Latin America and the Caribbean at the World Bank. (Photo via CMC)

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC) — A senior official of the World Bank said Wednesday that Caribbean countries have been more successful in reinventing themselves than some of the region’s giants.

“This region managed to find a niche in the highly competitive global industry after it lost its trade preference treatment with Europe in the 1980s,” said Jorge Familiar, Vice President, Latin America and the Caribbean at the World Bank.

Addressing Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders at their 38th annual summit here on development finance opportunities for small states and how the blue economy has become the next frontier for economic growth for the Caribbean, Familiar noted that Grenada is demonstrating its commitment to inclusive growth and enhancing investment in the blue economy.

“Often when we meet to discuss development prospects for Caribbean countries, we devote significant attention to common challenges: small scale, high debt, exposure to external shocks, and dependency on fossil fuels,” he said, noting that small economies are more open to trade and foreign investment.

Read more at: Jamaica Observer

See full text of the address here

Sustainable use of our marine resources: Caribbean Community at UN Ocean Conference – Day one

The global High Level Conference which will seek agreement on a Call For Action to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development opens Monday at UN Headquarters in New York.

Day One  of the five-day Conference will feature several activities with strong participation by Caribbean Community delegates. These include:

  • A Partnership Dialogue on Marine Pollution, at which Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and St. Kitts and Nevis will make presentations (This is one of Seven Partnership Dialogues which will form a significant component of the Conference)
  • A presentation on the ‘Belize Model for Sustainable Small Scale Fisheries: a partnership success story”, by Belize and the Environment Defense Fund
  • A presentation on”Transitioning to the Blue Economy: Partnerships, Innovation and Approaches for Small Island States which will include Grenada and the OECS
  • A session on Financing for the Blue Economy in Small Island Developing States, at which Grenada will play a lead role, and
  • Media events which will include Barbados

The Conference is expected to end with a Call For Action to support Goal 14 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources; a report on the issues coming out of the seven Partnership Dialogues, and a list of voluntary commitments made by participating countries.

Caribbean Community participation in the Conference will be highlighted here on CARICOM Today and the CARICOM website


Why is Grenada similar to and different from the Seychelles or other small economies?

Grenada (Photo via the World Bank)
Grenada (Photo via the World Bank)

A dreamy holiday destination for sun lovers and beach goers, Grenada, also called the “Spice Island,” is home to over 100,000 people. With an ocean area 80 times larger than its land space, a rich and pristine coastline and colorful coral reefs driving its tourism industry, and a real understanding of climate risks, this Eastern Caribbean Island has recently positioned itself as a real blue economy champion in the region. Over 13,000 kilometers west, another small island developing state in the Western Indian Ocean with similar challenges and opportunities—the Seychelles—is also leading on the blue agenda.

What common challenges and opportunities are facing small economies? What can the World Bank contribute to generate stable growth in small economies? These are key questions raised in recent conversations in the Caribbean and Washington.

Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, recently appointed as chair of the World Bank Group Small States Forum taking over from Seychelles Minister of Finance Jean-Paul Adam, called for the need to change the narrative from big to small, and in doing so, address opportunities for small states.

Read more at: The World Bank

Grenada PM presents vision for Small States Forum

Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the Hon. Keith Mitchell
Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the Hon. Keith Mitchell

 The new chairman of the World Bank’s Small States Forum, Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell, presented his vision for the Forum’s future at the ‘Small States Engagement Update 2017’ held on April 20, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Prime Minister Mitchell outlined the agility of Small States and the need for a change in narrative where small size is not seen as a disadvantage but as a distinct advantage.

The 2015 Paris Agreement (COP21) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have shifted the World’s trajectory as it relates to the importance of the role that Small States occupy. Dr. Mitchell noted that some islands have up to 1,000 times more space at sea than they do on land and, as a result, have been at the forefront of the SDG 14 on oceans.

The Grenadian Prime Minister also remarked on the potential for Small States in areas such as the Blue Economy, renewable energy and technology.

“In the Pacific they have created ‘the OPEC of Tuna Fisheries,’ and the ‘Pacific Possible’ initiative seeks new opportunities beyond fisheries.”

Read more at: OECS