In his opening remarks, Dr Phillips said he was of the impression that the session was of great value to the Caribbean, because it is the first time there has been an engagement between the Caribbean and the G20, in an organized fashion. He said that a dialogue of this nature, certainly allows us to bring to the attention of the G20 countries and the Development Working Group of the G20, the specific condition of the Caribbean region.
This condition Dr Phillips identified as the problem of low growth and high debt which affects the entire Caribbean region. The Jamaican Finance Minister said he was using this opportunity to bring to attention the fact that the Caribbean is still suffering the effects of the crisis of 2008-09 and pointed out that the consequences of that crisis are impeding the regions capacity to grow, particularly because of the high debt.
“This first contact I think was important and it will be the first, of a number of contacts. We are grateful to Turkish authorities who are president of the G-20 this year and the Chinese who will preside next year. During these engagements, we'll have to collaborate with the G-20 to examine some practical solutions to the issues facing the Caribbean.
Dr Phillips said we should also be grateful to the Trinidadian authorities who took an active part on behalf of the Caribbean in this regard. This dialog will continue and there are specific areas in which practical solutions can be brought to the table to benefit the Caribbean.
Last October, Dr. Phillips urged the G20 to make good on its promise to assist the Caribbean region to mitigate the effects of the financial recession of 2008. Speaking during a Caribbean breakfast and caucus meeting in Washington DC, Minister Phillips expressed concern that the group of major economies has not kept its promise to provide financial support to assist the region.
"We continue to suffer because the expectations that were generated in 2008, coming out of the first meeting of the G20 nations, for resources to alleviate the plight of the region that was hardest hit by the crisis, have been unfulfilled," he stated. Dr Phillips said there is urgent need for the G20 to fulfill its promise, citing the region's high debt burden, climatic vulnerabilities, along with energy insecurities.
The G20 Development Working Group was established in 2010, and is responsible for implementing the G20 Development Agenda, which includes increase financing, for infrastructure investment in developing countries.
The G20 is a forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies. The members include 19 individual countries - Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, The Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and the European Union.
Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips is leading Jamaica’s delegation at the IMF and World Bank spring meetings, which provide a forum for discussion among governors of central banks, high-level authorities of member countries, representatives of multilateral financial institutions and developing agencies.
Minister Phillips is accompanied by Financial Secretary, Donovan Rowe, Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, Brian Wynter, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIJ), Mr. Colin Bullock and Ms. Judith Reid, head of IMF Coordination Implementation Unit in the Ministry of Finance and Planning. While in Washington, he will meet with representatives of the IMF, World Bank, US Treasury and the The summit will end on Sunday, April 19, 2015.
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