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Phillips: The Caribbean region needs coordinated global effort to grow

Featured Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica, Oct. 23, 2014 – Jamaica’s Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips is of the opinion that the international community appears oblivious to the fact that sustainable growth and development will not be possible without a coordinated global effort to assist the Caribbean region.

Addressing today’s opening ceremony of International Monetary Fund’s High Level Caribbean Growth Forum in Montego Bay, Minister Phillips said, “there have been some signs of support, particularly as it relates to climate change and gender affairs, but far more is needed.  For example, a regional strategy for energy needs to be placed on the table.”

“It is also time that we in the Caribbean revisit the foundations of regional endeavours and arrangements.  It is time that we look at the current CARICOM taxation treaties and discuss the Common External Tariff.  Regionalism needs to not only induce growth but must be equitable,” he said.

The Jamaican Finance Minister also noted that the “support of the multi-lateral community is also critical to our success.”

Minister Phillips pointed out  that “there have been public announcements on increased support for middle income countries, a moniker which inadequately describes the realities we in the Caribbean face.  While Caribbean nations unequivocally qualify as small island states, the support provided up to now, relative to similar regions, has been largely in rhetoric than performance,” he lamented.

He said it was “time we move to the operational phase of the agenda for the Caribbean region,” a point which was reinforced at the recent IMF/ World Bank Annual Meeting in Washington DC.

Dr. Phillips said “the President of the World Bank has agreed to meet with us in the new year” and noted that “we must be very clear at that meeting on what is required, not only on a regional basis, but also for each of our unique sovereign situations.”

“It is also important that the dialogue continues with the international community on refining the support necessary to ensure that the Caribbean region escapes the trap of low growth and underperformance,” he concluded. 

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