Sun | Oct 25, 2020

Mottley wants regional countries to step up to the plate

Published:Thursday | October 1, 2020 | 12:08 AM


Barbados on Wednesday called on Caribbean countries to redouble efforts at strengthening their existing relations so as to survive in a changing global environment.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley, addressing the virtual 50th annual meeting of the board of governors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) warned that it cannot be “business as usual” and urged a redoubling of efforts to strengthen regional institutions.

Mottley, who assumes the chairmanship of the board of governors, the banks highest decision-making body, said that there is the time to consider “our international relationships, a time to build new coalitions for change.

“Now is when we must make our institutions fit for the brave new world, one that we want to build, one that ... could handle global pandemics, climate crisis, whatever else that comes to test us because one year ago, we did not expect the (COVID-19) pandemic”.

Well-managed Institutions

She said a decade ago, the Caribbean needed regional institutions that were well managed, prudent and stable, adding “we did not need regional institutions then that were nimble in managing systematic crises or had to think creatively how to react.

“Today, however, we require regional institutions that are not only well managed but have a capacity for reflection, innovation, for global coalition building and for imagination”.

She told the governors to imagine a different future and to imagine what path needed to be taken to reach that destination, urging them also to reflect on what has been done in the past. She said it was interesting to note that comments made by former bank presidents, Sir Arthur Lewis and William Demas were as relevant then as it is today.

Mottley reiterated a call for the region to benefit from a package “akin to what was done with the British war bonds in order to allow that country to resume the development trajectory both after the First World War and the Second World War

“I trust and pray too that we will be able to get the global community to recognise that every country across the world has had to incur significant debt and simply refinancing that debt without creating a ring fence around it will also preclude countries from being able to access funding whether from the market, appropriately at reasonable costs or from the development banks, institutions that we have come to rely on”.