VP Jagdeo to head CARICOM group on unlocking resources for climate financing, development

Following a series of vigorous discussions between the 15-member bloc Caribbean Community (CARICOM), a decision was taken to appoint Guyana’s Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, to lead a working group, that will be responsible for unlocking financial resources under the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF).

This was announced during the closing press briefing for the 46th Regular Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, Georgetown, Wednesday evening.

CARICOM Chairman, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali

In his opening remarks, the Chairman of CARICOM, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali stressed mutual agreement among member states to unite efforts towards regional financing that will promote growth and enhance resilience.

“We just don’t want to look at raising financing but we want to align the financing that comes into the region now, to the growth and development and prosperity of the region while at the same time, we ensure we coordinate our financing through a common mechanism to deal with adaption and resilience,” the head of state articulated.

Barbadian Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, who serves as the lead PM for the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) in CARICOM explained that the CDF was developed to assist disadvantaged countries prone to climate change. 

And now that the third replenishment of the fund has been agreed to, PM Mottley believes that the funds garnered will not meet the optimum capacity to fund the region’s needs.

This is where VP Jagdeo, a former head of state and finance minister, comes in and he will be working alongside the Barbadian Prime Minister. 

Guyana’s Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

“Vice President Jagdeo will chair that working group look into see how we will unlock the liquidity from the private banking system and how they a win-win situation,” Mottley said.

Further, she informed media operatives that in the next four months, a report inclusive of recommendations to unlock funding will be formulated. 

“It is our view that the region is full of liquidity but what is missing is the appropriate mechanism to unlock that liquidity and to allow those countries that need access to concessional funding, as is available under the CARICOM Development Fund, to be able to access them so that we can build up the systems to promote growth, rather than treating to it just purely for the adaptation and resilience aspect of it,” she noted.

Additionally, CARICOM leaders have pledged to support the Blue Green Investment Bank – an institution that aims to inject investments in climate-prone countries and regions. 

Barbadian Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, lead PM for the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) in CARICOM

Commitments have already been made by the Governments of Guyana, Bahamas, and Barbados, with each country pledging US$15 million and the Green Climate Fund committing a similar amount.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has also pledged US$2.5 million.

“We hope that we can reach at least $100M in seed capital. Barbados has the draft bill for the institution and we hope to operationalise this institution as a matter of urgency to service the needs of the CARICOM with respect to resilience and adaptation,” the prime minister highlighted.

Meanwhile, the community is on track to realise the full, free movement of Caribbean nationals in keeping with the

March 31 deadline.

Once all outstanding matters are resolved, CARICOM leaders will once again meet on March 15, to officially sign off on this long-standing matter.

Apart from the free movement of people, the community also advanced discussions on mechanisms for companies to establish their enterprises in other member states.

To this end, a common digital platform for the recognition of businesses is being developed to allow these enterprises to be easily registered.