BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday February 12, 2020 – In an environment where the Caribbean is more challenged by unilateralism abroad, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is being urged to invest in initiatives to make the region more resilient and self-sufficient.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of The Bahamas, Peter Turnquest, who is also Chairman of CDB’s Board of Governors, made the call yesterday while speaking to staff at the bank’s Barbados headquarters.
“One of the issues that we face as individual nations is that there is a move towards more unilateralism throughout the global community and that is making it more and more difficult for our countries to operate and do business as usual,” he said.
Against this backdrop, Turnquest argued that the countries needed to rely more on each other and their regional institutions such as CDB.
“If we invest more with each other, we have tremendous opportunity to control much more of our destiny, to be able to stimulate and reinvest our monies within this region for our communities,” he said.
“We mustn’t just look at investments just from a returns perspective but we must look at how we make wise investments that will produce benefit and the opportunity for our economies to become more self-sufficient.”
The Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister said his country’s recent experience with Hurricane Dorian underscored the need for more financial resilience in the region.
“One of the things they tell you is, before a hurricane take some cash out so you can buy things [afterwards]. But it didn’t matter. The cash washed away with everything else; and so people were left vulnerable. We learned we need to figure out how to digitize our currency so that we can be up and running and conduct commerce as soon as cell phone service comes up after the storm,” he said.