Jamaica to chair CDB Board of Governors 2015-2016

Jamaica’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Peter Phillips assumed the chairmanship of the Caribbean Development Bank’s Board of Governors today as the 45th Annual Meeting of the Bank’s Board ended in Basseterre, St. Kitts. The CDB’s 46th Annual Meeting is set for May next year in Jamaica. He replaces Dr. Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Speaking at today’s closing ceremony, Dr. Phillips said each Caribbean country was faced with formidable challenges, among them the effects of climate change, high indebtedness, tight fiscal space and low rates of saving.

He also said the consequences of the recent Great Recession were still being felt among the small, vulnerable states of the region.

The incoming chairman noted that because Caribbean countries had been classified as Middle Income States, it was unlikely that they would be considered for significant debt relief by multi-lateral agencies and developed countries, notwithstanding the heavy debt burden they were carrying. Yet without some form external economic support, he said, small island states would be overwhelmed.

He posited however that solutions can and must be found. “The situation calls for more interaction with the international community…and the influence of the CDB should be brought to bear on the discussions…If these concerns are not addressed, urgently, then the social consensus, relative social stability and democratic conditions will be threatened.”

He congratulated CDB on the work it has done in development financing throughout the region and on its commitment to internal governance reform.

Jamaica is a founding member of the CDB and share the position of largest regional shareholder with Trinidad and Tobago. The UK and Canada are the largest non-regional shareholders.

CAPTION: CDB’s new Board Chairman, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Peter Phillips