USD5.7 Million Poverty Alleviation Project Launched in St. Lucia by CDB and Government
The Caribbean Development Bank's (CDB) Director, Projects Department, Mrs. Tessa Williams Robertson has called on the Caribbean Region to re-double its efforts to confront poverty head-on in the face of current socio-economic challenges. Mrs. Williams Robertson was speaking at the official launch of the Seventh Cycle of the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) Programme (BNTF 7) in St. Lucia on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, at the Royal by Rex Resorts in Rodney Bay. Mrs. Williams Robertson noted, "We must focus our attention on achieving those elusive ‚Äòbetter outcomes' for our Caribbean people in the midst of a very difficult global environment. Through continuous review and improvement of the BNTF product, CDB is collaborating with member Governments in pursuing these better outcomes at the level of the community in an effort to directly impact the lives and well-being of citizens. We are under no illusions that this will be an easy task, but the Bank and BNTF intends to make a measureable contribution to this objective. We fully expect that St. Lucia, and indeed all ten BNTF participating countries, will see a measureable impact on living conditions in communities where the needs are greatest." Officials of the CDB were joined at the launch by Mr. Harold Dalson, Honourable Minister of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment and Mr. Ernest Augier, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the local implementation agency, St. Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF). Those present were also treated to a presentation by the students of Ti Rocher Early Education Centre, a beneficiary of BNTF funding. The BNTF Programme, CDB's flagship programme for poverty reduction, has contributed significantly to national development in St. Lucia since it commenced operations in the island in 1979. Under the soon to be concluded BNTF 5 and the on-going BNTF 6, SSDF has overseen the completion of approximately 90 sub-projects, in partnership with Government, communities and other stakeholders. By the end of 2012, and under BNTF 5, 59 sub-projects utilising grants of USD4.9 million were completed, impacting the lives of tens of thousands. The total resources for BNTF 7 of USD5.7million is funded by a Grant from CDB of USD5million (EC$13.5million), matched by a local counterpart amount of USD0.7million (EC$1.9million) mainly from Government resources. Approximately 84% or USD4.8million of total resources has been allocated for various community driven interventions in Education and Human Resource Development, Basic Access and Drainage Enhancement, and Water and Sanitation Enhancement. The launch was followed by a two-day workshop which focused on critical operational issues such as Governance; Programme Effectiveness and Efficiency; Maintenance and Sustainability; and Financial Management, Planning and Administration. Participants who attended the launch and workshop included staff of the SSDF, key SSDF Board Members who represent the BNTF Project Steering Committee, and representatives from a cross-section of community-based, governmental, non-governmental and private sector organisations. CAPTION: CDB's Director, Projects Department, Mrs. Tessa Williams Robertson (centre) and other officials pause for a photo with the students of the Ti Rocher Early Education Centre. The Centre is a beneficiary of BNTF funding.