Regional governments need to attract better investment opportunities for their citizens, if Caribbean countries are to survive the current financial crisis.
Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM, David Comissiong, made this clear recently, as he gave a synopsis of aspects of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) to the Barbados Government Information Service.
The Ambassador maintained that although regional governments depended on outside sources of financing and assistance to enhance development, it was critical for member states to pool their resources and try to make financing and investment capital available at both the national and CARICOM levels.
He noted that Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley had been pushing CARICOM to establish new financial instruments, since there was close to US$50 million deposited in bank accounts across the Caribbean Community, which was earning almost no interest.
“I believe the banks are now giving people 0.1 per cent in interest. CARICOM citizens are actually paying the banks to keep their money on their accounts.
So, Prime Minister Mottley has been saying to the CARICOM Development Fund [and to] the Caribbean Development Bank that we have to walk together [and] they have to establish new bonds that CARICOM citizens can invest in,” he noted.
He advised CARICOM citizens that instead of allowing the banks to keep their money that it would be better for them to acquire bonds, which would give them greater earnings.
He was of the view that those bonds could then be used to establish a fund that would be available to CARICOM governments and countries to facilitate development.
Ambassador Comissiong also pointed to plans to inject $20 million into Fund Access, $10 million into the Trust Loan programme, the creation of an industrial transformation fund that would be financed up to $70 million, and a home building programme worth some $40 million, as part of the initiatives created by Barbados to boost local investment.