Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean

The region needs to engage in more prudent investment in its human, physical, institutional and productive resources.

This observation was made today by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, as she opened a one-day workshop on the Strategic Evaluation of the Role of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Barbados and the OECS sub region at the Accra Beach Hotel.

The Minister noted that poverty and equality continued to be significant features of regional societies and large percentages of the population did not benefit fully from development activities.

Ms. McClean said the work of regional governments and United Nations??? agencies would ultimately ???come to nought??? if there was a failure to ???ground our knowledge in the acceptance of a people-centred orientation???.??She, therefore, suggested fostering an approach that was ???results-driven and designed to achieve tangible outcomes???.

???We need to restructure our economies to break-down monopoly influences and create space for our market players. We need to fully come to grips with, and address poverty issues, moreso, given the recent events in the global economy,??? Minister McClean declared. However, she stressed that this must be done in a manner that was ???ethical???.

As an example of this, the Minister pointed out that: ???Our public service in Barbados has been asked to do more and efforts are being taken to raise the bar in the delivery of service to our people.???

Senator McClean maintained that individuals needed to recognise ???that the effectiveness of the public sector has limits??? and that even though it necessitated a ???tedious balancing act???, yet ???in our planning we must re-define the efforts of our development partners to complement and improve the efficiency of the public sector and indeed the private sector???.

Meanwhile, UNDP Resident Representative in Barbados Michelle Gyles-McDonnough stated that it was critical that the limited resources available to the region were deployed ???in the most effective way???.??

The UN official added that such resources should be ???catalytic, serving to mobilise other partner funding to address challenges that are fundamental to the development process and eventual transformation of the region in accordance with the priorities and sequencing???.??

She described the meeting as ???timely??? and the start of a process of continuous dialogue and partnership to meet the pressing development needs of Caribbean Small-Island Developing States (SIDS).

Mrs. Gyles-McDonnough expressed the hope that the session would address the human security goals of people in the Eastern Caribbean at a time when SIDS were forced again to reposition their fragile economies in response to the fall-out of external shocks of the current global food, fuel and financial crisis.

Those countries participating in today???s discussions were Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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