Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has told the global community that criteria and definitions used to determine access to goods and credit in a COVID-19 crisis or afterwards, must reflect countries’ needs rather than “simple definitional criteria that make it easier for economists” to categorize where persons should go.
Ms. Mottley expressed this view today as she addressed a virtual High-Level Event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond, which was co-convened by Canada, Jamaica and the United Nations. Several Prime Ministers across the world also spoke at the event.
The Prime Minister told her audience: “We have many middle-income countries in our region, and in fact among the small states of the world, and many of us are excluded from access to concessional funding even in the midst of this pandemic, when we need access to money to boost our health systems more than ever, when we need access to credit to be able to offset the dislocation that has come from zero revenue from tourism, zero revenue from air travel.
“And what we are not assured of is early access to rapid tests that will allow our countries to open back up safely and to ensure that our population is not exposed in a way that is injurious to them, simply because we want them to have their livelihoods in tourism.”
Ms. Mottley said persons would ask, in the future, what was done in the period of the pandemic to make the world more equitable and just; countries better capable of meeting the other existential threats of the climate crisis and citizens able to maintain themselves.
“I hope that the countries of the world can respond that just as 75 years ago we created institutions that were appropriate to the time, that we can say that we created definitions and also modalities that really helped countries and citizens live in a COVID world, rather than simply be collateral damage to the larger countries of the world,” she stated.
The Prime Minister insisted that if multilateralism is to mean something in today’s world, then there must be fairness and equity, not only among citizens in a democratic society, but among countries in a world that is fair and democratic.
She proffered the view that the time had come for more than words, and again said there was need for a global leadership initiative.
The co-morbidities from chronic NCDs, she pointed out, make citizens more vulnerable to serious conditions and death with respect to COVID-19.
“But yet there is not a development plan that allows us to meet these chronic NCDs favourably for enough of our citizens,” she contended.
Ms. Mottley noted that the Caribbean, which is a travel, tourism and trade dependent region, now faced a trebling of unemployment, and a reduction by more than half of government revenues, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.