Prime Minister David Thompson

Key decision makers and stakeholders from the public and private sectors of CARIFORUM countries will convene in Barbados over the next two days to discuss ways of dealing with the worldwide economic recession.

The seminar on "Policies and Strategies To Face the Global Economic Downturn: The Way Forward For the Caribbean," will take place tomorrow, Thursday, October 15 and Friday, October 16, at the Hilton Barbados from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day.

The official welcome and opening remarks will be given by Executive Vice President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Daniel Zelikow, President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Compton Bourne, and Prime Minister David Thompson. The Keynote speaker will be Professor of Law and Social Science at Columbia University Law School, Charles Sabel.

The two-day conference is being staged to identify the policies and strategies needed to support the economic transformation of the Caribbean region. It is also designed to help governments identify the interventions needed to face the financial crisis in the short term and to build an enabling environment to strengthen private sector development. In addition, the meeting will include discussions on how to structure public-private partnerships to support economic growth.

Over the course of the meeting, panellists will frame the discussions and identify the main implications for the Caribbean region.

Panellists for Thursday’s discussion will include CARICOM Secretary-General, Edwin Carrington, President of the CDB, Dr. Compton Bourne and Professor of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Institute of International Relations, Vaughan Lewis. It will get underway at 10:30 a.m.

During the afternoon session, panellists will be Programme Manager, Caribbean Single Market and Economy Unit, Ivor Carryl, Past President of the Caribbean Association of Industry, Nigel John and Director of Special Projects, Sandals Resorts, Keith Collister. The moderator is Senior Private Sector Specialist, Inter American Development Bank, Joe Jorge Saavedra.

On Friday, panellists will address the topic: Competitiveness in the Caribbean: Opportunities and Challenges. Speakers will be Director of the Centre for International Development at the Kennedy School of Government, Professor Ricardo Hausmann and Director and Senior Economist, Global Competitiveness Network, Irene Mia. The welcome and opening remarks will be delivered by Head of the Caribbean Office of the Canadian International Development Agency, Douglas Williams.

Other speakers will include Minister of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr.David Estwick Former Vice -Chancellor of the UWI, Sir Alister McIntyre and Director of Economic Policy and Planning at the Planning Institute in Jamaica, Dr. Christine Clarke. ??The presenters are Chief Economist, Fundacion de Investigaciones Economicas Latinamericanas, Daniel Artana and Professor Ben Ross of the Department of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The moderator is Regional Economic Advisor, Country Department Caribbean Group, IDB, Andrew Powell.

Another highlight of the seminar will be a panel discussion featuring Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Energy, Senator Darcy Boyce. He will speak on the topic: Public- Private Partnerships (PPPS) to Support Economic Growth, along with David Bloomgarden of the Multilateral investment Fund. There will be an opening presentation by Nicholas Livingston of Partnerships UK who will look at Diagnostic of PPPS in the Caribbean and the Way Forward. This seminar will be moderated by Chief Advisor, Vice Presidency for Private Sector, IDB, Nathaniel Jackson.

A number of Caribbean countries are facing intense challenges to maintain their competitiveness and their economic performance, especially while the full implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy is under way and given the recent external shocks from the international financial crisis.

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