October 26, 2006

US$250 million for Caricom fund

The US$250 million CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) is expected to be up and running by July 2007.

That is the word from Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves who told journalists that the decision taken at last week’s meeting of the Bureau of the Conference of Heads of Government in St Kitts/Nevis. {{more}}

The CDF is expected to cushion any shocks faced by smaller and more vulnerable economies and sectors within CARICOM, with the establishment of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

Member states are to contribute $100 million, $30 million from the CARICOM Petroleum Facility, and $120 million to be raised from donors.

St Vincent and the Grenadines’ contribution is US$1.64 million. Dr Gonsalves explained that in any given year members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) can access up to the same amount each contributed.

Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados have agreed not to access this fund while Jamaica has agreed not to do so for the first four years.

The Bureau of the Conference of Heads comprises the Prime Ministers of St Kitts/Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The membership rotates annually.