March 8, 2011
Over US$13 Million for St Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize and St. Lucia

St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia are expected to sign Country Assistance Programmes (CAPs) with the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) by early April.{{more}}

The CDF will provide loans and grants totalling US$4,210,000.00 to St.Vincent and the Grenadines and St.Lucia will receive a CAP of US$6,102,000.00.

Two weeks ago, the CDF signed a CAP with the Government of Belize valued at approximately US$3.5 million. Belize will be able to draw down on the funds in a matter of weeks, after complying with the initial conditions precedent to disbursement.

For St.Vincent and the Grenadines, the CDF funds will finance paving works, runway lighting and generators for the new Argyle International Airport.

In the case of Belize and St. Lucia, the majority of the resources will be used to assist the private sector in building capacity and retooling plant and equipment to enhance their regional and global competitiveness.

The CDF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ambassador Lorne McDonnough has briefed the Prime Minister of Barbados Freundel Stuart, in his capacity as Prime Minister with lead responsibility for the CSME, on the status of the CDF.

Stuart is also the Chairman of the Task Force for Resource Mobilisation for the CDF. Ambassador McDonnough also held discussions with the Chairman of CARICOM and the Prime Minister of Grenada Tillman Thomas.

The CEO of the CDF reiterated to both Prime Ministers that the CDF remains cognisant of the economic challenges faced by CARICOM Member States in an environment affected by the global economic down turn and increasing oil prices. He committed the CDF to working assiduously to assist Member States to access opportunities within the CSME.

Notwithstanding a hostile economic environment, McDonnough noted that six CARICOM Member States have fully paid their contributions to the CDF, three of which are net contributors during the funding period 2008-2012. Four Member States not yet compliant have indicated their intention to pay their contribution by mid-year and the two others hope to be compliant by the fourth quarter of 2011. In order to access CAPs, Member States have to be fully paid-up.