Jamaica’s Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips says that the Caribbean continues to feel the impact of the global economic crisis, which is impeding its capacity to grow.
Phillips said he welcomes the opportunity for the Caribbean to engage with the powerful G20 countries to highlight and address some of the peculiar challenges that are impeding their progress.
“This first contact, I think, is important and it will be the first of a number of contacts. We are grateful to the Turkish authorities, who are President of the G20 this year and the Chinese, who will preside next year. During these engagements, we’ll have to collaborate with the G20 to examine some practical solutions to the issues facing the Caribbean,” Phillips said as he addressed the first Caribbean Regional Dialogue with members of the G20 Development Working Group earlier this week.
“We should also be grateful to the Trinidadian authorities, who took an active part on behalf of the Caribbean in this regard. This dialogue will continue and there are specific areas in which practical solutions can be brought to the table to benefit the Caribbean,” he added.
The meeting on Monday formed part of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings now underway. The meeting will end on Sunday, and while in Washington Phillips will meet with representatives of the IMF, World Bank, and the US Treasury.
Jamaica was asked to co-chair discussions on the challenges confronting Caribbean countries at the meeting with the G20 Development Working Group, and Phillips, in his remarks, said the session would be of great value to the Caribbean, because it is the first time there has been engagement between the Caribbean and the G20 in an organised fashion.
He said dialogue of this nature allows for the opportunity to bring to the attention of the G20 countries and the Development Working Group, the specific condition of the Caribbean region, which he identified as low growth and high debt.
He noted that the Caribbean is still suffering the effects of the crisis of 2008-09, pointing out that the consequences of that crisis are impeding the region’s capacity to grow, particularly because of the high debt.
Last October, the Jamaica Finance Minister urged the G20 countries to make good on their promise to assist the Caribbean region to mitigate the effects of the financial recession of 2008.
Speaking during a Caribbean breakfast and caucus meeting here, Phillips expressed concern that the group of major economies has not kept its promise to provide financial support to assist the region.
“We continue to suffer because the expectations that were generated in 2008, coming out of the first meeting of the G20 nations, for resources to alleviate the plight of the region that was hardest hit by the crisis, have been unfulfilled,” he stated.
Phillips said there is urgent need for the G20 to fulfil its promise, citing the region’s high debt burden, climatic vulnerabilities, along with energy insecurities.
The G20 Development Working Group was established in 2010, and is responsible for implementing the G20 Development Agenda, which includes increasing financing for infrastructure investment in developing countries.
The G20 is a forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies. Its membership includes Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and the European Union.