World Bank Helping Caribbean Region Develop Debt Problem Resolution

Greater Georgetown, Guyana – The World Bank is currently studying the debt profiles of the countries of the Region in order to construct appropriate plans to ease those Member States with a heavy debt burden, Mr. Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, said Thursday afternoon.

Mr. Zoellick was addressing a press conference he shared with the Hon Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica and Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government shortly after a meeting with Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at the start of the 21st Intersessional Meeting in Dominica.

Robert Zoellick

The Community’s crippling debt burden was among the key matters the two sides discussed in their two hour-long meeting that Prime Minister Skerrit characterized as a “constructive engagement”. Haiti, tax havens and climate change were the other subjects of the exchange.

At another press conference before the talks, Prime Minister Skerrit, His Excellency Bharrat Jagdeo, President of Guyana, and His Excellency Edwin Carrington, Secretary-General of CARICOM had all spoken about the debt burden and the role the World Bank could play in its reduction.

President Jagdeo had acknowledged that the structure of debt varied among Member States and that a menu of measures would be apt to deal with the problem.

Mr. Zoellick told the media that the role of the World Bank was to help governments achieve their priorities and that he welcomed the opportunity presented at Thursday’s meeting to listen and learn.

He said that the World Bank had spent US$90B since the global financial and economic meltdown to help under-developed and poor countries to stem the effects of the crisis.

The financial institution is currently seeking a US$3-5B capital increase annually over the next five years to fulfill its mandate, a proposal that received the support from the Heads of Government, according to Prime Minister Skerrit.

With regard to Climate Change, the World Bank President indicated that the two sides discussed how they could work together to achieve the Region’s goals in terms of adaptation to climate change.

In addition, he said the financial institution would work closed with the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of which CARICOM is a part, on the road to COP 16 scheduled for later this year on Mexico.

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