Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley has called for the establishment of a Caribbean Recovery and Resilient Trust Fund to assist the region deal with the impact of natural and other disasters including the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which has severely impacted the economies of the 15-member regional integration grouping, Caricom.
Mottley, speaking during a Caribbean Economic Forum organised by the Central Bank of Barbados (CBB) last night, said that while the region has been able to collaborate in a number of areas to deal with issues confronting the Caribbean, she still questioned “whether we can work together and move together as a grouping in order to be able to unlock greater liquidity and new instruments”.
“We would like for example to see a Caribbean recovery and resilient trust that will allow us to focus, not on all things, but if we can focus on financing to build resilience in the first six months after a climate event.
“What is it that the country needs to build up in order to accommodate the damage that comes from a hurricane in the first six months? We need to make sure we have shelters, we need to make sure we have the capacity in terms of healthcare to keep people healthy and the public health situation…
“We need to make sure we can sustain people because what we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is if people are not earning, of course they can’t live and they can’t add to the total value of what is being produced in the economy,” Mottley told the forum that also included her St Vincent and the Grenadines counterpart Dr Ralph Gonsalves, and the Director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department, Alenjandro Werner.
She warned that if the region is not careful, it will have to focus on “alternative plans which I hope we will never have to, of relocation of people from certain areas and even in certain islands”.
“These are some of the regrettable issues that we are going to have to confront going forward,” she said.