Category Archives: World Bank

Conference on the Caribbean: A Participant’s Perspective

caricomheadssmall.gifDuring June 19-21, Caricom heads of state and its secretary-general attended a conference in Washington DC, hosted by the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and the Organisation of American states (see conference web site). The heads of state had an historic summit with the US government (see White House statement); long overdue many agreed, but it had been a long time in the planning and fell well in Caribbean American heritage month. The White House statement makes most of the right political noises on issues such as protecting democracy and enhancing security, expanding trade and building the services sector. Whether Caribbean citizens will feel that any of this really has them in mind will be for time to tell.

The conference and summit have left those present in Washington with some sense of optimism because Caribbean issues were put in front of American government officials as well as offiicals from important multilateral agencies. That optimism, however, needs to be set in a realistic context: the Caribbean is small and is not amongst the US administration’s highest priorities (one can judge this by the ease with which US officials absent themselves from proceedings). With President Bush coming to the end of his 2nd term, he may be seen as a lame duck, so whatever “commitments” his administration made could be added to the litany of promises yet to be fulfilled.

The conference also showed that there are plenty of leaders in the extended Caribbean community, not just amongst those who have assumed political leadership positions. Successful and striving would fit many of the women and men present at the conference who are in business, non-profit organizations, studying, or whatever field they are in. That should be a good signal because we have seen in recent months some startling lack of leadership, decision-making and vision within the region and things associated with it. Continue reading

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The Practice of Economic Management: A Caribbean Perspective

A Dominican friend of mine, Thomson Fontaine, recently reviewed a book by Dr. Courtney Blackman, former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, entitled The Practice of Economic Management: A Caribbean Perspective. The review appeared in the Winter 2007 Harvard International Review and is copyrighted, and I reproduce it below.

Mr. Fontaine is an economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He is also an executive member of the Dominica Academy of Arts and Sciences and President of the Caribbean Association of World Bank IMF Staff. He also manages the website http://thedominican.net.

Here is the review: 

In this compelling selection of 22 essays, Dr. Courtney Blackman, the founding governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, lays out a clear and concise description of economic issues affecting the Caribbean within a broader political context. Continue reading

Governance and those who govern

An interesting debate has been raging in Barbados in recent weeks. Since the Tourism Minister stormed out of the studio after the moderator read out an e-mail asking about the minister’s financial situation, there has been a wave of support and criticism for the line taken by the journalist. Continue reading