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Address by the Governor for The Bahamas

James H. Smith
Annual Meeting Boards of Governors of the IDB and the IIC
Milan, Italy. March 24th-26th

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The countries of the Caribbean have, like others in this region, been victims of these circumstances, even as there was a glimmer of hope that the impact of the 9/11 events might eventually be overcome. The year ended with stagnation in real income growth in The Bahamas and Barbados, while in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago real growth – though positive – decelerated. In the case of Jamaica, while registering positive trends, the fiscal situation remains a cause for concern.

In these circumstances, policy responses have been mainly a mixture of defensive strategies, such as restrictive monetary and
budgetary policies, and the concentration of investments on export earning activity, like tourism and energy, and on poverty reduction. Caribbean governments will continue to strive in the period ahead to protect and advance the gains made in the traditional sectors, to institute transitional and emergency adjustment mechanisms, and to embark on ambitious programs of structural diversification. However, the near-term future is also one of unprecedented uncertainty for the Caribbean, therefore continued access to the Bank’s facilities is important at this time. This uncertainty also presents a major challenge to the Bank, in cooperation with our stronger member States, to work out timely contingency measures.

Barbados was successful last year in securing funding for a coastal infrastructure program. The objective of this project is to ensure a healthy environment and continued sustainable economic development of Barbados through improved management and conservation of the coastal zone.

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March 30, 2003

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