ST GEORGE’S, Grenada — Heads of some of the largest public and private financial institutions in the Caribbean gathered in Grenada recently, to meet with the prime minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell; the assistant secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert Ramdin; and international financial experts retained by the Bertelsmann Foundation to critically examine the debt situation facing several Caribbean nations.
The discussions focused on key areas including debt restructuring and sustainable growth strategies, public-private partnerships, international debt negotiation and other related issues.
According to Mitchell, the meeting was convened at a crucial time for Grenada, since the nation “is at a crossroads in terms of development.” Extending his appreciation to Ramdin for bringing together top regional and international stakeholders, Mitchell welcomed the initiative in Grenada, saying “practical solutions are needed for the fundamental problems confronting the country.”
Describing the private meeting as “solution oriented,” Ramdin pointed out that Caribbean countries make up a significant percentage of the OAS membership, and issues affecting the subregion should be considered a priority.
“Managing smaller economies in a globalized world presents unique challenges, and I believe we must collaborate to find solutions. There can be no real progress, if our people don’t have jobs or opportunities for growth, or if our countries are almost crippled by debt,” Ramdin said.
Ramdin, who worked with the executive director of the Bertelsmann Institute, Annette Heuser, to bring in international experts added, “By sharing technical expertise, lessons learned, best practices, and facilitating healthy and transparent public-private partnerships, we can see a return to growth.”
Among the stakeholders attending the meeting were the chairman of Guardian Holdings and Neal and Massey Ltd, Arthur Lok Jack; the chairman of Republic Bank Ltd, Barbados National Bank and the National Bank of Industry and Commerce, Ronald Harford; representatives of Sagicor; the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association; RBC Caribbean; Ansa Merchant Bank; the governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, Jwala Rambarran; KPMG; the International Institute of Finance; the IADB; the Kiel Institute for the World Economy; Investor S.A Casa de Bolsa and several others.