Caribbean urged to address fiscal challenges

CASTRIES, St Lucia — President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr Warren Smith, has emphasized the need for the adoption of economic principles of its first president and fiscal maturity and responsibility of regional entities.

The 43rd board of governors meeting of the CDB centred on ameliorating the region’s present fiscal challenges.

Smith, in his presentation “Imperatives for securing our Caribbean future,” emphasized the relevance of the economic principles of the CDB’s first president, Sir William Arthur Lewis, as necessary for the advancement of the Caribbean region.

“Those of us in the CDB family and the region, as a whole, will be forever grateful for that outstanding son of Saint Lucia and one of your two Nobel Laureates, Sir Arthur Lewis. In his ‘Theory of Growth’, which he penned in 1955, he reminded us that: ‘The advantage of economic growth is not that wealth increases happiness, but that it increases the range of human choice… The case for economic growth is that it gives man greater control over his environment, and thereby increases his freedom.’ Human beings and their happiness were always the primary focus of this outstanding economist. At CDB, we continue to be inspired by his emphasis on people-centered development.”

Smith added that in moving forward it was pertinent that countries display fiscal maturity.

“What of the region which we are mandated to serve? Are our countries positioning themselves to emerge stronger from the current economic crisis? It can be argued that some BMCs misdiagnosed the severity and duration of the international recession, and consequently, moved too slowly to begin their fiscal and structural adjustment. What is much more important?

“However, is the recognition that a number of these countries have begun to adopt appropriate reforms to reverse macro-economic imbalances and improve international competitiveness.”

Smith, in his summary of the Bank’s performance in 2012, stated that, despite challenges, progress was made in strengthening the Bank to remain a relevant and reliable partner for its shareholders.

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