Thursday, March 11, 2010
ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – Caricom leaders said today they were looking to the World Bank to ‘champion’ the cause of highly-indebted regional economies, as well as to provide new and immediate relief for earthquake-devastated Haiti.
The disclosure was made by the chairman of the 15-nation grouping, Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, as he and his regional colleagues prepared to meet with the Bank’s president Robert Zoellick on the first full working day of the 21st Caricom Intersessional Summit here in Roseau.
“One of the matters we will be putting forward to the President of the World Bank is to establish a designated development fund for Haiti where all the resources which have been pledged by various countries and institutions could be deposited into a special account to have better and more efficient access to it,” Skerrit said told journalists before heading into the closed-door talks.
“We want to ensure that Haiti continues to be at the centre of our agenda and that the international and regional community do not forget Haiti now that the headlines are no longer on Haiti.
“Haiti requires the absolute support of all of us,” he added.
“We also want to ensure that the Haitian government and its people … are not sidelined. We want to ensure that the errors of the past do not repeat themselves.”
Caricom’s newly-appointed special representative to Haiti, former Jamaica Prime Minister PJ Patterson, was due to brief the government leaders on the situation in Haiti following the magnitude 7.0 quake that killed an estimated 300,000 people and caused widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure.
The meeting with Zoellick follows talks with some Caricom leaders during the annual World Bank meeting in Turkey last October, when he agreed to have deeper engagement with the regional grouping.
“We must say that so far, we have been getting tremendous support and cooperation from the President of the World Bank and we look forward to forging, for the want of a better word, an alliance with the President of the World Bank to seek to advance the issues which confront Caricom,” Skerrit said.