Canada reiterates commitment to the Caribbean

Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.
Dominika Zarzycka / NurPhoto / Sipa USA, Sipa via Associated Press

The Canadian government said last Thursday that Trudeau stressed that commitment in a telephone conversation the day before with newly-elected Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley.

In June, at the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Charlevoix, Canada announced an investment of CAN$162 million “to help build strong and resilient coasts and communities, including those in the Caribbean,” the statement said.

“The two leaders discussed the importance of developing innovative solutions to challenges faced by the Caribbean and the importance of building upon the G7 engagement with Small Island Developing States,” it said.

“Prime Minister Trudeau recognized the difficult but important steps that Barbados is taking to address debt issues,” added the brief statement.

Last week, Barbados said it had put together a strong negotiating team and was ready to engage in discussions with the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) representatives through to July 12. Barbados Finance Minister Ryan Straughn said IMF officials had already started requesting data, which Barbados was in the process of finalizing.

“Those early meetings will engage on where our position is fiscally and then, obviously, those negotiations will start to drill down to the specific sectors of government,” Straughn said.

Last month, Mottley said that Barbados’ public debt was as high as 171 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), adding that corrective economic and fiscal measures were needed to place the country on a sustainable footing.

After speaking with IMF managing director, Christine Lagarde, Mottley said the IMF mission was invited to visit Barbados. The team was initially in Barbados from June 4 to 7 to meet with the prime minister and officials. Subsequently, Mottley and her team went to Washington to have talks with IMF officials.

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