Caribbean RoundUp

Barbados

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Barbados continues to make good progress in implementing its ambitious and comprehensive reform program.

And IMF delegation, headed by Bert van Selm recently ended a four-day visit to Bridgetown to discuss implementation of Barbados’ Economic Recovery and Transformation plan, supported by the IMF under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

The delegation also met with Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the IMF official said all indicative targets for the end of June under the EFF have been met.

He said the target for the government’s primary surplus was met with a wide margin, with the government running a primary surplus of 2.5 percent of annual gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of the financial year 2019-20.

Van Selm said that good progress had been made in implementing end-June and July 2019 structural benchmarks under the EFF.

He said the authorities have completed a review of the tax system and the governor general has proclaimed the recently enacted Financial Management and Audit Act.

The delegation said it is looking forward to return to Barbados in November to conduct the discussions for the Article IV and second review under the EFF.

In 2018, Barbados signed a US$90 million 48-month EFF as the Mottley administration sought to revive the ailing economy.

Caribbean

Some nine Caribbean countries are among a group of 27 Small Island Developing States (SIDs) that are expected to benefit from US$21 million to assist in managing and eliminating toxic chemicals and waste.

A release from the T&T Planning Ministry stated US$21 million will be allocated by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to fund the planning and implementation of Caribbean activities under the Program including the collection of baseline information and the identification of country needs.

The release added that the successful development and support an integrated regional approach to protecting health and the environment from the negative effects associated with releases and emission of toxic waste and chemicals.

Guyana

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected a 4.4 percent economic growth for Guyana this year, stating that the medium-term prospects are very favorable for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) state as oil production is on schedule to begin in early 20220.

After concluding Article IV Consultation with Guyanese authorities, the Washington-based financial institution said the broad-based expansion extends across all major sectors.

The current account deficit is estimated to rise to 22.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) “on the back of higher imports related to oil production, which will be largely financed by FDI (foreign direct investment) in the petroleum sector, the IMF said.

It said: “The commencement of oil production in 2020 will substantially improve Guyana’s medium and long-term outlook.”

“The oil sector is projected to grow rapidly, accounting for around 40 percent of GDP by 2024 and supporting additional fiscal spending annually of 6.5 percent of non-oil GDP on average over the medium term, which will help meet critical social and infrastructure needs,” the IMF said.

The IMF said pubic debt and the external current account deficit are projected to decline steadily following the onset if oil production.

Jamaica

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is providing US$50 million credit line to help Jamaica promote innovation growth and entrepreneurship ecosystems.

The Washington-based financial institution said the first individual operation for US$25 million will promote sustainable and robust growth among startups and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Jamaica.

The IDB said Jamaica’s productivity growth and innovation challenges requires a long-term vision of identifying and promoting high-growth potential opportunities, as well as flexibility to accommodate to the rapidly changing technological environment that is affecting the private sector globally.

It said the project aims to promote innovation and productivity among established MSMEs with high growth in scalable startups; and create a sustainable pipeline of high-growth potential startups.

Trinidad

The Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) is taking Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley to court, challenging his refusal to start impeachment proceedings against the country’ s Chief Justice Ivor Archie.

Last week 163 members of (a membership of more than 3,500 lawyers) voted in favor of legal action being taken against Dr. Rowley out of the 235 who were in attendance at three separate meetings.

There were 66 votes against proceedings with a judicial review claim.

In July, Dr. Rowley said he did not initiate impeachment proceedings against the Chief Justice after receiving legal advice, which said he should not take the association’s advice to invoke section 137 proceedings to have Archie impeached for allegations of misbehavior in public office.

Attorney General Faris al Rawi in commenting LATT’s plan to sue the prime minister, said the matter ought to be carried to the country’s highest court, the British Privy Council to ensure finality, as it ultimately concerned the execution of constitutional powers.

He thinks it is dangerous for the local High Court to handle the issue.

“And to ensure the law is settled and all on grounds are considered. I think taking the matter to the Privy Council would be beneficial in this proceeding,” he said.

Compiled by Azad Ali

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