Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 23, 2017 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) — The Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) took place in Washington, D.C. over the interval October 9 to 14, 2017.
Given the critical importance of the 2018 Budget Estimates, coming after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and the need for the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of Finance to preside over the Budget deliberations, the St. Kitts-Nevis delegation was led by H.E. Dr. Everson Hull, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States and H.E. Dr. Thelma Phillip-Browne, Ambassador to the United States of America.
This year’s meetings had a strong focus on the CARICOM region and Small Island Developing States which have been hit hard by the recent hurricanes – Irma and Maria. There were a number of positive developments:
A strong and persuasive case was made by the CARICOM group that the magnitude and scope of the damage done was unprecedented. In response, there was acceptance by the World Bank Group of a willingness to be flexible with the rules on funding to accommodate the new climate change realities that have impacted small island states such as St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda.
These was a general acceptance of the need to revise building codes to withstand hurricane winds of up to 200 miles per hour; to introduce a special vulnerability index for evaluating assistance for states that have graduated to higher per capita income levels; the need for a 10-year grace period on concessionary loans for states which have lost their major source of revenues; and the increased use of under-ground power lines.
The St. Kitts and Nevis delegation participated with other CARICOM member states in a briefing at the National Press Club and conveyed messages to the American people on a number of regional concerns relating to the damaging effects of climate change, the denial of access to correspondent banking services and others.
In a meeting with Sir Richard Branson and his private sector team, St. Kitts and Nevis embraced plans for reducing reliance on fossil fuels and the establishment of the Caribbean as the World’s First Climate Smart Zone.
Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris would like to express his sincere thanks to Ambassadors Dr. Everson W. Hull and Dr. Thelma Phillip-Browne for filling in for him at these very important meetings.