Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Dr. Natalio Wheatley has stated that the historic consultation meeting with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) last month has brought attention to the specific circumstances and needs of Overseas Territories.
Premier Wheatley attended the Inaugural Consultation with Overseas Countries and Territories and the Caribbean Development Bank hosted by the Honourable Premier and Minister of Finance and Health of Anguilla. This meeting operated under the theme, “Biennial inaugural High-Level Meeting for Transformative Action in the British Overseas Territories (OTs)”.
Premier Wheatley explained that because of its categorisation as having “high GDP per capita”, the Virgin Islands is precluded from accessing official development assistance and concessionary financing, notwithstanding its heavy dependence on tourism and financial services, and susceptibility to external threats.
Honourable Wheatley stated, “The historic consultation meeting has highlighted the specific circumstances and needs of OTs, while promoting the benefits of further engagement and involvement with the bank.”
The Premier said the framework that was formulated by OT Heads of Governments in conjunction with the Caribbean Development Bank, will ensure that the Virgin Islands is more resilient to the development challenges confronting the Territory through accessing more avenues for financing.
Premier Wheatley added, “The Virgin Islands, like other OTs are disproportionately susceptible to socio-economic and environmental challenges. Therefore, one of the primary objectives of the consultation was to explore viable options for obtaining funding towards achieving our development goals.”
The forum also allowed for high-level dialogue on advancing stronger representation for Overseas Territories within the structure of the bank. The CDB is optimistic that solution-based bilateral discussions would ensure that developmental strategies are employed to allow Overseas Territories to fully capitalise on the advantages of regional cooperation.
Premier of Anguilla, the Deputy Premier of Turks and Caicos Islands, the Premier of the Virgin Islands, along with senior managers from the respective countries, attended the inaugural consultation with the Caribbean Development Bank.
The Government of the Virgin Islands will host the next meeting, where discussions will be held on enhanced cooperation and improvement of the bank’s capacity to further support the development agenda of OTs Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs).
Meanwhile, Premier Wheatley attended the Caribbean Development Bank’s Annual Heads of Government Meeting in June where the bank’s highest decision-making body discussed climate change, and corresponding mitigation and adaption strategies to engender resilience
Significantly, the Virgin Islands has also assumed its rotation as Governor on the Bank’s Board.
The Government of the Virgin Islands remains resolute in the promotion of the overall development of the Territory, through deepening and strengthening its relationship with the regional stakeholders.
Deputy Premier of Turks and Caicos Islands Honourable Erwin J. Saunders, President of Caribbean Development Bank Dr. Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon, Premier of Anguilla Honourable Ellis Webster, and Premier of the Virgin Islands Honouarable Dr. Natalio Wheatley.