Dr. Harris who currently holds the portfolios of Agriculture, International Trade, Consumer Affairs, Industry, Marine Resources and Constituency Empowerment, in the St. Kitts & Nevis Cabinet, is joined by Financial Secretary Mrs. Janet Harris, at the 41st Annual General Meeting of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
Dr. Harris, appointed Temporary Governor by Dr. Douglas, and Financial Secretary, Mrs. Janet Harris, Alternate Governor are in Trinidad for the two-day meeting, being held against the background for a new growth trajectory to help ease the insecurity affecting Caribbean economies.
The senior government official has joined his counterparts from throughout the Caribbean, to explore possible solutions that may reverse what the newly appointed CDB President, Dr. Warren Smith, described as an economic picture that remains depressed with only seven countries – The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Guyana, St. Lucia and the Turks and Caicos Islands – reporting growth in 2010.
Given that St, Kitts & Nevis is not listed amongst this group of nations that experienced growth last year, Dr. Harris will no doubt be paying much attention to any recommendations that may emerge from the wide-ranging discussions by the CDB Governors.
Smith has however given an optimistic forecast for the future, suggesting that most Caribbean countries could return to economic growth this year.
But Smith said that while the Caribbean has witnessed impressive improvements in socio-economic performance over the past five decades, issues about the quality of the education system remain a major concern; sustained growth and development continue to elude many countries; and poverty remains unacceptably high.
He said the region is “displaying a distinct lack of agility in side-stepping the confluence of development challenges that give rise to anxiety amongst our people, that is, a generalized sense of losing control of their destiny in a number of critical areas of social and economic life.
The Jamaican-born CDB official said that the principal economic insecurities currently facing the region have been exacerbated by structural weaknesses and extreme vulnerability linked especially to small size, openness, narrowness of the production base and proneness to potentially devastating natural hazards.