On behalf of the Caribbean Constituency, I wish to thank the host of this meeting, the Republic of Colombia as well as the city of Medellin, the staff of the Inter-American Development Bank Group and the other organizations and businesses involved in this event. All their hard work and attention to details behind the scenes has made this the 50th meeting of the Board of Governors of the IDB an outstanding organizational success.

We are facing extraordinarily difficult and uncertain times. Most of our economies would record negative growth, declining tourist receipts, reduced levels of foreign direct investments, increased fiscal deficits, escalating levels of public sector debt and rising unemployment. In such times leaders must be clear in their purpose and firm in their resolve. They must resist the temptation to find illusionary causes for or solutions to our global dilemma. Rather, we must focus sharply on the real issues and address ourselves in the most determined way to resolving them. The fate of our people depend upon our doing so.

It is clear to us that the real issues confronting the global community include:

1) Getting the economies of our world on a sound footing for positive real growth and stability in order to generate once again high quality and sustainable employment;

2) Making genuine, equitable progress in protecting the international financial system including attending to those weaknesses in regions not ordinarily regarded as presenting such challenges;

3) Mobilizing capital to fund the continuing economic growth and development needs of countries, particularly more vulnerable developing countries and doing so in a manner that does not inhibit long-term growth and development prospects.

We acknowledge with thanks and appreciation the support of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Inter-American Investment Corporation and the Multilateral Investment Fund through programmes and instruments such as FINPYME and the Liquidity Program for Growth Sustainability

We view the increase in the Bank’s ordinary capital and in particular the replenishment of the Fund for Special Operations as vital, especially as greater support will be needed during the current global crisis.

Prior to the global downturn many of us looked to the private financial markets to fund essential capital projects. The conditions nowadays of the financial markets are such that countries that would not have otherwise done so may now have to resort to seeking funding from multilateral institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank. This will be especially true for middle income countries such as my country, The Bahamas.

We are therefore in support of increasing the Banks’ capital.

We look forward to the Bank developing a new institutional strategy that makes effective use of additional resources to support social safety net programmes, poverty and inequality reduction, infrastructure investments and climate change. Similarly we look forward to the re-evaluation of the Bank’s private sector policy in order to support the Region’s development and exploration of other measures to help expand capital flows to the public and private sectors of our Region. These initiatives are of special concern to us.

Finally, we urge the Bank to continue its role as the institutional standard-bearer for the Region and in its determination as a key interlocutor in the dialogue between member countries, the public sector, the private sector, and civil society in the region.