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European Union assistance vital to Caribbean region

By Julie Carrington

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (BGIS) — Minister in the ministry of finance and economic affairs, Ryan Straughn, has emphasised the importance of maintaining diplomatic relations with international donor agencies given the fragility of the economies of small island developing states.

He expressed this view during a meeting with head of European Union (EU) Delegation to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, at government Headquarters, recently.

Straughn told the ambassador and her team that the region knows that it can depend on the EU to help small economies chart the way forward for its citizens, and looked forward to working with the agency to solve some of their complex issues.

Ambassador Wasilewska shared that the EU was the biggest donor to the region and had a track record of managing several of their programmes.

The diplomat said the EU held discussions with all of the Caribbean countries, and in the case of Barbados, she was willing to facilitate a meeting to explain the donor financing process and how to “tap into it”, as well as provide a technical expert to assist in this regard.

Minister Straughn identified climate resilience financing as an area of interest, given the intensity of storms impacting the region annually.

The two officials also discussed grant financing for water and sanitation, with a view to strengthening the capacity of the Barbados Water Authority, the Roof to Reefs Programme, and the construction of water treatment plants to improve water quality in some parts of the island.

Also present at the meeting were team leader, regional cooperation and trade, Felipe de la Mota; investment officer European Investment Bank, Floris Vermeulen; permanent secretary finance, Nancy Headley; acting permanent secretary economic affairs and investment, Annette Weekes, and manager of the public investment unit, Dale Foster.



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