The Caribbean Council brought together today business leaders from around the region and internationally for its 2020 Virtual Conference: The Caribbean: Building Regional Trade and Economic Resilience Post-COVID. The group looked at practical forward-looking solutions to help the region enjoy faster economic growth, diversify its economies, and be more resilient after COVID.
Opening the conference, Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves, Chairman of CARICOM, and Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines set out his vision for a new sustainable regional development model:
“Now is the time to stop the search for quick-fix mirages which lead to dead-ends and to instead build a modern, competitive, many-sided post-colonial economy which is at once, national, regional and global”.
“The region’s future economic model needs to be grounded in education, and knowledge, and hard work… The strategic quest has to reassert itself.”
Rt Hon. Lord Malcolm Bruce of Bennachie, President of the Caribbean Council, commented:
“The Caribbean regional economy has been dealt a terrible blow by the global pandemic which has highlighted sadly again its vulnerability to outside economic forces.
“Reasserting and strengthening regional connectivity in trade and travel will provide all the region’s economies with future resilience in the face of outside threats – and give new sources of employment and economic diversification.
“The rapid adoption of digital solutions which we have seen across the region over this pandemic offers a glimpse of a future with new tools for economic growth through greater productivity, connectivity and regional and international collaboration.
“As we enter the Christmas season, our thoughts are with all the families who are suffering economic difficulties from the present crisis. I am pleased to announce that The Caribbean Council and its members will be supporting Hands for Hunger as our charity partner this year. Their work in the Bahamas is invaluable to provide food for families hard-hit first by Dorian, then the pandemic, and now the collapse of the tourism sector.”