Caribbean countries call for review of criteria to access development funding

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Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago has highlighted the plight of Caribbean countries which have addressed development challenges such as poverty yet remain shut out from access to financing.

Kamla Persad-Bissessar told the UN General Assembly on Wednesday that countries in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are still vulnerable due to a debt stock that currently stands at $19 billion.

She said it would appear that these countries are being penalized for their relative success.

"I respectively say that it must be acknowledged that the debt overhang did not result from profligate spending by CARICOM Governments. Instead it resulted from the  make-up of our countries , the geography of our countries, the history of our countries, our proneness to natural catastrophes, our very small physical size which does not lessen the per capita cost of development expenditures for necessary economic infrastructure and necessary social development projects."

The Prime Minister said CARICOM is appealing for an immediate review of the "narrow criteria" used to graduate small highly indebted middle-income countries away from access to concessional resources.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’12″

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