The British Virgin Islands (BVI) was unanimously elected as one of the Vice Chairs of the Caribbean Development Cooperation Committee (CDCC), a permanent subsidiary body for of the United Nations’ (UN) Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
The decision was taken at the 26th Session of the CDCC in St. Kitts and Nevis on April 22 where St. Kitts and Nevis assumed the Chair by rotation. Antigua and Barbuda and Dominican Republic were elected Vice Chairs along with BVI, while St. Vincent and the Grenadines was elected Rapporteur. Each will serve in their post until the 27th Session of the CDCC in 2018.
As a Vice Chair of the CDCC, the Territory will support the new CDCC Chair, in advancing the work of the subsidiary body to promote development cooperation among Caribbean countries via its agreed decisions and programmes. Additionally the BVI, in its role, will advocate for the greater economic integration and cooperation of Associate Members of ECLAC in the sub-region.
BVI London Office Director, Mr. Benito Wheatley, attended the meeting on behalf of Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE and welcomed the election result.
He said, “To serve as a Vice Chair of the CDCC is a progression in the BVI’s relationship with ECLAC with whom we have had a longstanding relationship as an Associate Member. ECLAC support for the BVI and other members of the CDCC can contribute significantly to our development in the sub-region”.
The session heard discussions from members and other participants on the risks to the sustainable development of the Caribbean, which included threats posed by loss of correspondent banking, attacks on the financial services industry, unstainable debt and ageing populations.
Mr. Wheatley in his contribution to the discussion on the attacks of financial services, called on CDCC members to “preserve financial services as a legitimate economic pillar that has contributed to the greater prosperity of the sub region.” The BVI London Office Director also attended the Fourth Caribbean Development Forum on April 21 that focused on models for the development of Caribbean economies burdened by high debt.
The meetings were attended by Executive Secretary of ECLAC Ms. Alicia Barcena, Deputy Executive Antonio Prado and Chaired by the Foreign Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Hon. Mark Brantley.
The BVI’s participation in the CDCC supports the Government of the Virgin Islands’ policy to strengthen its international relationships in the region. The BVI joined ECLAC in 1984 and is the oldest Associate Member of the regional commission.