Press Release: Caribbean Parliamentarians Meet with the IDB, IMF and World Bank for the first time in Washington, D.C.

March 12, 2007

Press Release No. 07/44

"Globalization, Integration and Governance: The Role of Caribbean Parliamentarians" was the focus of a two-day Conference between Parliamentarians from the English-speaking Caribbean and officials of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. While representatives of the international institutions often meet with individual parliamentarians during missions to the region, this was the first time that a group from across the Caribbean has met together with the three institutions.

"A Conference like this is very important for the IMF and the other multilateral institutions," noted Anoop Singh, IMF Director for the Western Hemisphere Department during his welcoming remarks. "Engaging in a close and continuous dialogue with parliamentary representatives is key to developing a strong consensus for raising sustainable growth in the Caribbean."

The working sessions focused on the crucial role that Members of Parliament play in fiscal transparency, budgetary preparation, execution and oversight, effective use of public goods and accountability. The importance of increasing growth and competitiveness, the effectiveness of policy making, public debt issues, the effect of remittances in recipient countries, social protection matters, particularly pension regimes, were also discussed.

"We recognize that Caribbean countries enjoy relative stability with respect to governance institutions," said IDB Manager Alicia Ritchie. "However, existing governance structures and capacity are being challenged by the demands of national and international agendas. Along with the other institutions, we remain prepared to support efforts to strengthen governance, paying particular attention to areas of budget management for development results."

The meeting underscored the need to further enhance and deepen consultation and collaboration between the international institutions and the Caribbean Parliaments. Several Parliamentary participants emphasized the need for more transparent policies on disclosure of information and to ensure that the views and concerns of opposition parties are taken into account when preparing country assessments. The parliamentarians also requested support and capacity building programs to help them do a better job on budget oversight.

"Strengthening oversight and transparency is key to bolstering progress and accelerating development in the region", said Caroline Anstey, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean in her closing remarks. "Parliaments and Parliamentarians are crucial players in ensuring this happens. Going forward it will be important to see how we can best support these critical institutions."


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