The CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) has a new Chairman. He is Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Alvin Hilaire, who was appointed by the CARICOM Council for Finance and Planning in August this year.
The Barbados -based Fund provides financial and technical assistance to disadvantaged countries and Dr. Hilaire recently paid his first visit, as chairman, to the headquarters where he met management and staff, was updated on the Fund’s and programmes and “get a clear appreciation of the terrain, given recent changes in the international and regional economic environment”.
He said afterwards, “The worldwide economic crisis has made the role of the CDF even more urgent. At the conceptualization stage, CARICOM was established as a regional organization, made up of small and large partners with a set of arrangements for the distribution of resources to the less advantaged members. Now, in the present climate where several members are facing deep economic challenges, we have an added dimension that requires more immediacy. While a clear and strong structure for CDF operations must be maintained, there is more urgency to pursue the task at hand.”
The chairman added, “Hopefully we can leverage on this immediacy that countries are feeling to foster even closer regional collaboration that would complement individual efforts towards economic improvement, I, therefore, welcome the opportunity to serve as CDF Chairman and to bring to bear the experience which I gained from working with individual CARICOM Member States on regional issues.”
Dr. Hilaire replaced Dr. Bernard LaCorbinière, whose term of office ended in June 2012. In the interim, Nigel John, representative of the regional private sector, had acted as Chairman for one year, followed by Dr. Allison Plummer, representative of the Less Developed Countries (LDCs).
While in Barbados, he also paid courtesy calls on senior officials at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) and noted: “These visits were equally as important because we have a small region and a certain amount of resources and it is crucial that we all coordinate closely and work together for the common goal.”
Dr. Hilaire started his career at the Central Bank over 20 years ago, then joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1997 and worked with several Caribbean countries, including Barbados, as well as Croatia, Nicaragua and Thailand.
His last assignment was in West Africa – in Guinea and Sierra Leone as Resident Representative, before returning to Trinidad and Tobago as Chief Economist and Director of Research with the Central Bank. He assumed his present post in April this year.”