Archive for April 2014

World Water Day


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by Rajiv Ebanks

DSC_8749(Photo courtesy of the Jamaica Observer): Therese Turner-Jones (third right), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Country Representative in Jamaica, with students of the Westwood High School who won an award for their composition of the winning song in a competition run by the Ministry of Water, Land Environment & Climate Change in celebration of International Day of Forests, World Water Day and World Meteorological Day. Turner-Jones was a speaker at the opening ceremony of a recent expo mounted by the Ministry and its portfolio agencies, at which the awards were presented.

Water plays a tremendous role in everything we do. Water cannot be substituted, nor is it replaceable. It is a scarce resource needed in everyday life. On March 22, 2014 the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in collaboration with Government of Jamaica through the Ministry of Water Land Environment and Climate Change collectively brought stakeholder attention to the water-energy nexus. The event was the official launch of World Water Day 2014 and was aimed at exploring the close interlink and interdependence of water and energy.

DSC_8683 > Read more

Caribbean shines at IDB’s XIII Civil Society Meeting


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by Dorri Agostini

civil society photo 1

The Caribbean region made its mark during the concluded IDB XIII Civil Society Meeting held in Colombia in November 2013.  Members of Civil Society voiced that this was an “extra-ordinary framework for collaboration among civil society actors” and congratulated the IDB for its continued support to this type of engagement.

The Network of NGOs for the Advancement of Women from Trinidad and Tobago received an award from the IDB for its submission to the Call for Proposals for Civil Society Projects financed by the Japanese Fund.  This winning proposal, entitled “Becoming a Woman” aims to empower young women and girls, aged 10-25, to manage their sexuality, social and economic well-being. > Read more

ConSOC in The Bahamas


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by Guest blogger, Ranford A. Patterson

people shaking handsPhoto courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, User Essjay

“This year’s Civil Society Forum, held March 2014 in Bahia Brazil, focused on Quality of Life, Partnerships for a Positive Impact.  IDB’s Office of Institutional Integrity (OII) emphasized the responsibility of Civil Society groups to serve as the “watch dog” for IDB funded projects.

ConSOC is vital to country development; we have the obligation to organize ourselves to the point where our governments would seek our advice.  ConSoc plays a significant role in developing IDB funded projects; politics, religion, classism and racism do not play a major role, but rather ordinary people working together on behalf of their countries ensuring that citizens get maximum benefit from IDB funded Projects. > Read more

How do you measure the value of a dream?


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by Brodrick Watson


If you are like me where you only visit your hometown a few times per year then you may understand when I say “visiting my hometown is filled with moments being relived through deep reflections that evoke varying emotions.” Well, last summer, on one of those rare trips, I met up with a childhood friend and immediately my mind started jogging down memory lane.

My friend updated me on the good, the bad, and even the dead. Beyond the discussion, I quickly observed that my friend had a new and positive outlook on life. He spoke about attendance at remedial classes, a bid for a career in music, an intent to study few subjects, and his newly acquired skills gained through working in a restaurant.

My intent is not to sound like a pessimist, but I marveled at his optimism. You see, if I were to summarize my friend’s background, as I recall, I would say that it models the profile of the typical gangster in Jamaica. My friend’s single-parent family lived in a very volatile and impoverished community close to my neighborhood. Hecame from a large family of six siblings. Two siblings were cut down by gun violence in gang-related shootings not long ago. Of course, other factors such as little formal education and an inner city reality were all in the mix. > Read more



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by Therese Turner-Jones

Yesterday, Day 1 of a conference on Public Private Partnerships (PPPs, 3Ps or P3s) in the Caribbean, I heard references to these animals and creepy crawlers.

As a new dog owner I took offense, as did several others. Speakers were trying to explain that a badly designed PPP turns out to be a dog, or a cockroach or a white elephant. Whichever is more palatable as a descriptor?

dogsphoto by Sharifa Powell

> Read more

Eat to Live. Not to Die.


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by Ian Ho-A-Shu 

40 copySunday, April 6 in Paramaribo – a healthy lifestyle event promoted by the IDB via grant funding

The data is deadly! Almost too scary to put into words. But it’s time to face the fat ugly truth: Suriname like so many of its Caribbean neighbors has joined the fat parade.  According to a local newspaper, 30% of the male population between the ages of 15 and 50 are well on their way to eating themselves to death. A recently published WHO/PAHO survey which looks at the risk factors associated with chronic diseases showed that Suriname is facing an obesity epidemic. According to the survey, obesity in Suriname has doubled in the past 35 years.  A quarter of the population has high cholesterol and approximately 20 percent suffers from high blood pressure while approximately 15 percent of the population suffers from diabetes. The survey also concluded that the Surinamese population exercises too little and in particular, more than half of Surinamese women fail to do any form of physical exercise. Even scarier is that cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancers, which can be directly linked to obesity and poor lifestyle habits are the cause of 60% of the deaths in Suriname. The Ministry of Health of Suriname estimates that the hospitalization costs for cardiovascular patients is approximately USD1 Million per year while dialysis costs are estimated at USD2 Million per year.

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Responding to this obesity crisis, the Ministry of Health has taken the policy decision to focus on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (which is linked to obesity and poor lifestyle choices including alcohol and tobacco abuse). > Read more

Solid Foundation


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by Brodrick Watson

jamaica construction

Strengthening public fiduciary systems have received a considerable amount of attention on a global scale in the last few decades. So far, attempting Public Financial Management (PFM) reforms has been perplexing for most developing countries with not much to show in terms of desired results and impact. Many factors have been posited for this including; the lack of political drive to execute reforms in a timely manner, too many incoherent projects not in sync with country systems and priorities, the “one size fits all” approach based on preconceived best practices stemming from dissimilar economies, inadequate situational analysis and research, just to mention a few. > Read more

Good Living Nah Lang Life for the Caribbean


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by Kevin Bonnett

caricom photophoto courtesy of CARICOM

“Good living nah lang life” is an African Guyanese proverb that translates to mean that the good life won’t continue indefinitely without sustained contribution from the one giving or living it and that nothing free and easy lasts forever.  I could not help wonder if this proverb can very well reflect the state of Caribbean development when we think about the challenges facing the regional block.

The region is a paradox of middle income countries (MICs) but also a block of small island developing states (SIDS) characterized by vulnerability to disasters, climate change and economic shocks.  It has the highest murder rate of any region in the world, and an end to trade preferences coupled with less traditional bilateral (US, Canada & UK) and multilateral aid resources, means that the region must transform itself into alternative pathways of region building.

I believe the changing hemispheric reconfiguration of the region is an opportunity to find ways of propelling opportunities to improve the lot of Caribbean peoples. > Read more

Belize Shows the Caribbean How to Better Manage Waste Products


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 by Guest blogger, Xavi Grau 

A solid waste management project in Belize has allowed access to nearly half the population to an appropriate collection and disposal of municipal solid waste. The project has placed the country at the forefront of the sector in Central America and the Caribbean.

On a recent trip to Belize to supervise the execution of the Solid Waste Management Project (SWMP), I visited the islands of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker to assess the rate of progress in the construction of two transfer stations from where solid waste is to be transported into the mainland for final disposal. As I was leaving the town of San Pedro in Ambergris Caye on a small 12-seat airplane to go back to Belize City, the passenger next to me surprisingly told his partner “look at that, we were diving not far from there!”

belizephoto by: Xavi Grau Aerial view of San Pedro’s open dump. At the end, the Belize Barrier Reef

> Read more

Growing Jamaica’s Hotel Industry while Training At-Risk Youths


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by Stefan Wright

1photo by Denise Adams

IDB approved a US$6.75 million loan to Caribe Hospitality Jamaica in December 2012 to construct and operate a 129 room Marriott Courtyard Hotel in New Kingston Jamaica.  In addition to providing loan funds, IDB saw the opportunity to provide technical assistance to enhance the development impact of the project.  IDB then conducted a Shared Value Appraisal, in partnership with Deloitte and Cuso International.  A Shared Value appraisal is the IDB’s strategic assessment tool which identifies opportunities for companies to partner with community stakeholders such that both the stakeholders benefits and the company benefits.

> Read more

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The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inter-American Development Bank, its Management, its Board of Executive Directors or its member Governments.

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