Archive for August 2016

How To Win Like A Caribbean Olympic Champion


Written by

By Marlene Saint Martin



The rush of seeing Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce winning medals in three different editions of the Olympic Games has not faded as yet. During 17 days, we cheered while watching our favorite athletes aspire to Olympic glory in Rio 2016. Our Caribbean athletes, many of whom have already set their sight in the next Olympic Games, have gone home with 26 medals. Jamaica and Cuba led the Caribbean countries in Rio 2016 with 11 medals each. Also, the sporting events in athletics remain a source of pride for the Caribbean as 62 percent of their medals were won in track and field competitions.

Not all of us have the talent and discipline to be Usain Bolt. Still, the potential impact of sports in our lives is just as relevant. In the Declaration of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations (UN) recognizes sports as a tool for development. Here at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), we believe that sports promote skills such as communication, conflict resolution, discipline, respect, self-development, and teamwork. Stimulating these skills in our youth enhances development objectives such as school attainment, health, and peace. Furthermore, initiatives and projects that encourage the practice of sports have shown to have impacts on the communities where they operate by preventing violence and favoring social inclusion.

In her previous blog post for Caribbean DevTrends, Heather Sutton discussed how crime and violence are issues of concern for policy makers and citizens in the Caribbean. How can the Caribbean people and their authorities tackle these issues? While sports might not be the only needed response, they represent a cost-effective solution that can improve lives in schools, homes, jobs and communities. Most Caribbean countries have implemented public policies that promote sports from an early age. However, implementing sports as a public policy requires the support of everybody.

When you are deciding whether to stay home or go out to play some sport with your friends, not only think about what Usain Bolt would do… think about the skills you and your friends will be acquiring and how they can translate in your lives. Furthermore, think about your health and the potential money you might save by preventing an illness. Stay fit to stay safe and encourage others to follow your lead, especially the little ones!

IDB Series: Crime and Violence in the Caribbean


Written by

By Heather Sutton

IDB Series: Crime and Violence in the Caribbean from Caribbean Country Department IDB on Vimeo.

In this interview, Heather Sutton* discusses the latest findings on Crime and Violence in the Caribbean. Ms. Sutton recently edited the technical notes ‘IDB Series: Crime and Violence in the Caribbean’. Below you will find a short summary of the interview.

The pervasive effects of crime and violence can be seen in all parts of the world and the Caribbean is no exception. As part of an ongoing effort to document the size and dimensions of crime and violence in the Caribbean, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is launching a series of technical notes on The Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Based on police data and the literature of the region, the Series includes a description of the situation in each country. Each document also contains an explanation of the institutional frameworks that exist and the programs, projects, and initiatives that have been recently undertaken by governments and/or local organizations to counteract crime and violence.

Some Key findings:

• There is great interregional variance. It is important to recognize these differences and understand the unique dynamics of crime in each country to design relevant policies.

• While the main victims of crimes recorded by the police are young males, violence against women and children remains a concern. However, data on these types of violence is much more limited and largely unreliable.

• Efforts by government and other organizations have been undertaken to prevent and counteract crime and violence in the region; however, there is still little empirical evidence of what works given data gaps and lack of sound evaluation

• Although there is a sense of urgency to implement new violence prevention programs and strategies, investment in research and capacity-building for data collection and analysis should not be underemphasized.

• The continued testing and evaluation of policing and preventative programs is needed to gather equally valuable information about crime and violence.

If you are interested in learning more about the IDB’s comprehensive new research on “Crime and Violence in the Caribbean,”  please join our live Webinar on October 19th. IDB’s Heather Sutton and other citizen security experts will discuss the main findings of their research. We also want to encourage you to actively participate by sending us questions for response by our experts. 

Please register here:

* Heather Sutton is a consultant in Citizen Security at the Inter-American Development Bank


The Commonwealth of The Bahamas: The most paradisiac archipelago country is pushing its government effectiveness ahead


Written by

By Robert Pantzer 


Photo: Creative Commons

When you tell people that you live in the Bahamas, 95% of the time they tell you “Oh, you are on vacation 365 days a year.” Sure, this archipelagic country, encompassing 700 islands and a population of barely 400,000, has the most beautiful beaches and sunsets. However, enjoying a privileged offshore location barely 70 miles away from the Florida coast and aspiring to imitate countries such as Singapore, the country is currently assessing how it can become more competitive. Indeed, while for the rest of the world the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is a picture of paradise, the country also faces day to day challenges like any other.

With a GDP per capita of approximately USD 25,000, The Bahamas is much wealthier than its neighboring Caribbean countries. However, over the last 15 years, Government Effectiveness[1] has been declining steadily, affecting service delivery and the business environment. The Bahamas has scored low on sub-indicators and processes such as registering a property (183 out of 189), starting a business (118 out of 189), and getting electricity (114 out of 189), critical indicators for the country’s development efforts.

Last June, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) co-organized a joint seminar “Putting The Bahamas Ahead of the Wave: New Avenues to Embrace Innovation, Transparency and Service Deliverywith the Government of The Bahamas. The Bahamas’ Prime Minister, the Attorney General, other Cabinet Ministers and Permanent Secretaries, as well as a representative from the Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Colombia, actively participated and contributed to the Seminar. Attendees learned of innovative practices from other countries in the region and plotted a way forward for the continued improvement of government service delivery.

A document containing concrete recommendations and actions outlined during the event will be produced. It will provide details on the next steps to encourage innovation, transparency and the enhancement of government services in the country, in alignment with the vision contained in the National Development Plan (NDP), which was previously developed with IDB’s financial and technical support. This document is expected to be the roadmap for the implementation of the Governance Pillar of the NDP. This document will be prepared by the Office of The Prime Minister with the assistance of the IDB, before being presented to the Cabinet.

The Government of the Bahamas recognizes the need to improve on key governance indicators by addressing the downstream side of public service delivery, transparency and accountability. Moreover, Bahamians have been consistently asking for a more effective dialogue between them and their government, especially on defining the actions that need to be taken to address the situation described above. Therefore, a new strategy has been launched to get the message right. By having a communications Specialist on board, coordinating efforts between the IDB and the government, the seminar pro-actively penetrated social- and all the other media. Below you can find a short list of links that demonstrate the outcomes of the seminar.

You can join the discussion on The Bahamas’ governance challenges in social media. Participate by sharing your thoughts and proposals for the Governance Pillar of the NDP on Twitter and Facebook. Your recommendations could be included in the final document. Remember, make these challenges your own to improve lives together in The Bahamas!


“PM says Nation Must Change to Keep Up With the Rest of the World”

“PM: Public Service Reform Imperative” 

“PM Renews Plans to Fight Poverty”

The Bahamas Weekly

[1] As measured by the World Bank

Brain Drain: Are we investing in the ‘right’ skills to keep our talent?


Written by

By Inder Ruprah

Copia de Brain Drain

Caribbean countries invest a lot of economic resources in higher education. The rationale for investing public funds in education follows from the public and private expected returns: boost country-level growth and welfare, and increase productivity and earnings. However, if beneficiaries of public education migrate, these public and private returns are received by the host country.

Mishra (2006) shows that although the Caribbean is the world’s largest recipient of remittances, losses from public investments in education resulting from migration of high-skilled workers outweigh the benefits of remittances. The infographic summarizes these findings, showing that, for the Caribbean, the average emigration loss accounts for 10.9 percent of the gross domestic product, whereas incoming remittances account for 5.2 percent. Therefore, the costs associated with investments in the education of students who then become migrants outweighs the benefits from remittances sent by international workers back to the Caribbean.[1]

Besides investing in developing high-skilled workers, Caribbean countries must also find ways to attract, maintain, and foster these workers’ talent at their original country level. Also, further research is needed to examine if Caribbean countries are investing in the ‘right’ skills.

[1] From a forthcoming report by the Caribbean Economic Team titled, “An Engine of Growth? The Caribbean Private Sector Needs More Than an Oil Change,” by Inder Ruprah and Ricardo Sierra

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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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