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EDITORIAL – Bourne did CDB proud

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EDITORIAL – Bourne did CDB proud

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THE BOARD of Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) last Friday celebrated the valuable services of outgoing president Dr Compton Bourne with an Evening of Appreciation event at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion.
For the past ten years, Bourne has headed the region’s premier financial institution whose policies and funded development projects and activities are constantly under review to ensure the most practicable forms of contributions to its 19 borrowing member countries (BMCs), the newest of which is the Republic of Haiti.
Since its establishment with Barbados as operational headquarters in 1969, the CDB has been fortunate to have had as its president a quartet of distinguished Caribbean nationals, starting with St Lucia’s Nobel laureate Sir Arthur Lewis, Trinidad and Tobago’s Dr William Demas (also a former secretary general of CARICOM), Barbados’ Sir Neville Nicholls, followed by Bourne, of Guyana.   
Sir Neville’s appointment broke with a tradition that precluded nationals of countries where major regional institutions were headquartered from being elected to the top post – in the case of CDB, the president, and secretary general for the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat. 
The new thinking that came with the appointment of Sir Neville was that while rotation of the presidency was desirable – as happens with international financial institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the Inter-American Development Bank – the choice of the CDB’s president should not be affected by nationality but based on a recognized performance record, competence and integrity.
At the Evening of Appreciation, Bourne was showered with praise for achievements by the CDB under his watch, a relationship that ends next month when the Jamaican national, Dr Warren Smith, assumes leadership.
When Bourne became president in 2001, the CDB’s total assets stood at US$1.3 billion. That figure has since grown to US$2.4 billion.
Bourne’s tenure followed three decades of work in various capacities with the University of the West Indies, including that of principal of the St Augustine campus. One of his better known achievements was the bank’s success in raising US$100 million on the international financial market for financing operations of the Port-of-Spain-headquartered Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) . 
In commending the CDB’s culture of showing appreciation, we also extend good wishes to Bourne as he prepares to leave the regional institution, and take this opportunity to welcome his successor. We certainly look forward to the CDB’s continuing commitment to service as a vital pillar in the Caribbean’s social and economic development.