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US$35m in CDF help to region

shadiasimpson, [email protected]

US$35m in CDF help to region

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THE three-year-old Barbados-based CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) has approved US$35.4 million in assistance to member states to date through its Country Assistance Programmes (CAPs).
This was revealed recently by chief executive Ambassador Lorne McDonnough as he and St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves signed the agreement for US$3.262 million in additional support for the development of that country’s new Argyle International Airport.
The CDF’s mission includes strengthening and deepening the CSME process and McDonnough urged CARICOM member states to ensure it remained capable of providing sustained assistance over time in order to ameliorate disparities and provide assistance to disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors.
“We at the CDF, for our part, are committed to tight fiscal management and transparency. We have a small but motivated staff and with the support of the national executing agencies, will ensure that our programmes will be relevant, effective, efficient and sustainable,” he said.
St Vincent and the Grenadines was the first member state to benefit from a CAP and McDonnough was satisfied with the progress.
The additional loan will support the acquisition of more vehicles and equipment to transport the aggregates and base-laying material to the worksite.
He also revealed that specifically, the concessionary loan to the International Airport Development Company would be delivered in two tranches on terms similar to the initial loan, namely at a nominal interest rate of three per cent per annum for 12 years with a grace period of two years on interest.
McDonnough said, “The Argyle International Airport, when completed, will contribute to the reduction of disparities . . . and notably change the lives of the citizens of St Vincent and the Grenadines.”  
He added that the CDF was pleased to have had its board’s approval of the additional facility in less than six months and that the goal was to facilitate the satisfaction of export demand for agricultural output and tourism services at reasonable cost to the beneficiary.
The CDF has signed other agreements with the Governments of Belize, St Lucia, and St Kitts and Nevis and will follow suit in the coming month with Dominica and Guyana. (PR)