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Do more to fix economies

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Do more to fix economies

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The former head of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) entity based here has ended his tenure at the organisation with a warning that Barbados and other Caribbean islands need to do more to fix their economies and fiscal challenges.

Dr Arnold McIntyre, who was Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) programme coordinator for almost four years, left Barbados to resume his career at the IMF’s headquarters in Washington at the end of July.

In his final report to CARTAC’s steering committee, he said while Barbados and other countries in the region had made some gains, there were still some “constraints” preventing them from fully benefiting from the organisation’s technical assistance.

McIntyre said not only was “stronger policy action needed”, but other negatives were lengthy delays in policy decisions, delays in the passage of legislation, and the absence of full commitment “to multi-year fiscal frameworks that are target-based and aligned to medium-term macro frameworks”.

He said this was important because macroeconomic conditions “continue to deteriorate in most countries” in the Caribbean and “stepped up efforts are needed to address worsening conditions in some countries – Barbados [and] St Lucia”.

McIntyre said the result was that the outlook for the region “remain[s] firmly on the downside”.

“Continued good progress is being made in achieving milestones and moving towards the outcomes that would represent significant capacity improvement.

“However, important challenges remain,” he said.

In a joint statement issued at the end of the most recent steering committee meeting held in Jamaica in May, McIntyre and Bank of Jamaica governor Brian Wynter, who chairs the CARTAC steering committee, said in the six-month period leading to the next steering committee meeting in November CARTAC’s focus would be focused on capacity building in the Caribbean, including to “initiate and successfully execute a programme of fiscal consolidation”.