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CDB funds for La Soufriere volcano relief


CDB funds for La Soufriere volcano relief
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves (third from left) and CDB President Dr Gene Leon (fourth from left) displaying copies of the agreement signed on Friday (CDB)

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Kingstown – The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank, (CDB) Friday announced that it has approved US$5.3 million for St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) to support the island’s response to the explosive eruption of the La Soufriere volcano which ravaged parts of the country in April.

CDB President, Dr Gene Leon, who is on a four-day official visit to the island, said that the CDB has approved an Immediate Response Loan of US $5 million, as well as an Emergency Assistance Grant of US$300 000.

Leon told a news conference that the bank will also be accelerating the disbursement of funds for its development projects currently being implemented in the country.

“While we are supporting the recovery, CDB will also be bolstering the country’s development agenda by financing high priority projects that have transformative value,” he said.

Among the interventions is a US$142.5 million initiative to modernise the Kingstown Port.

The project, which is being partially financed by the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF), will entail the construction of a new cargo port in the capital and upgrading of associated roadways to improve traffic flow in the central business district of Kingstown. Construction work is expected to commence in 2022.

St  Vincent and the Grenadines is also set to benefit from the 10th  cycle of CDB’s Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) which will finance projects designed to increase access to education and improve conditions in low-income and vulnerable communities.

Another initiative is the US$13.6 million School Improvement Project which will see nine schools being rehabilitated to enhance early childhood education.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, in welcoming the funding, said “from the time CDB became operational in 1970, it has had a tremendous impact on the development of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“As we face the current challenges, I am impressed with the programmatic elements of the solutions the new team is providing and I appreciate their approach to partnership,” he added. (CMC)