By Frank Martin
TTC Service.- The president pro tempore of the Summit of Caribbean States (Caricom) and Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley, called an emergency meeting about the regional situation of coronavirus pandemic.
The only topic will be debate and exchange experiences on Covid, as well as islands financial situation to establish common positions to face the disease and economic crisis.
The Caricom members are Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Granada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Monserrat, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, all fighting hard against the Covid-19.
The Caribbean waits patiently but not inactive for the new coronavirus to sink under the blow of science.
Meanwhile, it shows its beaches and landscapes digitally to its nostalgic visitors who want a forecast of the reopening of tourism in the paradisiacal islands.
That feeds some regional hope.
However, the solutions are still far away. Most specialists speak of mid-2021.
Meanwhile, the best means of subsistence and the best way to get through this tourist “dead time” caused by Covid-19 are being sought.
The Caribbean has 45 million inhabitants, the vast majority linked to its first and crucial industry, that of tourism.
The contagions in the pandemic had not yet reached 10,000 in the area at the time of writing this note.
Despite being a low number of infections, the projections act as a peremptory warning that everything can get worse.
Cruises and the continuous commercial planes that once crossed Caribbean space disappeared from the Caribbean Sea.
All evidence indicates that the islands need international financial help.
A crucial cooperation that CARICOM will surely ask for.
The Caribbean Development Bank that want to take part in solutions has announced that it will offer aid to the region in the face of the pandemic.
The entity announced that it will offer some 140 million dollars in aid to the nations of the region.
The bank is a financial institution to promote regional cooperation, integration and finance economic, social and institutional development projects in the area.
It was founded on October 18, 1969 in the city of Kingston, Jamaica, and became operational on January 16, 1970.
Regional members are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands and Venezuela.
Non-regional members are Germany, Canada, China, and Italy.
Warren Smith, president of the Bank described the economic and social shock in the region as severe due to SARS-CoV-2.
Smith told Caricom Today that the situation could be exacerbated for Caribbean nations in the near future given the region’s vulnerability to natural disasters and with the hurricane season less than two months away.
Financial cooperation seems essential.
Due to the emergency, the Caribbean’s economic decline would be 8%, if it extends to two months, 17% if it is extended to three months, and can be as much as 25%, according to international analyzes.
The coronavirus pandemic is causing a huge supply shock.
Experts believe that governments should bear most of the losses and the participation of financial institutions and so-called strategic employers will be necessary.