The Ministry of Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation and by extension the Government of Saint Lucia, congratulates Dr. Hyginus “Gene” Leon on his election by the Board of Governors to the helm of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), making him the 6 th President to lead our region’s foremost regional development finance institution.
For Saint Lucia, Dr. Leon’s ascension to the head of the CDB is noteworthy as he is the second Saint Lucian to assume the leadership of the institution over its fifty (50) years of existence, the other being Noble Laureate Sir William Arthur Lewis who served as the Bank’s first President. Dr Leon, who officially assumes office on May 1 st 2021, is a distinguished PhD-trained academic and development economist with over thirty (30) years of experience across various International Financial Institutions (IFIs), such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Barbados Central Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank as well.
The Government of Saint Lucia is very confident that Dr. Leon’s vast training and experience in macro-economics and development finance has adequately prepared and strategically positions him to steer the CDB and its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) during this critical juncture, as the region jointly faces what is arguably its most difficult period in its post-independence history.
During his tenure as President, Dr. Leon will have to confront head-on a number of challenges. These include reducing the sheer level of vulnerability of the region to climate change and climate variability; the elevated levels of public debt that compromises the fiscal health of most Caribbean Countries; loss of productivity and competitiveness; recovering from the unfolding COVID 19 pandemic and preparing the region to participate in the fourth industrial revolution built on Information and Communicating Technology and Digital Technology.
Moreover, as Saint Lucia approaches its 42 nd Independence Anniversary and recently commemorated the success of our two Nobel Laureates in the month of January, the news of Dr. Leon ascendancy to the leadership of the CDB brings tremendous pride to our nation and reminds us of the rich potential and talent that is endemic in Saint Lucia. His achievement should serve as an inspiration to our youth of the heights that one can attain if he or she puts in the necessary effort and discipline.