A meeting to map a way forward for Saint Lucia was held between Prime Minister Philip J Pierre and the President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Dr. Hyginus Leon Thursday at the Office of the Prime Minister. Leon also met with the Cabinet of Ministers.
This was Leon’s first visit to Saint Lucia as President of the CDB. He said he is optimistic about the future, but noted that the journey ahead will not be easy. Leon pledged to work with Saint Lucia and said he is looking forward to future discussions.
“Saint Lucia is close to home (and) my heart. I’d want to be able to equally make that statement to the Government of Saint Lucia and to Saint Lucians that I think there is ample room for us to be optimistic, despite the conjuncture of events that we now face, in terms of the impact of COVID, the future of climate change, the development of our region getting past structural challenges that we have faced in the past,” Leon said.
“If we can get our sights to aspirational goals that in my mind should not be limited either by physical size, smallness of population or by lack or absence of natural resources provided we can raise our game by tapping into the unbounded imagination of our people,” Leon added.
He described his meeting with Pierre as a fruitful one, however, he said nothing has been set in stone yet.
“If we can come together as a people we can focus on a common single purpose and we can work together in unison, so that we can actually achieve and achieve more than we have achieved simply by reimagining what we can do and pushing ourselves to get it done. I think that’s the sentiment we are doing now,” Leon said.
According to a statement from the CDB, discussions between its president and the Government of Saint Lucia focused on deepening the longstanding partnership between the bank and government to achieve key development priorities.
“The dialogue covered opportunities for CDB to provide financial support, technical assistance, and policy advice to drive recovery efforts. The consultations also included a review of CDB’s Saint Lucia project portfolio and exploration of the scope for accelerated implementation. CDB also agreed to revisit its country strategy for Saint Lucia in light of possible new policy priorities and evolving needs,” CDB stated.
In a brief address Prime Minister Pierre said Leon’s visit was “basically to meet members of my Cabinet and to have general discussions on the future of Saint Lucia. He will be back, well the bank will be back for more detailed analysis of the economic situation in Saint Lucia. We will ask the bank to partner with us in the priority that we’ve set for our country, basically our youth economy and ensuring that our health services get to a much better situation and also improving the general fiscal and economic situation in our country.”
“The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is not new to us. We have been members of the bank for a very long time so basically it’s not a new engagement, but it is a get to know engagement since we have a new government and cabinet,” Pierre said.