Special Envoy to the Government of the Virgin Islands, Benito Wheatley, is calling for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and their international partners to ‘re-examine’ domestic and international procurement rules and processes for natural disasters.
Wheatley said adjustments to these policies are needed in the immediate aftermath of a disaster and in the ‘early recovery period’ to “help stabilise the economy and accelerate recovery”.
He said: “In many Small Island Developing States, government accounts for a significant share of economic activity through the buying and purchasing of goods and services from domestic contractors and suppliers. This dynamic becomes even more pronounced in the aftermath of a catastrophic event when other sectors and drivers of economic activity have been wiped out. International partners need to understand this reality and help to ensure that as much income as possible remains within the economy and is spread as far and wide as possible across the society.”
“Government contracts driving recovery should economically have a strong multiplier effect, as opposed to resulting in vast sums of money leaving the economy and depriving communities and families of much needed financial resources to sustain themselves during a period of reduced economic activity,” Wheatley further said.
The special envoy made the statements as one of the lead speakers at the annual Caribbean American Leadership Dialogue held at the Longworth House Congressional Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC in the United States recently.
Other speakers at the event included the Deputy Director of the Office of Caribbean Affair at the United States (US) State Department, Michael Wautlet; Dr lga Henry who is Climate Change Lead at the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the US State Department; board member at Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Faculty, Isaac Anthony; Kate Brown of the Global Islands Partnership; and Crispin Gregoire of Crispin Gregoire & Associates.
Barbados Economic Affairs Minister Marsha Caddle also participated in the roundtable discussion, Wheatley said.
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