Allen Chastanet, St. Lucia’s Prime Minister
(RJRNews) St. Lucia’s Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, is calling for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reclassify monies borrowed by disaster struck countries.
Mr. Chastanet was speaking during a round table discussion on Monday at the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Global Conference at the Montego Bay Convention in St. James.
He said, given the impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria on some Caribbean countries, the region is left with no choice but to spend the funds needed to build resilience.
“The opportunity costs that are being lost every single day right now, nobody is calculating that. The hotels that are not opening in Puerto Rico and the expenditures that are not taking place; the cruise ships that are not coming down because they can’t get in; St. Maarten is not open…millions of dollars everyday are being lost and nobody is taking that in consideration,” he argued.
The St. Lucian Prime Minister has called for a dedicated fund which Caribbean countries can pull from in times of natural disasters.
Mr. Chastenet said the usual protocols to access funding are cumbersome.
He said the region has also “missed the boat” in not embarking on a marketing campaign following the recent hurricanes.
“If the Caribbean had come out immediately and talked about the impact, showed pictures of people getting back up on their feet again and what this region has been through and how important tourism is to this region and encouraging people to come to the Caribbean…where would we be?”
“That opportunity comes once, and we just were not nimble enough to be able to do it,” asserted Mr. Chastenet.
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