IDB marks Golden Anniversary of assisting Jamaica

IDB marks Golden Anniversary of assisting Jamaica

By Balford Henry
Senior staff reporter

Friday, December 06, 2019

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The Inter-American Bank (IDB) yesterday afternoon opened the 50th anniversary of its relationship with Jamaica and received praise from Finance and the Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke for the role it has played in the country's development.

“The IDB has been associated with many innovations in Jamaica, and some of the foremost public institutions that we have were started with IDB support and funding,” Clarke told the well-attended function at the IDB's impressive head office on Montrose Road in St Andrew.

The institutions, Clarke said, include the Financial Services Commission, Office of Utilities Regulation, Rural Agricultural Development Authority, National Solid Waste Management Authority, and the regional health authorities.

“And as we speak today, the IDB is still at the forefront of many critical innovations taking place,” Dr Clarke noted.

He said that since 1969 the IDB has loaned Jamaica some US$5.2 billion, and today, Jamaica's debt to the bank stands at US$1.6 billion, or 11 per cent of its total debt, which has been mostly spent on improving sectors such as youth, education, health care, infrastructure, water, fiscal reform, and governance.

Speaking on behalf of the IDB, Country Representative in Jamaica, Therese Turner-Jones, welcomed the economic success that Jamaica has achieved in recent years in terms of its macro-economic targets.

She said that the economic performance has made it a much easier task to achieve the next round, which must be aimed at improving the lives of ordinary Jamaicans.

“The IDB tagline is 'Improving Lives', and we do things across many sectors in this country, and the reason that we do it is not because we are lending money to Jamaica or we want to share our knowledge, but the bottom line is the lives of the people that we are touching,” she said.

The event attracted bankers, public servants, investors, persons with disabilities, cultural performers, and students who have benefited from IDB technological or financial aid.

Popular cultural group Ashe brought the house down several times with splendid performances, which drew numerous encores, including one from Minister Clarke who was so thrilled with the act that he gave up some of his speaking time to accommodate another encore during which he ended up dancing with the group.

The Alpha Boys' School also performed.

A number of other events are expected to be held over the next few weeks as the IDB celebrates this golden jubilee.

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