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Money available to Caribbean countries through EU not being accessed – ACP

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Large quantities of money available to Caribbean countries through the European Union (EU) are not being accessed.

And, Secretary-General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) Dr Patrick Gomes is not very pleased about this.

He said there are usually serious negotiations to make money available to ACP countries, but the Caribbean has been lapsing, while African nations have been taking full advantage of the various monetary packages available.

“I am very disappointed in that,” Gomes told a group of Caribbean journalists during a meeting at ACP headquarters in Brussels last week.

He said there were instances when months were spent discussing the make-up of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which should not be the case, as it exposes the non-functional capacity or orientation of administrative structures.

“…If our institutions and the organizations that are to perform are not doing that in an adequate way, then it is no point calling when we have money or what monies are available.

“It is there and we must make use of it,” the ACP Secretary-General stressed.

He said accessing and using available funding is very important, as “What is the great principle, is that once you use, you can get access for further financing.”

The Secretary-General spoke highly of countries like Mauritius and Botswana, which were able to access money from a one-billion-dollar facility under good governance.

“…They do their work,” stressed the Secretary-General.

“I don’t know which one of our Caribbean countries became eligible for it, but Ghana, Botswana and Mauritius did…we have to be more proactive,” said Gomes, adding, “…if this is available, why are we not going after it in a more aggressive way?”  

A source within the EU said several Caribbean countries complain that the procedure for getting money from the EU is “onerous,” but that makes no sense as the process does not seem difficult for the African countries which apply and get funding.(LC)

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