Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, will be the featured speaker at the CARICOM Development Fund’s fourth annual meeting .

Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, will be the featured speaker at the CARICOM Development Fund’s (CDF) fourth annual meeting of contributors and development partners to be held in Barbados on Thursday, September 18th.

Also addressing the meeting will be chief executive officer of the CDF, Lorne McDonnough, who will present the Fund’s annual report for 2013 and give details on the country assistance programme (CAP).

The Barbados-based CDF was launched in 2008 as a cohesion fund with a mandate to support “disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors” within CARICOM by providing grants, loans and technical assistance in order to assist various sectors to grow and become more competitive.

To date its focus has been more on small business, business development and building competitiveness.

CDF has also extended funds for infrastructure projects in some of the countries and the new Argyle International Airport being constructed in St Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the major infrastructural projects within CARICOM in which the organisation is involved.

The original CAP agreement was signed with the government on May 24, 2011, for 11.4 million EC dollars and a supplement for 8.8 million EC dollars was signed in December 2012 to bring the total value of the CAP to 20.2 million EC dollars.

The mixture of loans and grants has been used to procure and install runway lighting, a stone crusher plant and base placing equipment for the runway and taxiway.

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