Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris meets with Nicholas Rémillard, president and chief executive officer of the International Economic Forum of the Americas (IEFA), the umbrella organisation that convenes the Toronto Global Forum.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ prime minister makes impassioned plea for small island states
From the Office of the Prime Minister
Toronto, Canada – At the Toronto Global Forum, the prime minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris, gave a noteworthy speech issuing an impassioned plea on behalf of Caribbean small island states.
Harris’ stirring appeal came Oct. 31 while addressing participants during Day 2 of the Toronto Global Forum, where he had the high-profile task of introducing the forum titled “Paving the Way for Climate-Resilient Infrastructure.”
The prime minister, who was invited to speak and share his country’s perspective at the prestigious gathering of political and business leaders, focused his remarks on the vulnerability of the Caribbean region and the need to invest in climate-resilient infrastructure in light of the devastation caused by Category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria.
In his insightful introductory remarks that set the parameters for the ensuing panel discussion, Harris highlighted the need for International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to reconsider the role of GDP per capita measurements in development finance and policy. Harris also echoed Sir Richard Branson’s call for the creation of a “Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan” to help aid in the Caribbean region’s reconstruction and recovery.
Prime Minister Harris stated that while the Caribbean is a minimal contributor to climate change by way of carbon emissions, its islands like other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the world are being disproportionately impacted by it. He further stated that, “In the true spirit of Caribbean resilience, rather than cling to the crutch of victimhood, we hope to seize this opportunity to continue our transition to a green economy anchored on climate-resilient infrastructure. While we may not be able to guard with certainty against every wail of the wind and every lash of a rising sea, there are tools at our disposal to mitigate and adapt.”
The panelists, who included high-level representatives of respected international agencies such as the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council and the Inter-American Development Bank, shared the prime minister’s sentiments. Jonathan Laski, director of global projects and partnerships at the World Green Building Council, moderated the panel discussion.
Following Harris’ engaging presentation before the high-powered gathering, he met with Nicholas Rémillard, the president and chief executive officer of the International Economic Forum of the Americas (IEFA), the umbrella organisation that convenes the Toronto Global Forum. Both men discussed a range of issues, including airlift from Canada to St. Kitts and Nevis, tourism and entrepreneurship. They also discussed opportunities for the prime minister to meet with top Canadian investors. Harris used the occasion to invite Rémillard to visit St. Kitts and Nevis to pursue further avenues for partnership.