Ambassador warns island that future payments will not be automatic
A stern warning to Barbados that it will need to justify its future requests for support under the tenth European Development Fund.
The warning came today from the Head of the EU Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Ambassador Mikael Barfod, even as he delivered on a payment of $20.9 million, which constituted the second draw down under the $130 million programme.
Barfod said while the EU remained committed to supporting the country’s Human Resource Development (HRD) programme, the third tranche payment would not be automatic.
In fact, he told reporters during a Press conference at the EU’s Hastings, Christ Church headquarters that there would first have to be a review of the island’s economic performance, including its efforts to reduce its fiscal deficit and achieve macro-economic stability.
“It is my hope that we will be able to provide sufficient evidence that we are on the right track before the end of the budget year at the end of March. I will be working together with the Government of Barbados who will provide the evidence that we need to certify the micro-economic stability is in order . . .It is not a bag of money that would simply be given to Government, the Government of Barbados would have to work hard,” he said.
The overall objective of the HRD is to support the Government of Barbados in its efforts to increase competitiveness, promote sustainable growth and poverty alleviation. It also focuses on strengthening the country’s human resource capacity, reducing unemployment and increasing productivity of the work force.
Following the payment of the first tranche of BDS$28.9 million, a number of actions were undertaken that paved the way for the EU to commit to further financial resources to the programme.
These actions or indicators included further institutional assessments of Government departments, the training of 600 public officers in human resource development, an increase in the number of Government departments utilizing the full human resource module of the Smart Stream application, a reduction in the time it takes educational providers to re-register, an increased number of persons assessing registered entrepreneurial training and an increase in the number of qualification programmes approved and operational.
The HRD Programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation.
The programme consists of five pillars which are providing an enabling environment for human capacity development, the establishment of a national qualifications framework, the development of a demand driven education system, the creation of a knowledge management system and the enhancement of research, innovation and entrepreneurship capacity within Barbados.