Caribbean, Latin America drastically affected by COVID-19

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd says the Caribbean and Latin America need global support and should not be overlooked due to the devastating effect of COVID-19.

The Foreign Minister was at the time delivering his virtual address to the 38th Session of Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean on Monday.

As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc, the Caribbean and Latin America are hit hardest, he said. The effects include increased poverty, inequalities and vulnerability in all forms.

Minister Todd said the issue requires prudent, but robust polices adding that it is time leaders rethink their approaches and strategies.

“The countries of the Region, including the Caribbean are in need of the flexibility necessary to accelerate financial and technical support in order to contain the spread of the disease, sustain economic activity, protect jobs and alleviate liquidity constraints. In the context of the pandemic, policies and agreements must serve as a compass to ensure that recovery strategies are in line with medium- and long-term development,” Minister Todd underscored.

The Minister pointed out that the “High-Level Event (HLE) on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and beyond” implemented earlier this year needs to be revamped. He noted that it prevents deserving countries from accessing needed assistance to overcome their vulnerabilities.

While the Region is seeking ways to address the short- and long-term effect of COVID-19, the Minister stressed that a multisectoral approach is needed to meet immediate health and emergency care. A social safety net is also needed to support people whose incomes have been drastically reduced to protect the most vulnerable citizens.

“This multi-faceted approach will necessitate mitigating shock and support recovery efforts, from a crisis that may further exacerbate and expose the Region’s weaknesses, resulting in loss of the gains, of past years, in our quest towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” the Minister stated.

Minister Todd reiterated the need for attention to be paid to the increased challenges faced by the Caribbean and Latin America. Additionally, he asked that the international community, developed and developing countries, work in solidarity to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.