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Minister Robinson-Regis and new CDB President Dr. ‘Gene’ Leon focus on resilience and innovation to overcome current challenges

June 14, 2021


Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) are deepening relations to deal with the Caribbean Region’s emergence from the current challenges inclusive of the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on the process of building the Region’s resilience through innovation not limited to invention in technology, but in trade, social innovation, gaining a larger role in terms of the global market space, macro stability and managing resilience from external shocks. 

In addition to the aforementioned sectors, Minister Robinson-Regis, in her role as a CDB Govenrnor, emphasises that gender relations and climate change are still on the agenda as key areas for partnership to foster regional development.

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Minister Robinson-Regis (centre) leads the discussion with the Ministry of Planning and Development’s team. FROM LEFT: PS Joanne Deoraj; Advisor to the Minister, Ms. Walda Dottin-Matthew and Senior Planner in the Socio-Economic Policy and Planning Division Ms. Stacy Mohamed-Roopchand.

The Planning and Development Minister facilitated Trinidad and Tobago’s first meeting with new CDB President Dr. Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon and his team on Monday June 14, held virtually with the aims of formally meeting and welcoming President Leon in addition to sharing ideas on how Trinidad and Tobago can continue to work with the Bank and its member countries to plot a path forward for the Caribbean. 

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Dr Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon took office as President of the Caribbean Development Bank effective May 04th, 2021, becoming the sixth chief executive of the regional multilateral institution.  

Although the roles of the CDB include that of banker, development advisor and capacity developer, Minister Robinson-Regis posited that borrowing money is not the sole path to acquire the desired goals. Both parties shared the view that use of the resources available should also focus on providing expertise and technical support as needed by the individual member states in various developmental areas. Minister Robinson-Regis added that as a region the Caribbean lags behind other territories and pledged this nation’s support to ensure we catch up and move to the next level, especially recognising and grasping the opportunities currently presented by COVID-19 and other challenges. 

President Leon is of the view that as the largest shareholder in the CDB, T&T is to continue its leadership role with the other major shareholders to undertake the necessary actions to thrust the region to the point where we should be in comparison to other regions populated by small island developing states. Minister Robinson-Regis supported this sentiment and pledged Trinidad and Tobago’s ongoing leadership and support in his regard. Discussions to continue development of a formal plan of action will be ongoing at the Bank’s 51st Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors which is scheduled from June 15 – July 1, 2021.

Present at the meeting were Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Planning and Development Mrs. Joanne Deoraj; Ms. Stacy Mohammed-Roopchand, Senior Planning Officer and Advisor to the Minister Mrs. Walda Dottin-Matthew. With the CDB were Mrs. Yvette Lemonias Seale – Vice-President (Corporate Services) and Bank Secretary; Mr. Isaac Solomon – Vice-President (Operations); and Ms. Dorla Humes – Advisor to the President.

Dr Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon took office as President of the Caribbean Development Bank effective May 04th, 2021, becoming the sixth chief executive of the regional multilateral institution. 

Dr. Leon is a seasoned economist with over 30 years of experience in economics, financial policy development and executive management, more than 20 of which were spent working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He succeeds Dr. Warren Smith, who retired on April 30 after serving as President for 10 years.