Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Andrew A. Fahie, and newly appointed UNDP Resident Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ms. Valerie Cliff, have discussed continued collaboration between the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and UNDP on COVID-19 response, sustainable development, resilience of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) during a virtual meeting on 13th July 2021.
At the virtual meeting, Premier Fahie received the credentials of Ms. Cliff who updated him on the BVI’s current participation in UNDP’s Future Tourism (FUT-Tourism) project, among other things. The FUT-Tourism project is currently providing local MSMEs with training, to be followed by grants, in order to assist them with repositioning their businesses and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Premier Fahie expressed his satisfaction with the BVI’s participation in the project and the ongoing engagement between the Premier’s Office and UNDP to ensure its success.
In addition, Premier Fahie updated Ms. Cliff on the current COVID-19 outbreak in the BVI and the Government’s response to the pandemic. Regarding the recovery of the BVI and wider Caribbean, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Mr. Ugo Blanco, highlighted UNDP’s policy recommendations to Caribbean Governments that emphasises the importance of vaccinations.
According to Mr. Blanco, the six priorities identified by UNDP for COVID recovery in the region are:
- Economic reactivation;
- Social protection schemes; and 6. Reopening of schools.
Premier Fahie and Ms. Cliff both stressed the importance of disaster preparedness during the 2021 hurricane season and acknowledged the heightened vulnerability of the BVI and other societies in the region due to COVID-19. They also agreed that BVI and UNDP will continue to work together to accelerate the sustainable development of the BVI to position the society to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Commenting on the virtual meeting, Premier Fahie said,
“I had very productive discussions with newly appointed UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Valerie Cliff and Deputy Resident Representative Mr. Ugo Blanco. I look forward to working with Ms. Cliff on the continued collaboration between the BVI and UNDP on COVID-19 response, MSMEs, sustainable development and the resilience of SIDS.”
Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Andrew A. Fahie, was joined by his Special Envoy Mr. Benito Wheatley and Assistant Secretary for External Affairs Ms. Dwynel Davis.