Thursday, July 02, 2009

Caribbean leaders meet to work on the global recession effects

We finally came across a perspective on how the global economic recession is effecting the Caribbean. The region depends heavily on tourism money for it's economy, and of course, not many are traveling now.

Not only are Caribbean countries suffering from less tourists, but the governments there have been unable to stimulate the economy. Some do not have enough resources to put money back into the economy. Others are unable to obtain loans from the big banks, because they are considered to be middle level economies.

From the Miami Herald, Americas reporter Jacqueline Charles fills us in.

As leaders of the 15-member Caribbean Community begin a four-day summit in Guyana on Thursday focusing on regional issues from immigration to trade to climate change, coming up with a one-size-fits-all regional plan to protect their already vulnerable economies from peril will top the agenda.

Once believing they were insulated from the financial crisis gripping the United Kingdom, and their largest trading partner, the United States, Caribbean governments are increasingly worried as remittances decline, foreign investors dwindle and tourism dampens.

In the Bahamas, the decline in U.S. travelers has triggered layoffs at popular hotels while one resort -- the Four Seasons in Exuma -- shut its doors in May.

In Barbados, European vacationers -- no longer able to afford their Caribbean dream -- are putting luxury condos and beachfront homes up for sale.

But it's not just tourism that is taking a hit.

In Jamaica, plunging demand for aluminum products has triggered layoffs and cuts in production at bauxite plants. A decline in remittances and the depreciating Jamaican dollar have forced the government to raise interest rates while other Caribbean governments have reduced them in hope of stimulating local economies.

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