The Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF) is a joint initiative by the Compete Caribbean Program, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, and the Caribbean Development Bank.
It is supported by the Canadian International Development Agency, the United Kingdom’s
Department for International Development, CARICOM Secretariat, and the University of the West Indies.
The CGF is a facilitated methodology for public-private dialogue around issues central to private sector development and growth. It brings a non-traditional approach to the greatest challenge currently faced by the region – creating sustainable and inclusive growth.
The Forum also aims to facilitate an action oriented dialogue around key policy reforms needed across three thematic areas: Investment Climate, Skills and Productivity and Logistics and Connectivity.
Many Caribbean territories have a very good starting point with draft or completed national growth strategies. Therefore, the aim is to identify the priorities within the three pillars of the CGF that can contribute to these national strategies. In this respect, the CGF’s methodology has been designed to result in a consensual,
concrete action plan with specific responsibilities and timelines, and it has built in transparency and accountability mechanisms to make sure that, over time, results are delivered.
The CGF is part of the donor agencies’ commitment to support the Caribbean and develop and implement inclusive growth policies that generate jobs and opportunities for all.
WHO: The CGF is a unique platform as it engages all critical players including the public sector, the private sector, academia, the youth, civil society and the Caribbean Diaspora in the dialogue on how to stimulate economic growth.
The CGF is operated by a three-tiered structure: (i) A Steering Committee to guide the overall strategic direction of the CGF and promote its work; (ii) Advisory Board to guide the development and implementation of CGF’s work program; and (ii) A Coordination Secretariat to carry out the CGF’s day-to-day operations.
The Steering Committee is comprised of the Secretary General of CARICOM, President of the CDB, and the Vice Chancellor of UWI.
The Advisory Board is comprised of a mix of public and private sector representatives, civil society, academia and young people from across the region.
HOW: Following the launch, a few topics were selected to be the subject of research and dialogue over the the next twelve-months. Regional conferences will be supplemented with face-to-face encounters at a national level and through virtual fora.
The Forum will utilize newsletters, op-eds, radio and television interviews, regional events calendar, website, intermittent Facebook and Twitter campaigns, town halls and live chats to maintain engagement with stakeholders and to build a constituency of followers.
At the end of the first year, there will be a regional conference mirroring the launch event, where findings of the research and participatory dialogue will be disseminated. The CGF proposes to build a “pro-growth coalition”, through a broad-based, but unified forum that rewards diverse constituencies for active support.
The challenge is to move from an approach focused on sporadic public meetings consulting stakeholders on big issues, to build a pro-growth force rooted in society, possessing real influence, and sustained by credible incentives -and to build it quickly, by providing the differing combinations of incentives necessary to address the group’s most important problems and opportunities.
WHY: The CGF initiative is born of a desire to establish a space for engaging political, business, academic, youth and other leaders of society to shape the Caribbean regional agenda.
Ambassador Irwin LaRocque is the seventh Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
LaRocque, a national of Dominica was the Assistant Secretary-General for Trade and Economic Integration at the CARICOM Secretariat, having served in that post since September 2005.
He was educated at Queen’s College and the New School for Social Research, both in New York and New York University, majored in Political Philosophy, Political Economics and Economics respectively.
He served as Permanent Secretary in various Ministries in Dominica for more than 14 years, including in the Ministries of Trade, Industry, Enterprise Development, Tourism, and Foreign Affairs, where he headed the diplomatic service. He also served as the principal advisor to the Government of Dominica on all matters pertaining to economic integration and regional and international trade.
He was Dominica’s senior policy adviser on the revision of the original Treaty of Chaguaramas and served on the CARICOM Inter-Governmental Task Force which drafted the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. Ambassador LaRocque has a wealth of experience in management, public administration, economic development, trade, foreign affairs and diplomacy.
Vice Chancellor Eon Nigel Harris
Dr. Harris assumed office as Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus on October 1, 2004.
A Guyanese by birth, Professor Harris was previously Dean and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, USA from 1996-2004.
Professor Harris graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Howard University, with a degree in Chemistry and proceeded on a fellowship to Yale University, where he received a Master of Philosophy degree in Biochemistry. He earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, completing this within three years and again graduating with honours.
He then returned to the Caribbean where he completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of the West Indies at Mona and was awarded the post‐graduate degree, Doctor of Medicine (DM).
Dr. Warren Smith
Dr. Warren Smith, who is President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has been primarily focused on finance and corporate strategy. He has been central to a number of key initiatives in operations, most notably the catalytic role which he played in sensitising CDB to the need to work with the Government of Jamaica to begin addressing the problem of national indebtedness in that country.
CDB’s involvement, which was spearheaded by Dr. Smith, eventually led to both the World Bank and the
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) working jointly with CDB on a significant package of policy-based financing for that country.
Dr. Smith, a citizen of Jamaica, is a graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, from which he obtained an AB (Hons.) degree in Economics, a MSc. in Agricultural Economics and a Ph.D. in Resource Economics and Public Policy. He has worked extensively in both the public and private sectors across the Caribbean.
Professor Andrew S. Downes has been Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic
Studies, University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus since 1994 and University Director from
2000 until 2008. He has been a consultant for several regional and international organizations
(Caribbean Development Bank, ILO, IADB, World Bank, UN etc.) along with the Government of Barbados
and several national organizations. Professor Downes has been President of the West Indies Group of
University Teachers (WIGUT) Trade Union and a member of the Board of Directors of the Barbados Port
Authority and Central Bank of Barbados. He was also the first Chairman of the National Productivity
Board (now Council). He is currently the Deputy Chairman with the Barbados Fair Trading Commission
and was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Caribbean Centre for Monetary Studies.
Cecile took over from her mother Sybil who founded De La Grenade Industries, a leading food processing
company in Grenada that pioneered the use of nutmeg in the manufacture of high value-added products
which are distributed on the local market and exported regionally and internationally. De La Grenade
Industries showcased Grenada as a country with tremendous food processing potential through her
award-winning products, which she began making from the basement of her home in a cottage industry
called de La Grenade Home Products. Cecile, a trained food technologist, transitioned De La Grenade
Industries from cottage to commercial production, and expanded the product range to include more
traditional drinks such as seamoss, mauby, and ginger drinks as well as hot pepper sauce and pepper
Israel Mallett is the founder of IMOGEN Design Studio, a creative design agency providing
comprehensive integrated marketing solutions in the Caribbean region. Israel is proficient in the industrystandard
Adobe Creative Suite of programs and particularly interested in brand development with startups
and established entities looking to re-brand or refresh their image. Israel holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts
Degree in graphic design and a Certificate in Marketing, Public Relations & Advertising, a qualification he
finds an invaluable compliment to his design studies.
Jeffrey Hall serves as Chief Executive Officer of Jamaica Producers Group Limited. Mr. Hall has been
with The Bank of Nova Scotia Jamaica Limited since 2002. Mr. Hall has been a Director of Scotia Group
Jamaica Limited and The Bank of Nova Scotia Jamaica Limited since November 26, 2007. He is an
Attorney-at- Law who has served as a Director of Jamaica Promotions Limited, now Jamaica Trade and
Invest, Jamaica Stock Exchange and the Bank of Jamaica. Mr. Hall is a graduate of Harvard Law School,
Harvard University and Washington University.
Dr. Len Ishmael assumed her current role in 2003, overseeing the politically-mandated entity charged
with assisting Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) members in maximizing the benefits
from their collective space. The Secretariat contributes to policy and program formulation and execution
with respect to regional and international issues.
Prior to her current appointment, Dr. Ishmael has worked as Regional Director of the United Nations
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to her work at ECLAC, Dr. Ishmael
worked for Lead International, a non-profit focused on leadership and sustainable development
established by the Rockefeller Foundation in New York in 1991.
Her prior experience also includes positions as an Associate Professor at the Cave Hill Campus of the
University of the West Indies in Barbados and running her own consultancy firm. Dr. Ishmael holds a PhD
in urban planning and development economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
Pamela Coke Hamilton – Executive Director, Caribbean Export Development Agency, JAMAICA
Pamela Coke Hamilton has more than 20 years experience in trade policy formulation, capacity building, negotiations and implementation, working at national, regional and multilateral levels. Prior to joining Caribbean Export, Pamela served as Regional Hub Coordinator for the Caribbean in the Integration and Trade Department of the Inter-American Development Bank and prior to that as Director of Trade and Competitiveness at the Organization of American States. She was also instrumental in the design and implementation of the Masters in International Trade Policy (MITP) Programme at the University of the West Indies, which has provided increased depth to the region’s trade policy capability.
Mrs. Coke Hamilton was appointed Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in November 2010. Caribbean Export Development Agency is an intergovernmental organization, the purpose of which is the insertion of the Caribbean region into the world economy aimed at achieving sustainable development and reducing poverty. Caribbean Export strives to foster an enabling environment for trade and investment within the Caribbean region, promote the competitiveness of the private sector through the enhancement of export capability, to promote investment of the region, and to strengthen the institutional capacity and networking of public and private sector business support organizations.
Boisson joined Sogebank in 1991. He spearheaded proposals for banking policy reforms to end
legislation that set a ceiling on interest rates and demanding that 70% of deposits be kept in reserve. In
1995, Haiti’s central bank lowered reserve requirements, making it feasible for banks lend to small
Boisson lobbied Sogebank, the nation’s largest bank where he served as chief economist, to open up a
micro-finance arm known as Sogesol, of which he became President. He obtained technical assistance
from the Action International microfinance network, which became one of Sogesol’s main shareholders.
Sogesol opened for business in August 2000. In 2005 Sogesol had 8,000 clients (7,000 microenterprises
and 1,000 workers’ credit portfolios).
Having previously worked in both the ministries of health and finance, Boisson has an MPA from the
Kennedy School, an MBA and a MA. He is a Member of the Board of Sogebank and the Sogebank
Foundation, and a shareholder of the IFC-supported E-Power plant. In 2003 he received Harvard
University’s Public Service Innovator award, for his pioneering role in Haitian microfinance. Boisson has
successfully lobbied Sogebank to set up a scholarship to send high-level Haitian government workers to
the Kennedy School.
Rolando Guzmán is GlobalSource Partners’ local partner in the Dominican Republic and is Executive
Director of Grupo Consultoria Pareto, an economic consulting firm based in Santo Domingo.
Dr. Guzmán previously served as Director of the Economic Research Department of the Dominican
National Planning Office and as Economic Advisor to the Planning Ministry. He was an advisor to the
Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development and a consultant to the World Bank, IADB, ECLAC. Dr.
Guzmán has also served as Director of Strategic Planning and Market Intelligence of Verizon
Dr. Guzmán received his Ph.D in Economics and Master’s in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Quantitative Economics from the Universidade
Federal do Rio Grando do Sul and Fundação Getulio Vargas in Rio de Janeiro and received his
undergraduate degree in economics from the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo (UASD). Dr.
Guzmán is Professor of Economics at the Instituto Tecnologico de Santo Domingo (INTEC).
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGOWendell Mottley is a Trinidadian politician, economist, and Olympic medallist. He served in various
positions under the administration of the People’s National Movement party in Trinidad and Tobago,
including Minister of Housing and Resettlement from 1981-85, Minister of Industry, Commerce and
Consumer Affairs from 1985-86, Minister of Finance from 1992-1995 and Minister of Tourism in 1995. It
was under his ministerial purview that the floatation of the Trinidad and Tobago dollar occurred. After
some time, Mottley established his own political party known as the Citizens Alliance. The party proved to
be quite small and received merely 5,955 votes (1%) in the 2002 general election. He later became a
Senior Advisor and investment banker at Credit Suisse in New York and worked towards making C.S First
Boston the bank of choice for all international business in Trinidad and Tobago. As a sportsman he won a
silver medal and a bronze medal at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He also took two gold medals
at the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, winning in the 440 yards and the 4×440 yards
relay events. He holds a Masters of Letters in Economics from Cambridge and a BA in Economics from