CIBC First Caribbean CEO Points to PPP as Catalyst for Economic Recovery in the Region

Infrastructure development and renewal in the Caribbean will be a catalyst for economic recovery and sustainable growth in the region Rik Parkhill, CEO, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank has said. In this regard, he said, tourism and energy are “ripe for unlocking and provide ready opportunities for some of those partnerships to take place”.

Speaking at the Bank’s 3rd annual Infrastructure Conference, at the Hyatt Ziva Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Mr. Parkhill said that “the tourism infrastructure in many territories – such as hotel plants, airports and cruise terminals – are in desperate need of renewal or rebuilding.” He said, too, that deteriorated road networks need to be repaired or replaced.

Noting that the governments of many regional countries with their relatively fragile economies and stretched budgets cannot undertake major capital works projects alone, Mr. Parkhill emphasized the value of Public Private Partnerships.  He said that the governments of the region “have seen the value of and are more and more placing greater emphasis on PPPs to finance national infrastructure development.”

Mr. Parkhill said that “in the 16 tourism-dependent economies in the Caribbean, stay over arrivals increased 7 percent, ranging from a small 1 percent decline in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to a whopping 50 percent surge in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”  He also said that “the economic potential of renewable energy – solar, wind, hydro and geothermal sources – remains largely untapped.”

Of the 17 markets in which CIBC FirstCaribbean operates, the economies of only two – St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines – contracted during 2014 and Mr. Parkhill said that the Bank will continue to take the lead through events like the conference “to play an active role in bringing all the stakeholders together to promote PPP arrangements that will spur economic growth in the region”.

He said that “with most of the economies of this region heading out of recession and showing signs of growth, this is an opportune time for PPPs to take deeper root in the financial landscape of the region”.

Nigel Holness, Managing Director of CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, Jamaica, said that the Bank has “seen where cooperation between the public sector and the private sector and the financial services community has been integral to charting a course towards economic recovery across the region”. The Bank, he added, is taking a lead role in bringing the parties together.

CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, he said, “with a regional footprint in 17 Caribbean countries, has a pivotal role to play in the efforts at shoring up our island economies.”

He said that the conference presentations and panel discussions were “carefully crafted to offer clarity on how and where to commit capital, explore the intersection of the many business drivers and how they are shaping the future of infrastructure delivery and investment returns.”

“Together with you, we will seek to address the concerns and find solutions to ensure the continued development of the Caribbean infrastructure and by extension regional economies”, Mr. Holness told conference attendees.