Caribbean Local Economic Development program launched in Belize
CLGF's recently appointed Honorary Patron and the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Hon Kamla Persad-Bissessar made the official launch of the Caribbean Local Economic Development (CARILED) Program in Belize this week. CARILED is a six-year $23.2 million project in which local governments will utilize assets and human capital to stimulate economic growth, create jobs and develop the business sector. CARILED is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and being implemented by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), in partnership with the Caribbean Forum of Local Government Ministers (CFLGM), the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities (CALGA) and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF).
Prime Minister Hon Kamla Persad-Bissessar, speaking at the CARILED launch announced that CARILED's Caribbean-based regional project office will be in Trinidad and Tobago. The Prime Minister emphasised that “local government is at the heart of democracy” and serves as the foundation of a resilient economy. She described CARILED as a concrete expression of the policies agreed under the Cardiff Consensus for Local Economic Development as endorsed by Commonwealth Heads of Government at CHOGM 2011 and was delighted to see the CARILED dream become a reality.
“With the launch of CARILED here today, the CLGF has shown that the Commonwealth is not about talk, but about action. The need for a more localised approach to development was identified, and that need is now being met”
Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar stressed that she hopes to strengthen the CLGF’s presence in Trinidad and Tobago through CARILED and the EU-supported ARIAL programme on local government capacity-building as initiated by the CLGF. She also expressed her support for future regional initiatives which the CLGF is currently planning in cooperation with international partners such as the IDB and UNDP. She also praised the high level of Intra-Commonwealth cooperation which led to the realisation of CARILED. "What we cannot do on our own, we can do together. This is what it means to be part of the Commonwealth family," she added.
Ministers, mayors, councillors, officials, and other senior local government representatives from across the Commonwealth and the Caribbean had come together for the launch and CLGF's board and executive committee meetings hosted by the Ministry of Local Government of Belize.