Grenada: Donor meeting at ARD

Progress on the reconstruction of Grenada was the focus of attention today, when the Agency for Reconstruction and Development Inc. (ARD) convened a meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Donor Group.

Representatives of donor agencies mainly based in Barbados gathered at the ARD Board Room, which was decorated with the winning drawings of the ARD Art Adventure competition, to discuss the Second Report to Donors by the ARD.

The meeting featured a report from ARD CEO Richardson Andrews, along with updates from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Education, the Housing Authority of Grenada and the National Disaster Management Agency.

Prime Minister Keith Mitchell expressed appreciation for the support and assistance received since the passage of Hurricane Ivan last September, and called on the agencies to continue their engagement in Grenada. The Prime Minister made a special plea on behalf of the students and teachers of the Nation.

"I take my hat off to the teachers who continue to work under very difficult circumstances," the Prime Minister said.

Even with commitments from donors to support education amounting to $27.3 million (US), a $47.9 million (US) financing gap remains for rebuilding and equipping schools.

While the Prime Minister, along with the ARD Board Chairman Mr. Marius St. Rose, called on the donor agencies to continue providing support, Dr. Mitchell said the Government remains committed to setting up the Reconstruction and Development Fund to which all financial support for the reconstruction effort will be placed for the use of the ARD.

"I am convinced the population is behind the establishment of the Fund," Dr. Mitchell said, adding that citizens have recommended the Fund remains after the reconstruction is completed to be used as a special fund in case of further disasters.

Reiterating Government's commitment to the mandate of the ARD as the central monitoring and coordinating body for the reconstruction of Grenada, the Prime Minister said that in establishing the ARD, the Government broke new ground in post-disaster revival initiatives in the Caribbean.

"By working together we can show other Caribbean nations that the Agency for Reconstruction and Development can serve as a model for reconstruction coordination in our Region," Dr. Mitchell said.

Agencies represented at the meeting included UNDP, USAID, DFID, OAS, CIDA, CDB, IDB, UNICEF and PAHO.