Dominica’s Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, says he is concerned that the anti-government protests in Libya and other parts of the Arab world could leave his and other Caribbean governments battling even high fuel and food prices.
“If it continues and it spreads, then we will see a very serious global crisis in terms of the price of oil and the price of food. Governments in the region do not have the fiscal space available to absorb the increase in prices because already there are limited taxes on petroleum product in Dominica for example, everybody should be concerned about it,” Mr. Skerrit said.
Libyan crisis also a concern for other Caribbean nations
And there are many Caribbean nations that have more than a passing interest in the situation in Libya.
Taken together, the proposed projects and outstanding loans indicate that some parts of the Caribbean have a large financial stake in Libya with promised projects to the tune of well over US$100 million dollars and unpaid debts of more than US$50 million.
Following visits over the last two years between Tripoli and several Caribbean countries, there were a number of Libyan funded projects in the pipeline before the current crisis developed.
They included an investment bank for the eastern Caribbean, with St. Kitts as the proposed headquarters, an oil refinery in the Dominican Republic and Libyan plans to become a major partner in Guyana’s agricultural sector.
The proposed Libyan Investment bank had also included a development fund to the eastern Caribbean to the tune of US$100 million.
Libya had also proposed bi-lateral aid of US$10 million to nations in the sub-region.
The Guyana project had been aimed at setting up so called mega farms in the county’s interior.
Debt write offs for some Caribbean states had also been discussed.
Grenada condemns Libya violence
Grenada has condemned the Libyan government’s violence against civilians as the revolt against the Colonel Muammar Gaddafi-led regime intensifies.
Reports say armed forces and militia loyal to Mr. Gaddafi have attacked and killed demonstrators who have been calling for the leader to stand down.
Grenada, which is one of Libya’s Caribbean allies, says the regime’s action against its people is deplorable.