Govt Building Financial Resilience Against Disasters

The Government is putting strategies in place to better plan for and finance damage and losses resulting from natural disasters.Among the measures is implementation of the public financial management policy for natural disaster risk, which will provide the country with funds in the event of a disaster.It will include, among other things, accumulating fiscal savings in the Contingencies Fund and making contingent credit available in the event of a disaster; and implementing financing strategies such as catastrophe bonds or catastrophe-linked insurance.“The idea is to have available to Jamaica, up to US$1 billion of non-budgetary emergency funding that can be available in the worst possible event and that is the strategic intent, the strategic direction,” explained Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke.He was speaking at the launch of the website for the Seventh Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean 2020 at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on July 10.The Minister, in highlighting the importance of the policy, said that Jamaica’s pursuit of economic independence requires an institutional response to the financial risk of natural disaster.He informed that earlier this year, the Government transferred a sum of $2 billion into the Contingencies Fund towards natural disaster risk coverage.This is in keeping with a resolution moved by Dr. Clarke in Parliament in March to raise the ceiling of the Fund from $100 million to $10 billion.The Contingencies Fund is provided for in Jamaica’s Constitution and was established under Section 13 of the Financial Administration and Audit Act to provide for unforeseen expenditure of any kind.“The idea is, you put the fiscal savings aside on an annual basis as you can afford. You invest it prudently and you do so in markets that provide some degree of diversification from the risk that you are trying to protect yourself from, and you only draw down in the event of natural disaster.“When you draw it down… it is through a budgetary process, so there is transparency on the drawdown itself and on how those funds are being used,” Dr. Clarke explained.He further pointed to the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, which he noted “has the capacity to pay out significant sums if we have an event that triggers it”.He noted, too, that Jamaica renegotiated last year with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for a $285-million contingent credit claim.In addition, he said that the Government is working with the World Bank to develop a catastrophe bond that will generate additional funding “to protect Jamaica from the worst possible natural disaster event… that can derail our fiscal trajectory”.Dr. Clarke explained that the bond is an investable capital market instrument that will provide the Government with access to the resources that may be needed, in return for annual premium payments.He noted that development of the bond requires a lot of “detailed modelling”, and the World Bank is providing technical support in this regard.“I can say that our strategic efforts in this area have met on fertile ground… and I fully expect that they (World Bank) will assist us in this regard, with us obviously having some skin in the game and using some of our own resources to pay the premiums that are involved,” Dr. Clarke said.Jamaica will host the Seventh Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean from July 8 to 10, 2020 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James, under the theme ‘Building Resilient Economies in the Americas and the Caribbean’. read more

Lankan files police complaint over racial abuse in UK

“Sadly the gentleman who verbally abused me does not seem to be familiar with these duties and obligations.”Mr Wickrasinghe lives on the east side of Welwyn Garden City with his wife Ruth, who works at the Royal Veterinary College in Brookmans Park.He was brought to the UK by his parents, both professional doctors, with his sister, who is also now a British citizen. Wickramsinghe told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “I was left in no doubt about what he meant by ‘you lot’.“I found this deeply disturbing and hurtful. My wife and I would like to start a family, however we are having doubts about whether we feel safe to bring up any children we have in Welwyn Garden City. “I consider it a privilege. I also understand that there are duties and obligations that go hand-in-hand with the privilege of living somewhere as amazing as this, duties and obligations like obeying the law, common decency and being a good citizen. The man shouted: “F***ing world must be s**t for you lot to come here”. Last week, as he arrived at the Hydeway end of the railway station footbridge on his way to work in London, he was confronted by a white man. A Sri Lankan in UK has filed a police complaint saying he faced racial abuse on the streets in Welwyn Garden City.Although Eranda Wickramasinghe was born in Sri Lanka 40 years ago, he has lived in the UK since 1990, and won citizenship in 2000, marrying an Englishwoman two years ago and moving to Welwyn Garden City, Welwyn Hatfield Time reported. “We are both British, highly skilled professionals, and would not struggle to find work and settle elsewhere in the world, but we love the United Kingdom and despite its imperfections, we feel that the UK is still one of the best places on Earth to live.”He reported the abuse to the police, but fears racist abuse has increased since the Brexit referendum last year.He added: “I will never forget my Sri Lankan roots but I am very proud to be British. read more