Economic performance in the Caribbean will be uneven this year: Some economies will grow by 5 percent or more, but others will be lucky to eke out even negligible economic growth. “The Dominican Republic and Guyana are expected to remain the strongest performers in the subregion,” according to the U.N.’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. “The outlook is less favorable in the Bahamas, Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago — countries with deep-rooted structural impediments and high vulnerability to external developments
The Dominican Republic is projected to have 5.1 percent growth, while Guyana is expected to check in at 5 percent and St. Kitts and Nevis at 5.3 percent. On the other end of the spectrum are Trinidad and Tobago (.5 percent growth), the Bahamas (1 percent), Suriname (1.4 percent), and Cuba (1.5 percent).
Low global oil prices have dampened economic growth in oil-rich Trinidad and Tobago. “Hopefully Trinidad will have bottomed out from last year,” said Trevor Alleyne, Caribbean division chief at the International Monetary Fund. “For the region as a whole, Trinidad won’t be pulling down the region’s average as it was last year.”
While some Caribbean economies have little more than tourism to sustain themselves, even those with other resources can find themselves hurting.
“It goes back to undisciplined fiscal policies,” Alleyne said. “When things were great, when oil was $100 per barrel and gold was high, they decided, ‘OK it’s time to party.’ When these prices plummeted, they found themselves without any buffers to manage that process.”
When Hurricane Matthew swept through Haiti last fall it left severe damage in the southern portion of the country. Here an elderly woman walks along a debris filled street in Roche a Bateau on Oct. 9, 2016.
The Dominican Republic attracts more visitors than any other nation in the Caribbean, but they don’t go to the Santo Domingo. Only 15 percent of visitors spend time in the capital. In this photo, employees from the Ministry of Environment clean up Santo Domingo’s Fray Anton de Montesinos beach in hopes of making it more attractive. Tatiana Fernandez AP