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Caribbean Countries

Volume 513: debated on Wednesday 7 July 2010

5. If he will conduct a review of the effectiveness of his Department’s programmes in Caribbean countries. (6265)

Yes, we will. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has commissioned a review of DFID’s bilateral aid programme to ensure we target UK aid where it is needed most and where it will make the most impact. The Caribbean programme will be included in that review.

Much of the Caribbean is very poor, and it is currently being carved up by countries such as Taiwan, China and Venezuela. May I urge my right hon. Friend to recall the historical Commonwealth links and huge good will towards Britain in that region as he develops his policy in this area?

We do indeed have strong historical links with the Caribbean. This Government, rather unlike our predecessors, very much value our links with the Commonwealth and fully recognise our responsibilities to the overseas territories, including those in the Caribbean. We give support especially to combat crime and insecurity as well as the effects of climate change, and we stand ready to help in the event of any natural disaster.

In relation to international development and the money that goes to the Caribbean countries, illegal trade in children from Haiti to the Dominican Republic has taken place and has been very apparent in the news in the last while. Can we use our influence to ensure that the money available through international development goes to stop that trade?

That is exactly part of our reforms. We take these issues extremely seriously and they will be a very important part of the priorities we allocate when we spend our aid in such countries.