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Caribbean Community leaders met in The Bahamas more than a week ago to discuss ways of making the big western polluting nations like the U.S. pay or offer concessional financing for the damage caused by climate change events, like the increasingly powerful mega storms which have been battering the region with regular frequency in recent years.

The Caricom leaders said they wanted to refine their positions and arguments ahead of the annual COP 27 climate change world summit slated for Egypt in mid-November, and to ensure any political momentum made from their presence and performance at last year’s conference in Scotland is improved upon.

They argue that if there are any doubts about the effects of climate change events on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like the many island nations in the Caribbean, an observer only needs to look at the plight of The Bahamas to determine the extent of infrastructural and other damage super hurricanes have heaped on the archipelago off Florida in recent years.

Prime Minister Phillip Davis who, along with Mia Mottley of Barbados, has been leading the fight to make polluting nations and others like China pay attention to the woes of the region, reminded all and sundry at the weekend about the level of debt burdens associated with hurricanes and the struggle to recover in their aftermath.

“When I did a profiling of my national debt, 50% or more of it is connected directly to climate change, the consequence of climate change, because we have to borrow money for the purpose of recovery, resilience and get back to normalcy. The last hurricane we had was Dorian [2018]. Our loss in damage amounted to more than $4 billion,” Davis told the local audience that had also included former American Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, and former Jamaican PM PJ Patterson.

At the leaders summit earlier in the week, PM Davis also said that nations which are battered up by storms will find it tough to deal with multilateral financial agencies and insurance companies in the future.

“What does this mean for the development of our nations, when our risk profile is becoming so severe that insurers question their willingness to offer risk facilities to offset climate disasters? Put simply, we are in danger of becoming uninsurable. Our countries are struggling with debts accumulated by climate disasters.”

Caricom nations have persistently argued that any global temperature increases above 1.5 degree Celsius could badly damage the regional lifeline tourism industry, as coral reefs could die out rendering marine tourism in jeopardy, among other woes.

The summit wrapped up at the trendy, world famous Baha Mar Resort on Thursday with demands for compensation for infrastructural and other damage from climatic events. The summit, ironically, was held in the month when forecasters pay strict attention to the formation of storms. The annual season starts in June and ends in November. About now some of the toughest hurricanes have formed, officials say.

Meanwhile, new Grenadian Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell argued that the region cannot ease up on the fight to achieve climate justice as the Caribbean has been forced to face the brunt of some major climatic events in recent decades.

“I think the issue of climate change has gone beyond that of a moral issue, but it is a justiciable issue. I think as islands that have borne the brunt of the proven loss and damage arising from the greenhouse gasses, that we are entitled to compensation. We intend to do everything in our collective power to ensure that our rights and our right to live a quality of life that is deserving is maintained and promoted,” he said.

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