§ 126. Ms. Abbott
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on overseas aid to the Caribbean.
§ Mrs. Chalker
Our bilateral aid programme to the Commonwealth Caribbean has been running at over £30 million a year for some time. Last year (1988–89) it reached £51 million, mainly because of a substantial increase in investment by the Commonwealth Development Corporation. This year expenditure is expected to remain at a high level.
A new feature is the capital aid programme for Guyana (plus increased technical co-operation) to support that country's economic recovery programme; we expect to spend some £12 million in loans, grants and technical co-operation in Guyana this financial year.
Hurricane damage has required an exceptional response. Last year we gave Jamaica a grant of £3 million after Hurricane Gilbert struck. This year, in the wake of Hurricane Hugo, we have assisted Antigua, St. Kitts and the British Virgin Islands and particularly Montserrat, where we have already spent or committed around £4.5 million in relief and reconstruction aid.