Cautious Optimism

Sep 1, 2007

Growth forecasts are bullish for the Caribbean, where overspending on sports is countered by tourism and construction investment. However, crime is still an issue.

The Caribbean economy is booming, with rapid growth led by the Dominican Republic, which this year expects its tourism-fed economy to expand by between 7% and 9%. Virtually every other country in the region will also see rapid growth. Among the best-performing in 2007, according to FirstCaribbean International Bank, are Trinidad & Tobago (6%) and Barbados (5%).

In Cuba, where the Castro regime claimed 12% GDP growth last year, caretaker leader Raúl Castro is calling for increased foreign investment and a crackdown on inefficiency and corruption in the state-controlled economy. Even Haiti – the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere – will see its shattered economy grow by 3.5%, though far more prosperous Jamaica is expected to see GDP growth of only 2.9%, according to FirstCaribbean.

Yet runaway crime may threaten development. Drug traffickers, who use the Caribbean as a transit point, have driven up crime by...

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