The Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) is now operational, with headquarters in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The Centre is a joint initiative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). In addition to providing technical assistance and training services to CARICOM members and the Dominican Republic, CARTAC will also foster cooperation between the region and several other bilateral and multilateral agencies.

The primary objective of CARTAC is to assist its members in improving current practices in certain critical areas of economic and financial management, including budget and tax policy and administration; financial sector supervision and regulation, including that of offshore centers; and the compilation of financial, economic and social statistics.

Assistance will be provided through a team of experts assigned to CARTAC, supplemented by short-term specialists, as well as through in-country workshops, training attachments and regional training courses. Technical supervision and back-stopping support from the IMF will ensure quality control and adherence to international standards and best practices.

CARTAC’s work plan is being guided by the countries of the region themselves through a Steering Committee, and a series of technical committees to be established for this purpose. Donors will also participate in these committees.

The Bahamas Ministry of Finance has advised that every country in the region is represented at the Steering Committee level, either directly or via a representative country. The Bahamas is grouped with two other countries, with the current representative being the Dominican Republic. The present Chairman of The Steering Committee is the Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados.

CARTAC is organised as a UNDP regional program with the IMF as executing agency. Within this framework UNDP will provide administrative and logistical support while the IMF will be responsible for managing CARTAC, including the provision of the program coordinator and the recruitment and supervision of the advisors.

Besides the IMF and UNDP, multilateral agencies involved in the financing of the Center include the Inter-American Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank and the World Bank. The participating countries will contribute to the running costs of the Center and Barbados, as the host country, has made available office space and facilities. The Government of Canada has been a major moving force behind the creation of CARTAC, and has made a financial contribution of Can$8 million towards its costs. The United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union have also signaled their intention to provide financing.