CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Tues. July 14, 2009: Jamaica has registered a significant drop in money transfers or remittances to the island, a new World Bank report said Monday.
The report, titled ` Outlook for Remittance Flows 2009-2011,` said the 2009 year-to-date period show Jamaica registering a whopping 17 percent decline in remittances, the biggest drop for any Latin American and Caribbean nation.
By contrast, Mexico`s remittance receipts dropped 11 percent, while money transfers to the Dominican Republic declined by seven percent.
Overall, remittance to the Caribbean and Latin America is forecast to decline by seven percent this year, the report said. However, analysts said flows to countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean region are expected to level off, with a smaller decline in the second half of 2009.
Experts blamed the drop on the slowdown in the US job market. Last year $64 billion was remitted to Latin America and the Caribbean but that number could drop to 60 billion this year, World Bank officials said.
`There is a risk that rising unemployment will trigger further immigration restrictions in major destination countries. Such restrictions would curb remittances more than forecast and would slow the global recovery in the same way as protectionism against trade would endanger a global upturn,` said Hans Timmer, Director of the World Bank`s Development Prospects Group.
Last year, however, many Caribbean nations were largely spared the drop-off. Antigua actually saw an increase in remittance from $24 to $26 million in 2008 while Barbados saw its remittance rates balloon from $140 to $168 million.
The Dominican Republic say a slight increase from $3.41 billion to $3.48 billion in 2008 while Dominica`s money transfers grew from $26 to $30 million. Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago were steady at $278 and $109 million, respectively, while Haiti increased from $1 billion in 2007 to $1.2 billion in 2008. Jamaica registered a growth from $2.1 to $2.2 billion in 2008 but Suriname was steady at $140 million.
St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines recorded $31 million for both 2007 and 2008 while St. Kitts and Nevis came in at $37 million for both years.
There were no available numbers for other Caribbean nations. Remittance has fast become the lifeline to the economies for many regional countries.