After Caricom’s encouraging consultations
ONE OF the encouraging aspects of the just concluded 34th CARICOM?Summit was the structured high-level consultations with special guests, among them heads of government and top officials of international and hemispheric organizations such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS).
Consultations with the presidents of Venezuela and the Dominican Republic as well as Prime Minister Vincente Tomi, of Equatorial Guinea, (which currently heads the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group), were consistent with sustaining a tradition in CARICOM’s foreign policy to avoid misunderstandings and promote mutual respect and cooperation.
While the consultation with President Danilo Medina, of the Dominican Republic, focused on his country’s re-affirmation of interest in accessing membership of CARICOM – a matter requiring further detailed consideration – there was a more positive response to the proposal from president Nicolas Maduro for resuscitation of the CARICOM/Venezuela Commission.
As a functioning mechanism, the Commission was useful in fostering trade, investment and economic activities. The consensus emerging from the consultation with Maduro was that the moment must now be seized to put this mechanism back to work with a commitment to actively deal with some very pertinent issues.
Among them would be air and sea transportation – matters of current deep concern for citizens of the 15-member Caribbean Community – energy, and the shaping of a social and cultural plan, the framework of which is to be defined.
Of particular interest was that the dialogue with Maduro went well beyond current functioning of Venezuela’s preferential oil–financing project, PetroCaribe, that involves the majority of CARICOM members.
The consultation revealed mutual anxieties for the widening and deepening of relations focused on current economic, social, geo-political and international realities.
However, as the saying goes, proof of the pudding is in the eating. Therefore, in the context of the dialogue between CARICOM leaders and Venezuela, the public would anxiously await the initiatives to make a reality of issues identified, such as air and sea transport, energy, security and trade and investment.
The region’s public should not have to wait to learn of what’s being done, or not done, in the pursuit of major decisions taken at this Summit in Port of Spain until January next year when the leaders assemble again for their Inter-Sessional Meeting in St Vincent and the Grenadines.