PART 1: CARICOM Communiqué
The following communiqué was issued today on the conclusion of the Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community.
GEORGETOWN – The Twenty-Eighth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held at Georgetown, Guyana, on 16-17 February 2017. The President of Guyana, His Excellency Brigadier (Ret’d) David Granger, chaired the proceedings.
Other members of the Conference in attendance were Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Honourable Gaston Browne; Prime Minister of Barbados, Rt Honourable Freundel Stuart; Prime Minister of Dominica, Dr the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit; Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr the Rt Honourable Keith Mitchell; President of Haiti, His Excellency Jovenel Moise; Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves; and Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley.
The Bahamas was represented by Honourable Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration; Belize was represented by Honourable Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Jamaica was represented by Senator, Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Saint Lucia was represented by Honourable Sarah Flood Beaubrun, Minister in charge of External Affairs; Suriname was represented by Honourable Yldiz Pollack-Beighle, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Associate Member in attendance was Turks and Caicos Islands, represented by Deputy Premier, Honourable Sean Astwood, Minister of Border Control and Labour.
Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; Immediate Past Chair, the Prime Minister of Dominica, Dr the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit; and Chairman of Conference, the President of Guyana, His Excellency Brigadier (Ret’d) David Granger addressed the Opening Session.
Secretary-General LaRocque, in his statement, noted that the Meeting would address three broad areas – economic development, crime and security and international relations. He noted that the search for sustained economic growth and development was foremost among the pressing issues that faced the Community and that the CSME was the “best vehicle to promote our overall economic growth and development”.
“I contend, that dealing with those and other challenges, demands more than ever, that we work collectively and pool our resources,” the Secretary-General said.
Ambassador LaRocque, in noting the progress of the Reform Process, indicated that a system was being put in place to ensure accountability in and measurement of the impact of the integration process.
Prime Minister Skerrit exhorted that “the helping hand and solidarity which we so willingly share in adversity must, in the same spirit, be extended to all other aspects of our integration.”
He reminded his colleague Heads of Government that he had urged for the use of whatever powers at “our disposal to work towards the speedy and effective implementation of matters we have long agreed upon”.
He noted that many of these matters were still pending and the inability of the relevant bodies to meet and finalise the matters was proving a hindrance to progress. “We can and must do better”, he said.
“We are dealing with matters that strike at the heart of both the concerns of our Community and the strengthening of our integration movement. Indeed, these matters are also of great significance to all our countries domestically”, Prime Minister Skerrit added.
President Granger pointed out that if the Community were “to escape the hazard of economic emasculation in today’s global environment, (it) must expedite the full implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME)”.
“The CSME must not be allowed to become a victim of equivocation and procrastination”, the Chairman added.
President Granger also put forward a case for both energy and food security, pointing out that the Region had the resources to ensure both.
“The ‘Spirit of Chaguaramas’ is not the ghost… of a dead project. It is the vital breath of life that inspires us to intensify regional integration”, the Chairman said.
All three speakers welcomed the new Haitian President, His Excellency Jovenel Moise and assured him of the Community’s support to his country.
Jamaica signed and ratified the Amendment to Annex III of the Agreement Establishing the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF).
Barbados signed the Protocol to the Revised Treaty Establishing the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE) as an Organ of the Community, and the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) as an Institution of the Caribbean Community and deposited the Instrument of Ratification. The Protocol was also signed by Dominica, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Heads of Government expressed grave concern at the level of crime in the Community and resolved to increase their efforts to curb the scourge, including greater focus on the social determinants of crime, especially among the youth.
In that regard, they committed to ensure their Attorneys-General and Ministers responsible for Legal Affairs take action to finalise Agreements which are essential to the implementation of the Regional Crime and Security Agenda.
Heads of Government also committed to take full advantage of opportunities for capacity-building to address existing and emerging threats, including those related to Cybersecurity and Cybercrime, Crime Prevention and Drug Demand Reduction. (PR)