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CARICOM leaders to hold virtual meeting on Thursday


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CARICOM leaders to hold virtual meeting on Thursday
CARICOM member states must take a clear position on foreign policy coordination. (Internet image)

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders will meet on Thursday to discuss the ongoing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the regional economies and the general populations.

The 41st Regular meeting of the CARICOM leaders will be held virtually under the chairmanship of St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves.

“As expected, COVID019 impact on the region both in terms of health as well as economic and financial development will be the major issue at the one-day meeting,” an official of the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

The official noted that the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the University of the West Indies (The UWI), which have been spearheading the region’s response to the global pandemic, will make presentations to the leaders.

As of October 23, the 15-member CARICOM countries have recorded 955 deaths and 42, 765 positive cases.

The official told CMC that tourism, which has been hard hit by the pandemic, will also be a major talking point at the deliberations.

The leaders will also have on their agenda, the continued blacklisting of Caribbean countries by the European Union. The issue was also raised during the just concluded meeting between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and regional leaders.

In addition, the regional leaders will discuss the position of the private sector in the region, following upon the last CARICOM summit in St Lucia where the matter had been “significantly discussed”. The official said that Thursday’s meeting could decide whether or not the private sector organisation should be seen as an associate institute of CARICOM.

Meanwhile it is not yet known whether or not there will be a formal opening of the summit which begins at 9:30 a.m. (local time) or whether there would be an end of summit news conference.

“As it stands now it might just be a statement (at the end),” the official told CMC. (CMC)