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CARICOM Heads set to take on major regional concerns

7/1/2009

The lead CARICOM Conference for the year is set to begin tomorrow and a packed agenda has been put before the Heads of Government Conference slated to be concluded on Sunday.

The meeting takes place in Georgetown, Guyana, July 2-5, 2009, and matters of importance for the summit include climate change while other issues will be those on the Economic Development, Human and Social Development, Strengthening the Community, Strengthening Alliances/Forging New Relations, among other concerns.

CARICOM Secretary-General, His Excellency Edwin Carrington told representatives of the regional media last Friday that the issue of climate change, which had engaged the attention of the Community because of its deleterious effects on small, low lying and developing states within CARICOM, would be featured prominently at the Summit.

With the implications for sea level rise, unpredictable changes in weather patterns and daily revelations of the impacts of climate change, Secretary-General Carrington said that this issue had “critical significance” in the upcoming discussions of CARICOM Heads of Government.

The Heads of Government are expected to consider a Draft Strategy to Build the Resilience of the Caribbean Community to Climate Change, which will be presented by the Hon. Stephenson King, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia and Lead Head of Government with responsibility for Sustainable Development in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet.

Additionally the CARICOM Secretary General said discussions on Tourism – which has suffered serious setbacks as a result of the global financial situation – will be lead by the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, Prime Minister of the Bahamas, who has lead Responsibility for Tourism in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet.
His Excellency Bharrat Jagdeo, President of the Republic of Guyana, will spearhead consideration of Agriculture. The Agriculture Sector is preparing for some specific activities following several initiatives and interventions including the most recent consultation on Agri-business held in Georgetown last month.
It has been reported that the Secretary-General said that though the Services Sector was an economic driver, the Community had not done as much as it could to move the Sector forward. Efforts to put the Sector on a more structured footing are currently underway and preparations are far advanced for a Regional Symposium on Services to be held in Antigua and Barbuda 15-17 July 2009. The Hon. Baldwin Spencer, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda who has lead responsibility for Services, launched the Symposium earlier this month.

Significant discussions are expected in the area of the Free Movement of Skills within the CSME for which the Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica, has lead responsibility.

Secretary-General Carrington said that there was a new area of “discontent in intra-regional trade” and issue which Jamaica is expected to raise at the Conference. (SB)

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