Categorized | Local, News, Regional

CARIBBEAN-SUMMIT-Regional leaders end “most successful meeting”

By Peter Richards

Caribbean leaders addressing end of summit news conference (CMC Photo)

Caribbean leaders addressing end of summit news conference (CMC Photo)

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders ended a “most successful meeting” here on Friday approving a first ever plan to reposition the 15-member grouping in a changing global environment.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Brown, who chaired the three-day 35th summit of CARICOM leaders, told the end of summit conference that “without doubt our centrepiece was the approval of the Community’s first ever strategic plan”.

Browne, who came to office following the June 12 general election here, described the summit as “most successful”, adding that the 2015-19 strategic plan “seeks to reposition the Community by identifying priorities and activities to implement them to deliver benefits to the people of the Community and to meet the challenges of the international environment”.

Browne described the plan as a “landmark document” as it is the crucial element in the Community’s reform process, which includes reform of the Community’s institutions and a restructuring of the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat.

He said the plan identifies eight integrated strategic priorities for the region over the five year period and key areas of interventions for each.

He said the priorities are building economic resilience, social resilience, environmental resilience, technological resilience strengthening the CARICOM identity and strengthening Community governance along with coordinated foreign policy.

Browne said that the summit also discussed the economic situation confronting the region and made reference to the work of the Commission on The Economy that had submitted a report to the leaders for consideration.

He added the Commission had presented “some concrete suggestions” to alleviate the situation.

“We look forward to the formulation of a regional fiscal sustainability framework within six months and the design of a regional debt management mechanism,” Browne said, adding that the leaders had also agreed to appoint a CARICOM Debt Advocacy Team “to advocate on behalf of member states with development partners on appropriate debt relief and or debt amelioration arrangements for the highly indebted CARICOM states.

“This initiative recognises that growing out of the current burdensome debt is not realistic for certain member states, given their structural and other economic vulnerabilities,” Browne said.

CARICOM Secretary General Irwin La Rocque told the news conference that the membership of the advocacy team had not yet been decided upon.

Prime Minister Browne said the regional leaders also agreed to pursue a resource mobilisation strategy based on approaches to non-traditional sources of financing and to promote public private partnership for the development of the economic infrastructure with technical advice from the Inter American Development Bank (IDB), the Barbados based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the World Bank.

Browne said that the economy was also the focus of the interaction between the regional leaders and some of the leading figures of the Caribbean private sector.

“The engagement was a tangible demonstration of the region’s commitment to engaging a critical stakeholder in the context of the strategic priorities for the Community as set out in the Strategic Plan,” Prime Minister Browne said, adding “in a frank exchange there was agreement that these discussions were a good start to a new relationship between heads of government and the business community”.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said that the meeting should not be viewed as a forerunner to the re-introduction of meetings between regional leaders and the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC), but insisted that the leaders would remain open to discussions with the private sector.

Prime Minister Browne said that the leaders had approved the terms of reference of a CARICOM Commission on Human Resource Development, whose main objective is to develop a regional education and human resource development (HRD) 2030 strategy and an implementable action plan and road-map that would form the basis for action by member states.

The leaders say they anticipate that the work of the HRD would begin in November this year.

Caribbean leaders, during their three-day summit at Dickinson Bay, north-west of here, also agreed to the adoption of a Regional Strategic and Operational Plan for a Caribbean Reparatory JUSTICE Programme (CRJP) which was presented by the Regional Reparations Commission, as  a basis for further action on the matter.

During the summit, Montserrat also announced its intention to accede to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas by the next summit, paving the way for its full participation in the Community and particularly the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Peter Richards

Caribbean leaders addressing end of summit news conference (CMC Photo)

Caribbean leaders addressing end of summit news conference (CMC Photo)

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders ended a “most successful meeting” here on Friday approving a first ever plan to reposition the 15-member grouping in a changing global environment.

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Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Brown, who chaired the three-day 35th summit of CARICOM leaders, told the end of summit conference that “without doubt our centrepiece was the approval of the Community’s first ever strategic plan”.

Browne, who came to office following the June 12 general election here, described the summit as “most successful”, adding that the 2015-19 strategic plan “seeks to reposition the Community by identifying priorities and activities to implement them to deliver benefits to the people of the Community and to meet the challenges of the international environment”.

Browne described the plan as a “landmark document” as it is the crucial element in the Community’s reform process, which includes reform of the Community’s institutions and a restructuring of the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat.

He said the plan identifies eight integrated strategic priorities for the region over the five year period and key areas of interventions for each.

He said the priorities are building economic resilience, social resilience, environmental resilience, technological resilience strengthening the CARICOM identity and strengthening Community governance along with coordinated foreign policy.

Browne said that the summit also discussed the economic situation confronting the region and made reference to the work of the Commission on The Economy that had submitted a report to the leaders for consideration.

He added the Commission had presented “some concrete suggestions” to alleviate the situation.

“We look forward to the formulation of a regional fiscal sustainability framework within six months and the design of a regional debt management mechanism,” Browne said, adding that the leaders had also agreed to appoint a CARICOM Debt Advocacy Team “to advocate on behalf of member states with development partners on appropriate debt relief and or debt amelioration arrangements for the highly indebted CARICOM states.

“This initiative recognises that growing out of the current burdensome debt is not realistic for certain member states, given their structural and other economic vulnerabilities,” Browne said.

CARICOM Secretary General Irwin La Rocque told the news conference that the membership of the advocacy team had not yet been decided upon.

Prime Minister Browne said the regional leaders also agreed to pursue a resource mobilisation strategy based on approaches to non-traditional sources of financing and to promote public private partnership for the development of the economic infrastructure with technical advice from the Inter American Development Bank (IDB), the Barbados based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the World Bank.

Browne said that the economy was also the focus of the interaction between the regional leaders and some of the leading figures of the Caribbean private sector.

“The engagement was a tangible demonstration of the region’s commitment to engaging a critical stakeholder in the context of the strategic priorities for the Community as set out in the Strategic Plan,” Prime Minister Browne said, adding “in a frank exchange there was agreement that these discussions were a good start to a new relationship between heads of government and the business community”.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said that the meeting should not be viewed as a forerunner to the re-introduction of meetings between regional leaders and the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC), but insisted that the leaders would remain open to discussions with the private sector.

Prime Minister Browne said that the leaders had approved the terms of reference of a CARICOM Commission on Human Resource Development, whose main objective is to develop a regional education and human resource development (HRD) 2030 strategy and an implementable action plan and road-map that would form the basis for action by member states.

The leaders say they anticipate that the work of the HRD would begin in November this year.

Caribbean leaders, during their three-day summit at Dickinson Bay, north-west of here, also agreed to the adoption of a Regional Strategic and Operational Plan for a Caribbean Reparatory JUSTICE Programme (CRJP) which was presented by the Regional Reparations Commission, as  a basis for further action on the matter.

During the summit, Montserrat also announced its intention to accede to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas by the next summit, paving the way for its full participation in the Community and particularly the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).