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DECLARATION ADOPTED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE SIXTH MEETING OF MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF CARICOM AND CUBA

 

 

  Date: 2019-Jun-Fri Web: www.caricom.org | Tel: 592-222-0001 | Email: communications@caricom.org  

We, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Republic of Cuba, having met in Georgetown, Guyana, on June 14th, 2019, on the occasion of the Sixth CARICOM-Cuba Ministerial Meeting.

Recalling the Summit Declarations of Havana 2002, Bridgetown 2005, Santiago de Cuba 2008, Port of Spain 2011, Havana 2014 and St. Mary’s 2017; as well as the periodic meetings of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CARICOM and Cuba; and highlighting their indisputable contribution to the advancement of our political links and cooperation, materialized in the high level reached by the relations between our nations;

Recognizing the need to collectively address the challenges to sustainable development, including our vulnerabilities as Caribbean countries, especially in the economic and environmental areas, and in particular as Small Island and low-lying coastal Developing States, in order to build just, inclusive and equitable societies;

Concerned by the loss of life and the extensive economic and infrastructure damage caused by the passage of frequent and intensive hurricanes in the Caribbean region, and the negative effect of natural disasters on our development processes;

Affirming that the Caribbean is an inseparable part of Our America, and highlighting the role of CARICOM in the regional integration process;

Reaffirming the importance of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as a mechanism for political consultation and promotion of the unity and integration of our region;

Recalling the significance to the Caribbean countries of taking advantage of the potential offered by the regional and sub-regional mechanisms such as CELAC, ACS, ALBA-TCP, PETROCARIBE as well as international mechanisms such as BRICS;

Determined to continue to strengthen the CARICOM-Cuba mechanism, based on deep historical roots and founded on solidarity, cooperation, and complementarity:

1. Reiterate that the unity and integration of our Caribbean Region is based on unrestricted respect and full adhesion to the Purposes and Principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and International Law, in particular the respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of States, the peaceful settlement of disputes and the prohibition of the threat or use of force. Also, reaffirm our commitment to the protection and promotion of all human rights for all;

2. Emphasize the importance of defending regional unity to preserve the peace and stability of our countries;

3. Reaffirm our solidarity with the Republic of Haiti, for which we feel a historic debt of gratitude, and a commitment to continue fostering cooperation with that nation, in accordance with the priorities defined by its government and in full respect of its sovereignty;

4. Call on the international community, in its relations with the countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), to endorse the tenets of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed in Havana in January 2014, and that recognizes, among others, the inalienable right of every State to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system as an essential condition to ensure peaceful coexistence among nations.

5. Reject the imposition of unilateral coercive measures and, in that context, call for an immediate and unconditional end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the government of the United States of America against Cuba and, especially, to its extraterritorial nature and the financial persecution of Cuban transactions, whose severity has increased. In this regard, we denounce the application of the new measures under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, legislation which flagrantly violates International Law and undermines the sovereignty and interests of third parties, announced by the US government which strengthens the US blockade against Cuba, including the application of laws and measures of extra-territorial nature that are contrary to international law. Furthermore, we reiterate our endorsement of the principles of international law as well as our strongly-held view that economic development and stability in the Caribbean region contribute to international peace and security;

6. Agree to continue implementing the results of the Summits of Heads of State and Government of CARICOM and the Republic of Cuba and the Meetings of Ministers of Foreign Affairs as a platform for closer political consultation and coordination in other areas;

7. Recognize the cooperation between CARICOM and Cuba in areas such as health, human resource development, construction, sports, and disaster risk reduction and mitigation has effectively contributed to the development and well-being of our peoples. In this regard, we reaffirm our commitment to continue promoting the implementation of projects to improve air and sea ports, infrastructure and connectivity between our countries and broaden our economic and trade relations through the implementation of the Revised Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between CARICOM and Cuba;

8. Commit to complete the required internal legal procedures with a view to giving effect to the Second Protocol to the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation, which will contribute to the strengthening of trade relations;

9. Reiterate the importance of trade for the Region’s sustainable development and reaffirm the necessity of appropriate policy space and special and differential treatment for small vulnerable economies like those in the Caribbean. In that context, we welcome the hosting by Barbados of UNCTAD XV in October 2020, which will be the first time that an UNCTAD quadrennial conference has been held in a Caribbean country;

10. Reaffirm the need to continue strengthening cooperation and exchange of experiences and good practices in the area of integrated disaster risk management in the Caribbean, aiming to support the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and all its goals by the Caribbean countries; and thus to promote the substantial reduction of disaster risk and loss of life, livelihood and health, as well as economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of people, enterprises, communities and countries;

11. Commit to continue cooperation in the areas of food security, nutrition and agricultural development including women empowerment and youth involvement, as key pillars in the fight against poverty, including actions for implementing the CELAC Plan for Food and Nutrition Security and the Eradication of Hunger 2025 (SAN-CELAC);

12. Reiterate our commitment to the protection and conservation of the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources in the region, particularly in the Caribbean Sea. Support its designation by the United Nations as a “Special Area in the Context of Sustainable Development” and support the mandate of the ACS Caribbean Sea Commission, to promote its preservation and sustainable use. In that regard, strongly condemn the continued use of the Caribbean Sea for transit and transshipment of nuclear material and toxic waste, and urge countries that produce and transport them to urgently implement appropriate measures to end such activities;

13. Reaffirm the commitment to promote regional energy integration as a relevant element for sustainable development and to advance the diversification of the energy matrix of our countries, oriented towards the use of clean, renewable and sustainable energy sources, and universal access to energy services that contribute to the well-being of our peoples; we also welcome the fruitful exchanges held between the Caribbean Center for Renewable Energy and Energetic Efficiency and Cuba;

14. Emphasize the urgent and global priority of climate change and its negative implications for our societies, ecosystems and economies. In this regard, commit to strengthening cooperation within CARICOM and with other international organizations and agencies to foster greater adaptation and mitigation, strengthen resilience and reduce our vulnerability, particularly Small Island and low-lying coastal Developing States;

15. Commit ourselves to continue promoting joint actions and exchanges of experience and information on security, as well as on prevention and confrontation of transnational organized crime, the worldwide drug problem, corruption, human trafficking and other new threats related to cyber security among others;

16. Recognize the promotion of sustainable tourism as one of the keys to economic growth in the Caribbean region, as identified in the Strategic Plan for the Caribbean Community 2015-2019, and agree to strengthen cooperation in this area, including multi-destination tourism;

17. Emphasize the importance of culture as a significant instrument in the advancement of sustainable economic development, unity, peace, education and mutual understanding between our people, and support a successful celebration of CARIFESTA XIV, to take place in Trinidad and Tobago on August 16 – 25, 2019;

18. Reaffirm our will to strengthen South-South cooperation as an expression of solidarity among our countries for the promotion of bilateral and regional programmes as well as triangular cooperation for development, taking into account the development priorities of our countries;

19. Agree to celebrate the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the establishment of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) on 24 July 2019, recognizing the role it continues to play in advancing integration and sustainable development of the Greater Caribbean, through active collaboration in the focused areas of disaster risk reduction, sustainable tourism including multi-destination, trade, sustainable development and protection of the Caribbean Sea and transportation;

20. Reaffirm that the preservation and consolidation of CELAC as a regional forum for dialogue and political coordination and as an international political actor is one of our priorities. In that context, we consider it to be fundamental to continue strengthening regional integration through political dialogue, cooperation and increased trade among the countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. In that regard, we reaffirm the importance of Caribbean countries’ active participation within CELAC and we recognize the role played by successive Chairs of Conference of CARICOM within the CELAC Quartet;

21. Acknowledge and support the effort deployed by CARICOM countries and its Pro Tempore President, alongside Mexico and Uruguay through the Montevideo Mechanism for respectful dialogue in Venezuela, guided by the principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the internal affairs of states, prohibition of the threat and use of force, respect for sovereignty, adherence to the rule of law, respect for the constitutional framework and democracy, and reiterating the right of people to self–determination;

22. Express grave concern over the inclusion of CARICOM Member States in the lists of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions by the European Union which has negative effects on the economies of Small Island and low-lying coastal Developing States which have implemented recognized international norms and have proven their willingness to cooperate and dialogue in order to find solutions;

23. Also express deep concern and rejection of the progressive decline in correspondent banking relations with developing countries, particularly CARICOM Member States, due to de-risking actions by some of the major international banking corporations, which threaten the financial stability of the affected countries and limits their efforts to achieve development and socio-economic growth;

24. Reiterate the call to review and modify the current “graduation” criteria for Official Development Assistance so as to adequately reflect the reality and specific needs of Highly-Indebted Middle Income Countries, particularly Caribbean States;

25. Emphasize the importance of reparation and compensation for the damages caused by slavery in the Caribbean as an act of justice and, in this regard, support the work of the CARICOM Reparations commission;

26. Express our thanks to the Government and People of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana for their warm welcome, hospitality and support in organizing the Sixth CARICOM-Cuba Ministerial Meeting;

27. Decide to hold the Seventh CARICOM-Cuba Summit in Cuba, in 2020.

Declaration Adopted At The Conclusion Of The Sixth Meeting Of Ministers Of Foreign Affairs Of CARICCARICOM and Cuba Ministers and delegates and CARICOM Secretary-General pose for a photo after the opening of the Meeting (Photo via DPI)

Adopted at the Sixth Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CARICOM and Cuba on 14th June 2019, in Georgetown, Guyana.

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Former FIFA Vice president loses challenge to his extradition to United States

Former FIFA Vice president loses challenge to his extradition to United States

by staff writer

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jun 11, CMC – The Court of Appeal Tuesday dismissed a judicial review by former international football official, Austin Jack Warner, challenging his extradition to the United States where he is wanted on charges of fraud arising out of a Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) bribery scandal.

Warner, a former government minister, had earlier appealed the ruling by High Court judge James Aboud, who had dismissed the claim for judicial review.

Austin Jack Warner (File Photo)

Warner had challenged the process by which the extradition proceedings against him were being carried out and sought to quash the authority to proceed (ATP) which was signed in 2016 by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.

The ATP gave the magistrate the green light to begin committal proceedings. Warner also challenged the legality of the Extradition (Commonwealth and Foreign Territories) Act, and the treaty signed between this country and the US.

But in dismissing the latest claim, the three-member Appeals Court, stayed the magisterial proceedings for 21 days pending an application by Warner for permission to argue his case at the London-based Privy Council, the country’s highest and final court.

In the 40-page written decision, the Court of Appeal comprising Justices Gregory Smith, Prakash Moosai and Andre des Vignes said the extradition treaty had not been shown to lack conformity with the Act and there was no merit in Warner’s case that the US order which declared that country as a declared foreign territory was not valid.

“Therefore, the pending extradition proceedings in respect of the appellant before the magistrate are valid,” the Court of Appeal ruled, adding that “there was no denial of justice in the issuance of the ATP by the Attorney General”.

Warner, who is on TT$2.5 million (One TT dollar=US$0.16 cents) bail, was indicted by US authorities over allegations of racketeering, wire fraud and money-laundering conspiracies spanning 24 years.

Warner, who served as FIFA vice-president for several years, is charged with 12 offences related to racketeering, corruption and money laundering allegedly committed in the jurisdiction of the United States and Trinidad and Tobago, dating as far back as 1990.

But Warner claims the case against him is politically motivated and accuses the United States of seeking revenge because it lost to Qatar in its bid to host the 2022 World Cup.”

He surrendered himself to police here on May 27, 2015, after learning of the provisional warrant.

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Delegates at the opening of the 36th COHSOD in Georgetown, Guyana

CARICOM: Culture plays important role in Region’s sustainable growth, development


Date: 7, June 2019
 
CARICOM SG
(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)     CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, has reiterated that culture played a significant role in the Region’s sustainable growth and development.

He was speaking at the opening of the Thirty-Sixth Meeting of the Council on Human and Social Development (COHSOD) on Thursday, 6 June 2019, at the CARICOM Headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana.

The two-day meeting is being held under the theme ‘Leveraging CARICOM’s Cultural Assets for the Sustainable Development of the Community’. The Secretary-General said that the theme further emphasised the commitment of the Region to develop its rich and diverse cultural assets.

“It has been asserted that Culture should be seen as the fourth pillar of sustainable development, as both an enabler and driver of economic and social development and environmental sustainability, which constitute the three dimensions of sustainable development,” said Ambassador LaRocque.

In supporting his point, he said further that cultural industries in the Region had out-performed sectors such as agriculture, finance, insurance and construction in some Member States. He, however, said that there needed to be the necessary enabling environment for the creative industries to be more competitive, and to increase their contribution to employment and growth.

Speaking about the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA), which he referred to as the Community’s highly valued regional space that showcased arts and culture, Amb. LaRocque said the mega cultural event was being positioned as a catalyst for creative industry development within CARICOM.

He noted that since CARIFESTA XI in Suriname, a business component – the cultural marketplace – was introduced where managers of venues, international festivals and performing arts, buyers and booking agents were invited to see and network with Caribbean artists.  According to him, that initiative was intended to create more opportunities for the professional development of artists and for the export of their products and services.

Dr. the Hon. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Trinidad and Tobago, gave the feature address at the opening.

She was also of the view that the theme chosen for the hosting of the Meeting was very relevant, remarking that it spoke to how individuals, the Community, and nations of the Region understood and utilised culture for self-evaluation. According to her, a paradigm shift was needed to create a more self-sustaining cultural economic cycle.

“We must place ourselves in the driver’s seat – charting together the course for cultural development based on already identified cultural assets – driving the way forward, instead of accepting windfall successes,” she opined.

She expressed the view that in addition to developing the creative sector, the Community’s icons and citizens who had made outstanding contributions should be honoured so as to “incentivise” excellence in the cultural sphere.

As expected, Minister Gadsby-Dolly spoke about CARIFESTA XIV which is being hosted by Trinidad and Tobago in August. She informed the Meeting that the host country was introducing several niche festivals to the event that could become stand-alone events in the Region. She said that CARIFESTA was one of the Region’s best cultural assets and it was up to the Community to find innovative ways to reinvigorate and re-imagine the Festival each time.

Hon. Dr. George Norton, Minister of Social Cohesion, Guyana, was happy to welcome the Ministers and Officials to his country for the Meeting. He also posited the value of culture, saying it was time for it to be mainstreamed in the Regional agenda.

He noted that the Community’s culture was dynamic and that the cultural and creative industries would continue to evolve, even while being the key vehicles driving the development of the Region. He encouraged those present to continue to work together to achieve tangible outcomes and gave a commitment of his government’s continued support.
 https://www.flickr.com/photos/caricomorg/48014129661/in/album-72157708956104106/

Photo caption:  Delegates at the opening of the 36th COHSOD in Georgetown, Guyana on 6 June 2019. Pictured centre are (L-R): Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community, Dr. the Hon. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts of Trinidad and Tobago and Hon. Dr. George Norton Minister of Social Cohesion of Guyana.      

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CDB supports regional trade facilitation initiative - CSME

CDB supports regional trade facilitation initiative – CSME

by Staff Writer

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jun. 4, CMC – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a recent grant for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), that will make regional trade easier .

On Monday, the Bank’s Board of Directors signed off on CDB’s support of US$43,665 in grant funding to finance completion of the CARICOM Interactive Marketplace and Suspension Procedure Portal (CIMSuPro).

The CDB says the portal’s development makes it easier for CARICOM states to administer the common external tariff (CET), the system underpinning regional trade, which all CARICOM states are required to maintain. The CET is a uniform set of tariffs imposed by CARICOM members on goods from third countries.

The regional lending agency noted that suspension of the CET can be granted to allow importation of goods in short supply within the Region. 

However, information on the actual supply of goods in CARICOM is limited and officials grapple with a high volume of CET suspension requests.

CIMSuPro seeks to encourage more intra-regional trade by allowing buyers to find regionally produced goods as their first option. The portal allows buyers to find appropriate regional products by description or tariff code.

It also provides an on-line mechanism to create a faster process to handle CET suspension requests.

CDB’s funding will support training and technical support for trade officials and traders.

Director of Projects at CDB, Daniel Best expressed optimism that the portal would contribute to a more enabling environment for Regional manufacturers and producers, saying:

“CIMSuPro is designed to take the CSME process a step further by allowing our producers and our retailers to find each other more easily. CSME is intended to give our producers access to the larger regional market and to leverage economies of scale. A fully operational CIMSuPro will bring greater certainty to intra-regional trade.”

The project is aligned with CDB’s strategic objective of supporting inclusive growth and sustainable development as well as its corporate priority of promoting private sector development, competitiveness and innovation.

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EU launches fund to assist Caribbean countries

EU launches fund to assist Caribbean countries

by staff writer

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – The European Union has launched a Euro 28 million (One Euro=US$1.29 cents) Regional Climate Resilience Building Facility that will provide financial resources for technical assistance, disaster insurance and resilient investment facilitation.

The facility is the largest grant-funded resilience building project in the Caribbean to date and will be implemented by the World Bank and the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF).

EU Ambassador, Daniela Tramacere

“What we want from this programme is to address real needs. For this, governments and partner entities will have to define clear priorities, without which a targeted implementation is not possible,” said EU Ambassador, Daniela Tramacere, at the weeklong Understanding Risk (UR) Caribbean Conference that is organized by the World Bank in partnership with the Barbados government, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the EU.

The EU diplomat said the action should have as its ultimate objective, the genuine interest of Caribbean citizens translated in terms of resilience building at community and individual levels.

The technical assistance aims to strengthen the capacity of public institutions and civil society organisations which are capable of protecting citizens from disasters. The support to the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility will help countries cope and recover better from the effects of extreme weather events.

“The support to resilient investment will stimulate the private sector to better adapt businesses and jobs to the priority needs of countries and citizens,” she added.

The Regional Resilience Building Facility is one of the many resilience programmes being financed by the EU in the Caribbean. Additional support for countries to build societal resilience by encouraging the transition to green economies and progress towards a sustainable economic path is being provided by various other EU programmes.

The EU said it is also partnering with regional governments and institutions on climate adaptation and ecosystem resilience and on hydrological meteorological data gathering.

Earlier this week, Canada also announced the  launch a CAD$20 million (One Canada dollar=US$0.74 cents) Canada-Caribbean Resilience Facility initiative to help regional countries better prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

“This initiative is being undertaken with Canada’s Caribbean support as a direct response to the lessons learned following the devastating hurricanes in the Caribbean in 2017 that have impacted our neighbouring countries so severely,” says Marie Legault, High Commissioner of Canada to Barbados and the OECS.

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DSC_7397 - web

Port Authority renovate to serve better and uphold international standards

by Bennette Roach

Much of the external renovation and reconstruction is well underway


Joseph O’Garro is the Manager of the Montserrat Port Authority, recently referred to as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the recent Port Development launch last week. He invited the media to what he said was a simple briefing exercise to alert the public, “so they can know and appreciate what was taking place in terms impact to them when they come to clear their cargo…”

That was the morning of Friday, May 24, 2019 at the Little Bay port building that houses offices and cargo storage. O’Garro briefly outlined that the works that began couple weeks ago, and was ongoing when the launch took place at the ferry terminal about 100 yards away, on Friday 17th.

He apologised for other members of the management team who he said he would love to be present at the informal briefing, but they were about getting ready to effect the relocation of the offices, as the works were well into full gear.

He introduced those present in Stephie Buffonge from the Comms and Works and Adrian Galloway of Galloway Group who had been awarded the contract to carry out the works, which had an estimated budget total of EC$890,000, which is partner-financed.

He referred to the project as a follow-up of the marine side of the new port development launch in terms of the “landside works that are being undertaken separate and apart to the project, but in support of the project itself.”

The works he said, will be about the offices, administration, Customs and customer area renovations, currently engaged in a material fashion. He explains that the layout as it stands is not very customer friendly, as he later pointed out on the external, the construction of ‘disability access’ to make the premises and the offices accessible by everyone.

“Some of the works undertaken will address the customer friendliness of the facility ensuring we are much more customer oriented. In addition, we are providing additional space for Customs as the accommodation is presently very cramped…”

He added that for the MPA itself they are expanding their own offices to “facilitated some of our expanded national responsibilities,” with regards to their maritime responsibilities that did not receive as much attention in the past as it should have.

He explained: “We will be providing for some additional office space to facilitate some of our expanded national responsibilities, our marine time responsibilities that would not have received as much attention as it should have in the recent past…just examining vessels when they come into our Port, to know that they are compliant with international standards.”

He added, “We intend to embrace a lot more of that responsibility going forward and as such we a going to provide the office space for our officers to work comfortably while they engage in those activities.”

Upgrading to facilitate the disabled, and wheel chair access

One of the initial steps is to ensure that the Port Authority and Customs are in a better position to handle the increase business that we expect and to upgrade the facility…so that we’re more customer focused.

The partner-financed sum of $890,000 is shared with the MPA providing $500,000, with GoM the balance of $390,000.

O’Garro explains the external renovations and relocations

Following a brief explanation of the drawings and the work progression by Galloway and Buffonge relating to the project, the manager now with support of some senior staff provided a tour of the quarters that will housed in temporary accommodation in the parking area where the staff will effectively meet the needs of the public. And of course, to facilitate the construction office operations for both Customs and the Port, “are being relocated to the parking lot into temporary accommodations, as of Monday.”

The project is expected to be completed within six months.

see related: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/new-port-development-launched

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Culture plays important role in Region’s sustainable growth, development...

Culture plays important role in Region’s sustainable growth, development…

June 7, 2019

We have had on several previous occasions commented on the fact that culture is important and should be seriously considered when the occasion is warranted. That is expressly so in so many areas of our onward thrust for change and progress.

Consequently, we have always reminded, there is bad and good culture,

we always say. That alone is cause for common sense and seriousness when the topic is raised.

Here are a few excerpts taken from the Thirty-Sixth Meeting of the Council on Human and Social Development (COHSOD) on Thursday, June 6, 2019, at the CARICOM Headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana.

The two-day meeting was being held under the theme ‘Leveraging CARICOM’s Cultural Assets for the Sustainable Development of the Community’. The Secretary-General said that the theme further emphasised the commitment of the Region to develop its rich and diverse cultural assets.

“It has been asserted that Culture should be seen as the fourth pillar of sustainable development, as both an enabler and driver of economic and social development and environmental sustainability, which constitute the three dimensions of sustainable development,”  said Ambassador LaRocque.

In supporting his point, he said further that cultural industries in the Region had out-performed sectors such as agriculture, finance, insurance and construction in some Member States. He, however, said that there needed to be the necessary enabling environment for the creative industries to be more competitive, and to increase their contribution to employment and growth.

Speaking about the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA),

He noted that since CARIFESTA XI in Suriname, a business component – the cultural marketplace – was introduced where managers of venues, international festivals and performing arts, buyers and booking agents were invited to see and network with Caribbean artists.  According to him, that initiative was intended to create more opportunities for the professional development of artists and for the export of their products and services.

Dr. the Hon. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Trinidad and Tobago, who gave the feature address at the opening, was also of the view that the theme chosen for the hosting of the Meeting was very relevant, remarking that a paradigm shift was needed to create a more self-sustaining cultural economic cycle.

“We must place ourselves in the driver’s seat – charting together the course for cultural development based on already identified cultural assets – driving the way forward, instead of accepting windfall successes.”

She expressed the view that in addition to developing the creative sector, the Community’s icons and citizens who had made outstanding contributions should be honoured so as to “incentivise” excellence in the cultural sphere.

Hon. Dr. George Norton, Minister of Social Cohesion, Guyana, also posited the value of culture, saying it was time for it to be mainstreamed in the Regional agenda.

He noted that the Community’s culture was dynamic and that the cultural and creative industries would continue to evolve, even while being the key vehicles driving the development of the Region. He encouraged those present to continue to work together to achieve tangible outcomes.

See: Full CARICOM Release: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/caricom-culture-plays-important-role-in-regions-sustainable-growth-development/


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Do we need Education or Connection to succeed on a politically insecure Montserrat?

By Claude Gerald

Since people management is a myth on Montserrat, slackness in the Public Sector is chronic and allowed. Friendship and family connections and moral weaknesses run the ball game.

Montserrat is thus soaring high on the corruption index and out-does its own poor standards at each check point. Subtle, persistent and cumulative, it is ruinous potentially.

Agriculture as an example requires a microscope to locate it on the contribution landscape. Grieved undertakers at least 10 years ago, dismissed its existence with last rites.  Permanent Secretary, Agriculture, Eulyn Greaves who energetically flirted between Ministries with aplomb, seemingly cultivating if not manipulating obedient politicians advantageously at will, must disentangle the puzzle as to how her husband, Lorenzo, continues to occupy the comfortable position he has had for a number of years on the technical staff of the Department of Agriculture. (Her son at Lands and Survey now attracts nepotistic queries too)

The fact is he is being made to hide out under the radar, staying low and reap rewards that are not due to him.

It is a choking moral dilemma and neither ignorance nor silence from Mrs. Greaves is countenanced by any means.  Culpability, by aiding and abetting at least, rests in her lap and those with experience and know-how of this matter are crying foul on the issue.

Lorenzo has zero certification in the very basics. He has no requisite training in the science of agriculture and experience prior, to match the position assigned in the Department of Agriculture. His salary and perks additionally, have been higher than other decorated and experienced officers of the last twelve years in his undeserved role. He has been covered by indifferent officials, who continue to look the other way in an apparent grand conspiracy. It is a scandal and a debacle. It is a rogue arrangement.

It should never have been contemplated, in a system with valued standards, or are there? Though one suspects some level of opportunistic and meticulous planning over many years, his positioning is a gut-wrenching portrait of business in our pint–sized volcanic isle. It is way out of line with due processes: highly irregular and easily the most scandalous public service event, amongst many, current in the Ministry of Agriculture, since the narrow-minded splitting of Environment from Agriculture, which signaled the rapid decline of both portfolios.

How did this pass the Public Service Commission and other key personnel that checks and balances? It is tantamount to administrative fraud, designed to give a favored one an unfair advantage in the market place for relevant skills. Lorenzo Greaves, in all likelihood could never have brazenly put forward an application for the job. One is hoping that all relevant records remain intact for certain scrutiny and determination as this one should not and cannot be swept under the table anymore.

He ought to be made to repay British tax payers money along with others, like him who manipulates the public system as glorified water- cart carriers. His excuse is that he did not ask for all this and is well aware and delights in this undeserving gift.

Can Mrs. Greaves any longer conduct her important overarching roles with good conscience and credibility? Questions remain and only a vhands; she most likely cannot be a supporter of schooling and education; and likely to be a hater of academic excellence; reasonably she must be in a world of generalized hypocrisy where narrow personal interest trumps everything else.

Neither can she credibly deny personal knowledge that has sustained this travesty in the processes of public service employment. To whom much is given much is expected; especially given her lead role in youthful Seventh Day Adventism and her staunch, vocal, visible and energetic advocacy of Christian principles, even beyond the Montserrat world. She being at the heights of her present powers, how can public service watchers put confidence in her decision making regarding the just placements of personnel?

Agricultural Science is multidisciplinary and the mother of all sciences. The curriculum at University is intimidating and mindboggling for the range of subjects. It features the pure and applied sciences, the arts, economics and social sciences. It has breadth; it has depth and students are truly tested in that setting.

It thus prepares one for most walks of life. Uncertain teenagers opt for the grounding it gives and then branch elsewhere later; but you have to be academically prepared to enter such an undertaking. For 15 years prior to the volcanic eruption, given the centrality of agriculture to the overall political economy, equipping staff was singled out for special attention. The Department of Agriculture boasted a team of highly trained technicians, many with first and second degrees in the field, outstanding in the OECS, measured per head of population.

Lorenzo Greaves was a hired hand and pound keeper who did not dispose himself to preliminary certification for further training. Management reached out to entice and encourage him to make him eligible. He migrated after the volcanic eruption and returned to operate both a seed and health food store, which evaporated in quick time.

Subtle and direct attempts to get him into the Department failed. Did Mrs. Greaves feature in those? Management at that time bluntly rebuffed the idea, insisting that training would be the first avenue to enter the door of the Department of Agriculture.  Proven experience in the practice of agriculture could get you in: just barely conditionally. To proceed otherwise was to set the bar so low that the educational endeavor from kindergarten would have been a waste of effort.

With a change of technical head the theory behind Lorenzo Greaves’s existence in the Department of Agriculture reads thus:  ‘Lobby to get him in despite his complete lack of credentials. Some mice, in the rare presence of a cat, will hear you; and if one happens to meet an ass, then go riding since no one stands for anything anymore. Play the game and nice up and keep a low profile; show up and be present only when you have to, if at all; production and commitment is unimportant; your swollen salary is sure since prior to the change of government, outgoing powerful politicians, with Salem City attachments would see to your establishment; you are now pensionable at your current salary and you can just glide; the story is over. No fuss. Life could not be easier’.

Easton Farrell Taylor, a lay preacher and the immediate former Minister of Agriculture proved himself a formidable and experienced technician without the academic requirements. He applied self from early. He became the backbone of many outreach efforts for many years and was a household name even beyond the farming community. Management had confidence in him and dispatched him on a special one year program to Guyana to round him off. He was duly promoted to an Agricultural Officer years later.

Sadly he failed to effectively transition to a Minister’s role and no doubt oversaw the dying of the Department of Agriculture and the Environment. He was clearly trapped into allowing Lorenzo in against his better judgment. He sought to wrestle control once revelations were being made especially regarding Lorenzo’s salary but was outdone. He typically lacked the will to stand up to anything not in his personal interests. Now out of office he still frets about the monster of a problem left over by this fly-by-night employee.

By Easton Farrell’s neglect of his core duties the situation was created that allowed Lorenzo Greaves to continue to grade himself annually, rendering himself top marks for his questionable service, and then to have them signed off by a complaining but compliant management; thus cementing his stay in the work place, in a vicious cycle of brazen deception of the system.

How did we reach this stage? Is it that we have a lot of people who go to church, but we do not have a lot of God fearing people? What kind of philosophy can so infect the minds of individuals who lead in our various churches but yet descend to levels that call evil good? Woe to them that call evil good and good evil.” (Isaiah 5:20).

Public sector leaders seem to be polluting their potential to stand for people centered principles, undermining trust in their leadership and dodging responsibility with flippancy.

Which amongst us will elect to watch the watchers? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

Claude Gerald is a social commentator on Montserrat. Ceegee15@hotmail.com

Posted in Features, Local, News, Opinions0 Comments

Former Prime Minister’s funeral to be held on June 23

Former Prime Minister’s funeral to be held on June 23

by Staff Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jun. 4, CMC – The state funeral for former Prime Minister Edward Seaga is to be held on Sunday June 23.

The details of the funeral arrangements and related activities were revealed by Culture Minister Olivia Grange on Monday during a media briefing .

The funeral service will be held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in the Corporate Area.

Grange added that the period of mourning has been declared and will be observed from June 19 to June 22.

“It means that government will not have any social activities; official activities that were scheduled will be postponed where possible; travel by government officials will be limited and the flag will be flown half-mast,” she said.

Ahead of the funeral, Seaga’s body will lie in state at several locations, however, the casket will remain closed at the request of the family.

Seaga’s remains will be interred at National Heroes’ Park.

The government is appealing to the public to also observe “a certain decorum during that period,” she said.

Seaga, Jamaica’s fifth prime minister, died at a Miami Hospital last week Tuesday, following a battle with cancer. 

He died on his 89th birthday.

Seaga, who was prime minister, from 1980 to 1989, also served as the leader of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) from 1974 to 2005 when he retired from active politics.

Since his retirement from politics, he has been an honorary distinguished fellow at the professorial level at The University of the West Indies (UWI), and also served as chancellor of the University of Technology, Jamaica.

A lifelong sports enthusiast, Seaga was chairman of the Premier League Clubs Association, one of Jamaica’s governing football bodies, from its inception until 2010. He also served as president of the football club of his former West Kingston enclave, Tivoli Gardens.

Seaga is credited with building the financial and planning infrastructure of the country after independence, as well as developing its arts and crafts, and awareness of national heritage. As a record producer and record company owner, Seaga also played a major role in the development of the Jamaican music industry.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, International, Local, News, Obituaries, Politics, Regional, Travel0 Comments

Attorney found guilty of theft

Attorney found guilty of theft

by staff writer

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jun. 4, CMC – A jury on Tuesday found well known attorney  Vonda Minerva Pile,   guilty of theft.

Pile, was accused of stealing BD$191,416.39  (One Barbados dollar=US$0.50 cents), belonging to her former client, Anstey King, between April 29, 2009 and October 26, 2010.

However, the jury said she was  not guilty of money laundering.

The 7-2 verdict was handed down after two hours of deliberations by the jury.

She has been remanded until July 16.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Court, Crime, International, Legal, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

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