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Posts Tagged ‘CARICOM’
(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) –The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) will be seeking ways to strengthen co-co-ordination of foreign policy among the Community’s Member States.
The Council, comprising of the Community’s Foreign Ministers, holds its Fifteenth Meeting on 3-4 May, 2012 in Paramaribo, Suriname. Foreign Policy Co-ordination is one of the four pillars of CARICOM along with Economic Integration, Human and Social Development and Security Co-operation.
The Council will also be seeking to finalise the Community’s preparations for a number of upcoming interactions with the international community including the CARICOM-Mexico Summit in Barbados on 21 May, the Rio+ 20 Summit in Brazil, next June and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties 18 (COP 18) scheduled for Qatar later this year. The Ministers would also be addressing issues and development engaging the attention of the United Nations and the Organisation of American States. The latter body stages its General Assembly in Cochabamba, Bolivia on 3-5 June 2012.
The Council will also receive high level visitors including the Special Representative of the Prime Minister of Australia, the Honourable Richard Marles MP, Foreign Ministers of Brazil and Finland, Their Excellencies Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, and Erkki Tuomioja, respectively and His Excellency Willy Claes, Minister in the Royal Council of Belgium.
Domestically, the Council will be receiving updates on developments in Haiti, Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Source: Caricom Communications
(Caribbean Community Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)–Caribbean leaders pressed United States President Barack Obama for greater support in securing the Region from the traffic in illegal narcotics and small arms. The leaders met in Cartagena,Colombia following the Sixth Summit of the Americas which ended on Sunday afternoon.
A wide ranging discussion included sharing of ideas on enhancing the role of small business, distance education, job creation, health, information and communication technology, new systems and rules in the US banking system, debt and the role of the G20 in assisting highly indebted middle income countries. President Obama told the group which comprised Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders and the President of theDominican Republicthat the bonds between the two sides were deep and that his country had followed through on the initiatives identified at their previous meeting inPort of Spain,Trinidad and Tobagoin 2009.
The US President, who was accompanied by his Secretary of State, Ms Hillary Clinton and the US Trade Representative, Mr. Ron Kirk indicated that he had “personally invested in the Region” and assured that there would be follow through on the ideas presented at the meeting.
CARICOM press release
GEORGETOWN, GUyana – Staff of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat came in for high praise from Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government, President Desiré Bouterse, who visited the Georgetown-based Secretariat on Tuesday.
President Bouterse who together with Foreign Minister Winston Lackin and a Government delegation was on board the inaugural SLM Guyana-Miami fight, when he visited the secretariat. Bouterse, who chairs the Community from January to June, held discussions with Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General, and later interacted with staff members of the Secretariat, Caricom wrote in a press release. “I know that many of you work long and hard and it is much appreciated. It may look as if your contribution is overlooked. But let me assure you that it is much appreciated,” he told staffers.
As he acknowledged that the Region had to change if it wanted to survive, the President made reference to the recently-publicised Landell Mills Report on restructuring the Secretariat and pointed out that staff of the Secretariat were the most important part of the wheels of change and reform. He said the document will be used as a basis for going forward, not necessarily following every recommendation, but by utilising those that would make the Region and the Secretariat more relevant.
PARAMARIBO–Caricom’s Secretary General Irwin Larocque has publicly embraced the changes that have been recommended for the regional bloc. Referring to a highly publicized report by a team of management consultants, which addresses Caricom’s way onward, Larocque said on Thursday March 8, at the opening ceremony of the ongoing 23rd Intersessional Meeting in Paramaribo: “I have no doubt that changes will flow from the recommendations of that Report and we must all be prepared to welcome those changes. Change will have to be managed; it will not be easy; it will definitely require a new mindset; a new way of doing things.” He added: “(also) a new culture must be injected into the organisation that I lead.”
The Inter-Sessional is Dominica-born Larocque’s first as Caricom SG. His speech is below:
It is my privilege and honor to welcome you all to the Twenty-Third Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community.
In extending that welcome, I do so especially to His Excellency Donald Ramotar, President of Guyana, who is attending his first Meeting of the Conference, and to the Most Honourable Portia Simpson-Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica and Dr. the Honourable Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, as they return to this august body. President and Prime Ministers, you have come at a time when change is in the air for our Community and its institutions and your contributions to the process will be valuable. I want to thank your predecessors for their contribution to the integration movement.
I also want to take the opportunity at this, my first meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government as Secretary-General of the Community, to thank you the Members of Conference, for the trust and confidence you have placed in me by appointing me to this post.
Let me recognise all the women of our Community as we commemorate today, International Women’s Day. This year’s observance places emphasis on empowering rural women and ending hunger and poverty – ideals, which this Community fully endorses. Indeed, it is gratifying that our host – the government of Suriname – has chosen Healthy Women, Wealthy Region as the theme of this meeting, in tribute to the women of our Region.
GEORGETOWN, Caricom Secretariat– When Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government meet in Suriname next week Thursday and Friday for their 23rd Inter-Sessional Conference, it is to discuss a crisp agenda, which has among its priorities, the Landell Mills review of the CARICOM Secretariat and the strategic direction of the 15-member Community.
The report titled, Turning around CARICOM: Proposals to restructure the Secretariat, is the result of a review commissioned by Heads of Government at their Thirty-First Regular Meeting held in Jamaica, July 2010. Under the chairmanship of President Desi Bouterse, the Conference of Heads of Government will discuss recommendations contained in the Report to restructure its principal administrative body, the Guyana-based Secretariat.
To facilitate a robust discussion, the Community Council of Ministers will meet on Wednesday prior to the Heads of Government Conference to discuss the Report in detail and make recommendations for the Conference to consider.
The restructuring of the CARICOM Secretariat will be done within the context of the Community’s vision, strategic direction and priorities. The ongoing discussions on this issue, began at last year’s Inter-sessional meeting in Grenada and continued at a Special Retreat last May in Guyana as well as at the 32nd Regular Meeting of the Conference in St Kitts and Nevis last July.
PARAMARIBO–The Caribbean Community, represented by its chairman, President Desi Bouterse of Suriname, has renewed its call to the international community to make good on its pledges in support of Haiti’s redevelopment and reconstruction. As it marked the second anniversary of the devastation, Caricom said that the international community should also give more attention to the priorities as defined by the Government and People of Haiti.
Two years after the poorest nation on the western hemisphere was struck by a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake, the pace of reconstruction has been painfully slow.
Shocked in the immediate aftermath of one of the deadliest disasters of modern times, the international community promised billions of dollars of aid money to “build back better.” According to AFP, less than half the $4.59 billion pledged has been received and disbursed, and the coffers of the aid agencies are also drying up. More than 50 percent of the quake rubble has now been cleared, but little has been erected in its place.
Bouterse paid tribute to the country’s people. “Two years on, the People of Haiti have displayed their proverbial resilience of spirit as, despite the myriad of challenges, they do their utmost to surmount the human and material effects of the catastrophe. Though reconstruction and resettlement have been slow and a significant amount remains to be done in both areas, heartening progress has been made specifically in re-housing a large number of the homeless and in clearing thousands of tons of rubble,” President Bouterse stated.
He said Caricom stands in firm solidarity with Haiti as the country observes the quake and mourns and remember the many persons who perished on January 12 2010. “The Community also commiserates with those who lost loved ones and shares their grief as the country reflects on that fateful day and the pain and destruction wrought,” he stated.
PARAMARIBO, ANTIGUA, ST. KITTS–Foreign Minister Winston Lackin says that during its chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Suriname wants to put changes in motion that should get rid of the slothfulness within this regional body. Agendas of the Heads of State meetings should be smaller with greater focus on matters of importance and projects for which financing is already secured. New arrangements should be sought to lessen the region’s dependence on outside financial institutions, and there should be more cooperation between the region’s private entities. “We know six months (of Caricom chairmanship) are short, but we want to put the first stone in the foundation,” Lackin told Anika Kentish and Clive Bacchus from Antigua and St. Kitts as he joined them on the phone in their Friday morning simulcast.
“We have been preparing for this and we will do everything to make positive changes,” he said, borrowing a quote from President Desi Bouterse who earlier this week, in his first address to the region as Caricom chairman called for making “2012 the Year of Change”. “We know Caricom needs changes when it comes to financial administration. We need to get rid of some red tape,” Lackin said. He also said that the controversies surrounding the President will not hamper his being a good leader over the next six months.Caricom Fatigue
Responding a question about dealing with “Caricom fatigue” among the region’s citizens, Lackin said it is for instance important that the agendas of the Meetings of Heads of Government become tighter. “There should be more focus on issues that are directly related to promoting the improvement of the situation within Caricom. Right now there are always too many items on the agenda, so the right issues don’t get the right attention,” he said, mentioning climate change, regional security, and regional cooperation as important matters that deserve more attention from Caricom. “We think there should be less on the agenda, so we know what’s happening. We should focus more on what we have to do. And we also have the impression that too often decisions are being taken that we don’t yet have the money secured for,” he said, adding that President Bouterse intends to find means for Caricom to finance its own budget it doesn’t have to be dependent on institutions from outside the region.
PARAMARIBO–President Desi Bouterse has called on the people of the Caribbean to make 2012 the Year of Change. Addressing the region in his capacity of Chairman of CariCom –a position he assumed as of January 1st 2012- the President said that “by changing the way we do things, this Community will be a changed one – for the better – by the end of 2012.”
Hinting that the uncertainty caused by the continuing global crisis reigns throughout the world, and that the Caribbean is no exception, Bouterse said that Caricom and its secretariat in Guyana must operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. “The global economic and financial crisis shows no signs of abating, with the resulting challenges of unemployment, low or negative growth and increasing disparity between the rich and the poor. Given the relationship between the economic health of the major nations and its effect on us in CARICOM, it requires a major effort to overcome the challenges presented by this on-going situation. It also requires that we take a hard look at the way we operate, and accept changes that may be necessary,” the Suriname president said.
He said the challenges can be overcome if Caricom states bind themselves even closer together. “We stand a better chance to confront these challenges as a group united, than each swimming against the tide alone,” he said.
Bouterse said it is the task of the Caricom secretariat in Guyana to lead the change. He said the review of the Secretariat must be completed and the relevant recommendations implemented to improve the management and operation of the Secretariat, as it is Caricom’s principal organ. Ambassador LaRocque who was appointed Secretary General in August last year, should be the change agent who leads from the front. “My colleagues and I have every confidence in the ability of Ambassador LaRocque to effect the necessary repositioning of the Secretariat,” Bouterse said.
CARICOM Secretariat, Guyana — It is now a fait accompli. Suriname will host the 11th staging of the Caribbean premier festival of the creative and performing arts in 2013; this after their first successful hosting in 2003. Dr Hilary Brown, CARICOM Secretariat’s Program Manager for Culture and Community Development, made this announcement at the 21st Meeting of the Regional Cultural Committee (RCC) which opened at the Courtyard Marriott in Paramaribo, Suriname on Thursday, December 1. She explained that the RCC would discuss with Suriname, plans for CARIFESTA XI, starting with logistic and promotional arrangements.
“The Caribbean Community welcomes the offer of the Government of Suriname to host CARIFESTA XI in 2013 and we are all looking forward to the event with great anticipation, she stated,” noting that CARICOM was at a “crossroads in the development of this highly valued regional expose’ of Caribbean arts and culture.”
The future of CARIFESTA has been uncertain since Guyana hosted, by default, CARIFESTA X in 2008, after the Bahamas expressed an inability to do so. Although it is their second time around, Suriname will host CARIFESTA XI in accordance with the new model prescribed in the CARIFESTA strategic plan developed by the RCC in 2004. According to Dr Brown, the new and improved CARIFESTA sought to address several weaknesses in the management and promotion of the event, and to ensure that it was a more dynamic, economically viable festival that met the expectations of regional and international audiences. Since 2006, attempts have been made to phase in critical elements of the new model starting with CARIFESTA IX hosted by Trinidad and Tobago.
The new approach to CARIFESTA, Dr Brown explained, would provide more opportunities for professional and artistic development for the Region’s artists. It would also create a permanent management structure for the Festival and develop new income streams from the intellectual property value of the Festival through better branding and merchandising of the event.
CARICOM SECRETARIAT, GEORGETOWN, GUYANA– Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General on Friday sounded a challenge for Caribbean Forum of African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States (CARIFORUM) to enhance their competitiveness and productivity in order to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the Economic Partnership Agreement between CARIFORUM and the European Union (EU).
Making his inaugural address as both CARICOM and CARIFORUM Secretary-General at the Nineteenth Meeting of the Council of Ministers of CARIFORUM in Roseau, Dominica, Ambassador LaRocque said that the challenges which exist in Europe should be borne in mind as the Minister reviewed the 10th European Development Fund Regional Indicative Programme.
He noted the critical role in being played by Caribbean Export, boosting capacity within the Region to participate in the EPA, through the implementation the 28 million Euro programme aimed at improving private sector competitiveness and innovation that include direct assistance at the enterprise level. The involvement of the private sector in these efforts was essential, Ambassador LaRocque said. The CARICOM Secretary-General said that resources available to the Region through the EU must be efficiently programmed and utlised against the challenges this major international development partner now faced.