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‘Take stock of the positive’ – CARICOM SG on integration movement


Posted in: Press Releases | 14 February 2017 | 42

    “Can you imagine if there were no CARICOM? Things that we take for granted in our everyday lives… like CXC… that’s CARICOM at work. The fact that more than ninety-nine per cent of our goods is traded freely within our Region - that’s CARICOM at work. The fact that we can have a concerted effort at talking about correspondent banking,…can you imagine if Guyana went alone or Saint Lucia went alone to talk …about correspondent banking? The fact that we have been able to successfully addressing the issue HIV/AIDS collectively; the fact that we have become the first region in the world to eliminate measles and the fact that we have a Community response at the time of disaster… The fact that we are able to present our concerns on climate change collectively. “There always is room for improvement… By and large, I am satisfied. There are some frustrations that we hear of and we experience in terms of the pace. But as one Prime Minister always says: we are not going to a point; we are on a journey. Development, as is integration is a journey and once your journey is going in the right direction and you are always improving on what you have and building a sense of Community which I think we really do have, I think we are on the right track; we are going in the right direction. We are carrying everybody with us; no one is being left behind We are building a sense of community and carrying everyone with us. Despite what you may hear … (integration) is working,” the Secretary-General said. [caption id="attachment_20065" align="aligncenter" width="702"]
    CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque flanked by Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, Ambassador Colin Granderson,  (left) and Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, Mr. Joseph Cox
    CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque (cewntre) flanked by Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, Ambassador Colin Granderson, (left) and Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, Mr. Joseph Cox
    CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque (cewntre) flanked by Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, Ambassador Colin Granderson, (left) and Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, Mr. Joseph Cox[/caption]

    The Secretary-General said that Heads of Government will hold discussions under three broad areas: economic development, crime and security and international relations. The regional flagship programme, the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) is one of the main agenda items of the Intersessional Meeting. The CSME is considered the best vehicle to promote economic development and integration, and last July, CARICOM Heads of Government had requested a review of the programme. That review will be considered by the Heads during the Intersessional.

    Ambassador LaRocque pointed to significant progress that had been made in the CARICOM Single Market, especially its legal and administrative framework. More, however, needed to be done with respect to the Single Economy. Secretary-General LaRocque said Heads of Government will also discuss the Region’s productive sectors. Emphasis will be placed on the tourism industry, a major contributor to the Region's GDP. Consultations have been held with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association which identified marketing, human resource development and strengthening linkages with other sectors including transportation and creative industries as areas to enhance the regional tourism product. The Heads of Government will also discuss the Single Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Space. ICT was a sector in its own right as well as an enabler of development, and the Single ICT Space was a work in progress, the Secretary-General said. A roadmap to this end will be before the CARICOM Heads of Government and issues that it will cover include regionally harmonised ICT policies, legislation, technical standards, networks and services, roaming rates, spectrum ad broadband matters and regional best practices.

    Correspondent Banking is also on the Heads' agenda. The Community's advocacy on this matter is being led by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Hon Gaston Browne.

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