CARICOM places emphasis on sports tourism, cultural industries

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government have decided to place emphasis on developing their cultural and creative industries and sports sectors to boost their economies. The announcement was made at the closing press conference of the two-day 26th Intersessional Meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government on Friday afternoon by Chairman of the Community and Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Rt. Hon. Perry Christie.

We are now recognizing that some other countries have made a success by exploiting the indigenous talent of their people we expect the Community to keep this as a major issue before it,” Prime Minister Christie said.

The decision was made following a presentation by former Prime Minster of Jamaica P.J. Patterson on Thursday regarding leveraging the Region’s human, natural and cultural assets for the benefit of the Community. Mr. Patterson, in that presentation, urged the Heads of Government to examine new development pathways such as cultural industries and sports.

The Heads of Government agreed that they will create the necessary legislation to advance the creative industries. They will establish sustainable financing mechanisms in collaboration with the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) together with the private sector. The Bahamas will take a leadership role in promoting this new thrust.

Prime Minister Christie also informed the media that in relation to the issue of marijuana, the CARICOM Heads of Government agreed on the composition of a marijuana commission that would begin work to look at the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding its use.

Responding to questions on legalizing marijuana, Prime Minister of Barbados the Hon. Fruendel Stuart said that the Heads would not rush into such a decision. He said that a select number of persons with the required skills set to further probe the issue would be doing the relevant research and providing the Heads of Government with recommendations.

Regarding the matter of reparations, The Bahamas Prime Minister said that the meeting agreed to “pursue the cause of reparatory justice through a process of engagement with the relevant countries”. Prime Minister Stuart, who also honed in on the issue, gave the assurance that there would be no retreat on reparations. He said the entire Region was irrevocably committed to the issue.

The functions of a Committee of Ambassadors to improve the implementation and overall governance of the Community was also approved at the two-day meeting. The Committee will work closely with the organs and bodies of the Community, the CARICOM Secretariat, Regional Institutions and Associate Institutions to establish and maintain an efficient system of consultations.

The meeting agreed to set up a committee of Finance Ministers to work with the Caribbean Association of Banks to devise a plan to address the labelling of the Region as a high risk area for financial services.

Unless this situation is addressed with urgency, the indigenous banks in each of our countries will be adversely affected,” Prime Minister Christie said.

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