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Communique Issued At Conclusion Of Sixth Meeting Of Conference Of Heads Of Government Of The Caribbean Community, 1-4 July 1985, St. Philips, Barbados

The Sixth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community was held at Sam Lord’s Castle, St. Philips, Barbados, from 1-4 July 1985. Twelve Member States were represented at the Meeting as follows – The Rt. Hon. Vere Bird, Prime Minister Antigua and Barbuda; The Rt. Hon. Sir Lynden O. Pindling, Prime Minister, The Bahamas, The Hon. Bernard St. John, Prime Minister, Barbados; The Hon. Manuel Esquivel, Prime Minister, Belize; The Hon. Herbert Blaize, Prime Minister, Grenada; His Excellency Cde. Forbes Burnham President of Guyana; The Rt. Hon. Edward Seaga, Prime Minister, Jamaica; The Hon. John Osborne, Chief Minister, Montserrat; Dr. the Rt. Hon. Kennedy Simmonds, Prime Minister, Saint Christopher and Nevis; The Rt. Hon. John Compton, Prime Minister, Saint Lucia; The Hon. James Mitchell, Prime Minister, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; The Hon. George Chambers, Prime Minister, Trinidad and Tobago.

Mr Roderick Rainford, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community, chaired the Inaugural Session.

At the beginning of the Session, a minute’s silence was observed in the memory of the late Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Hon. J.M.G.M. Adams.

The Opening Address at the Inaugural Ceremony was given by the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Bernard St. John. In his address, the prime Minister stated that the Meeting came at a time when the economic problems besetting the Region were reaching the point of genuine crisis. He urged the Conference to guard against the forces that would divide and to focus on cooperation and mutual support which would lead to growth, development and a better way of life for the people of the Community.

Addresses were also given by the Heads of Government of The Bahamas, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Montserrat.

Prior to the Meeting of the Conference, the Twenty-Seventh Meeting of the Common Market Council and the Sixth Meeting of the Standing Committee of Ministers responsible for Industry were held to consider a number of important trade, economic and industrial development issues, and to make recommendations thereon to the Conference. The Ninth meeting of the Standing Committee of Ministers responsible for Finance was held on Wednesday, 3 July 1985.

The Prime Minster of Barbados was elected by acclamation to chair the Meeting.

The conference conducted its business through a Plenary, a Caucus of Heads of Government, and an Economic and General Committee.


The Heads of Government observed that the principle of multilateralism which characterised post-war international relations is under severe attack. As the tendency towards bilateralism and unilateralism has grown, it has inevitably led to the by-passing of the United Nations, the erosion of the authority of some United Nations agencies, the failure to provide international lending institutions which adequate resources, and diminished support for regional organisations. They cautioned that any short-term advantages which might accrue to some States from the decline of multilateralism would be more than counter-balanced by a breakdown in consensus on several global issues and by an increased tendency to disruption and conflict in relations between States. They called on the international community to reaffirm and strengthen its commitment to the multilateral process and, in particular, to make greater use of the United Nations and its specialised agencies to resolve international problems.

In this context, they underlined the need for a return to effective global consultation on all major international issues. They emphasised the vital necessity of an international conference on financial and monetary matters and stressed that the proposed now round of trade talks would require careful consideration by the developing countries to ensure that their interests are fully taken into account. They also stressed that all such issues were then concern of the entire global community, and their resolution was accordingly a matter for dialogue among all nations.

South-South Cooperation

The Heads of Government called for a renewed series of South-South consultations on major international economic questions.

They took note of current efforts at promoting economic cooperation among the developing nations and reaffirmed their intention to promote and actively participate in the furtherance of such cooperation.

Middle-Income Developing Countries

The Heads of Government noted the particular difficulties facing middle-income developing countries with respect to commercial and concessional financial flows. In looking at the implications for the overall financial and development prospects of these States, they endorsed the proposal to establish a “Third Window” facility within the World Bank to ensure the continuation of concessionary financial flows on terms more responsive to the requirements of these States. They felt, however, that such a proposal needed to be carefully studied with a view to ensuring its effectiveness. They stressed the need for attention to be paid to the smaller developing countries in the Region which, through the strict application of the per capita income criterion, are threatened with “graduation” which would render tem ineligible for concessional funds from the International Development Association (IDA).

International Economic Situation

The Heads of Government, in reviewing developments in the international economy, noted the inter-relationship of international monetary, financial and trade issues and stressed the need for an approach which takes account of this fact.

In examining those continuing social and economic hardships being experienced by developing countries as a result of their external debt situation, they emphasised the vital need for a general increase in the resources available to the multilateral financial institutions, so as to permit the financing of the overall development efforts of developing countries to assist them in creating the atmosphere of confidence necessary to attract increased investment flows.


On receiving a report on recent developments in the controversy between Guyana and Venezuela, the Heads of Government reaffirmed their previously stated position on the issue.

They noted with satisfaction that relations between the two countries had improved and that both sides had declared their firm intention to maintain this new climate through dialogue and ready cooperation.

They welcomed that determination as well as the steps being taken by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to choose, in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Agreement, a means of peaceful settlement of the controversy which had arisen as a result of the Venezuela contention that the 1899 Arbitral Award was null and void.

They regretted the maintenance of exclusionary provisions in some regional treaties and arrangements, despite previous calls for their removal. They urged, once again, in accordance with the principle of universality, that these restrictions be eliminated to allow those States, which are desirous of adhering to those regional treaties and arrangements, to do so.


The Heads of Government reaffirmed their support for the efforts of the Government and people of Belize to consolidate their independence and preserve the sanctity of their constitutional and internationally recognised borders.

They noted with satisfaction that the Republic of Guatemala, whose persistent claim to the national territory of Belize had proved such an impediment to the latter’s development, had recently displayed a degree of flexibility in the framing of its new constitutional provision on Belize.

The Heads of Government expressed their hope that this progressive attitude on the part of Guatemala would soon be translated into a full recognition of the irreversible political and legal reality that is the sovereignty of Belize.

Development Support for Small Island Developing Countries

The Heads of Government welcomed the initiative which had been taken recently by the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC) to focus attention on the specific problems of small island developing countries and to seek UN and other assistance to implement a programme of specific measures to assist these countries in overcoming the difficulties which derive from insularity and smallness. They urged that funding institutions and donor agencies should take account of the special circumstances of these small island developing countries in the allocation of resources, especially concessional resources.

Central America

The Heads of Government viewed with concern the continuing deterioration of the situation in Central America. They reaffirmed the view expressed at Nassau that, notwithstanding ideological factors, the fundamental difficulties faced by the peoples of that region derived form deep-seated social and economic ills, and felt that the problems should be resolved in a manner conducive to peace, stability and cooperation in the hemisphere. In this connection, Heads of Government renewed their strong support for the Contadora Process, and called for meaningful dialogue on Central America, in a effort to achieve normalisation of relations.

The Middle East Situation

The Heads of Government observed that the Middle East remained a hot-bed of tension and conflict with a potential for direct, super-power confrontation.

They reiterated their conviction that the question of Palestine was central to the Middle East problem and that lasting peace in the region could not be established until the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their rights to a homeland, were respected. They considered that, in keeping with Resolution 242, the important elements in the settlement must also include: the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, the withdrawal of Israel from occupied territories, and recognition of the rights of all states to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries.

The Heads of Government expressed their profound concern at the prolonged conflict between Iraq and Iran, and called on both sides to commit themselves to an immediate cessation of hostilities – a measure which would significantly help in providing a context in which mediation and eventual dialogue could begin.

The Heads of Government expressed their deep regret at the continuation of the tragic course of events in Lebanon, which has been the scene of strife and foreign aggression for many years. They committed themselves to the support of all steps which would lead to the early cessation of conflict and the preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of that country.

Famine in Africa

In their consideration of the widespread famine in Africa leading to starvation and death for large and growing numbers of people, the Heads of Government noted that while the international response had so far been impressive there was need for an intensification of such efforts if stall more people were not to perish.

They also expressed concern about the urgent need for donors and international agencies to begin at once to assist the peoples of Africa in putting in place new development structures which would help to ensure that there is no recurrence of the famine.

Southern Africa

In reviewing the situation in Southern Africa, the Heads of Government observed that the escalating repression in South Africa, the wanton killings, and the continuing raids into neighbouring States, especially the recent incursions into Botswana and Angola, have once again exposed the true nature of the racist regime in Pretoria. The regime sought to conceal its real intentions by cosmetic internal reforms which in fact only serve to maintain and tighten the grip of the abhorrent apartheid system.

The Heads of Government noted with respect the high courage and fortitude displayed by the oppressed people of South Africa in the struggle to assume their rights in their own country, and expressed confidence in their ultimate victory.

The Heads of Government considered in particular, the recent barbarous raid into Botswana and the murder and abduction of civilians, including women and young children. They called on the international community to assist on the payment of full compensation for this wanton aggression.

They took note of the growing public opposition in many countries to the apartheid regime, especially in reaction to the most recent excesses, and expressed the hope that this might represent a trend that would encourage mounting pressure by those countries that are most able to exert influence on the racist Government of Pretoria.

The heads of Government reaffirmed their support for the oppressed people of South Africa, and renewed their pledge of solidarity with the Frontline States. They restated their support for comprehensive mandatory sanctions against South Africa as a means of hastening the downfall of the apartheid regime and called on the entire international community to recognise the importance and urgency of exerting pressure to this end. At the same time they urged the international community to provide in generous measure the assistance necessary to enable the Southern African Development Cooperation Committee to implement its programme for regional development.


The Heads of Government condemned South Africa’s defiance of world opinion by the recent installation of a so-called interim Government in Namibia. They joined with the overwhelming majority of the international community in declaring such unilateral action to be null and void. The Heads of Government considered that such action by South Africa and its insistence in linking the independence of Namibia to irrelevant and extraneous issues and tactics for prolonging occupation while Namibia’s natural resources are being plundered. They pointed out that it is now seven years since the international community adopted Security Council Resolution 435 which established the basis for Namibia’s independence, and they called upon the international community to make a determined effort to ensure that the people of Namibia’s independence, and they called upon the international community to make a determined effort to ensure that the people of Namibia under the acknowledged leadership of SWAPO are enabled without further delay to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and independence.

The Heads of Government also expressed full support for the resolutions on Namibia, of the Bureau of the Non-Aligned Countries at its Extraordinary Meeting of April 1985 in New Delhi and of the Council for Namibia at its Meeting in Vienna in early June 1985. They associated themselves completely with the recent decision of the Security Council as contained in Resolution No. 566 of 19 June 1985 adopted at its Session of June 1985 which was presided over by Trinidad and Tobago.

Statements on the Sporting Boycott of South Africa

Heads of Government considered the boycott of South Africa in international sport to which the Governments and people of the Region had given their consistent commitment and support.

In this context, they endorsed and conclusions of the Eleventh Meeting of the Standing Committee of Ministers responsible for Foreign Affairs in Saint Christopher and Nevis in May 1985 and reaffirmed their commitment to pursuing the objective of the Glenagles Accord of eliminating sporting authorities and sportsmen throughout the Commonwealth.

With particular reference to the forthcoming tour of the Region by an MCC Cricket Team, they were at one in regarding as wholly unacceptable as visiting players, persons currently in breach of the Glenagles Agreement as well as those expressing an intent to violate it through sporting contacts with South Africa. In this latter regard, they called for urgent clarification of reports of such expressions of intent lest they be both contemptuous of West Indian opinion and provocative in their implications. They agreed to consult further in light of such enquiries and the response to them.

Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI)

In considering the operations of the CBI, the Heads of Government of designated countries expressed the view that its provisions can contribute significantly to the expansion of trade between the beneficiary countries and the USA, and can help to stimulate developmental activities. They exchanged views on the performance of the Scheme in designated countries and agreed to monitor developments.

Implementation of Nassau Understanding on Structural Adjustment

The Heads of Government reviewed action taken towards the implementation of the Nassau Understanding at the national and regional levels. They requested the CDB, and OECS and CARICOM Secretariats to continue efforts towards developing the various proposals into action-oriented programmes. They reiterated the need for the international community to support, in a timely manner, the national and regional programmes and projects in support of the objectives of the structural adjustment programme.

Intraregional Trade

The Heads of Government noted the current status of implementation of the measures agreed in Nassau which were originally to have been introduced by 1 January. They reaffirmed that it remains the intention of Member States to implement the measures and agreed that the required implementing action that is still outstanding will be completed by all the Member States concerned by 31 August 1985.

Agricultural matters

In considering the question of New Marketing Arrangements for Primary Agricultural Products and Livestock, Heads of Government agreed that the free trade, tariff and administrative arrangements that would give effect to a new marketing regime for the specified list of products, be put in place by September 31, 1985.

Heads of Government also directed that consideration by Member States of the Draft Schedule to replace Schedule VIII of the Treaty should proceed expeditiously.

They further agreed to establish a Committee to review the functioning, financing and impact of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI). The Committee will report to the Standing Committee of Ministers responsible for Agriculture in October.

The CARICOM Multilateral Clearing Facility (CMCF)

Heads of Government re-emphasised the importance of payments and credit facilities to the revitalisation of intraregional trade. In this context, they reviewed the status of the CMCF and agreed to continue bilateral discussions with a view to finding a workable settlement. Debtor countries undertook to try to reduce their indebtedness to the Facility and in this regard it was agreed to encourage Member Countries to purchase their sugar from regional suppliers in surplus. The proceeds of such sales would be applied to reduce the debt owing to the CMCF.

Heads of Government expressed interest in a proposal for the creation of a Trade Credit Facility which would provide credit for trade in specified products with the potential to be internationally competitive. Heads of Government expect the proposal to be fully worked out for a decision to be made before the end of 1985.

The Barbados Consensus on Development of Local and Regional Entrepreneurship and Skills in the Member States of the Caribbean Community

Heads of Government agreed that every effort should be made to promote the development of entrepreneurial, managerial and technical skills in the countries of the Region, to enable them to more from their inherited narrow and fragile economic base to a more diversified, resilient and self-reliant economy. They undertook to review their education and training systems so as to place more emphasis on science and technology and on the development of initiative and self-reliant attitudes.

They also decided, wherever feasible, to pool on a regional basis highly-trained professional and managerial manpower as well as indigenous entrepreneurship. They also pledged themselves to intensify their individual and collective efforts to find a solution to the problem of the brain-drain.

The Barbados consensus on Development of Local and Regional Entrepreneurship and Skills in the Member States of the Caribbean Community is attached.

Relations with Latin American Countries and Institutions

Heads of Government received reports on the status of the implementation of the Nassau Decisions on Relations with Third Countries in the Region. In particular, they noted and welcomed reports of progress in the convening of the Joint Technical Groups which are to devise a programme of cooperation, particularly in the field of trade with Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Suriname. These three countries have now been accorded observer status at the Standing Committees of Labour, Agriculture and the Conference of Ministers of Health, while the Standing Committee of Ministers responsible for Education is currently completing arrangements to do the same. They expressed their approval at the steps being taken to convene the second meeting of the Mexico-CARICOM Joint Commission later in the year. Finally, they noted the initiatives taken to develop relations with the Andean Group as had been mandated in the Nassau Understanding.

The Third Lome Convention

The Heads of Government reviewed, from the perspective of the Caribbean, the outcome of the negotiations between the EEC and the ACP States which had been concluded with the signing of the Third Lome Convention. The Heads of Governments directed that the Common Market Council should keep under constant review the implementation of the Convention with the aim of making recommendations, as necessary, on the ways and means by which CARICOM Member States may take more effective advantage of the opportunities for trade and development offered by the Convention.

West Indies Shipping Corporation

The heads of Government reiterated their general commitment to WISCO as a vital part of the infrastructure of the integration movement, and agreed that steps should be taken to ensure that WISCO overcomes its present funding difficulties.

Cooperation Among CARICOM States in the Field of Air Services

Heads of Government of Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, discussed the need to optimise the use of the route rights of these countries and to promote their social and economic development they agreed that a joint coordinated approach should be taken when necessary to ensure that regional aviation interests are advanced.


Heads of Government reaffirmed the commitment of LIAT (1974) Ltd. as the intraregional air carrier.

Intransit Arrangements through CARICOM International Airports

Heads of Government were made aware of certain problems in the intransit arrangements for passengers and goods passing through international airports within CARICOM, Heads of Government decided that the problem should be examined and a report made to the next regular meeting of the Common Market Council.


In the conviction that energy remained an important priority for the Region, Heads of Government reaffirmed support for the Regional Energy Action Plan (REAP). The major objective of the REAP is to alleviate within the shortest possible time, the adverse impact of the energy crises of the 70s on the CARICOM economies, while at the same time providing for a more coordinated and rational development of the energy resources in the Region.

The Meeting urged the CARICOM Secretariat and the Caribbean Development Bank to continue their efforts to mobilise the resources required for implementing the REAP or originally conceived.

Drug Trafficking

Heads of Government expressed grave concern over the increasing traffic in, and abuse of, narcotic substances which pose a serious threat to the economy and security of Member States and to the health and welfare of their people.

Recognising the regional dimension of the drug problem, they stressed the need for improved cooperation and consultation between regional and extra-regional laws enforcement and social agencies; supported the mandate given to the Secretariat at the Eleventh Meeting of the Standing Committee of Ministers responsible for Foreign Affairs to collate information on drug trafficking, drug transshipment, drug abuse and rehabilitation in the Region; and urged individual Governments to strengthen the policing of seaports and airports in order to curtail their use as transshipment points for illegal drugs.

Decision-Making in the Caribbean Community

Heads of Government referred the study of decision-making conducted by the CARICOM Secretary-General for further consideration at the national level. It will be recalled that Heads of Government, at their Fifth Meeting in Nassau in July 1984, considered the matter of decision-making in the Caribbean Community, and requested the Secretary-General to conduct a study in consultation with Member States of the System of Decision-Making under the Treaty of Chaguaramas, with a view to identifying areas of decision-making in the Community, in respect of which consideration could be given to the introduction of a voting procedure other than by unanimous vote.

Heads of Government mandated the Secretary-General to convene a meeting of appropriate national and regional officials to review the Report and the comments of Member States, and formulate final recommendations in time for submission to the next meeting of the Conference.

Date and Venue of Next Meeting

Heads of Government accepted the offer of the Government of Guyana to host the Seventh Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in July 1986

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