CommuniquesPress Releases

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE FOURTEENTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENT OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY, 5-8 JULY 1993, NASSAU, THE BAHAMAS

The Fourteenth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community was held in Nassau, The Bahamas, 5-8 July 1993. It marked the Twentieth Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas which led to the establishment of the Caribbean Community and the formation of a Caribbean Common Market.

Heads of Government in attendance were:

The Rt. Hon. Erskine Sandiford, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Barbados; The Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham, Prime Minister of The Bahamas; The Rt. Hon. Manuel Esquivel, Prime Minister of Belize; The Rt. Hon. Nicholas Brathwaite, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Security and External Affairs, Grenada; His Excellency Dr. Cheddi Jagan, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana; The Rt. Hon. Percival J. Patterson, Prime Minister of Jamaica; Hon. Reuben Meade, Chief Minister of Montserrat Dr the Rt. Hon. Kennedy Simmonds, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs and Finance, St. Kitts and Nevis. The Rt. Hon. John Compton, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Planning and Development, Saint Lucia; The Rt. Hon. James Mitchell, Prime Minister and Minister of finance, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Hon. Patrick Manning, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. Antigua and Barbuda was represented by Hon. Lester Bird, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Economic Planning and Dominica by the Hon. Charles Maynard, Minister of Trade, Industry and Commerce.

Heads of Government expressed regret at the unfortunate accident which kept Dame Eugenia Charles, Prime Minister of Dominica, away from the Conference and express their best wishes to her speedy recovery.

The CARICOM Associate member of the British Virgin Islands was represented by Hon. Lavity Stoutt, Chief Minister. Also in attendance at the Opening Ceremony were H.E. Rafael Angel Calderon, President of Costa Rica; H.E. Carlos Morales Troncoso, Vice President of the Dominican Republic and H.E. Baltasar Corrada del Rio, Secretary of State of Puerto Rico.

In his opening remarks, the incoming Chairman of the Conference, Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, emphasised that: “it is thus timely for the Caribbean Community, as it is for the Bahamas, to take inventory, to re-evaluate our goals and to ensure that our respective structures, processes and perspectives are relevant and appropriate to our aspirations and to the realities of the international economic environment which so profoundly affect our national economies and our individual well being.”

Heads of Government fully endorsed this observation. They regarded this Fourteenth meeting as an historic one in that it represented an important milestone in the Community’s development process. It was an occasion to pause and reflect both on the successes as well as on the shortfalls in achievement and to chart a course that would lead a vibrant Community into the twenty-first century.

Issues in Global Economic Relations

Heads of Government, mindful of the rapidly changing global environment, the strengthening of regional trade blocs and the extremely high degree of uncertainty and volatility in the international trade and financial markets, agreed that it was imperative for the region to act in concert to meet the challenges inherent in the new situation.

Heads of Government also recognised the close inter-relationship between an effective external economic strategy and the internal strategies for the development of the Single Market and for monetary and financial cooperation and integration.

They therefore approved a broad strategy and guidelines for the conduct of international economic and trade negotiations for CARICOM countries. In addition, they identified a team of Heads of Government, including the Heads of Government with specific responsibilities for external negotiations, for the Single Market and for Monetary Union, and high level officials from the Regional organisations to assume responsibility for coordinating and implementing the Region’s External Programme.

Heads of Government recognised that the efforts to negotiate access to external markets and resources, and to adjust to changing market conditions should proceed in tandem with the implementation of measures designed to encourage enhanced productivity and the production of competitive exports as well as to generate higher levels of investment. To this end, Member States are involved in programmes of reform, liberalization and restructuring of their economies. The effectiveness of these efforts and the ability to sustain them is significantly constrained by the high debt servicing obligations and reduced inflows of resources form institutions such as the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank. They expressed appreciation for the reduction in the bilateral debt of some of the Member States but remained concerned that an overall strategy for dealing with the debt of middle-income countries and the debt to the multilateral financial institutions has not yet been found.

They reviewed the situation relating to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which is expected to come into force in January 1994. The Heads of Government agreed to work towards ensuring that adequate transitional arrangements are made to avoid any adverse impact on trade, employment and investment opportunities in Caribbean countries.

With respect to relations with the European Community, the Heads of Government observed that the arrangements to create the Single European Market had been virtually completed. In the process the Region’s trade in bananas had come under severe threat from a variety of quarters with serious consequences for the future viability of the industry.

Head of Government expressed concern and disappointment at the process utilised within the GATT to examine the arrangements for the marketing of bananas in the EC member states markets and the results emanating from that process which could have serious implications for the entire Lime arrangements. They recalled that ACP banana exports account for only 16 per cent of the total European market and only 3 per cent of the world market. They viewed with extreme concern further initiatives within the GATT by Latin American Countries and observed that these current initiatives could seriously undermine the declared objective by the Central America and the Caribbean Community to build closer cooperation among themselves. They called on all the parties concerned to give full recognition to the exceptional circumstances of the CARICOM and other ACP producers and to ensure that obligations enshrined in the Lomé Convention are fully honoured.

Heads of Government agreed to encourage ACP states, contracting parties to the GATT, to signify their interest in the matter to the GATT where this has not already been done and attend and participate in the deliberations on the findings of the GATT panel at the next meeting of the Council to be held on 21-22 July 1993.

Heads of Government welcomed the decision of the European Court of Justice in relation to European Community’s new arrangements for the marketing of Bananas within the Single European Market. They, however, lamented the fact that financial and technical assistance measures, for ACP traditional suppliers proposed in the relevant Community’s Regulation, have not yet been approved. They were of the opinion that failure to approve and implement such measures as a matter of urgency would result in additional hardships for ACP traditional suppliers to the European market.

Heads of Government observed that in the new arrangements for the marketing of bananas in Europe which entered into force from 1 July 1993, there are elements which required urgent review.

Heads of Government also called on the Community to put in place appropriate measures to ensure that the amendments to the Community Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the developments in the GATT, do not adversely affect the sugar industry in the Caribbean and the wider ACP.

Heads of Government expressed their concern at the inadequacies of resources under Lomé IV for meeting the entitlement to STABEX transfers. They regard the failure to apply a minimum threshold below which transfer bases and transfer amounts would not be reduced as placing LDLICs in a worse position under Lomé Iv than they were under Lomé III. They therefore called on the European Community and its member states to make an exceptional effort not limited to the resources of the Convention to ensure that the minimum threshold of 2 million ECUS for island countries be applied for the 1990, 1991 and 1992 years of application and for the life of the Lomé IV Convention.

Heads of Government observed that the ACP and the EC would soon begin a mid-term of the Lomé IV Convention. They expressed grave concern at the slowness in the process of accessing and utilising the financial resources for Caribbean region projects under the first Financial Protocol of the Convention. They recognised that the difficulty arises, in part, from the inadequacy of the level of resources to meet the expanded needs of the Caribbean region with the addition of Haiti and the Dominican Republic to the Caribbean ACP Group. They requested the Team responsible for the Region’s External Economic Relations Programme to bring the Region’s concerns in this regard to the attention of the Community.

Heads of Government were encouraged by the information from the Summit of the Group of Seven on the possible resolution of some longstanding trade difficulties. They trust that these developments will lead to a reduction in the contradictions between the domestic and international trade policies of major trading nations and greater understanding of the vulnerability of some products of developing countries. They expressed the hope that these developments at the G-7 Summit will lead to a re-opening of international negotiations in the GATT towards a global regime which takes account of the concerns of all States.

It was against this background that the Heads of Government expressed their determination to ensure that the Community acted with despatch on the broad range of issues confronting the Region.

CARICOM/Latin America Relations

Heads of Government welcomed the intensification of CARICOM relations with Latin America. They expressed their appreciation of the effective representation of the Region’s interest within the Rio Group by Jamaica and accepted the offer of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to assume this representational role from 1994. They also reviewed with satisfaction the continuing development of relations between the Community and the members of the Group of Three at both the individual and collective levels. Heads of Government were pleased to learn from the president of Andean Development Corporation of the growing ties being forged between the Corporation, now including Chile and Mexico, and the countries of the Caribbean Community. They also expressed satisfaction with the deepening of relations between the Community and such regional and hemispheric organisations as SKLA and the OAS. The importance of an early conclusion of a Trade, Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement between the Community and Colombia was emphasised in the context of the overall development of CARICOM-Latin America Relations.

CARICOM/Central America Relations

Heads of Government welcomed the consolidation of relations between CARICOM and Central America over the past year. They were encouraged by the degree of collaboration which had taken place and, in particular, the signature of a Basic Cooperation Agreement between the integration Secretariats of the two sub-regions and underscored the value of joint action on important regional and hemispheric issues.

Heads of Government were particularly encouraged by the statements made by the President of Costa Rica and the Vice-president of the Dominican Republic both of whom clearly indicated their support for the development of closer relations between the Caribbean Community and other countries of the Region. It was their view that the forging of closer ties through economic and other forms of cooperation represented an important mechanism for meeting the challenges posed by an increasingly complex international environment and the resultant negative effects on the pace of development of Member States of the Region.

Association of Caribbean States

Against the background of steady progress in the development of relations between the Community and Latin America, Heads of Government reaffirmed their confidence in the potential benefit to the entire Region of the creation of an Association of Caribbean States. Heads of Government were convinced that with the creation of the Association of Caribbean States the Community would be strengthened by the greater membership of the Association, and would have far greater opportunities for economic development through increased bargaining power and an enlarged economic space.

The Meeting reviewed the issues involved in the establishment of the Association. They expressed their satisfaction at the response to the concept by the potential membership; and with the expressions of support that have been forthcoming from regional and international funding agencies.

Haiti

Heads of Government expressed their appreciation for the report provided by Ambassador Christopher R. Thomas, Assistant Secretary-General of the OAS on the most recent developments in the international attempt to resolve the Haitian political crisis, in particular the Governor’s Island Accord signed by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Chief of the Haitian Armed Forces, respectively, on the weekend of 3 – 4 July 1993 in New York. The Heads of Government also expressed their appreciation for the information on arrangements for the provision of humanitarian assistance to Haiti.

Heads of Government recognized the delicacy inherent in this new situation but expressed the hope that this significant development would pave the way for the restoration of President Aristide by 30 October 1993.

They reiterated their support for President Aristide and the restoration of constitutional rule in Haiti. They also confirmed the willingness of the Caribbean Community to participate in the establishment of an international constabulary force as part of the OAS/UN arrangements for the restoration of democracy in Haiti.

Heads of Government also agreed to provide a programme of assistance to Haiti within the limits of the Region’s resources and urged the establishment of a Special Programme of assistance similar to that established in 1988 for Central America.

Belize/Guatemala Relations

Heads of Government welcomed the declaration issued by the Government of the Republic of Guatemala on 28 June 1993, reiterating its recognition of Belize as an independent state. They also expressed their appreciation of the new Belize Government’s readiness to continue relations and negotiations with Guatemala on the basis of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Heads noted Belize’s concern about recent developments in Guatemala which led to the resignation of the Guatemalan President and the installation by the military of a nominated interim President. They expressed the hope that conditions would prevail in Guatemala that would consolidate the establishment of democratic institutions in Guatemala.

Heads also noted Belize’s concern that the Government of the United Kingdom has decided to withdraw its troops from Belize and to terminate the defence guarantee which has been in effect since independence. They expressed the hope that this would not weaken Belize’s position in seeking a solution to the problem with Guatemala, and reaffirmed support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belize.

Guyana/Venezuela Relations

Heads of Government noted the continuing cordial development in Guyana-Venezuela relations. They took note of the contribution of the official visit by President Cheddi Jagan to Venezuela to that process and the fruitful exchanges which have taken place in both the public and private sectors since then.

Heads of Government welcomed the decision of the Governments of Guyana and Venezuela to pursue actively the search for a peaceful resolution to the controversy over the border under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary-General through the Good Offices of Sir Alister Mc Intyre. They expressed the hope that discussions within the Good Offices procedure would continue to be valuable.

Heads of Government reaffirmed support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana.

Request for Observer Status in the Community

Heads of Government agreed to the establishment of a Joint Technical Group as the mechanism for pursuing co-operation with the French overseas Departments in the Caribbean particularly in the areas of Agriculture, Trade, Transportation, Education and Culture, Environment, Health, Industry and Tourism.

They agreed that in light of current activities towards the establishment of an Association of Caribbean States, of which Costa Rica is a potential member, relations with that country be further developed within that context.

CARICOM/UN Relations

Heads of Government welcomed the development of relations between the Community and the United Nations through the implementation of programmes of co-operation between the respective Secretariats.

Forty-Eighth Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

Heads of Government welcomed the endorsement of a CARICOM candidate for the Presidency of the Forty-Eighth Regular Session of the United Nations. This unprecedented development which promises to ensure the election of the CARICOM candidate by acclamation was a source of immense satisfaction to the Community.

With reference to the Agenda for the Forty-Eighth General Assembly of the United Nations, Heads of Government took note of the Report of the United Nations Secretary-General submitted at the Forty-Seventh General Assembly entitled: “An Agenda for Peace” and agreed that the Agenda for Development should be given equal importance by the United Nations.

South Africa

Heads of Government welcomed the Report provided by the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth on recent developments in South Africa. They looked forward to further rapid and peaceful progress towards the non-racial elections scheduled for April 1994, and in this connection, called upon the international community to maintain economic sanctions against South Africa until the Transitional Executive Council has been established with terms of reference that are clearly defined and adequate to permit the meaningful participation of the non-white population in the governmental process of that country.

Heads of Government also agreed tin principle to CARICOM representation on the proposed Commonwealth Mission to South Africa (COMSA III).

Heads of Government also gave consideration to the provision of assistance, to the extent of their limited resources, for the training of disadvantaged South African nationals in development and governance in order to prepare them for a post-apartheid South Africa.

Heads of Government agreed to keep the situation in South Africa under review.

Deepening the Integration Process

Heads of Government agreed that the occasion of the Twentieth Anniversary being celebrated during the ensuing year would be used to expand the process of wider consultation and involvement of all sections of the Community. They endorsed the programme for the year of activities which placed emphasis on youth action beginning with a Regional Youth Conference on Growing up in the Caribbean as well as the investiture of CARICOM Youth Ambassadors both of which took place in Saint Lucia on CARICOM Day, 4 July 1993.

Heads of Government noted the progress made towards instituting a two-phased celebration plan to mark the Twentieth Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas. They called on the media to publicise fully the activities commemorating the Twentieth Anniversary of CARICOM, and to help foster and promote the Community’s programme as it enters its third decade.

Heads of Government met in special session with representatives of the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC) and the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL). They considered that the Meeting represented another valuable opportunity for tripartite consultations on the serious issues affecting the Region at the present time and in particular on the matter of structural adjustment of Caribbean economies.

Heads of Government recalling the Grand Anse Declaration of 1989, reaffirmed that the broadening and deepening of the Region’s knowledge base, especially in science and technology, was an indispensable ingredient for the Region’s survival in the Twenty-First Century. They agreed to request Ministers of Education and the Association of Caribbean Tertiary Institutions to consider additional proposals for developing the Regions tertiary institutions as well as encouraging skills training and research and development in the private sector.

Heads of Government discussed the development of structures of unity for strengthening the integration movement. They reached agreement on the principles contained in the draft Charter of Civil Society which ahs been prepared by the Inter-Governmental Task Force in pursuance of the mandate of the Special Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in October 1992. The Charter sets out fundamental principles to govern the relationship between Government and people and also to provide for such democratic elements as freedom of the press, fundamental principles of human rights and other measures aimed at the protection of individuals and the promotion of their welfare.

Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians

Heads of Government also welcomed the fact that there were now eight signatories and two ratifications to the Agreement to establish the Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians. They urged the early completion of the ratification process so that the first meeting of the Assembly could be convened in Barbados during this year. They considered that the deliberations of the Assembly would contribute to a greater involvement in and a better understanding of the integration process.

Restructuring of the Organs of the Community

Heads of Government also endorsed proposals for the restructuring of the Organs and Institutions of the Community, They agreed that the Secretariat working under the direction of the Bureau and the Ministers responsible for CARICOM Affairs would within the framework of the agreed restructuring proposals, design the specifics relating to information flows, document receipt and distribution channels, national and regional consultation process, and decision-making and implementation procedures.

Restructuring the Secretariat and Organs of the Community

Heads of Government were of the view that central to the integration process was the strengthening of the Secretariat to cope with the demands for action posed by the challenges facing the Community. They accordingly accepted the proposals for the structuring of the Secretariat and directed the Secretary-General to proceed with their early implementation. In this context, they acknowledged the assistance being received from the Government of Canada in strengthening a restructured Secretariat even as they themselves are determined to provide additional resources necessary to complete in an effective and timely manner the many agreed programmes and related activities for advancing the integration process.

Progress Reports

Heads of Government received progress reports from those Heads of Government who were responsible for specific areas of activities. They noted developments in all areas and in respect of the steps being taken towards the achievement of a CARICOM Single Market and Economy, emphasised its relevance to the objective of a CARICOM Region without internal barriers and with a common policy towards countries not members of CARICOM. They endorsed the call for the preparation by an expert group of a statement of principles and propositions embodying the concept of the Single Market and aimed at clarifying misconceptions and misunderstandings about it.

Caribbean Investment Fund

Heads of Government approved, subject to any legal adjustments to the text which might be made before July 31 1993, an agreement between the Governments and the Insurance Company of the West Indies (ICWI) for the establishment of the Caribbean Investment Fund. They expressed their gratitude to Prime Minister Patterson for co-ordinating the negotiation of this agreement.

Sustainable Development

Heads of Government emphasised the importance of the Conference on Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States which is scheduled to convene in Barbados in April 1994. They expressed the hope that this conference, one of the more significant outcomes of UNCED 1992, would result in tangible benefits for this category of countries worldwide as a recognition by the international community of their special characteristics and consequently of their special needs. Heads of Government noted in this context the important opportunity provided by the Regional Technical Meeting (RTM) next week (12-16 July) in Trinidad and Tobago for Caribbean/Atlantic countries to define their positions and determine their inputs to this process.

Heads of Government also emphasised the fragility of the Caribbean eco-system and the need for vigilance with respect to its preservation given its preponderant significance in the economic survival of the Region. In this regard, they strongly condemned the continued activities of certain industrialised countries with respect to the trans-boundary movement of hazardous and nuclear materials in the wider Caribbean Region and at attempts to use this Region as a state for the dumping of nuclear waste.

Insurance and Re-Insurance Industry

Heads of Government expressed concern at the escalating cost and the difficulty in obtaining insurance and re-insurance in the Region. In light of the critical importance of catastrophe insurance in the Caribbean and the fundamental nature of the problem, they endorsed the decision of the Standing Committee of Ministers responsible for Finance to establish a broad-based group including the public and private sectors, the engineering and finance committees, to make recommendations for consideration of Governments and the insurance industry.

Tourism Issues

Heads of Government expressed their appreciation to the Rt. Hon. Michael Manley for the work which he has done on the issue of cruise ships operating in the Region. They discussed the many issues affecting the Tourism industry in the Region and agreed to an authoritative study being conducted, under the aegis of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, to examine a range of matters, including the competitive environment in the market place in which cruise line and land based tourism operate and their impact on tourism in the Region; the requirements for establishing a regulatory body and licensing system to oversee the operation of cruise lines in the Caribbean Sea, in the interest of the peoples of the Caribbean. Heads of Government agreed to the concept of a minimum head tax. They appointed the Chairman of the Conference to deal with its implementation.

Heads of Government also noted the Report on Regional Marketing Programmes for 1994 and referred it to the next Meeting of Ministers of Tourism scheduled to be held in September 1993 for further study and decision.

Air Transportation

Heads of Government received a report from the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the privatisation of LIAT. They agreed, with the reservation of one Member State, to the proposals for finalising the process of privatisation of LIAT and the legal arrangements affecting the new membership structure. They also expressed their appreciation to Prime Minister Mitchell for his invaluable contribution in bringing this matter to such a definitive stage.

Heads of Government also reviewed and endorsed proposals for functional co-operation among the Caribbean Airlines. They recognised that such co-operation was an essential element in the process of restructuring with a view of increasing their profitability. They also agreed to the formation of a Regional Air Carrier comprising existing national airlines of the Community and an appropriate foreign Air Carrier. Such a Regional Air Carrier would be owned and operated by the private sector, with Government participation and with majority equity participation from within the Region. In this regard, Heads of Government requested the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to follow-up on behalf of the Conference the proposals for increased functional co-operation among the airlines of the Region and the formation of a Regional Air Carrier by 1 January 1995.

CARIFESTA

Heads of Government expressed their appreciation of a report on CARIFESTA V presented by Trinidad and Tobago and commended that Member State for the manner in which it handled the organisation and staging of the Festival particularly since it was undertaken at short notice. Heads of Government also accepted an offer by Trinidad and Tobago to host CARIFESTA V in 1995 and agreed that details of the hosting arrangements will be provided at the next Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference.

Congratulatory Message

Heads of Government noted that a Caribbean national, Mr. Clyde Walcott, President of the West Indies Cricket Board of Control, was recently elected to the position of President of the International Cricket Council (ICC). They extended congratulations and their best wishes to Mr. Walcott.

Appreciation

Heads of Government were unanimous in expressing their appreciation of the role which Prime Minister Ingraham played, as Chairman, in leading the Conference to a successful conclusion. They requested him to convey to the Government and people of The Bahamas their tanks for the warm hospitality and for all the arrangements that were made to ensure that they had a pleasant and comfortable stay in The Bahamas. Finally, Heads of Government took the opportunity to convey to the Prime Minister, the Government and the people of The Bahamas, their congratulations and best wishes on the occasion of the Twentieth Anniversary of the Independence of The Bahamas.

Date and Venue for the Fifteenth Meeting of the Conference

Heads of Government accepted the offer of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to host the Fifth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference during the first quarter of 1994 and of Barbados to host the Fifteenth Regular Meeting of the Conference on 4 – 7 July 1994.

Nassau, The Bahamas

Show More
Back to top button
Close