CommuniquesConference of Heads of GovernmentMemberPress ReleasesSaint Lucia


(CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana) The Nineteenth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, was held in Castries, Saint Lucia, on 30 June-4 July 1998 with an Opening Ceremony on the evening of 30 June1998 and a Closing Ceremony on 4 July 1998.

Heads of Government in attendance were: Hon. Lester B. Bird, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antigua and Barbuda; Hon. Hubert Ingraham, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas; Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Barbados; the Rt. Hon. Manuel Esquivel, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Belize; Hon. Edison James, Prime Minister and Minister of Legal Affairs and Labour, Dominica; Dr. the Hon. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada; Her Excellency Janet Jagan, President of the Republic of Guyana; Rt. Hon. Percival J. Patterson, Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Jamaica; Hon. David Brandt, Chief Minister, Montserrat; Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Planning and National Security, St. Kitts and Nevis; Dr. the Hon. Kenny D. Anthony, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Planning and Development, Home Affairs and Information, Saint Lucia; Rt. Hon. Sir James E. Mitchell, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; His Excellency Dr. Jules A. Wijdenbosch, President of the Republic of Suriname, and Hon. Basdeo Panday, Prime Minister, Trinidad and Tobago.

The Turks and Caicos Islands was represented by the Chief Minister the Hon. Derek Taylor and Anguilla by the Chief Minister, Hon. Hubert Hughes. Haiti was represented by His Excellency President René Préval.

The Dominican Republic was represented at the Closing Ceremony by Vice-President Dr. Jaime Fernando Mirabal.



The Opening Ceremony was held as a part of the Community’s celebration of its Silver Jubilee. In his Opening Remarks, the Secretary-General observed that, with the imminent approach of the 21st century and as the Community positioned itself to secure a viable place in the evolving international system, the successes and failures of the past 25 years had clearly shown “that acting in concert in pursuing our common interest still remained our most effective choice”.

He congratulated the political, business and labour leaders, the officials, the institutions, the media and the people of the Caribbean for their role in supporting Regional integration over the past 25 years.

Looking to the new millennium, he commended, to the Caribbean Community at large, a vision which forged instruments and mechanisms to provide the Region’s youth with “ample access to Community policy formulation, decision making and implementation.”

The Opening Ceremony was also addressed by Dr. the Hon. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada and outgoing Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government; Dr. the Hon. Kenny D. Anthony, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia and incoming Chairman of Conference; Her Excellency Janet Jagan, President of the Republic of Guyana and the Hon. Sir James E. Mitchell, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

In his remarks, Dr. the Hon. Keith Mitchell expressed the conviction that small states such as those in the Caribbean had to quicken the pace of integration if they were to participate in a meaningful way in the ever-changing global environment. In this connection, he was encouraged by the level of “interaction and engagement which already exist with our larger Caribbean neighbours of Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti”.

The outgoing Chairman emphasised that unity of purpose and deeper co-operation among all countries of the Caribbean should be the fundamental principles guiding the Community’s actions and “our resolve to act together must be unwavering”.

Dr. Mitchell stressed that with an eye to the future, the application of Science and Technology to the Region’s economic development must be undertaken as a matter of urgency.

In the Feature Address, incoming Chairman, Dr. the Hon. Kenny D. Anthony, reminded the session that the Region had emerged as one of the most politically stable in the world and asserted that “it is now for us to teach others about democracy”.

Prime Minister Anthony recalled the history of “pain that has stretched across the centuries and spanned the continents from Europe to Africa to India to this intersection of hope” and looked forward to welcoming His Excellency, the President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, “the son who embodies the dignity of Africa and is the shining emblem of part of our ancestral resilience”.

He said the people of the Region wanted CARICOM to succeed; “but if CARICOM is to succeed, we, Heads of government, must believe in it, without reservation, without jealousy. We must believe in CARICOM, absolutely and with a generosity of spirit.”

In emphasising the important contribution of the people to CARICOM’s capacity “to respond to the rigours of the new inter-state system” the incoming Chairman stressed the necessity for “mobilisation of all our human and political resources. It is necessary that we embrace all available human resources and turn our nationals in the diaspora into a political, intellectual and economic asset.” He also reminded the meeting that “our overseas nationals are anxious to assist in protecting and advancing our shared interest but “sometimes . . . feel abandoned”. He insisted that they must be made to feel “that their home governments are prepared to provide political support in their time of need.”

In her remarks, Her Excellency Janet Jagan drew attention to the free movement of skills and people as an essential ingredient of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, if the Region is to make progress towards economic integration.

She also advised that a precondition for the Community’s good health was the preservation of democracy, law and order and the adherence to the principles of human rights in their political as well as economic, social and cultural dimensions.

In relation to those principles, she expressed her country’s gratitude to the outgoing Chairman of CARICOM, the Prime Minister of Grenada, “for his outstanding work in steering the ship of CARICOM since the last Summit and especially his leading role in the efforts aimed at surmounting the post-elections problems in Guyana”.

In his remarks, the Rt. Hon. Sir James Mitchell said the Region should let the world know that “we will be responsible members of the international community and therefore expect our fair share of the world’s wealth just as we share liberally in its sacrifices.”

The Prime Minister asserted that in dealing with the rest of the World, the Community must have its own house in order particularly with respect to the Single Market and Economy. He also outlined the importance of the Caribbean overseeing its own airspace.


The outgoing Chairman of Conference, the Prime Minister of Grenada, presented the Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC) conferred on four outstanding citizens of the Community. These were His Excellency Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and staunch proponent of deepening of the integration process; Rt. Hon. Vere Cornwall Bird, former Prime Minister Antigua and Barbuda and the only surviving signatory to both the CARIFTA Agreement and the Treaty of Chaguaramas; Sir Phillip Manderson Sherlock, regional educator and pillar of the University of the West Indies; and Sir Garfield St Auburn Sobers, the greatest cricketer the world has seen.

President Robinson and Mr Bird were present to receive their awards while representatives of Sir Phillip and Sir Garfield accepted the awards on their behalf. President Robinson delivered an acceptance speech while the Hon. Lester Bird, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Mr. John Sherlock and Mr. Matthew Sobers spoke on behalf of their fathers.


The Heads of Government welcomed the acceleration in the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and agreed to work towards completing the implementation of the remaining major elements by 1999. The Conference noted progress particularly in respect of the signing of the Protocols Amending the Treaty of Chaguaramas, the implementation of the Common External Tariff, of which Phase IV is expected to be substantially completed by the end of 1998.

Heads of Government endorsed the decision of the Council for Finance and Planning to meet on a regular basis – at least twice a year – to oversee the progress of the convergence of Regional economies and the coordination of economic policies and, in this regard, to consider financial and monetary issues critical to the progress and integration of the Community.

Signing of Protocols Amending the Treaty Establishing the Caribbean Community

During the Opening Ceremony, the Heads of Government signed Protocols III and V Amending the Treaty establishing the Caribbean Community. These Protocols relate, respectively, to Industrial Policy and Agricultural Policy.

The Conference agreed that the final work on Protocol IV (Trade Policy) should be readied for signature at the Tenth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference. Montserrat signed Protocol II on July 4, 1998 and, also on that date, Suriname’s signature of Protocol II became effective. With these two actions, Protocol II came provisionally into force.


Heads of Government adopted, in principle, the Agreement establishing the Caribbean Supreme Court, under the new appellation of the Caribbean Court of Justice. The Court of Justice is to be invested, inter alia, with original jurisdiction in respect of the interpretation and application of the Treaty of Chaguaramas.

The Conference recognised that constitutional requirements would constrain some Member States from participating initially in the appellate function of the Court and expressed the desire that sometime in the near future, this vital CARICOM Institution would be able to perform this function for all CARICOM Member States.

With particular reference to the differences in legal systems among Member States, especially with regard to Suriname which has expressed its general support for the establishment of the Court, Heads of Government agreed to establish a Working Group to consider the differences in legal systems and make recommendation on how the eventual participation of Suriname can be achieved.

Heads expect that all the remaining work will be completed to permit the final decisions to be taken at the 10th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference.


Heads of Government approved the application from the Government of Anguilla for Associate Membership of the Community.


Heads of Government reviewed the situation in Guyana, and related Community action, to facilitate the full implementation of the Herdmanston Accord signed by the leaders of the two main political parties and the Chairman of CARICOM following the protest demonstrations in the wake of the December 1997 elections and the mission led by Sir Henry Forde which brokered the Accord.

They welcomed the undertakings, arrangements and measures jointly agreed in “The Saint Lucia Statement” signed by President Janet Jagan, Opposition Leader, Mr. Desmond Hoyte, and CARICOM Chairman, Dr. the Hon. Kenny D. Anthony, to return the political process in Guyana to the agreed path of the Herdmanston Accord, and within the time-frame agreed in the Accord. “The Saint Lucia Statement” is attached to this Communique.

Heads of Government welcomed the agreement to have the enabling legislation put in place to allow the opposition to take their seats in the National Assembly by 15 July, 1998.

Heads of Government resolved to place their collective commitment behind the undertakings, arrangements and measures agreed and adopted by the two main political parties with a view to promoting their observance.


Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM)

Heads of Government reaffirmed their earlier decisions regarding the role, functions and responsibilities of the Regional Negotiating Machinery and specifically agreed to a number of recommendations from the Meeting of the Bureau in Santiago, Chile in April 1998 – including confirmation of the arrangements for the special responsibilities of Barbados for RNM finances.

The Heads of Government also endorsed the broad thrust of the proposals of the Chief Negotiator in his paper to the Conference – `External Economic Negotiations’: The Next Phase – while remitting to the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on External Negotiations a number of specific recommendations on the detailed arrangements set out in its Annexes.


Heads of Government were apprised of the recently approved reforms of the European Union’s Banana Regime and noted that whilst some of the benefits enjoyed by banana suppliers will be lost, the new regime will safeguard Caribbean access to the market and provide much needed long term security and stability to the industry.

They therefore complimented the just concluded United Kingdom Presidency for its strenuous efforts in ensuring the adoption by the European Union of a reformed Banana Regime which is not only compatible with the World Trade Organisation but also honours the Lomé obligations.

The Heads also called upon the World Trade Organisation, complainants against the Regime, in particular the United States, to desist from their attacks on the system.

Heads of Government welcomed the recognition by South Africa’s President Mandela of the vital importance to the Caribbean of its banana exports to Europe and his support for the preferential arrangements which enable that trade to take place.

Negotiations of Free Trade Agreements with Colombia and with the Dominican Republic

Heads of Government noted that negotiations for the extension of the current Trade and Economic Agreement with Colombia were successfully completed and Member States were taking the necessary actions to give effect to the Protocol which amends the original CARICOM/Colombia Agreement. The Conference also noted that all efforts were being made to conclude the Free Trade Agreement with the Dominican Republic with a view to signing an agreement in August 1998.


Heads of Government noted the existing climate of friendly relations between Guyana and Venezuela conducted in an atmosphere of respect and mutual understanding.

In that context, they noted further, that the Government of Venezuela was the first to send its congratulations to President Janet Jagan following the general and regional elections which took place in December 1997.

They expressed satisfaction over the progress being made under the aegis of the United Nations Secretary-General, through his good officer, Sir Alister McIntyre for a solution of the controversy.

The reaffirmed their firm support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Guyana and desire for a peaceful settlement to the controversy between Guyana and Venezuela.


Heads of Government reviewed the situation in St. Kitts and Nevis and recognised that little progress had been made in resolving the process of secession initiated by Nevis. In this situation, the Conference decided to send a delegation, at the level of Heads of Government, to speak with the various parties in the present impasse.


Heads of State and Government welcomed the report from the Prime Minister of Belize to the effect that relations between Belize and Guatemala remain cordial with both nations maintaining resident diplomatic representation at the Ambassadorial level.

They however shared concerns expressed by Belize at the recent initiatives by Guatemala in Caribbean capitals to press for an arbitrated settlement of its claim.

The Heads of State and Government took due note of Belize’s rejection of this Guatemalan initiative on the grounds that the only issue that could be the subject of judicial arbitration would be Belize’s territorial boundaries. In this regard, they supported Belize’s insistence that any agreement with Guatemala must recognise Belize’s existing borders and that Belize regarded Guatemala’s present position as a retrograde step.


Heads of Government received with grave concern, information on the resurgence of volcanic eruptions of the Soufriere Hills volcano in Montserrat, even as that Member State appeared to be returning to a phase of reduced volcanic activity and social tranquillity.

Heads of Government asserted their enduring solidarity with the Government and people of Montserrat.

They noted the progress towards the development of the proposed CARICOM Village in Montserrat and recognised and supported the recent commitment of the British Government to the implementation, in collaboration with the Government of Montserrat, of a Sustainable Development Plan for the period, 1998-2001.

Heads of Government expressed the hope that the recent incident of volcanic activity represented a preclude to the return of the volcano to its dormant state and that the implementation of the Sustainable Development plan will not be adversely affected by the recent event.


The Conference was addressed by representatives of the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce, the Caribbean Congress of Labour and of the Caribbean Policy Development Centre.

The representatives of these organisations addressed issues related to the establishment of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and to the application and implementation of the Protocols already signed, and submitted proposals for the consideration of the Conference related to, inter alia, free movement of people and skills; the harmonisation of labour laws and administration; air transport infrastructure and the role of the private sector as well as non-governmental organisations in regional trade matters.


The Heads of Government endorsed the Resolution adopted by the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) at its First Meeting in Jamaica, in April 1998, targetting the elimination of Rubella and the prevention of new cases of Congenital Rubella Syndrome by the end of the year 2000. They recalled the high standards of success achieved in 1992 under the Measles Elimination Programme.


Heads of Government received the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic to discuss preparations for a special meeting of CARIFORUM Heads of State and Government in the Dominica Republic and agreed on the dates of 20-22 August 1998 and the draft agenda for the Meeting.


Heads of Government met with His Excellency President Mandela of South Africa who expressed his thanks for the support given by the Region in the struggle against Apartheid, which he named as one of the greatest crimes against humanity this century. President Mandela also proposed that a CARICOM/South Africa Joint Commission be established to promote the development of economic and trade relations between South Africa and the Caribbean Community.

Heads expressed the hope that in the near future, there would be an opportunity for furthering the development of this proposal.


The Heads of Government expressed their profound appreciation to His Excellency The President of Venezuela for his special goodwill visit to the Caribbean Community on the occasion of its Twenty-Fifth Anniversary.

They welcomed the opportunity presented by the visit for an exchange of views and in their exchange committed themselves to even greater levels of contact, solidarity and cooperation as the most effective means of confronting the challenges presented by the ingoing transformation of interstate relations at the regional, hemispheric and wider international levels.

The Heads of State and Government and the President of Venezuela reiterated their commitment to the Association of Caribbean States and supported the convening of an ACS Summit in early 1999 to provide further direction and impetus to the work of the Association given the key role envisaged for it particularly in the development of the new pattern of hemispheric relations promoted by the Hemispheric Summit Process.  


Heads of Government regretted the inability of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and of the Commonwealth to attend this historic Conference. They nevertheless understood the nature of the activities in which they were both involved and which precluded their participation.

In their exchange of views with the Secretary-General of the OAS, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Deputy Secretary-General (Political Affairs) of the Commonwealth, the Heads of Government reviewed recent developments within the respective organizations and their implications for CARICOM States.

In the exchanges with the Secretary-General of the OAS, particular emphasis was placed on the concerns of CARICOM States about the possible diversion of resources from areas from which they currently benefitted, as the Organisation engaged in implementation of mandates issued by the Hemispheric Summits.

Attention was also focussed on the current fundamental revision of the position of a number of CARICOM Member States vis-a-vis the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, arising from the frustrations presented to national legal systems as a result of protracted delays in the hearing of cases by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. In this regard, it was recognized that, in the absence of early reform of the Court’s procedures, the goal of universal membership of the Inter-American Human Rights system would receive further setbacks as withdrawal from the system continued.

In their exchanges with the Deputy Secretary-General (Political Affairs) of the Commonwealth, a review was undertaken of selected elements of the follow-up of the Edinburgh Conference of Heads of Government Meeting including preparations for the next Commonwealth Summit; activities of the Commonwealth Ministerial Advisory Group on Democracy (CMAG) and on arrangements for the imminent establishment of a Caribbean branch of the Commonwealth Private Investment Institution.  


The President of Suriname will assume the Chair of the Conference during the period January to June 1999 and the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago will do so for the period July to December 1999. In keeping with past practice, the Governments of Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago took the opportunity to offer to host the Tenth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference on March 1-2, 1999 and the Twentieth Regular Meeting of the Conference on July 4 – 7, 1999 respectively.


Messages of congratulations on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary were received from the following:

  • President of Mexico
  • Acting Premier of the Administration Council of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
  • Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)
  • Secretary-General of the Commonwealth
  • Commission of the European Communities


A Closing Ceremony was held at the Mindoo Phillip Park, Castries on Saturday, July 4. The ceremony was addressed by the President of South Africa, His Excellency Nelson Mandela; Chairman of the Conference, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Dr. the Hon. Kenny D. Anthony; and the Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Rt. Hon. Percival J. Patterson.

Prime Minister Patterson, in his address noted that a Silver Anniversary was always an important milestone and although all expectations were not fulfilled “any dispassionate review will show that much has been accomplished”.

He saluted President Mandela “as a symbol of struggle for principles and values that are enduring and universal”. He said West Indians felt proud and privileged to have played a role in the campaign against “an evil force” – Apartheid.

The Prime Minister said during the next 25 years CARICOM must seek to embody the creative spirit and the dreams and aspirations of its people. He advised that the Region must also harmonise its productive capacity and export activities much more to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the new global market place.

Prime Minister Anthony, in his address, highlighted the significance of President Mandela’s visit on this Silver Jubilee of the Community.

He said it was not possible to speak of progress unless we claim ownership of our own destiny. And the way the situation was handled in Guyana proved that the Region was capable of handling its own affairs.

In his statement, President Mandela stated “The 25th Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty which established CARICOM is therefore also a cause for African joy, as well as celebration by all who wish to see those whom history placed on the peripheries of world economies and power blocs succeed in organising themselves so as to take responsibility for their own destinies”.

His Excellency also said “the environmental vulnerability of this area also reminds us of our common responsibility for a sustainable environment for future generations to live in. The way in which the Small Island developing States have stood together to articulate their plight in this regard, is an example and an inspiration”.

A Musical Concert celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Community ended the evening’s proceedings.


Heads of Government expressed their deepest appreciation to the Government and people of Saint Lucia for the excellent arrangements made for their historic Conference and for the generous hospitality extended to their delegations. Special sentiments of appreciation were expressed in respect of the programme of cultural events which served the vital purpose of giving due recognition to accomplished Caribbean personalities.

Castries, Saint Lucia
July 5, 1998


1. In signing the `Herdmanston Accord’ on 17 January 1998, the Leaders of Guyana’s two main political Parties stated that they are doing so `specially mindful of the willingness of (their) CARICOM colleagues to remain engaged with Guyana in this endeavour’. It is in this spirit that as colleagues we have taken the opportunity of our St. Lucia Summit, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of CARICOM, to initiate a dialogue with them on the current situation in Guyana – conscious of our own full participation as signatories to the `Herdmanston Accord’.

2. We are also fully resolved that it is pre-eminently our task – to be in the front line of all efforts to assist Guyana as part of our own family.

3. Our conversations with President Jagan and Mr. Hoyte have convinced us all of the necessity to return Guyana to the agreed path of the `Herdmanston Accord’ – within the time-frame agreed in the Accord. Convinced that there is no time to lose in securing this, we have resolved together to place our collective commitment behind the undertakings, arrangements and measures in paragraphs (a) to (j) below to which President Jagan and Mr. Hoyte, representing the PPP/Civic and the PNC respectively, have agreed between themselves and with CARICOM, namely –

      • All parties to the `Herdmanston Accord’ reaffirm their commitment to the Accord, and to the implementation of its provisions as initially contemplated.


      • Both stages of the Electoral Audit as provided for in paragraph 1 of the `Herdmanston Accord’ have been presented to the political Parties in Guyana. All the parties to the Accord have agreed to accept the findings of the first stage of the Audit – as set out in paragraph 1(i) (a) of the Accord – as binding upon them; but it is recognised that this does not preclude the pursuit of electoral petitions which have been filed in the courts by both parties.


      • The next substantive step to which the parties are committed under the Accord is that of Constitutional Reform on the basis and within the framework provided for in paragraph 4 of the Accord. We recall that provision specifically and reaffirm our determination to pursue it in spirit and letter.


    • Mindful that among the matters to be addressed by the Constitutional Reform Commission will be

`Measures and arrangements for the improvement of race relations in Guyana, including the contribution which equal opportunities legislation and concepts drawn from the CARICOM Charter of Civil Society can contribute to the cause of justice, equity and progress in Guyana’ –
It is accepted that the parties will take steps for the early implementation of specific measures to achieve these objectives in advance of constitutional reform itself.

    • We are all agreed that it is feasible to complete the work of the Constitution Reform Commission and to have the Report submitted to the National Assembly by 16 July 1999 as originally contemplated, thereby maintaining the timetable in paragraph 4 (ii) of the Accord, and we commit ourselves to achieving it.
    • To enable this timetable to be met, the parties have agreed that they will settle as soon as possible, by law in the manner required by the `Herdmanston Accord’, the terms of reference and the naming of the Constitution Reform Commission mindful that CARICOM is resolved to assist them in every way required, but more specifically by arranging for the provision of constitutional experts and facilitators.
    • The parties have also agreed that the necessary enabling legislation should be enacted in time to allow the Opposition to take their seats in the National Assembly by 15 July 1998. Mr.Hoyte has indicated his intention that, without prejudice to the outcome of the election petition referred to above, the PNC will assume their seats in the National Assembly by that date, and President Jagan has indicated her agreement to secure the enactment of the necessary enabling legislation.
    • Mrs Jagan has also agreed to make all normal parliamentary arrangements to facilitate the due functioning of parliament as established in a number of parliamentary democracies.
  • Building on this historic process of the meeting of Guyana’s political leaders with CARICOM Leaders in St. Lucia and the demonstration that through dialogue lies the path to the resolution of Guyana’s problems, the parties have agreed to redouble their efforts for dialogue as provided in paragraphs 3 and 6 of the `Herdmanston Accord’. Further, the two leaders have given CARICOM Heads of Government their assurance that they will themselves meet on a periodic basis to facilitate the achievement of all the processes to which they committed their Parties by the `Herdmanston Accord’.
  • The two leaders have recognised the value of high level Facilitator acceptable to them whose functions will be developed in conjunction with them. Therefore, they have accepted the offer of CARICOM to provide such a Facilitator who will be appointed as a matter of urgency to further assist in the due implementation of these several agreements.

3. In the context of the conversations in St. Lucia CARICOM leaders are satisfied that there will be an end to illegal protest on the streets of Guyana as dialogue and parliamentary processes take their rightful and more prominent place in Guyana’s governance. We are strengthened in this by the assurance that the rule of law will be upheld and that as a consequence violence in the political life of the country will cease. None of us wish to stifle dissent in any of our countries; but none of us will accept disorder and threats to life and property as a way of political life.
4. CARICOM remains committed to the peaceful settlement of differences and disputes within our Region and States. These goals are fully supported by both President Jagan and Mr. Hoyte. We are therefore heartened by their assurance that this is the path along which they will work to achieve national unity and cohesiveness for the betterment of Guyana and all its peoples. We are certain that all Guyanese will lend their tangible support to this.
5. We express our genuine appreciation of the statesmanship shown by our colleagues in Guyana in making this historic Agreement possible and once again pledge the commitment of the Caribbean Community to remaining engaged with Guyana in the implementation of the `Herdmanston Accord’ and this Agreement and to be at the disposal of the Parties for this purpose .







 South African President, His Excellency Nelson Mandela suggested that the feasibility of a CARICOM/South Africa Joint Commission should be explored as one means of opening up the relationship between his country and the the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
President Mandela made this proposal during his first meeting with CARICOM Heads of Government at the Jalousie Hilton Hotel, Soufriere, Saint Lucia on Friday 3 July. President Mandela was meeting with CARICOM Heads of Government to thank CARICOM for its support during the struggle against Apartheid which he considered as “one of the greatest crimes against humanity this century”. President Mandela specifically recalled the contribution of Sir Shridath Ramphal, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and the late Dame Nita Barrow, former Governor-General of Barbados as being among the champions of that struggle.
He indicated that governing the New South Africa was, however, in many respects even more complicated than the fight for freedom. He mentioned the problems of electrification and provision of potable water in the countryside as critical among the many complex challenges to be dealt with to correct the damage of Apartheid.
The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Rt. Hon. P.J. Patterson, in response, conveyed the Region’s willingness to provide such technical assistance as it could including the exchange of teachers, students and researchers between South Africa and the Caribbean. He also invited South Africans to visit the Region’s institutions to draw on and benefit from their expertise and experiences.

He also highlighted tourism, the provision of services, agro-processing and sport as possible priority areas for cooperation. Referring specifically to cricket, he limited the Region’s offer of assistance to its promotion among the rural Youth in South Africa, cognisant of the prowess already regained by the South African National Team!

Referring to the CARICOM Ministerial Trade and Investment Mission to South Africa in January of this year and the many possibilities it had identified – the Prime Minister made specific reference to the following three issues:
1. The need for visa abolition arrangements between CARICOM Countries and South Africa;

2. CARICOM’s interest in having South African Airlines stop over on scheduled flights between South Africa and North America;

3. Greater scope for the provision of skilled services by Caribbean nationals to South Africa.

In generally supporting the suggestions of the Prime Minister of Jamaica, President Mandela indicated however, that he would need to have the benefit of the analysis and advice of his officials before being in a position to respond definitively.

With respect to diplomatic representation, President Mandela indicated that, faced as South Africa currently is with financial constraints and with a cutback in its diplomatic representation abroad, it was not possible at this time to establish a South African diplomatic mission in the Caribbean. He expressed the hope, however, that the wait would not be too long.
As regards Trade between South Africa and CARICOM, he noted that South African exports to the Region had doubled since 1994 and CARICOM exports to South Africa had increased by 40 per cent over the same period.
In referring to the banana export industry, President Mandela expressed the hope that this industry, which was vital to the economic stability of the Region, it would not be endangered and called on the World Trade Organisation to ensure that the process of liberalisation, which he fully supports, does not unfold in a way that can seriously harm small and developing economies.
On two matters of international concern – Nigeria and the United Nations – he commented that the way now seemed clear in Nigeria to move forward with the release of political prisoners subsequent to the visit of the UN and Commonwealth Secretaries-General. Referring to the UN, he stated that it was increasingly unacceptable in the contemporary world for any single country or group of countries to be able to frustrate the will of humanity by the use of the veto.

Referring to the upcoming Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement to be held in Durban, South Africa, in August/September, President Mandela expressed the hope that the countries of CARICOM would be adequately represented. He suggested that the opportunity provided by this Summit could be taken to convene a meeting between Foreign Ministers of CARICOM and those of the Southern African Region for an initial discussion on CARICOM/Southern Africa cooperation. These sentiments were reiterated by the Foreign Minister of South Africa, Hon. Alfred Nzo, who accompanied President Mandela to the Meeting and who spoke on the importance of promoting South/South region-to-region cooperation. In this regard, he recalled that the Foreign

Ministers of the Southern African Development Communityl (SADC) had already had talks with their European counterparts so CARICOM would be welcome to follow in this path.
In concluding the discussions, CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Kenny D. Anthony highlighted the need for support for Cuba’s entry into the ACP and its full integration into world affairs. This suggestion received the wholehearted support of the President of South Africa.  

4 July, 1998

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