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COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE TWENTY-SEVENTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENT OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY (CARICOM), 3-6 JULY 2006, BIRD ROCK, ST. KITTS AND NEVIS

The Twenty-Seventh Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community was held in Bird Rock, St. Kitts and Nevis, from 3-6 July 2006. Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis presided.

Other Heads of Government in attendance were: The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Hon. Baldwin Spencer; the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the Rt. Hon Perry Christie; the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur; the Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Said Musa; the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit: the Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the Hon. Keith Mitchell; the President of Haiti, His Excellency René Preval; the Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller; the Chief Minister of Montserrat, Hon. Dr. Lowell Lewis; the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Dr. the Hon. Kenny Anthony; the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves; the President of Suriname, His Excellency Drs. Runaldo R. Venetiaan and the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Hon. Patrick Manning.

Hon. S. R. Insanally, Minister of Foreign Affairs represented the President of Guyana.

Heads of Government of Associate Members in attendance were: Hon Dr Orlando Smith, Chief Minister of the British Virgin Islands and Hon Kurt Tibbetts, Leader of Government Business, the Cayman Islands.

Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony was held on Monday, 3 July 2006 and the tone for the deliberations of the Conference was set with statements by: Secretary-General of CARICOM, H.E. Mr. Edwin Carrington; Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Hon. Patrick Manning; Prime Minister of Jamaica, Most Hon Portia Simpson Miller; President of Haiti, His Excellency René Preval; Chief Minister of Montserrat, Hon Dr. Lowell Lewis; Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves; and the Chairman of the Conference, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon Dr. Denzil Douglas.

The Secretary-General hailed 2006 as an annus mirabilis in the history of the integration movement. He cited the signing of the Declaration bringing into being the CARICOM Single Market on 1st January, the announcement by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), during their 25th Anniversary celebrations, of their intention to form an economic union and the re-admittance of Haiti to the Councils of CARICOM after a two-year hiatus.

Prime Minister Manning urged the Community to diversify its foreign relations even as it deepens the integration movement. In that regard he stressed the need for the free movement of people within CARICOM. “Without that freedom, our integration process will stagnate and decline,” he stated.

The Chairman alluded to the strengthening of the co-operation within the OECS and the benefits it would bring to the wider Caribbean Community. “Indeed as we accelerate and deepen the integration process in the OECS, it is our aim that the OECS union would be seamlessly integrated into the CARICOM Single Market and Economy,” Prime Minister Douglas said.

Prime Minister Gonsalves advised that with the Single Market a reality, the Community should consolidate and move expeditiously with commitment to a workable and productive CSME. “In doing so, I suggest that we resist the embrace of learned helplessness,” he added.

Prime Minister Simpson Miller noted that the region was operating in a time of great possibilities although confronted by a number of challenges to the integration movement. She stressed however that “we must face this reality with a clear sense of purpose. As small vulnerable economies, we must remain true to the sacrifices of our forebears and actively play our part in shaping our future,” she added.

President Preval stated that Haiti had been able to find constitutional normality once again with the elections of February and April and local and municipal elections due shortly. He reminded the gathering that Haiti became a Member State of CARICOM during his first term of office. “Under my second mandate, Haiti has the privilege of rejoining the Caribbean Community, the natural place for its integration, after 28 months of absence,” he added.

Chief Minister Lewis stated that Montserrat and the other Overseas Territories in the region had the potential to play a vital role in the construction of a substantial regional economy. He stressed that he took very seriously his assignment as co-lead Head of Government with responsibility for Disaster Management and posited that his country was eager to host summer camps and workshops for young people with a theme of disaster management.

Signings

Six Member States signed the Declaration by Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community on the participation of their countries in the CARICOM Single Market. They are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

LEGAL INSTRUMENTS SIGNED AT THE 27TH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENT OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY

A. INSTRUMENTS CONCLUDED AT THE 27TH CONFERENCE

1. Declaration by the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community on the Participation of their Countries in the CARICOM Single Market

Signed by Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines on 3 July 2006

2. Protocol to the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice Relating to Security of Tenure of Members of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission

Signed by all twelve (12) Member States party to the Agreement Establishing the CCJ on 6 July 2006

3. Agreement Establishing the CARICOM Implementation Agency For Crime and Security

Signed by Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago on 6 July 2006

4. Memorandum of Understanding for the Sharing of Intelligence Among Member States of the Caribbean Community

Signed by Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago on 6 July 2006

5. Treaty on Security Assistance Among CARICOM Member States

Signed by Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago on 6 July 2006

6. Memorandum of Intent Between the Government of the United States of America and Member States of the Caribbean Community on Co-operation Regarding the Development of an Advance Passenger Information System

Signed by Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname on 6 July 2006. Trinidad and Tobago will sign at the same time as the United States of America.

B. OTHER INSTRUMENTS SIGNED BY MEMBER STATES

1. Agreement Establishing the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality – signed by The Bahamas on 4 July 2006

2. The Caribbean Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty on Serious Criminal Matters – signed by the Cayman Islands on 4 July 2006

CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME)

The Conference welcomed the six OECS countries joining the original six countries, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago participating in the CARICOM Single Market launched on 1 January 2006.

Heads of Government agreed that the categories of CARICOM nationals entitled to move freely within the community be expanded to include nurses and teachers except in Antigua and Barbuda. They deferred decision on artisans, domestics and hospitality workers pending elaboration of procedures for certification and accreditation.

Heads of Government further agreed to the contribution formula proposed for the regional Development Fund and mandated that the Fund and the regional Development Agency be fully operational by the 28th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in July 2007.

Heads of Government endorsed the formation of the Caribbean Business Council which was announced in Barbados in June. The Council is seen as an important link with the social partners as the Community seeks to include all stakeholders in the efforts to build a strong Single Market and Economy.

The Heads of Government congratulated the Members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States for their announced intention to form an economic union within the next year.

The Heads of Government congratulated the Prime Minister with lead responsibility for implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, the Rt. Hon Owen Arthur, Prime Minister of Barbados for the successful staging of four symposia, one in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and the other three in Barbados, all aimed at providing the foundation for the CARICOM Single Economy. They agreed to work assiduously towards the establishment of the framework for the Single Economy by 2008.

Heads of Government endorsed the recommendation for Member States to take the necessary steps to address any deficiencies in their Labour Market Information Systems (LMIS), given its importance to the arrangements for free movement. They also noted that there are still some issues which impede the free movement of skilled nationals and requested the concerned Member States to take the necessary actions to address these. In particular, Member States were urged to expedite the completion of the establishment of their National Accreditation Bodies.

Functional Cooperation

Heads of Government agreed that there is some urgency in addressing issues related to functional cooperation that parallel developments related to trade and economic cooperation in the CSME. It was recognised that attention must be paid to those issues that would increase the welfare of the citizens including the reduction of poverty, social protection, human resource development, health and education, among others, namely quality of life issues.

The Heads of Government agreed to establish a task force involving the University of the West Indies and other universities in the Region to review the issues involved and make recommendations on the most appropriate mechanisms to enhance skills and capabilities required to make the CSME more viable.

Crime and Security

The Conference of Heads of Government approved a Regional Strategy for Ensuring a Safe and Secure Environment for the Hosting of Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007. This strategy includes the creation of a single domestic space and arrangements for the security of this Single Space.

The components of this strategy are: the introduction of a common CARICOM Visa Policy applicable to Nationals for forty six countries; an Advance Passenger Information System and Standard Procedures to be applied at Ports of Entry which will allow the pre-clearance of people and goods; the sharing of intelligence among CARICOM States and with International Partners; a Regional Security Plan which allows for the establishment of a regional Law Enforcement and Military Operational Team providing additional support to those Member States hosting the CWC 2007 games; and a supporting legislative framework to include a Memorandum of Understanding on Intelligence Sharing Among CARICOM States and a Treaty for Security Assistance among CARICOM Member States.

The preparation and execution of the Regional Strategy is being supported by an International Advisory Support Group; technical and other support from other countries participating in the CWC 2007 games as well as friendly Third States such as the USA, Canada and France. A memorandum of Intent is to be signed shortly with the Government of the USA with reference to support for the Advance Passenger Information System. In addition Interpol will shortly be establishing a presence in the Region from January 2007. An aggressive Public Education Programme will be launched shortly to apprise CARICOM Nationals and all visitors to the Region about these new arrangements.

Human Resource Development, Health and HIV/AIDS

Heads of Government received the report of a study on the macro-economic implications of non-communicable diseases which is a follow-up to the Report of the Caribbean Commission on Health Development headed by Sir George Alleyne OCC, Chancellor of the University of the West Indies.

The study showed that the number of deaths, resulting from diabetes, hypertension and heart disease were ten times higher than the number resulting from HIV/AIDS. It also identified the high costs of treatment of diabetes and hypertension in the region.

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago offered to host a special regional consultation to consider mechanisms for implementing specific recommendations which included a tax on tobacco products and a ban on smoking to combat tobacco use; making physical education compulsory in schools and ensuring healthy meals; and establishing regulations and standards by ensuring that marketed foods show calories and fat content and regulation of the importation of fats.

Agriculture

Heads of Government reviewed the progress made and the status of actions taken in respect of each of the constraints under the Jagdeo Initiative and supported the initiatives being taken to increase the involvement of the CDB in providing financing to the sector as an interim mechanism, in particular to the Private Sector in a timely manner and through channels that are accessible.

Heads of Government also supported the mandate to establish a Regional Research and Development Committee to urgently develop the Research and Development Strategy for the Region.

Heads of Government noted the work undertaken in the Region with respect to the preparation of a programme to combat any incidence of Avian influenza in the Region and in alerting the Region to the impending danger. They also noted the collaborative support provided by the various agencies in particular FAO/IICA/PAHO/OlE with regards to the efforts relating to prevention and ultimate control of Avian Influenza.

Sugar

Heads of Government reiterated the urgent need for the EU to make available adequate and timely funding under their Financial Perspective 2007-2013. They agreed that H.E Bharrat Jagdeo, President of Guyana and Lead Head with responsibility for Agriculture should communicate the concerns of the Community to the appropriate authorities within the European Union.

Heads of Government noted that CARICOM sugar producing countries had developed integrated Action Plans for improving competitiveness of the industry, for diversification by way of value-added activities involving use of the sugar cane plant, and for transition into other economic activities. They emphasised the importance of the European Union providing adequate, readily accessible and front-loaded resources to facilitate implementation of the plans.

They endorsed the decisions taken by the ACP Ministerial Consultations on Sugar held on 28 May 2006 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Heads of Government welcomed the initiative by the Sugar Association of the Caribbean, in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat, to present a concept paper for a Regional Sugarcane Policy for the consideration of the Conference at its next meeting,

Bananas

Heads of Government agreed that initiatives would be taken at the political level to engage countries which benefit from MFN treatment and the EU in relation to the level at which the tariff for bananas should be bound and which will enable ACP and CARICOM countries to maintain supplies to the EU market.

They also agreed that action should be taken at the political level to support the ACP initiatives to convince the EU that bananas should be listed as a sensitive product.

Heads of Government urged CARICOM banana exporting countries to take steps to determine a collective approach to the treatment of bananas in the EPA currently being negotiated with the European Union.

Heads of Government underlined the importance of continued access at remunerative prices for CARICOM banana exports to the European Union market. In this regard they emphasised the necessity for the EU to ensure that the preferential access for ACP, including Caribbean bananas is not further eroded by reduction of the current third-country tariff.

Energy

The Heads of Government noted the report of the Task Force on Regional Energy Policy.

In that context the Heads of Government noted the possible synergies between the Trinidad and Tobago energy plan for CARICOM and Venezuela’s energy cooperation agreement (PETROCARIBE).

The Heads of Government agreed that the Task Force should continue its work and submit a draft regional energy policy to the Eighteenth Inter-sessional Meeting of Conference in February 2007 for consideration.

Cricket World Cup 2007

Heads of Government considered the report of the Eleventh Meeting of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee and was pleased that there has been progress with respect to provision of accommodation, venue development, transportation and security issues. They noted the plans by CWC 2007 to promote the event internationally and regionally and congratulated Barbados for being the first country to complete the legal process on 1 July 2006 giving effect to the implementation of its sunset legislation.

Health, anti-doping and disaster management were matters of special concern and countries were urged to accelerate the process for achieving the international regulations relating to disposal of solid waste and pollution of the sea, upgrading the medical response, putting in place mechanisms for the surveillance of illness, infectious diseases, bio-terrorism and mass casualty plans.

Information and Communication Technology

The Conference received a comprehensive report from the Lead Head of Government responsible for Science and Technology including Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Dr the Hon Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, on the progress of the Connectivity Agenda approved by Heads of Government in July 2003.

They recommitted to the urgency to develop ICT including telecommunications along two priority tracks of social and human development and advancing the trade and economic agenda, particularly the CSME.

Heads of Government acknowledged the potential threat of social exclusion posed by the digital divide and the real presence of a “digital hole” in the Caribbean, excluding it from connectivity through education, knowledge and research networks among Member States and with the rest of the world.

In that context they endorsed the development and implementation of a Regional Research and Education Network for the Caribbean (CARIBNET). They also endorsed the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN) established by Heads of Government as a CARICOM Project in March 2004 as the agency to co-ordinate and manage the development of CARIBNET.

The Heads of Government mandated their Ministries charged with national ICT strategies and connectivity to become engaged with the CKLN to drive the implementation of CARIBNET. Heads of Government pledged their continued financial support to CKLN.

The Heads of Government acknowledged the establishment and successful testing of a video-conference facility in all Member States which will eventually be enabled by CARIBNET and noted that the facility would be expanded to Associate Members and CARICOM institutions in the near future.

CARIFESTA IX

Heads of Government pledged their support to CARIFESTA IX, “Celebrating our People; Contesting the World Stage”, scheduled to take place in Trinidad and Tobago from 22 September to 1 October 2006 and agreed to ensure high quality representation from country delegations. They endorsed the strategies put forward for the “new CARIFESTA” as one mechanism for promoting the Region’s cultural industries.

Heads of Government also agreed to provide support for the Regional Endowment Fund for Culture and the Arts and to contribute to the financial sustainability of CARIFESTA. They called on the private sector to support the endowment fund for the arts in the Caribbean.

The Heads of Government expressed appreciation to Trinidad and Tobago for its role in hosting CARIFESTA IX as a transition to the new model Caribbean Festival of the Arts. They also noted that The Bahamas will host CARIFESTA X in 2008.

Youth

The Heads of Government mandated the Council for Human and Social development (COHSOD) to establish a Youth Development Commission to address the challenges confronting the young people of the Community and to assist each other in the identification of best practices.

Haiti

The formal return of Haiti to the Councils of the Community was greeted with great satisfaction by the colleagues of President Preval. Not only does the return strengthen the Community as well as ending Haiti’s isolation in its sub-region, but, as President Preval emphasized, it would facilitate Haiti’s efforts at development and renewal.

Heads of Government pledged the full assistance of the Community to Haiti. In this regard, they called on the international community to disburse in a timely manner the funds pledged for Haiti’s renovation and development, and to help Haiti concretise its priorities as expeditiously as possible. Trinidad and Tobago indicated that Haiti would enjoy access to its Petroleum Stabilisation Fund.

At the request of President Preval, Heads of Government agreed to send a technical mission to help the Haitian authorities assess the country’s legal and regulatory readiness to comply with its Community obligations. The steps and measures for Haiti’s entry into the CARICOM Single Market which came into being on 1 January 2006 as well as the nature of the assistance required would also be identified. To this end, the Caribbean Community is making efforts to re-open its representation office in Haiti. Heads of Government indicated their readiness to provide the required technical cooperation within the limits of the Community’s resources.

Heads of Government welcomed the offers of bilateral co-operation with Haiti made by The Bahamas, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. The Government of Haiti looked forward to the presence of the Community at a Donors’ meeting to be held on 25 July 2006.

Heads of Government also decided to send a representative delegation of the Conference to Haiti to demonstrate the Community’s support to Haiti and its people.

Border Issues

Guyana/Venezuela Relations

Heads of Government were encouraged by the level of dialogue and engagement which now characterise the relations between Guyana and Venezuela. They noted in particular the agreements reached by the two countries in several areas of functional co-operation under the aegis of the High Level Bilateral Commission which last met in March 2006 and their renewed commitment to the United Nations Good Officer Process with the view to achieving a peaceful settlement to the controversy which exists between them. Heads of Government reiterated their firm support for the maintenance of Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and for its right to the development of its entire territory.

Belize/ Guatemala Relations

Heads of Government were briefed on the ongoing process in respect of the Guatemalan claim on the territory of Belize.

Heads of Government expressed satisfaction with the Framework Agreement signed by Belize, Guatemala and the Organisation of American States (OAS) on 7 September 2005. The Agreement provides the best hope for a timely and just resolution of the claim, since it calls on the Parties to negotiate and also gives the Secretary-General of the OAS the responsibility to declare at any time during the process that the negotiations are not likely to result in agreement and to recommend that the claim be submitted to an international tribunal for final adjudication. In the Agreement, the parties commit to accept and carry forward that recommendation. The Heads of Government expressed the hope that both would adhere to the terms of the Agreement.

The Heads noted with satisfaction in particular that the OAS received the assurances of all the Guatemalan settlers in the illegal settlement in Belize that they wished to be relocated by the OAS. Heads of Government thanked the Governments of the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Mexico for their financial donations. They repeated their appreciation for the work of the special OAS Office that is helping to maintain peace and improve relations between peoples of the two countries, especially in the border area, and appealed to countries to support the special OAS Fund for that purpose.

Heads of Government reaffirmed their unequivocal support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Belize and pledged their continued solidarity with Belize in its quest for a peaceful, just and definitive resolution of the claim by Guatemala.

Migration

Heads of Government, conscious of the importance being given to Migration and Development at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on 14-15 September, urged strong participation by Member States and the advocacy for positions agreed upon at the Community Council.

It was agreed that the background paper on Migration and Development prepared by the CARICOM Secretariat and comments by Belize and Jamaica provide useful information and that special attention be paid to establishing policies in areas such as the development of migration policy, the identification of strategies for retention of skilled labour, establishment of a reliable regional labour information system and skills data base, and building social support systems to respond to the requirements of voluntary and involuntary migration.

Human Trafficking

Heads of Government agreed that the need for a multilateral evaluation mechanism (MEM) that is impartial and transparent should be advanced at UNGASS. In an effort to develop a sustainable approach to the issues of migration and human trafficking, the Heads of Government agreed that a technical working group should be established to undertake a study with specific policy recommendations to be completed within one year.

CONFERENCE ON THE CARIBBEAN 2007

Heads of Government expressed their strong support for a Conference of the Caribbean to be held in Washington D.C. during Caribbean American Heritage month in July 2007. They were of the view that this Conference would be an excellent opportunity for the Caribbean to show case the Region and to cement its relationship with the United States based on a mutual understanding of the trade and development issues affecting the future of the Caribbean. They observed that the Conference would allow for the energising of the Caribbean Diaspora and for the broadening of the range of United States decision-makers and policy shapers with whom the Region interfaced. They called for the urgent mobilisation of resources to ensure a successful outcome.

Shared Diplomatic Representation in Selected Countries

The Heads of Government revisited the issue bearing in mind that within the single economic space established by the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, Member States could benefit from such representation. In this connection it was agreed that the options which had been reviewed should be further refined taking into account the views expressed by Member States.

Jamaica indicated that at this time it would not be prepared to participate in this initiative.

CARICOM-CARIFORUM Relations

Heads of Government noted the proposals by the Government of the Dominican Republic aimed at enhancing the efficiency of CARIFORUM. They agreed that the existing Rules of Procedure of the Conference could be used to substantially achieve the objectives sought by the Dominican Republic and called on the CARIFORUM Council of Ministers and the Secretary General to so utilise them.

The Bureau of Heads of Government was mandated to meet with the President of the Dominican Republic at an early date to address the proposals.

External Trade

Heads of Government reaffirmed the Region’s commitment to a multilateral trading system that takes account of the needs of small vulnerable economies such as those of CARICOM. They expressed the view that the recent failure to achieve a breakthrough in the WTO negotiations provided the major trading countries and blocs the opportunity to adopt more flexible positions including in relation to issues of importance to CARICOM countries that will facilitate the achievement of the development goals of the Doha Round.

Heads of Government reaffirmed the Region’s commitment to the conclusion of an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union (EU) which is supportive of the development objectives of CARIFORUM countries. They called on the EU to give practical effect to its undertaking that the EPA will support CARIFORUM market strengthening before market opening. Heads called on the EU to provide without further delay the required development support to facilitate the mutually agreed strengthening of the capacity of CARIFORUM countries to fully implement the EPA.

Heads of Government reiterated the readiness of the Region to commence negotiations for a free trade agreement with Canada. In this regard Heads agreed that a Ministerial mission to Canada, led by Hon. Kenneth Valley, Minister of Trade and Industry of Trinidad and Tobago, will be undertaken. Legislation recently adopted by Canada that has the effect of limiting CARICOM rum exports will also be addressed by the mission.

Heads of Government underlined the importance attached to the deepening of the CARICOM/Dominican Republic free trade agreement and to the development of strategic alliances with other countries and Regions through negotiated trade arrangements.

Heads of Government also reiterated the need for all Member States to take an active part in the development of the Region’s positions for the various negotiating theatres.

Exchange of Views

Heads of Government engaged in an exchange of views with His Excellency Don McKinnon, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

The Secretary-General indicated that he was pleased with the progress of the Community’s integration process and underlined the importance of the technical assistance components of the Commonwealth Secretariat. He stressed that the Commonwealth renders assistance in areas such as capacity building, legal drafting, rainforest management, youth development, small and medium enterprises and the special needs of small states.

In reviewing the Secretariat’s activities in the area of good offices, he referred to his organisation’s role in Guyana where preparations for elections are taking place. He indicated that the Commonwealth Secretariat would be fielding an election observer mission. A similar exercise will be undertaken by the CARICOM Secretariat at the request of the Government of Guyana.

The Secretary-General reminded the Heads of Government that some of the countries had not as yet ratified all the United Nations instruments with respect to Human Rights.

Heads of Government urged the Secretary-General to seek to expand the influence of the organisation to strengthen its impact on international policy in particular to exercise influence on behalf of countries whose views are marginalised in the wider international arena.

Also present at the exchange of views was Assistant Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Ambassador Albert Ramdin who indicated that with regard to the electoral process in Guyana, the Government of Guyana had invited the OAS to put in place a small mission of long-term observers. In response, the OAS had already fielded such a mission.

Elections to the United Nations Security Council

In deliberating on the Latin America and Caribbean Region’s candidacies for the United Nations Security Council, Heads of Government indicated that any country wishing to be the voice of the Community in this critical organ would need to speak to the fundamental values, principles, concerns and best interests of the Community.

In particular the Community would wish to be assured that the elected member would fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its constituent Member States in the discharge of its responsibilities.

Appreciation

Heads of Government expressed gratitude to the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis for the warm hospitality extended and splendid arrangements put in place during the Twenty-Seventh Meeting of the Conference.

The Secretary-General and Staff of the CARICOM Secretariat were congratulated for their hard work.

Date and Venue of the Eighteenth Inter-Sessional Meeting

Heads of Government were pleased to accept the offer from the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to host the Eighteenth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference on 12-13 February 2007.

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