The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME); food security; climate change and climate finance; health; and security will be among the major topics when Heads of Government of CARICOM Meet in The Bahamas, 15-17 February.
The three-day Meeting will be held under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister of The Bahamas, the Hon. Philip Davis. It opens at the Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, on 15 February. Plenary sessions begin the following day at Baha Mar in New Providence.
CARICOM Secretary-General, Dr. Carla Barnett, said Heads of Government will place emphasis on the progress the Community is making on the CSME, the Region’s flagship programme.
CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, CARICOM Single Market and Trade, Ambassador Wayne McCook, emphasised that the Single Market and Single Economy are important aspects of the regional integration architecture and must be given constant attention.
The Heads of Government are expected to take action on an amendment to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to cater for mergers and acquisitions in the Community. They will also be updated on work that is being done on the two core CARICOM trade instruments, the Common External Tariff (CET) and the Rules of Origin (ROO). That work is expected to be completed by the middle of the year.
Given the importance the Community attaches to agriculture, Heads of Government will discuss the progress being made to achieve regional food and nutrition security. Those discussions will be held against the backdrop of the latest report of the CARICOM Ministerial Task Force on Food Production and Food Security which signalled that collectively, Member States had achieved 57 per cent of the target to reduce the region’s high food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.
The Heads of Government will have engagements with special guests including the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and the heads of international financial and trade organisations. In announcing his attendance at the Summit Prime Minister Trudeau said: “Canada and the Caribbean Community share strong ties between our peoples, common values, and a strong commitment to fighting climate change. I look forward to meeting with the leaders of CARICOM to discuss how we can continue to work together to support the people of Haiti, strengthen the Caribbean region, and build a better future for people and businesses in Canada, the Caribbean, and around the world.”
In The Bahamas – which is celebrating its 50th Independence anniversary – Heads of Government will be briefed on CARICOM’s own golden jubilee observances this year. The Caribbean Community was established on 4 July 1973 with the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas. Founding Fathers, Prime Ministers Errol Barrow for Barbados; Forbes Burnham for Guyana; Dr. Eric Williams for Trinidad and Tobago; and Michael Manley for Jamaica, signed the Treaty on that date.
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