Accredited Third StatesCanadaPress Releases


(CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown) Relations between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Canada will be bolstered in the areas of crime and security cooperation, transportation and social development, with these areas identified for further discussion and priority attention by Canada's High Commissioner and Plenipotentiary Representative to CARICOM, His Excellency Bruno Picard.

The Canadian envoy presented his Letters of Credence to CARICOM Secretary General, His Excellency Edwin Carrington, on Thursday 2 December at a brief ceremony at the CARICOM headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana.

Welcoming High Commissioner Picard, the CARICOM Secretary General noted that CARICOM and Canada have enjoyed a long history of friendship and alliance, initiated through the Canada-West India Trade Agreement of 1925, and its successor, the Canada-CARICOM Trade and Economic Agreement of 1979.

Highlighting the significance of Canada-CARICOM relations, which he said have been accentuated by bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the political, economic and cultural spheres, Mr. Carrington lauded Canada's steady support for the Caribbean integration process in the last four decades. “More recently the Caribbean Community welcomed the financial aid and fraternal support provided by Canada in the wake of the devastating hurricanes which swept through our Region,” Mr. Carrington noted.

He added that the Caribbean Diaspora in Canada plays key professional and leadership roles in Canada's development, and he expressed commitment to ongoing collaboration between the Region, Canada and the international community for example, towards the return of stability and security in Haiti, CARICOM's newest member. The CARICOM Secretary-General posited that the Region anticipates hosting the Eleventh Meeting of the CARICOM-Canada Joint Trade and Economic Committee, as a platform to advance talks on bilateral and hemispheric issues.

In his remarks, the Canadian envoy to CARICOM emphasised that few other counties in the hemisphere share such deep historic roots with Canada, as does the countries of CARICOM. These connections, he said, have been marked by the presence of Canadian investments in the Region, in areas such as banking and tourism. “The personal ties that bind numerous Canadian and Caribbean political and economic decision-makers are eloquent examples that illustrate the history, depth and quality of the Canada-CARICOM human, trade, political and economic relationship,” stated Mr. Picard.

He added that Canada has been following closely the development of CARICOM, where much has been achieved, including the creation of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), and the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). High Commissioner Picard mooted the idea of a free trade arrangement between Canada and CARICOM, which he said would strengthen political ties between the two sides, and serve as a building bloc to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). “A Canada-CARICOM free trade agreement would also contribute to the shared goal of deepening development through economic integration within the hemisphere,” Mr Picard added.

Pointing to the challenges now facing the hemisphere, the Canadian-CARICOM envoy said issues such as improved border, airport, port and national security, intelligence and immigration procedures that do not hinder the easy flow of goods and people, should be addressed collaboratively at the regional and international levels, as a means of maintaining liberalization and democracy.

He disclosed that Canada has earmarked April 2005 for the establishment of a security arrangement that is aimed at assisting countries to strengthen their security and safety mechanisms.

Over the years, Canada has assisted CARICOM in its poverty alleviation programmes, and has also supported the Region's Private Sector and capacity building of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM).

The CARICOM Secretariat currently benefits from funding assistance to support institutional strengthening under the CARICOM Capacity Development Fund (CCDP).

Contact:         Carolyn Walcott

Show More
Back to top button