We the Heads of Government of the member countries of the Caribbean Community meeting in Montego Bay, Jamaica under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honourable Percival J. Patterson, on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas on 4 July 1973;
RECALLING the commitments signified in the Preamble and Articles of that Treaty establishing the Caribbean Community;
RECOGNISING the many steps we have taken in furtherance of the vision and agreements of the founding signatories in 1973; and of the further targets we set ourselves in the Nassau Understanding (1984), the Grand Anse Declaration (1989), the Bridgetown Declaration of Principles (1997), the Montego Bay Declaration (1997), the Nassau Declaration on Health (2001) and the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (2001);
BEARING IN MIND our consultations on Options for Governance to Deepen the Integration Process held in Port-of-Spain in February 2003, and the report of the Expert Group of Heads of Government appointed pursuant to that consultation entitled Regional Integration: Carrying the Process Forward;
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the document entitled CARICOM Beyond Thirty: Charting New Directions submitted to the Meeting by the Chairman.
MINDFUL of the areas in which we have not yet achieved all the goals agreed for the integration of our economies and the betterment of the lives of the people of our region;
RECOGNISING that the current geopolitical and geostrategic environment is significantly different from that which existed at the time of the establishment of the Community in 1973;
AWARE that the collapse of the previous structure of international relations, based on superpower rivalry has given way to a new order that is increasingly characterised by unilateralist tendencies on the part of some members of the international community;
AWARE ALSO that this development not only threatens to undermine the principle of multilateralism embodied in the UN Charter but also has major implications for the exercise of sovereignty by the developing countries, especially small states such as ours in the Caribbean;
CONSCIOUS THEREFORE of the resulting urgent need for small developing countries to work assiduously for a world order governed by international law and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations;
CONSCIOUS ALSO of the heightened challenges to our Community that have arisen or become more acute in the global environment since the abiding goals of CARICOM were first proclaimed;
RECOGNISING that the process of globalisation and economic liberalisation continues to pose significant challenges for the economically fragile and vulnerable member states of the Community as they seek to adjust to a new global trading regime based on reciprocity and open competition;
DETERMINED nevertheless, that we shall go forward with resolution toward realisation of the hopes and expectations of the people of our region and in fulfilment of the aims, purposes, objectives and undertakings of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas;
A. REGIONAL GOVERNANCE
That, with a view to improving governance for the purpose of deepening the integration process, we have agreed in principle to the following:
1. The reaffirmation that CARICOM is a Community of Sovereign States, and of Territories able and willing to exercise the rights and assume the obligations of membership of the Community, and that the deepening of regional integration will proceed in this political and juridical context.
2. The development of a system of mature regionalism in which critical policy decisions of the Community taken by Heads of Government, or by other Organs of the Community, will have the force of law throughout the Region as a result of the operation of domestic legislation and the Treaty of Chaguaramas appropriately revised, and the authority of the Caribbean Court of Justice in its original jurisdiction – taking into account the constitutional provisions of member states.
3. The establishment of a CARICOM Commission or other executive mechanism, whose purpose will be to facilitate the deepening of regional integration in the areas of responsibility specified in the next following paragraph. The Commission’s function will be to exercise full-time executive responsibility for furthering implementation of Community decisions in such areas as well as to initiate proposals for Community action in any such area.
4. The functions of the Commission will relate to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and such other areas of the integration process as the Conference of Heads may from time to time determine.
5. In the exercise of its responsibilities the Commission will be accountable to the Conference of Heads of Government and will be responsive to the authority of other Organs of the Community within their areas of competence.
6. The adoption of the principle of automatic resource transfers for the financing of Community institutions, certainly on the establishment of any new tier of governance.
7. The reform of the CARICOM Secretariat to enhance its effectiveness as the administrative and technocratic arm of CARICOM.
8. The recognition that within this framework, it is both legitimate and feasible for a group or groups of CARICOM Member States to forge such closer links among themselves as they collectively consider appropriate.
9. The strengthening of the role of the Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians in the enhancement of regional integration.
We have also agreed that the Expert Group of Heads of Government, assisted by a technical group, be entrusted with the further task of elaborating these proposals for presentation to a Special Meeting of the Conference later this year, dedicated to taking decisions on them.
We have further agreed to a review of the functioning of the Organs of the Community in order to identify possibilities for rationalisation of their operation including the decentralisation of decision-making.
B. INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT
That, with a view to deepening the integration process in the context of the provisions of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, and the realities of the international economic environment, we have:
1. Agreed to accelerate the establishment of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, and in that context to promote macro-economic convergence, the unification of capital and financial markets, and the early unrestricted movement of people within CARICOM.
2. Agreed that in order to stimulate the expansion of output and employment within the framework of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, a high level expert group be appointed, drawn from the public and private sectors, the labour movement, civil society, the CARICOM and OECS Secretariats, the CDB and the UWI to identify the opportunities and the required institutional and policy measures to promote integrated production in the Community, especially through private sector investment.
3. Reiterated our commitment to collaborate more effectively to exploit the agricultural potential of the Community through, inter-alia, the stimulation of increased production, the strengthening of joint research activities, the pursuit within a regional context of additional processing of agricultural raw materials, including sugar in particular, the promotion of increased agricultural trade intra-regionally and extra-regionally and to work towards greater food security within the region.
4. Agreed, in recognition of the critical role played by tourism in the economies of the region, that we will intensify the pursuit of strategies aimed at the sustainable development of the sector. These strategies should include programmes for mobilizing resources and the enhancement of the efficiency of national and regional public and private sector institutions in designing and implementing tourism development policies and programmes.
5. Resolved to pay close attention and take appropriate measures to increase the efficiency of public and private sector investment, so that available investible resources can have maximum impact on poverty alleviation and employment creation.
6. Agreed that in order to effectively protect the Caribbean Sea and promote the sustainable use of its resources Member States will ensure the successful functioning of the recently established Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism and will in due course consider investing it with the authority to administer a comprehensive Common Fisheries Regime.
7. Agreed that a multifaceted programme, including enhanced communication and information flows, be developed and implemented to reinforce and strengthen the sense of common identity and mutual understanding that bind CARICOM people together, and to encourage all feasible initiatives to exploit the economic potential that is inherent in the cultural vitality of our people.
8. Emphasised the importance of CARIFESTA VIII which will be held in Suriname in August 2003 and call upon the people of the region to support the event in order to ensure its success.
9. Agreed further, that the occasion of Cricket World Cup 2007 in the Caribbean be used as a vehicle to showcase Caribbean life and culture.
10. Reaffirmed, in keeping with the Nassau Declaration on Health (2001) our commitment to promote the health and well-being of the people of the Community in recognition of the principle that ‘the health of the region is the wealth of the region’. In this context, special emphasis will be placed on supporting the efforts of the Pan Caribbean Partnership in its fight against HIV/AIDS.
11. Agreed to sustain and seek new ways to improve the dialogue with the private sector, labour and civil society in advancing the objectives of the integration movement.
12. Emphasised the need to intensify efforts to promote human and social development through, inter-alia, appropriate education and training in order to improve the overall well being of the people of the Community and to establish the conditions for the creation of a knowledge-based society capable of competing effectively in the new global environment.
13. Agreed that the initiatives we have taken to engage in joint external trade negotiations in relation to the WTO, FTAA and the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement must be consolidated, and that we shall address attention to building similar joint external negotiating capacity in other aspects of our engagement with the international system.
14. Resolved that Member Governments and the Community Organs work with the public and private sectors and with civil society to strengthen and broaden cultural, social and economic linkages with the West Indian diaspora, which is an integral part of the Caribbean Community.
15. Agreed that Member States should work towards the strengthening and enlargement of the Caribbean Development Bank, in order to secure the mobilisation of adequate financing to support the economic and social transformation of the region.
16. Agreed that the work of the Regional Task Force on Crime and Security and our recent decisions on the subject be used as a basis for the creation of permanent institutional arrangements for the collective enhancement of security and control of crime within the region.
17. Resolved to create opportunities for the political opposition in Member States to play a more active role in the development of the Community within a framework of respect for democratic principles and in this context called upon the opposition parties to fully embrace these opportunities.
18. Resolved also that the Charter of Civil Society should be actively applied as an instrument for strengthening democratic governance in the Community.
C. THE COMMUNITY AND THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM
That, with a view to establishing a respected place for our countries in the international system, we have:
1. Recognised that, in addition to promoting closer regional integration, the Member States of the Community need to maintain and enhance alliances with other developing countries in advancing their economic interests.
2. Reaffirmed therefore, the need to strengthen relations with other countries in the wider Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and in particular to contribute to increased solidarity within the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77.
3. Reiterated the importance of recognising Small Island Developing States (SIDS) as a special and particular grouping in the international system and commit ourselves to the pursuance of appropriate arrangements and measures to facilitate their equitable and beneficial participation in that system.
4. Resolved to work towards a sustained improvement in our relations with developed countries on the basis of mutual respect and mutually beneficially trade and economic arrangements.
5. Reaffirmed our commitment to promote the enhancement of the relevance of the policies and programmes applied by the International Financial Institutions to assist developing countries, including the Member States of our Community.
6. Reaffirmed also, our commitment to the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and to the principles of international law, as well as to the reform of the UN particularly the Security Council in order to achieve more equitable representation of the Members States in that Body.
7. Agreed that we will work within the framework of the United Nations to promote multilateralism as the guiding principle of international relations.
1. On the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of our Community, we have resolved to consolidate the achievements of the past and also to chart ‘New Directions’ for the future which are designed to give new meaning to the purposes of our community, to further consolidate our common cultural identity and to promote an integration strategy that will optimise the development possibilities of the region and thereby contribute to the well-being of its people.
2. We, the Heads of Government are determined, and call upon the Organs of CARICOM, the Member Governments and Social Partners of the Community to be similarly resolute, in pursuing the fulfilment of these undertakings so that a marked deepening of integration in our Region will be achieved.