Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, left, and Mia Mottley speaking at the press conference in Castries Friday night. (iWN photo)

CASTRIES (CMC) — Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders ended a two-day summit on Friday confident that the groundwork is being laid for the continued development of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) that they have long regarded as the region’s response to a changing global environment.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who has lead responsibility for the CSME, told the end-of-summit news conference that it is hoped that when the leaders meet in Bridgetown next February at their inter-sessional summit, there would be agreement on “a number of key aspects” of the initiative that allows for the free movement of skills, labour, goods and services across the 15-member grouping.

She said the leaders are hoping to push forward on the regional harmonisation of the stock exchange, the common investment policy among other initiatives, adding “this is the nitty-gritty of execution … that will give our citizens the comfort that they will want to have”.

“We have done a hell of a lot, … but we need to carry along,” she said.

Earlier, CARICOM chairman and host Prime Minister Allen Chastanet described the summit as “a most productive meeting” saying that it had been characterised by the “free flowing and frank discussions on the range of matters which were before us”.

He said as had been expected, issues relating to the CSME “were aired and we urged that as a matter of priority member states undertake the necessary action at the national level to complete the measures outlined in the implementation plan.

“We acknowledged the importance of timely reporting on our implementation actions and the challenges,”Chastanet said, noting “there is no doubt that as well we must enhance our efforts at public education and outreach”.

The St. Lucia prime minister told reporters that the regional leaders had a “good engagement” with representatives of the private sector, labour and civil society and that the private sector had made progress towards establishing the CARICOM Private Sector Organisation (CPSO) to interact formally with the regional leaders and to be designated as an associate institution of CARICOM.

“This is expected to be finalised by the end of the year. Its specific purpose would be to support fully the implementation of the CSME,” Chastanet said, adding that the regional leaders had also agreed to designate the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) an associate institution of CARICOM and “welcomed its commitment to engage with the CPSO on the mechanism for its participation in that grouping”.

Chastanet said a matter of “deep concern” to the regional leaders is the continued blacklisting of some Caribbean countries by Europe, “which is a clear and direct threat to the economic and well-being of those countries and the region.

“We agreed to refine the CARICOM strategy on blacklisting,” he told reporters.

The meeting also discussed the ongoing political violence in Haiti, where the opposition forces are calling on President Jovenel Moise to resign amid allegations of embezzlement linked to the Venezuelan oil initiative, PetroCaribe.

Moise, who attended the ceremonial opening of the summit on Wednesday, did not participate in the deliberations, having left the following day. 

Chastanet said a delegation of regional leaders would visit the French-speaking country “to inform ourselves of the situation in that country”.

He said in the discussions on Venezuela, where Opposition Leader Juan Guaido, with the backing of the United States, has declared himself the interim president of the South American country, CARICOM has reiterated “the importance of resolving the crisis peacefully through dialogue between the parties.

“We also agreed with that the mediation related activities would be continued to be pursued by the Prime Ministers of St. Kitts-Nevis, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago as designated by conference at its 30th inter-sessional meeting,” Chastanet said, adding “we expressed our support for the facilitation process being carried out by Norway with both sides of the dispute”.

The CARICOM chairman also told reporters that the regional leaders had “a very fruitful” meeting with Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg, saying “we discussed issues of concern to the Community, such as concessional financing to build resilience, climate change, the environment and the sustainable ocean economy, in particular with respect to marine pollution”.

He said that Solberg indicated that she appreciated the region’s position on the issues and supported them in large measure.

Chastanet said that the presence of the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres underlined the importance of the series of United Nations High Level events during the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September this year.

“We felt that these high level sessions presented an opportunity to advocate for several issues of interest to member states, particularly climate change, financing for development and sustainable development,” he said, adding that Guterres has committed his organisation “to taking steps it could, to improve access for small island states to development financing as a priority.

“He also declared that eligibility for official development assistance should include vulnerability criteria which is very much in sync with our position,” Chastanet said.

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4 Comments

  1. Elma Gabriel says:

    Caribbean Leaders; are you assuring us that the energy of “The treaty of Chaguaramas” has been revived? Caribbean patriot once again; can be assured of a continued development of the CARICOM Single Market Economy (CSME); ‘The region’s response to a changing global environment’? So in TRUTH I release once more, the same energy of ‘The treaty of Chaguaramas’ as we renew our FOCUS:-
    CARICOM Torch Run
    They cried, they jumped, they cheered, and they laughed.
    Sometimes it seemed the hope was lost.
    But on their knees they felt at ease.
    The treaty of Chaguaramas will move with breeze.
    Let’s carry the torch, for the time has come,
    To unite in the name of CARICOM.
    So as we move from town to town,
    The Caribbean will be one territorial ground.
    Colonialism will remain with some,
    As the CARICOM torch runs from land to land.
    In silence we’ll jointly take our stand,
    To support that chapter our heroes planned.
    “Together now”—that is what it means,
    A single market in the Caribbean.
    The united symbol, a territorial dream,
    The Treaty of Chaguaramas is now for real.
    Let’s cry, let’s jump, let’s cheer, and let’s laugh.
    Let’s join and celebrate an accomplished past.
    With strength to strength we support the land,
    And move forward with our mandated plan.
    By: Elma Gabriel-Mayers

    Reply

  2. RANDY BRIDGEMAN says:

    “Lottuh long tok” is all the region’s people ever get from these CARICOM confabs. Almost a half century in existence and nothing concrete, nothing of substance to show for it. Oh well, we can be optimistic though.

    Reply

    1. Randy, I do not know enough about this topic to give a definitive wise response but I agree with what you said. Is the delay good or bad?…Look at the European Union. What a mess it has made of Europe. It was supposed to bring unity but it has caused the opposite. The leaders are not elected and impose thier will on the people. They do not even have the decency to come up with good lies to make people believe losing thier money and freedom is a “good” thing. At least in SVG when our PM does things for the total benefit of him and his party he has the decency to come up with lies to trick enough of the people to prevent a rebellion. Same as the USA. After 9/11 they imposed the Patriot Act upon the people saying that losing freedom with a high cost in money and blood will make them safe. Maybe it is better if it takes the Caricom another 10-20 years.
      The Democrats in the USA are saying they need more socialism. To facilitate that many need a big pay-raise and then according to the Democrats 80-90% of peoples earnings needs to be taken by the government. In other words after taxes you get the same pay as before but feel good because on paper it says you are getting more. There is much more to this but many of us are begging to be fooled.

      Reply

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