CSME key on agenda of Community Council Ministers Meeting
GINA, GUYANA, Monday, January 9, 2017
The CARICOM Council of Ministers has been charged to move past rhetoric and formulate an approach that would lead to greater coordination and implementation of regional decisions. This charge came from Guyana’s Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge.
The minister was addressing the opening of the 39th meeting of the Community Council Ministers today at the CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Georgetown.
Minister Greenidge is the Chairman of the Council, which is the second highest organ in CARICOM.
“Of particular importance to us is the need to emerge from the meeting of the Council with an agenda worthy of the consideration of our heads of government when they meet during the 28th Intercessional meeting,” Minister Greenidge said.
This point was reinforced by Secretary General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque in his opening address. “Your discussions and the outcome could go somewhere towards setting the tone for the Community for the rest of the year. The items on the agenda before you provide ample opportunity for this Council to do so as it discharges the responsibility,” Ambassador LaRocque said.
The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) is on the agenda for the two day meeting. Last July, heads of governments had mandated a that review of the status of the CSME be completed for their consideration at the upcoming Intercessional meeting in February. That meeting will be held in Guyana.
“That review is being undertaken as well as how we can recalibrate the CSME to make it more responsive to address issues of growth and competitiveness,” Ambassador LaRocque pointed out.
The Council will also be addressing a proposed regional, monitoring and evaluation system, CARICOM/US relations in the context of the coming change of administration and the 2017 work plan and budget among other issues. “Your recommendations would indicate the areas which you believe the community should be focusing on in 2017,” Ambassador LaRocque told the Council.
Meanwhile, Minister Greenidge offered the Council assurances that, “the necessary arrangements are being made” to ensure the successful hosting of the 28th Intercessional meeting of Heads of Government Conference from February 16-17.
The Secretary General noted that 2017 has the potential to be an “ascending year” for CARICOM as the Community continues to grapple with issues of low growth, correspondent banking, climate change, crime and security and restrictions and access to concessional development financing.
“The situation demands that we must take our best option to ensure that we stand fast whatever challenges may arise. That best option for us…is to strengthen and deepen our integration, these are our path to sustainable development and the continued improvement of the lives of the people of our Community,” Ambassador LaRocque charged.
By: Tiffny Rhodius