The Fortieth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) got underway in Saint Lucia on July 3rd. The event spans until July 7th 2019, with 15 Regional Leaders, as well as various Ministers of Government and delegations from the region expected to attend.
Saint Lucia has been in preparations for the meeting being held under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Allen M. Chastanet, who will serve as Chairman of CARICOM for the period 1st July to 31 December 2019.
Along with Government Heads of the region, Saint Lucia will also host Special Guests of CARICOM, Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg and Secretary-General of the United Nations AntónioGuterres.
Prime Minister Solberg, a strong advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is expected to discuss matters of mutual interest to Norway and the Caribbean among them Climate Change and the blue economy which refers to the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem.” It is anticipated that the Norwegian Prime Minister will also have bilateral meetings with the Heads.
As part of the agenda, the UN Secretary-General paid a courtesy call on Chairman of CARICOM and Prime Minister of Saint Lucia Allen Chastanet. The Secretary-General addressed the Opening Ceremony of the CARICOM Meeting on Wednesday at 4:30pm. As a pre-cursor to the upcoming United Nations General Assembly in September, the Heads got an opportunity to discuss with the UN Secretary-General some of the plans for those meetings and issues that affect the Caribbean such as financing for resilience building.
High on the agenda for CARICOM Heads is the implementation of measures to enhance the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), matters related to regional security, international financial requirements and increased advocacy efforts against the European Union’s publication of uncooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has 15 Member States – Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, and five Associate Members – Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands.