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#510343 - 01/04/16 05:09 AM Belize Heads Caricom  
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Dean Barrow, prime minister of Belize, assumed the six-month chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) from January 1, 2016, succeeding Freundel Stuart, prime minister of Barbados.

In a message to usher in the New Year, Barrow pointed out that there was a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to.

“People of the Caribbean Community, we have a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to. Let us strive to make 2016 one to remember as a landmark year for our integration movement,” he said.

“Our resolution is to continue to strengthen our integration movement to deliver ever-increasing benefits to the people of our Community. We will continue our quest to improve our standard of living through providing a safe, viable and prosperous Caribbean Community. In so doing we will build on our successes and will be moving forward with a number of initiatives to achieve that aim,” he continued.

Making a commitment to build on past successes and to become more efficient in the face of the “sternest economic test that member states have had to face in recent memory,” the incoming chair looked forward to increasing the pace both of the CARICOM Reform process and the implementation of the Community Strategic Plan 2015-2019.

The plan, which is designed to build CARICOM’s economic, environmental, social and technological resilience, has the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) as an important vehicle in that drive for greater resilience. Barrow therefore signalled CARICOM’s commitment vigorously to pursue the consolidation of the Single Market.

“We will be making our governance arrangements more flexible and dynamic. We will be continuing efforts in the coming year to revise those arrangements for our integration movement to become more effective and relevant to the needs of our people,” he said.

A significant element of his resolution as the New Year dawns is encouraging more member states to join Belize, Barbados, Dominica, and Guyana in making the Caribbean Court of Justice their final court.

“In my view, another relevant factor in the lives of our people is the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). The creation of our own jurisprudence will help define us as a people, and the excellent, well-reasoned judgements which have been the hallmark of the CCJ are ample proof of the intellectual quality of the legal minds of this Community. During my stewardship of the Community, I look forward to more member states joining the four of us in the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ,” Barrow said.

He emphasised the strength in unity in achieving CARICOM’s plans, exemplifying the manner in which it rallied to attain the objectives of the three major international conferences in the past year, most recently at COP 21 in Paris.

“The binding decisions taken on Financing for Development, the 2030 Development Goals and Climate Change have great potential to boost our growth and development and bolster our resilience. It is therefore in our interest to use our coordinated foreign policy to advocate at every opportunity for urgent implementation of those decisions. In so doing we will be seeking the support of our international development partners as well as other small island and low-lying coastal developing states (SIDS),” the incoming chairman stated.

Caribbean News Now

#510345 - 01/04/16 05:19 AM Re: Belize Heads Caricom [Re: Marty]  
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The Caribbean Community’s 2016 Plan

Prime minister Dean Barrow outlines plans as he begins his chairmanship of Caricom.

Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow has assumed the chairmanship of CARICOM, succeeding Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.

The six-month chairmanship began Jan. 1.

“Our resolution is to continue to strengthen our integration movement to deliver ever-increasing benefits to the people of our Community,” Barrow said in a statement. “We will continue our quest to improve our standard of living through providing a safe, viable and prosperous Caribbean Community. In so doing we will build on our successes and will be moving forward with a number of initiatives to achieve that aim.”

Barrow said that push comes “in the face of the sternest economic test that our Member States have had to face in recent memory.”

That, he said, increases the community’s determination to implement its new Strategic Plan, which is designed to “build our economic, environmental, social and technological resilience to assist us in the drive towards growth and sustainable development.”

Barrow also said the Caribbean Court of Justice was a “relevant factor” in the lives of people living in CARICOM.

“The creation of our own jurisprudence will help define us as a people, and the excellent, well-reasoned judgements which have been the hallmark of the CCJ are ample proof of the intellectual quality of the legal minds of this Community,” he said. “During my stewardship of the Community, I look forward to more Member States joining the four of us in the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ.”

Indeed, Belize was one of the few early adopters of that court; much of the region still uses the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as its final court of appeal.

Barrow said the region would also increase its efforts on crime fighting.

“The planned activities will focus on curbing anti-social behaviour and channeling energies into productive endeavor,” he said. “We must all be involved in a concerted attempt to arrest crime and violence in our Community and building the secure society which we desire.”

Because of its geographic location, Belize has the unique position of being a member of both CARICOM and the Central American Integration System; it’s not clear whether Barrow will be looking to find any ways to bridge the two systems.

Caribbean Journal


#511662 - 02/16/16 01:22 PM Re: Belize Heads Caricom [Re: Marty]  
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Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government and Prime Minister of Belize, the Hon Dean Barrow as he addressed the opening ceremony of the 27th Intersessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government
Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government and Prime Minister of Belize, the Hon Dean Barrow as he addressed the opening ceremony of the 27th Intersessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government

“Meantime our campaign, and I speak now of CARICOM, continues. And it cannot be other than relentless in the face of the possible correspondent banking Armageddon that we face.” – Chair of CARICOM, Prime Minister of Belize, the Hon Dan Barrow
The threats to the Region’s banking sector via the phenomenon of de-risking could have “cataclysmic ramifications” for the Caribbean, and a “relentless” campaign must be waged against it, Chairman of CARICOM and Prime Minister of Belize, the Hon Dean Barrow warned on Monday.

At the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Seventh Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Placencia, Belize, Prime Minister Barrow used much of his address to focus on the correspondent banking scenario and what it portended for the Community. The matter is a key agenda item of the two-day Summit, and a Meeting of Finance Ministers was held earlier on Monday to craft a Regional response. A Committee of Ministers of Finance on Correspondent Banking, chaired by Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hon. Gaston Browne will lead the response to this issue. The Committee is supported by leading Regional institutions including the Committee of Central Bank Governors (CCBG), the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).

The threat relates to the possible loss of access to the international financial markets by mainly the Regional indigenous banks. Several international banks, mainly in the US and Europe, have signalled to client banks in the Region an unwillingness to continue carrying their business. The so-called ‘de-risking’ by the global banks threatens to impact several critical services including remittance transfers. International trade, the facilitation of credit card settlements for local clients are among the other effects the Region faces.

From left, CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Hon. Gaston Browne, and Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt Hon. Freundel Stuart at the opening ceremony Monday evening.
From left, CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Hon. Gaston Browne, and Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt Hon. Freundel Stuart at the opening ceremony Monday evening.

Prime Minister Barrow was recently in Washington to raise the matter of correspondent banking relationships directly with the regulators in the United States, and while he reported receiving sympathy, he pointed out that regulators have provided only an undertaking to indicate to their banks that Regional jurisdictions “have done and are doing everything we can to be fully AML/CFT compliant; and that there was therefore no in principle objection to those banks doing business with us”. The US regulars, he added, placed the matter squarely at the feet of sovereign US banks.

One of the suggestions Prime Minister Barrow put forward for consideration on Monday evening, was for respective country banks get together across jurisdictions, and, as a bloc, approach target banks in the United States for pooled correspondent services. It is his view that the Region should be able to leverage the critical mass needed to make its business volume worthwhile in terms of risk/reward equation.

Meantime our campaign, and I speak now of CARICOM, continues. And it cannot be other than relentless in the face of the possible correspondent banking Armageddon that we face. It is therefore a matter that looms extremely large on our Agenda over the next two days, and has already been the subject of a dedicated Finance Ministers meeting this morning,” he told the ceremony.

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, who made remarks at the ceremony, also addressed the correspondent banking relationship issue and referred to it as an immediate existential threat. The Caribbean, he pointed out, was “inarguably one of those most adversely affected by these de-risking strategies and our people have already begun to feel the consequences of such arbitrary decisions”. He sought collective action to deal with matter.

This situation threatens the financial and economic stability of our Region. It is having an impact on the ability of our people to receive their remittances and transfer their funds for trade and investment transactions. This state of affairs demands that we act collectively to address this issue with the relevant regulatory authorities and the international community,” the Secretary-General said.

Caricom.org


#511670 - 02/16/16 06:14 PM Re: Belize Heads Caricom [Re: Marty]  
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Prime Minister’s Opening Statement XXVII Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the
Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
February 15-17, 2016, Placencia Hotel



Colleague Heads,
Mr Secretary-General,
Ministers,
Officials,
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my privilege and pleasure to welcome you to our country and to the Placencia peninsula.

We think this an idyllic spot. The Maya mountains, part of their world-famous eponymous Biosphere, are in back of us; and to the front is our Caribbean Sea, shared patrimony of CARICOM and SICA and emblematic of the proud duality that Belize is heir to.

I hope that the legacy features of these surroundings will act as aid and inspiration to our deliberations.

And very important deliberations they are.

For while that is always the case whenever we meet, I may be forgiven for thinking, and hope to make clear, that our issues and challenges are particularly pronounced at this time.

Let me therefore begin by considering the general economic climate in which we currently find ourselves.

There has been a failure of the world economy to recover properly from the shock of the financial crisis that began in the last part of the first decade of this new century. That failure, for the majority of us in CARICOM, has meant slow growth, increasing difficulties with our public finances, and tremendous strains on our capacity to satisfy the life-improvement aspirations of our people. And it is worth noting that even in the few countries that have shown substantial enough expansion, much of the net effect has been depreciated by population increases. On the bright side, though,there appears to be what we hope will be a sustained resurgence in our region's all-important tourism industry. This would be a welcome offset to the continued volatility in our commodities sector.

The global oil price rout has, in particular, been a double-edged sword for a couple of us. So we salute the recent petroleum discoveries in Guyana and look forward to that country being able to exploit those resources on its own terms; and we welcome the benefit to consumers that cheaper fuel has meant. But at the same time we regret the effect that both the contraction of production and the precipitate price drop have had here in Belize. And we note the even stronger detriment of the latter on public sector revenues inTrinidad and Tobago.

As well, the oil conundrum has severely constrained the flow of resources to those of us that participate in the PetroCaribe arrangements. This is, of course, in consequence of the havoc done to Venezuela, the source of our erstwhile bounty.

To compound matters, it is clear that the oil price phenomenon is symptomatic of the more generalized weakening, to which I earlier alluded, in commodities markets. This worsens the crisis situation in public finances in certain parts of the Eurozone, so that altogether there appears to be a distinct possibility of the world economy sliding back into recession. The consequences that would entail for our region are both obvious and frightening.

And when we move from the general to the particular regarding global economic and financial currents, there is one already extant development with absolutely cataclysmic ramifications for us. I am talking, of course, about the phenomenon of so-called de-risking.Under pressure from their regulatory authorities in Europe and especially the US, banks in those jurisdictions have been closing their correspondent relationships with our indigenous financial institutions. This deprives our banks of the ability to keep US deposits, do wire transfers, facilitate credit card settlements for their local clients and our economy. The implications of this for our international trade, for our remittances, for our structures of production, consumption and investment, are so obvious as to require little further elaboration. It is therefore no hyperbole to say that, especially in an environment where the value of our imports and exports taken together equals or exceeds our GDP, any attenuation, not to say complete cutoff, respecting our trade and remittance flows, constitutes a clear, present and compendious danger.

It is in this context of Belize, like so many others of us, being so fundamentally threatened, that I went to Washington two weeks ago for the express purpose of taking up this matter directly with the US Regulators.

And, truth to tell, I received much tea and sympathy. The former, in the aftermath of the historic blizzard Washington had just experienced, was welcome. But it was not immediately clear that the latter, politesse apart, sufficiently advanced matters.

The Regulators all agreed that, absent a solution, our economies,our societies would go belly up; and conceded that could be in no one's interest, including theirs. The sticking point, though, was their proclaimed inability to oblige their private sector banks to engage or re-engage with ours. So the highest expression of that sympathy unguent I earlier mentioned, was no more than an undertaking by the US Regulators to say to their banks that our jurisdictions have done and are doing everything we can to be fully AML/CFT compliant; and that there was therefore no in principle objection to those banks doing business with us. But ultimately, the Regulators insisted, it was strictly a decision for those sovereign US banks to make. They would have to decide whether it was in their financial interest to deal with us, assume the full transactional weight of the resulting monitoring and reporting requirements, and run the risk of nevertheless paying huge fines if anything went wrong. Or, the US banks could simply continue to take the path of least resistance on the basis that our minuscule margins were not worth the trouble. It could not be supposed, of course, that any thought as to the catastrophe waiting to overtake our countries would enter into those banks' straightforward risk/reward calculus.

Despite, then, verbal emollients and undoubtedly sincere protestations of concern, the limitations on action stated by the Regulators seemed, in our circumstances, to pose an uncuttable Gordian knot. Then, as though to assist my digestion of real politik 101, a certain article appeared in the Financial Times just after my
Washington meetings. It was a report on how developed country banking regulators were actively assisting Iranian banks to re-enter the global financial system following the lifting of economic sanctions. So the barriers on regulatory intervention are apparently far less constraining for a big country than for a small one, even when that big country has been dubbed a pariah and demonized these last few years.

To be fair, the U.S.Authorities have been as good as their word and have now spoken to at least one potential correspondent bank thatBelize has approached. The outcome of that is still pending.

Meantime our campaign, and I speak now of CARICOM, continues.And it cannot be other than relentless in the face of the possible correspondent banking Armageddon that we face. It is therefore a matter that looms extremely large on our Agenda over the next two days, and has already been the subject of a dedicated Finance Ministers meeting this morning. Without prejudice to any other recommendations that will come to us from that meeting, I signal now that Belize will offer the following for consideration. Surely our respective country banks can get together across jurisdictions and as a bloc approach target banks in the U.S. for pooled correspondent services. That way we should be able to leverage the critical mass needed to make our business volume worthwhile in terms of the risk/reward equation. The modalities and logistics will take some working out but clearly are not beyond our skills.

Colleague Heads, Ladies and Gentlemen:I am trying to reiterate what we know only too well. The reality that forces us to acknowledge the limitations of individual smallness, is the same reality that obliges us to size-up both in terms of collective thinking and collective action. A precondition to this, though, is that we talk less and do more. If there is a perceived mismatch between CARICOM rhetoric and CARICOM achievement, we need to tone down the rhetoric and step up the achievement. It may mean a lessening of grandiose goals. It may mean long-haul, quotidian grind to achieve incremental accomplishments. Drudgery in the garret rather than flash-in-the-pan brilliance. But the times do seem to require this sort of workmanlike focus to wring from difficult circumstances the kinds of realizable, measurable objectives our people deserve. And on the back of sustained slogging there is quite a bit we can do for ourselves even with respect to those generally recessionary global economic conditions about which I spoke earlier.

But I repeat: stock taking now for purposes of a reset requires a hard-headed assessment of where we are, where we need to go and how we get there. We need to settle on achievable goals for the immediate and medium term, and specify and take the necessary steps for realization on a time-and-action basis. In the process we may recognize, for example, that there is need for a workaround of the unbridgeable gap between our aspirations for a perfect single market and economy, and individual circumstance and sovereignty constraints. The nimbleness and flexibility that must be deployed to adjust to the changing world circumstances, may themselves militate against the centralized management mechanism that a full CARICOM single economy posits. So that to be driven back to a reliance on the less lofty but more practical virtues of functional cooperation, may be no bad thing.

In saying this, I am perhaps merely repeating what was stated some time ago by a past CARICOM Prime Minister: that our common cause effort simply cannot all at once incorporate the multiplicity of our individual drivers; that concentrating on the less poetic but more workable dimensions of our integration movement is both sensible and unavoidable; that to admit this is not to admit failure since prioritizing the more readily successful cooperative ventures does ultimately lead to the optimum future deepening that we both desire and deserve.

I realize that in suggesting what may appear to be a utilitarian, journeyman course of action, I am being counterintuitive; that it is at odds with our Caribbean penchant for heady visions and soaring oratory. And I certainly do not seek in any way to diminish the inspired legacy of our Community's founders. But the course of integration, as the threatened unraveling now of the European experiment makes clear, never did run smooth. And I certainly want to avoid, in simple hackneyed terms, missing the forest for the trees. Or proceeding only by way of what Eisenhower called 'spasmodic reaction to the stimulus of emergencies'.

Given all this, then, I believe that our efforts must focus on retaining and improving all that has worked. We therefore ought not to go pell-mell with what has been described as the built-in CARICOM integration agenda. On the other hand we must at once intensify those aspects of the CSME on which we are all fully agreed, and which we are all prepared fully to implement.

A more compressed canvas will surely sustain a more concentrated commitment. And that latter is what we as leaders owe to our people and to ourselves.

I thank you.

#511746 - 02/19/16 11:49 AM Re: Belize Heads Caricom [Re: Marty]  
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Communique issued at the conclusion of the Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), held in Placencia, Belize on 16-17 February 2016

The Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held at Placencia, Belize on 16-17 February 2016. The Prime Minister of Belize, the Honourable Dean Barrow, chaired the proceedings.

Other members of the Conference in attendance were: the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Honourable Gaston Browne; the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Honourable Freundel Stuart; the Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the Rt. Honourable Keith Mitchell; the President of Guyana, His Excellency Brigadier (ret’d) David Granger; the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris; and the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley.

The Bahamas was represented by the Honourable Frederick Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, the Commonwealth of Dominica was represented by Senator the Honourable Francine Baron, Minister of Foreign Affairs and CARICOM Affairs; Haiti was represented by Ambassador Guy Lamothe. Jamaica was represented by Senator the Honourable A.J. Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Saint Lucia was represented by the Honourable Alva Baptiste, Minister of External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation; St. Vincent and the Grenadines was represented by the Honourable Camillo Gonsalves, Minister of Economic Planning and Sustainable Development; Suriname was represented by the Vice-President, His Excellency Ashwin Adhin.

Associate Member, the Turks and Caicos Islands, was represented by Ms. Clara Gardiner, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Border Control and Employment.

Also in attendance was His Excellency Ambassador Patrick Gomes, Secretary-General of the African Caribbean Pacific Group of States (ACP).

OPENING

The Chairman, the Honourable Dean Barrow, the immediate Past Chairman, the Rt. Honourable Freundel Stuart and the Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque addressed the Opening Ceremony.

Prime Minister Stuart in giving a brief report on his tenure, highlighted the Community’s success at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris. He also recognised the steps being taken towards the establishment of clear rules about how the Conference takes and implements decisions. Prime Minister Stuart lauded the Region’s support for Dominica after Tropical Storm Erika. Using the tropical storm as an example, he said that one of the essential principles that must permeate our thoughts, words, and deeds as a Region, was the need for an unshakeable commitment to unity in the face of adversity.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that in order for CARICOM to fulfill its immense promise, “first, we should look at the strengths of our movement and seek to retain them at all costs; second, we must look backward at important elements that we have lost in the regional integration movement and seek to reclaim them; third, we must look inward at our movement to carefully identify those aspects that hinder us, which we can discard, and should do so with some urgency.”

Prime Minister Barrow speaking of the issue of correspondent banking and particularly de-risking said it had “absolutely cataclysmic ramifications” for the Community. He said it deprived our banks of the ability to keep US deposits, do wire transfers, facilitate credit card settlements for their local clients.

The Chairman added, “The implications of this for our international trade, for our remittances, for our structures of production, consumption and investment, are so obvious as to require little further elaboration”.

The Prime Minister said that the Community needed to settle on achievable goals for the immediate and medium-term, and specify and take the necessary steps for realization on a time and action basis. He added, “I believe that our efforts must focus on retaining and improving all that has worked”.

Secretary-General LaRocque emphasised the success which collective action had brought to the Community citing the recent COP 21 in Paris as a fine example. The Secretary-General noted that given the dynamics of the global situation, some of the issues impacting on the Community emanated from outside our borders. He pointed out, however, that they had a direct effect on the economic, environmental and social life of the Region.

“Such situations,” he said, “while challenging, present us with further opportunities to strengthen our unity and generate a collective response.”

SECURITY

Heads of Government discussed the issue of crime and security and agreed to increase co-operation and collaboration in this area.

Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley, Lead Head of Government for Security in the quasi Cabinet was the first signatory to the Protocol Amending the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to Incorporate the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE) as an Organ of the Community and the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) as an Institution of the Community.

CORRESPONDENT BANKING

Heads of Government deplored the progressive decline in correspondent banking relationships available to the banking sector in Member States, as a result of the de-risking strategies employed by the global banks. They opined that the withdrawal, restricted access and /or the higher cost of such services, allegedly in response to the heightened regulatory posture of regulatory authorities, would destabilize the financial sector in Member States with deleterious effects on growth and economic progress, as well as national security.

Heads of Government emphasised that CARICOM Member States have complied with all global regulatory standards, including those established by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Global Forum, and have been scrutinized in every detail by the IMF and other multilateral institutions. Indeed, they characterized the actions of the correspondent banks as an economic assault and was therefore tantamount to an economic blockade against Member States.

Heads of Government therefore agreed to the appointment of a high-level advocacy group, led by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. This group will be charged with the responsibility to represent the interest of the Region in addressing the issue, including an approach to the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation, as well as the United States Congress, to create greater international awareness of the challenge confronting the Community.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Heads of Government welcomed the Paris Agreement which was the outcome of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in France in December 2015. They noted that CARICOM had a major interest in the outcome of this Conference, since, as SIDS, they stand to be among the most affected by Climate Change.

Heads of Government expressed their appreciation for the leadership of the then Chairman of Conference, Rt. Honourable Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados and Dr. the Honourable Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia and Lead Head of Government for Sustainable Development, at the COP 21 which resulted in the positive outcome for the Community. They acknowledged the sterling contribution of the Region’s negotiators, the Task Force on Sustainable Development, led by Dr. the Honourable James Fletcher of Saint Lucia, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the CARICOM Secretariat to the Community’s achievements at the Conference.

Heads of Government recognised the need to capitalize on the achievements at COP 21 by working towards improving the national and regional capacities, to take advantage of the opportunities that the Agreement provided for addressing the impacts of Climate Change.

Heads of Government agreed to maintain the diplomatic demarche at international levels in support of the 1.5°C goal, noting that at the current levels of commitment, temperature rise would be more than 2.7 °C.

The Conference urged active participation in the high-level signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement, to be convened by the United Nations Secretary-General, on the 22 April 2016 in New York. The Conference also urged signature of the Agreement and deposit of instruments of ratification at that time or soonest thereafter.

Heads of Government noted the various opportunities for climate financing. They agreed to elevate the importance of Readiness Programming in accordance with the Green Climate Fund, to include the mainstreaming of climate change in National Development Plans, in order to facilitate access to climate financing.

Heads of Government further agreed that the Task Force on Sustainable Development led by Dr the Honourable James Fletcher and the team of negotiators and experts should continue their work to facilitate the implementation of the Agreement.

Heads of Government resolved to remain actively engaged in the UNFCCC processes at the various levels to support implementation of the Paris Agreement.

ZIKA

Heads of Government expressed deep concern about the health and economic effects of the outbreak of the Zika Virus infection in the Community and they undertook to take a structured approach to deal with the disease.

In that regard, Heads of Government endorsed a course of action to address the spread of this disease and other diseases spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito including dengue and chikungunya. They mandated CARPHA and the CARICOM Secretariat to report to the Council for Human and Social Development on Health (COHSOD – Health) on the implementation and effectiveness of the course of action.

Heads of Government noted that the most effective forms of prevention are reducing mosquito populations by eliminating their breeding sites, especially through the management of containers which collect and store water in and around households.

Heads of Government urged the population at large to join in a multi-sectoral approach to help eliminate the Aedes Aegypti mosquito which would include continuous public education, and involve the health, education, tourism, media, telecommunications sectors as well as local government and private enterprises.

Heads of Government endorsed the proposal for a Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week to be inaugurated in May 2016.

Heads of Government acknowledged the valuable role of CARPHA in the coordination of effective responses to public health crises in the Region, including through laboratory testing, advice and technical assistance to Member States.

ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMUNITY

Heads of Government received a report from a Technical Working Group (TWG) on issues related to Associate Membership in CARICOM.

Heads of Government recognised the interest of six territories in becoming Associate Members and considered the analytical report in the context of seeking to review the guiding principles for the consideration of applications for Associate Membership.

Heads of Government noted that the ongoing discussions were taking place at a time when reform of the Community was being undertaken. They also noted the resource challenges that would be faced by the Secretariat with respect to any future enlargement of the Community.

Heads of Government recognised the need for the articulation of an enlargement policy which should be submitted for their consideration at the July meeting of the Conference.

BORDER ISSUES

Belize-Guatemala Relations

Heads of Government received an update on efforts to resolve Guatemala’s claims over Belize’s territory.

Heads of Government expressed their hope that a referendum would be called early in both countries to decide on whether to submit Guatemala’s claims to the International Court of Justice for a final ruling.

Heads of Government encouraged both Belize and Guatemala to continue their efforts at constructive engagement and building of friendly relations for the betterment of their peoples.

Heads of Government recognized the important role of the Organization of American States (OAS) in support of the efforts of the Belize and Guatemala governments to secure lasting peace and development. They called on the international community to support the efforts of these two countries, and to be especially generous in their support for the sustained involvement of the OAS in these efforts.

Heads of Government reaffirmed their unequivocal support for the maintenance and preservation of Belize’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Guyana-Venezuela Relations

Heads of Government received an update on the recent developments with respect to the controversy between Guyana and Venezuela.

They noted that February 17, 2016, marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Geneva Agreement of 1966 between the Parties, which was intended to provide a solution to the controversy arising from Venezuela’s contention that the 1899 Arbitral Award, which definitively settled the land boundary between Guyana and Venezuela, is null and void.

Heads of Government also noted that the Secretary General of the United Nations, having had discussions with the Heads of State of Guyana and Venezuela in September 2015, has since made a proposal to the two countries on the way forward towards a decisive end to the controversy.

Heads of Government expressed their full support for the role of the United Nations Secretary General and his efforts, in keeping with the provisions of the Geneva Agreement, to bring the controversy to a definitive and judicious conclusion.

Heads of Government reaffirmed their unequivocal support for the maintenance and preservation of Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

CRICKET GOVERNANCE

Heads of Government reaffirmed their commitment to the development of West Indies cricket and applauded the recent performance of the 2016 World Champion under 19 Team.

Heads of Government discussed the Report of the Joint Meeting of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee (PMSC) on Cricket and the Cricket Governance Committee held on 9 February 2016.

They undertook an in-depth review of the governance issues with respect to the West Indies Cricket Board Inc.

Heads of Government endorsed the recommendations of the Final Report of the Review Panel on the Governance of Cricket of October 2015 and affirmed that they must be implemented.

Heads of Government agreed to explore all options available to achieve the desired outcome of improved governance of West Indies cricket and undertook to inform concerned parties of their position.

FUTURE OF THE ACP GROUP OF STATES

Heads of Government received a presentation on the Future of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). They noted the intervention of the Secretary-General of the ACP, Ambassador Patrick. I. Gomes who participated in the discussions.

RELATIONS WITH THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Heads of Government expressed concern at the continuing grave human rights situation of Dominicans of Haitian descent threatened by statelessness and the precarious humanitarian situation of undocumented Haitians in the Dominican Republic who have been deported to Haiti.

Heads of Government also agreed that the human rights situation of Dominicans of Haitian descent must form part of the Agenda of the CARIFORUM-EU policy or political dialogue.

REAPPOINTMENT OF SECRETARY-GENERAL

Heads of Government agreed to the re-appointment of Ambassador Irwin LaRocque as Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community for a second five-year term to August 2021.

In the context of the ongoing reform process, Heads of Government agreed that there would be a limit of two terms for Secretaries-General of the Community.

AGREEMENTS SIGNED

The Protocol Amending the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to Incorporate the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE) as an Organ of the Community and the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) as an Institution of the Community was opened for signature.

Guyana, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago signed the Protocol.

DATE OF THE THIRTY-SEVENTH REGULAR MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENT OF CARICOM

The Thirty-Seventh Regular Meeting of the Conference will be held from 4-6 July 2016 under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister of Dominica the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit and will be co-hosted by the CARICOM Secretariat and the Government of Guyana.



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