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7137: CARICOM COMMUNIQUE (fwd)
From: Max Blanchet <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Press release 36/2001
(16 February 2001)
COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT CONCLUSION OF 12TH INTERSESSIONAL
MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENT
OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY, ST. MICHAEL, BARBADOS,
16 FEBRUARY 2001
The Twelfth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government
of the Caribbean Community was held at the Sherbourne Conference Centre,
Barbados from 14 to16 February 2001.
Heads of Government in attendance were: Hon. Lester Bird, Prime Minister,
Antigua and Barbuda; Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur, Prime Minister and Minister of
Finance and Economic Affairs, Barbados; Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, Prime
Minister, The Bahamas; Hon. Said Musa, Prime Minister, Belize; Hon. Pierre
Charles, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Legal Affairs and
Labour, Dominica; Dr. the Hon. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister and Minister
of National Security and Information, Grenada; Rt. Hon. Percival J.
Patterson, Prime Minister, Jamaica; Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister
and Minister of Finance, Development, Planning and National Security, St.
Kitts and Nevis;
Dr. the Hon. Kenny D. Anthony, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance,
Economic Affairs and Information, Saint Lucia; Hon. Arnhim Eustace, Prime
Minister, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; His Excellency Runaldo Ronald
Venetiaan, President of the Republic of Suriname; and Hon. Basdeo Panday,
Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Trinidad and Tobago.
The Cooperative Republic of Guyana was represented by Hon. Clement J. Rohee,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guyana.
The Republic of Haiti was represented by His Excellency Jean-Bertrand
The Opening Ceremony featured addresses by the Prime Ministers of St.
Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Arnhim Eustace; Barbados, Rt. Hon. Owen
Arthur; Trinidad and Tobago, Hon. Basdeo Panday; Dominica, Hon. Pierre
Charles; and CARICOM Secretary-General and Chairman of the proceedings, Mr.
In their remarks, the Heads of Government expressed concern at a range of
issues facing the Community. These include continuing threats to the
sovereignty and economic viability of states in the Region; the growing
incidence of AIDS and the need for effective collective strategies both to
combat its spread and to provide care for those affected; the destabilising
effect of the trade and consumption of illicit drugs and the accompanying
evils of money laundering and arms trafficking. The Heads of Government also
emphasised the need for civil society to be included in discussions and
decisions on matters relating to the Community. To this end they reiterated
the importance of the Forward Together Conference to be held later this
year. The Heads of Government also reaffirmed the critical importance of the
CARICOM Single Market and Economy and urged Member States to take necessary
action to expedite its implementation.
SIGNING OF THE
AGREEMENT TO ESTABLISH THE CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE
Heads of Government signed the Agreement establishing the Caribbean Court
of Justice at the Ceremonial Opening of the Conference. The historic signing
marked another milestone by the Members of the Community in asserting their
Heads of Government asserted that the Court is an integral component for the
efficient functioning of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and is a
unique institution in the development of international law, being on the one
hand a municipal court of last resort, and on the other, an international
tribunal, interpreting and applying rules of international law as these
relate to the Treaty of Chaguaramas.
CONFERMENT OF THE ORDER OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY ON OUTSTANDING CITIZENS
OF THE COMMUNITY
The Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC) was conferred on the Rt. Hon.
George Price, P.C., of Belize; Sir George Alleyne, MD. F.R.C.P., F.A.C.P.
(Hon), D.Sc (Hon.) of Barbados; and Dr. Slinger Francisco H.B.M., C.M.T., of
Trinidad and Tobago, for their outstanding contribution to the political,
social and cultural development of the Community.
Each of the recipients in his own special sphere of work and influence, has
projected the excellence of the Caribbean people unto the world scene, and
forged a stronger sense of Caribbean identity both within the Community and
in the diaspora. This brings to fourteen the number of distinguished
Caribbean citizens who have been so honoured.
A RE-AFFIRMATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC TRADITIONS OF THE COMMUNITY Heads of
Government considered the issue of governance and democracy in the Region.
They reaffirmed their commitment to democracy and popular participation as
enshrined in the Charter of Civil Society and adopted by the Conference in
1997 as well as the Kingston Declaration on Democracy and Popular
Participation adopted in July 1990. They pledged to work together to
maintain and strengthen the institutions and processes essential to
democratic Government, and in this regard, enjoined their citizens to pursue
all of their just economic, social and political objectives within the
framework of the Region's deeply cherished democratic traditions.
Heads of Government noted that elections would be held in three CARICOM
countries prior to their next Meeting, the timing of two having been
influenced by Community initiatives. They stressed that the Region had a
long-standing tradition of respect for the will of the people, as expressed
through free and fair elections on a regular basis. They were confident that
this tradition would be maintained in the forthcoming processes and called
on all concerned to honour this tradition and respect its results. They
pledged their continued support to those processes, through the provision of
election observers where requested.
FINALISATION OF HAITI'S MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMUNITY Heads of Government
having considered issues relating to the finalisation of Haiti's membership
of the Community agreed to issue the attached statement.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SINGLE MARKET AND ECONOMY With the revised Treaty of
Chaguaramas expected to be finalized by the third quarter of 2001, Heads of
Government directed that each Member State and each Ministerial Council must
give priority to implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy
(CSME). This was seen as being necessary to ensure that the benefits to be
derived from the strengthening of the Region's production and
competitiveness are fully realized. Implementation of the CSME would enable
the Region to take advantage of the opportunities created by hemispheric and
Heads of Government accepted the recommendations from the Second Special
Consultation on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy held in Barbados on 20
to 21 November 2000. They highlighted in particular, the measures to be
implemented during 2001. Critical among these measures are the enactment of
national legislation to give effect to the free movement of university
graduates, artistes, sports persons, musicians and media workers and the
transfer of Social Security benefits; the establishment of the programmes
for the removal among Member States of restrictions on the right of
establishment, the provision of services and the movement of capital; the
establishment of national and regional mechanisms for the mutual recognition
of qualifications and training; the establishment of the CARICOM Regional
Organisation for Quality and Standards (CROSQ) and agreement on outstanding
issues relating to hassle-free travel including travel documents and forms.
Heads of Government accorded particular attention to the supporting
institutional arrangements at the national and regional levels required to
ensure implementation. They agreed that at the national level, Member States
would establish Inter-Ministerial Consultative Committees and would
encourage the establishment of business and labour advisory committees. They
established a Prime-Ministerial Sub-Committee for the CSME to give impetus
to its establishment and operation. They agreed that the Prime-Ministerial
Sub-Committee would be supported by a Technical Advisory Council comprising
members from regional institutions and civil society, private sector and
labour organisations and would be serviced by an expanded and restructured
Single Market and Economy Unit in the Secretariat.
Heads of Government mandated that the public education programme for the
CSME be intensified with a view to heightening the level of popular
understanding of and support for the CSME throughout the entire Region.
THE REGIONAL NEGOTIATING MACHINERY Heads of Government in keeping with their
decision at their January 2001 Special Meeting in Montego Bay, undertook a
preliminary review of the RNM, particularly in light of recent changes in
its staffing and of the necessity to ensure its continued effective
functioning in the face of intensified negotiations.
They expressed their full satisfaction and reaffirmed their commitment to
They also commended the Chief Negotiator and his team on their sterling
performance on behalf of the Region, in undertaking the first phase of the
post-Lomé negotiations and in the ongoing FTAA and WTO negotiations. Heads
of Government unanimously and unequivocally pledged their support for the
continuation of the work of the RNM and committed themselves to its
strengthening in order to better equip it to serve the interest of the
region in several complex negotiations now ongoing.
They expressed gratitude for the support given to the RNM by friendly
countries and Regional and International Institutions and urged their
They also expressed deep satisfaction at the development of closer and more
effective collaboration between the RNM, the Council for Trade and Economic
Development (COTED) and the Secretariat.
Against this background, Heads of Government agreed on specific arrangements
for the RNM's 2001-2002 budget and decided on certain staff appointments.
CONSULTATIONS WITH THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE WTO Heads of Government had a
full and frank exchange of views with the Director General of the World
Trade Organisation (WTO) on the process of globalisation, liberalisation,
the operation of the WTO and the implications for developing countries,
particularly small developing countries.
They received information from the Director General on ongoing confidence
building initiatives as well as technical assistance to developing
countries, particularly those with no or limited permanent representation in
Geneva. The WTO Director General also reported on ongoing initiatives aimed
at determining whether there was a basis for a ministerial meeting in Qatar
in November 2001 to launch a new global round of trade negotiations.
Heads of Government expressed appreciation to the Director General for his
visit and candid views. They expressed the interest of the Caribbean, as a
region of very small, highly open and trade dependent countries in an
equitable, rule-based multilateral system. This notwithstanding, Heads
expressed great disappointment with the operation of the multilateral
arrangements ushered in by the Uruguay Round, which increased the imbalance
and lack of consideration for the interests of developing countries as was
evidenced by the processes leading up to the Seattle Ministerial Meeting and
the cost of access to the dispute settlement facility. Heads also affirmed
that any new round of multilateral trade negotiations should be as much
about development as trade liberalisation.
They stressed the importance of confidence building, the provision of
technical assistance to enable developing countries and small countries in
particular to implement their existing commitments and the overall review of
the multilateral system to the creation of a climate conducive to the
participation of small developing countries in future negotiations.
Heads of Government had a full discussion with the Director General on the
importance of, and the threat to the vital Regional banana industry. They
highlighted the insensitivity of the multilateral system to the contraction
in the industry and the deleterious impacts on their economies.
THE MARKETING OF BANANAS IN EUROPE Heads of Government considered a Report
on the efforts to revise the European Union Banana Import Regime. They were
extremely concerned that the European Union seemed determined to implement a
"First Come, First Served" (FCFS) system of Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ)
administration, although all analyses demonstrate that such a system would
create great instability in the EU market for bananas.
Heads of Government observed with alarm the fact that ACP Banana Exporting
Countries could lose almost one half of their already small market share in
the first year of operation of any such regime and would soon be eliminated
from the market. They noted further that there is no measure in the current
Commission proposal to address this situation in spite of the commitments of
the EU enshrined in the Lomé Convention and currently in the Cotonou
Agreement to support the continued viability of ACP banana export industries
and to provide continuing outlet for ACP bananas on the Community market.
Heads of Government recalled that the Caribbean Banana Exporting Countries
have offered the Commission several proposals aimed at achieving a generally
acceptable solution. They were therefore extremely disappointed that the
initiatives which were in train up to January this year, to develop a
historically-based TRQ system have been abandoned by the Commission and the
United States Trade Representative.
Heads of Government strongly urge the Parties to resume discussions towards
achieving a fair and generally acceptable system.
A SUMMIT ON TOURISM Heads of Government recognising the importance of
tourism to the future economic development of the Region, unanimously
accepted the proposal of the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia for the convening
of a Regional Summit on Tourism. They accepted the offer of the Prime
Minister of The Bahamas to host the Summit on 6 to 7 July 2001. They
mandated the Secretariat to establish a broad-based planning group for the
Summit comprising all the relevant stakeholders.
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS RELATING TO OECD THREATS ON HARMFUL TAX COMPETITION
Heads of Government received a report on recent developments pertaining to
certain G7 related initiatives including the Financial Stability Forum
(FSF); the Financial Action Task Force (FATF); and the OECD Harmful Tax
Competition Initiative. These developments were considered in the context of
legislative and other programmes implemented by Member States to satisfy the
Financial Action Task Force criteria on money laundering and financial
crime, participation in the IMF Assessment and Evaluation Programme and in
the work of a Joint Working Group of OECD and non-OECD countries on Harmful
They welcomed the positive outcome of the High Level Consultation which was
held in Barbados 8 to 9 January 2001 between the OECD and non-OECD countries
which was a first step in establishing a genuine consultative process on
this matter. In that regard, they noted that the First Meeting of the Joint
Working Group established by the Barbados Meeting was held in London from 26
to 28 January 2001, creating the opportunity for non-OECD countries to
provide a coordinated response to the OECD on this issue. They resolved to
continue this consultative process with the expectation of a mutually agreed
Heads of Government expressed their commitment to work towards the creation
of, and participation in an inclusive global tax forum where the legitimate
interests of all countries and jurisdictions can be represented. They called
on all countries to support this effort.
Heads of Government expressed appreciation for the efforts of the
Commonwealth Secretariat in facilitating the parties in the search for a
resolution to the issues.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE THIRD SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS Heads of Government
reviewed the progress made in preparations for the Third Summit of the
Americas to be held in Quebec City, 20 to 22 April 2001. They applauded
Canada's leadership role in the preparatory process for the Summit and its
commitment to ensure the full and effective participation of CARICOM States
in the Summit process.
They particularly welcomed the opportunity provided by the CARICOM-Canada
Summit in Montego Bay to exchange views at the highest political level on
ways to ensure a successful outcome of the Summit.
Heads of Government recalled that the Summit of the Americas process was
initiated to advance the prosperity, democratic values and institutions and
security of the hemisphere through open markets, hemispheric integration and
sustainable development in order to transform the aspirations of the peoples
of the Americas into concrete realities.
They were particularly concerned at the slow pace of implementation of
previous Summit mandates and at the inadequate levels of financing to give
effect to their Plans of Action.
They called for the creation of a Special Facility within the relevant
international financial institutions to facilitate the implementation of
Summit mandates giving special consideration to the small and vulnerable
economies of this hemisphere.
BELIZE-GUATEMALA Heads of Government considered recent developments in
Belize-Guatemala relations and agreed to issue a statement which is
GUYANA-VENEZUELA Heads of Government welcomed the stated commitment of the
Governments of Guyana and Venezuela to continue to work towards enhancing
functional cooperation between their two countries and the maintenance of a
positive and amicable environment in which their bilateral relations could
be further developed.
Heads of Government were informed by Guyana of the publicly stated
opposition by the Government of Venezuela to foreign investments in the
Essequibo region as well as reports of the intention of Venezuela to execute
an exploratory programme for hydrocarbons in an offshore area that includes
part of the maritime zone of Guyana.
Heads of Government reaffirmed their support for the maintenance of the
sovereignty and territorial integrity, including the maritime zone of
Guyana, and for the Good Officer process under the aegis of the United
ENCOUNTER WITH CIVIL SOCIETY
Heads of Government emphasised the critical importance of fully involving
the Civil Society of the Region in the Community's decision-making process.
To this effect they confirmed their intention to convene an encounter with
Civil Society at the earliest possible date in 2001, building on
consultations among Civil Society Groups and at the national and regional
Heads of Government expressed concern at the growing prevalence of HIV/AIDS
and its impact on the social and economic development of the region. To this
end, they welcomed the launching on 14 February 2001 in Barbados of the
Pan-Caribbean Partnership to combat HIV/AIDS and reiterated their commitment
to supporting the objectives of the Partnership.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Heads of Government expressed their deep appreciation to the
Government and people of Barbados for the excellent hospitality extended to
them and their delegations during their stay.
DATE AND VENUE OF THE 22ND MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE Heads of Government
accepted the offer of The Bahamas to host the 22nd Meeting of the Conference
in that country on 1 to 4 July 2001.