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8615: Communique issued at end of annual Caricom summit (fwd)
From: Max Blanchet <email@example.com>
Communique issued at end of annual Caricom summit
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Jul 8, 2001
The subjects of AIDS, tourism, regional security, external political and
economic relations, and work towards the establishment of the Caribbean
Single Market and Economy were among those discussed at the annual summit of
the Caribbean Community (Caricom) in The Bahamas on 3-6 July. The situation
in Haiti and disputes between Caricom members states and Guatemala and
Venezuela were also debated. The following is the text of the communique
(but not its annexes) issued on 6 July at the end of the summit and carried
by the Caribbean news agency Cana on 8 July; subheadings as published:
The 22nd meeting of the conference of heads of government of the Caribbean
Community (Caricom) was held in Nassau, The Bahamas, on 3-6 July 2001.
Heads of government in attendance were: the Hon Lester B. Bird, prime
minister, Antigua and Barbuda; the Rt Hon Hubert Ingraham, prime minister,
the Bahamas; the Rt Hon Owen Arthur, prime minister and minister of finance
and economic affairs, Barbados; the Hon Said Musa, prime minister and
minister of finance and foreign affairs, Belize; the Hon Pierre Charles,
prime minister, Dominica; Dr the Hon Keith Mitchell, prime minister and
minister of national security and information, Grenada; HE Bharrat Jagdeo,
president of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana; HE Jean Bertrand Aristide,
president of the Republic of Haiti; the Rt Hon Percival J. Patterson, prime
minister and minister of defence, Jamaica; the Hon Dr Denzil L. Douglas,
prime minister and minister of 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; Dr the Hon Ralph
Gonsalves, prime minister and minister of finance and planning, St Vincent
and the Grenadines; HE Runaldo Ronald Venetian, president of the Republic of
Surinam; and the Hon Basdeo Panday, prime minister, Trinidad and Tobago.
Hon Dr Lowell L. Lewis, minister of communications and works, represented
Montserrat. Also in attendance was the Hon Derek H. Taylor, chief minister,
Turks and Caicos Islands.
Heads of government welcomed Hon Jennifer M. Smith, premier, Bermuda, and
the Hon W. McKeeva Bush, deputy leader of government and minister of
tourism, environment and transportation, Cayman Islands, as special
observers to the conference.
They also welcomed the president of the Dominican Republic, HE Hipolito
Mejia, and HE Vicente Fox, president of Mexico, who addressed the
They also welcomed the minister of foreign trade of Cuba, Hon Ricardo
Cabrisas, and the continuing discussions with Cuba on external negotiations.
The opening ceremony of the 22nd meeting of the conference was staged at the
National Centre for the Performing Arts, Nassau, and was marked by an
impressive cultural display performed by Bahamian artistes.
The ceremony was chaired by Mr Edwin Carrington, secretary-general,
Caribbean Community, who delivered the opening remarks.
Statements were delivered by the Rt Hon Owen Arthur, prime minister of
Barbados and outgoing chairman of the Community; Rt Hon Hubert Ingraham,
prime minister of the Bahamas, chairman of the conference; Dr the Hon Ralph
Gonsalves, prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines; and HE Runaldo
Ronald Venetian, president of the Republic of Surinam.
In his opening remarks, the chairman of the ceremony, the secretary-general
of the Caribbean Community, noted that it was clear that the challenges
confronting the region were becoming greater in their implications and more
profound in their intensity.
He urged the region to rise to meet and confront these challenges and
alerted heads to the fact that the region would be unable to rise if it did
not embrace the relevant technology, train its work force and provide an
environment attractive to investment, if its labour force were decimated by
the modern plague - HIV/AIDS - and if it failed to implement in time the
decisions, to which it had voluntarily subscribed, but had not implemented.
The Rt Hon Owen Arthur commented on the fact that he had found his period of
chairmanship vastly rewarding, noting among other achievements the historic
signing of the agreement establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice; the
finalization of the legal framework for the Single Market and Economy; the
launching of the Pan-Caribbean Partnership for HIV/AIDS; the agreement to
create the Caribbean Technical Assistance Centre; the region's support for
the integrity of the democratic process in St Vincent and the Grenadines,
and in Guyana; the initiation of a deeper and more mature economic
relationship with Canada; the creation of a new American Community through
the Summit of the Americas process, and the compelling image of Caribbean
cohesiveness displayed at that summit; and the leadership by the region on
the OECD Harmful Tax Initiative.
He noted that, if there was a common thread that ran through the events of
the last six months, it was perhaps the fact that Caricom was broadening its
reach internationally, while simultaneously consolidating its internal
solidarity and unity of purpose. There was therefore much to be positive and
The Rt Hon Hubert Ingraham pointed to the Single Market and Economy as a
major factor in determining the future of the region's economic interaction.
The region, he stressed, must however address issues beyond the economy
which are critical to the community's well-being. These include health,
social development, external community relations and support for democracy
and democratic processes within the region.
This new phase, he added, must also proceed with the support and active
involvement of the peoples of the Caribbean.
The chairman, while being pleased that the Bahamas had been removed from the
FATF list of non-cooperating countries and territories, noted that several
Caricom states remained listed. He therefore urged the region to continue to
advocate its position calling for a level playing field in all international
initiatives concerning the provision and delivery of international financial
services whether emanating from the FATF, the OECD or the FSF.
The Hon Ralph Gonsalves advocated that it was important to assert that the
Caribbean is a civilization of a special type, predominantly an island
civilization, occupying a particular geographic space and possessed of a
shared history of European conquest, settlement, exploitation, colonialism
and empire with a core of shared political values adopted and adapted from
Caribbean civilization and the contemporary circumstances of the region's
political economy therefore demanded a more profound political expression,
The president of Surinam in his remarks focused on the need to pay
sufficient attention to the human factor: youth, women and the men of the
Caribbean. Caricom unity, he said, could only be established when all the
ideals and goals of the region became rooted and embedded in the Caribbean
people and their organizations.
Engagements with the secretaries-general of the Commonwealth, the ACS, the
OAS, the director-general of the FAO
Heads of government were pleased to receive the secretaries-general of the
Association of Caribbean States, the Commonwealth and the Organization of
American States, as well as the director-general of the Food and Agriculture
Organization to their meeting which allowed them to engage the leaders on
issues of import to the region and preparations being made for forthcoming
They were particularly pleased at the level of international interaction in
which the region was engaged and noted, in this regard, the recent encounter
between the president of the IDB, HE Enrique Iglesias, and the
director-general of the World Trade Organization, Mr Mike Moore, and
ministers of trade of the region, held in Montego Bay, Jamaica on 28-29 June
Heads of Government welcomed the information provided by the Commonwealth
secretary-general on arrangements being made for the Brisbane Commonwealth
heads of government meeting. They expressed the region's appreciation for
the efforts of the Commonwealth Secretariat in support of the region's
response to the OECD harmful tax competition initiative, as well as for and
the strengthening of democracy in the Caribbean.
They also expressed their appreciation for the information provided by the
secretary-general on the activities of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action
Group, particularly in relation to developments in Fiji and Pakistan.
They welcomed the proposal for the convening in London in July 2002 of a
Commonwealth summit on small states. They noted that, since the
Commonwealth/World Bank study on small states was released in early 2000,
significant progress had been made in persuading the international
institutions to recognize the special and differential status of small
They welcomed in particular, the inclusion of a small states forum on the
agenda of the annual World Bank meetings and saw this as a positive response
to the concerns of small states. Heads of government however recognized that
much work remained to be done in their efforts to sensitize the world
community to the issues affecting small states and recommitted themselves to
this task in this regard, they noted that the proposed summit would provide
the opportunity for all member states of the Commonwealth to focus on the
priority needs and concerns at small states and the measures required to
address those needs.
Association of Caribbean States (ACS)
The secretary-general of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) briefed
heads of government on the work of the ACS. Heads of government were also
briefed on preparations for the third summit of the association, which will
be held in Margarita Island, Venezuela, from 11-12 December, 2001. They
reiterated the Community's continued support for the goals of the ACS and
the importance which the Community attaches to the ACS as an important
geo-political entity and medium of functional cooperation in the Caribbean.
Organization of American States (OAS)
Heads of government had an exchange of views with the secretary-general of
the Organization of American States (OAS), particularly on the excellent
cooperation being developed between Caricom and the wider hemisphere through
the OAS. They welcomed the joint efforts of Caricom and the OAS, aimed at
promoting an environment conducive to establishing a climate of trust among
the main political actors and civil society in Haiti at this time.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Heads of government had a fruitful discussion with the director-general of
the FAO on issues related to the World Food Summit + 5 Conference, which
will be held in Rome in November 2001.
They agreed that the region would seek to be represented at the highest
possible level at the summit.
Heads of government had a comprehensive exchange of views with
representatives of the Caribbean Policy Development Centre, the Caribbean
Association of Industry end Commerce and the Caribbean Congress of Labour.
They stressed the importance of a systematic engagement at all levels
between government and social partners in order to arrive at concrete
proposals to advance the region's agenda.
In this regard, they highlighted the Regional Conference with Civil
Society - "Forward Together" - to be held in November 2001 as a means of
bringing together all segments of civil society in a dialogue with heads of
government on the future of the region, and their collective roles therein.
Heads of government acknowledged the importance of the national
consultations to the success of the regional conference and exhorted civil
society to participate fully in the process.
Establishment of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME)
Heads of government commended the collaborative efforts of the official and
ministerial bodies in completing the revision of the Treaty of Chaguaramas
(the treaty establishing the Caribbean Community) which now integrates the
nine protocols making provision for the free movement of persons, capital
and services and the right of establishment.
They expressed their satisfaction that the revised treaty allows for the
subsequent inclusion in the treaty, by way of additional protocols, of new
issues such as e-commerce, government procurement, trade in goods from free
zones, free circulation of goods and the rights contingent on the free
movement of persons. They noted that technical work has already started
towards this end.
Heads of government urged an intensification of the public education
programme to promote the necessary shift in the mind-set of the people of
the region, from the limits of national boundaries to the resources of the
region as a whole.
They also undertook to ensure the completion of the basic complementary
legal and other actions at the national level to give effect to their
regional commitments, particularly relating to the free movement of the
agreed categories of persons, namely university graduates, artistes,
musicians, sports persons and media personnel, and to the Caricom agreements
on social security and the avoidance of double taxation.
Heads of government noted progress made towards the finalization of the
agreement for the establishment of a Regional Organization for Standards and
Quality (CROSQ). They committed themselves to its finalization and signature
before the end of 2001.
Heads of government reiterated the urgent need to put in place the regime
for the Right of Establishment of the Provision of Services and the Movement
of Capital. They mandated that the Joint Meetings of the Council for Trade
and Economic Development (Coted), the Council for Finance and Planning
(Cofap), and the Council for Human and Social Development (Cohsod) be
convened as scheduled in September 2001 with the objective of having agreed
programmes by the end of December 2001.
Heads of government confirmed their intention to inaugurate the prime
ministerial subcommittee on the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) on
9 July 2001 in The Bahamas, and to give their early attention to the
creation of the new support mechanisms for the CSME, including a committee
of officials, the technical advisory council comprising representation from
the stakeholders across civil society, and the specialized Caribbean
Community Secretariat Single Market and Economy Unit which will be based in
Barbados until the completion of the Caricom Headquarters building in
A number of heads of government signed the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas
establishing the Caribbean Community including the Caricom Single Market and
Confronting the HIV/AIDS pandemic
Heads of government noted with grave concern the escalating prevalence of
the dreaded HIV/AIDS pandemic in the region as a whole. They stressed in
particular, its devastating effects among young adults in their most
productive years, and its potential to seriously compromise the economic
growth of the region.
Heads of government pledged their support for the work of the Pan-Caribbean
Partnership. Heads of government resolved to support capacity-building
programmes at national levels and to pool resources and share national
experiences in the areas of prevention and care, advocacy, research and
They resolved to pursue joint efforts to negotiate affordable prices for the
anti-retroviral drugs and for a programme of education for all.
Heads of government were pleased that a number of their countries
participated at the highest political level at the UN General Assembly
special session on HIV/AIDS, and were deeply appreciative of the support to
be provided by the UN as acknowledged by the UN secretary-general in his
message to the 22nd meeting of the conference.
They reiterated their support for the declaration arising from the special
session and agreed to adopt a consolidated approach to maximize the benefits
to the region from the proposed UN global HIV/AIDS-health fund. They
stressed the need for those governments that had not yet done so, to prepare
their national strategic plans by September 2001 so as to facilitate access
to available funding.
Heads of government received with appreciation the announcement by the
Canadian high commissioner, HE John Robinson, of CIDA's enhanced support to
the region's HIV/AIDS Pan-Caribbean Partnership, in the sum of 20m Canadian
Heads of government recalled the pledge made by President Bush in Quebec
City, of a total of 20m US dollars in HIV/AIDS funding to the Caribbean for
fiscal year 2002, as part of the USA's proposed Third Border Initiative.
Heads of government welcomed the proposal from Mexico for cooperation and
technical assistance in these matters.
Conscious of the need to confront the pandemic within the context of a more
comprehensive Caribbean health initiative, heads of government further
agreed to issue the Nassau Declaration on Health 2001; the Health of the
Region is the Wealth of the Regions which is attached at Annex I.
Regional security issues
Heads of government recognized the need for regional action on crime and
security issues arising from the increasing drug related activities and
other serious crimes in the region. They expressed grave concern over the
threats posed to the security and stability of the countries of the region.
They recognized that concerted and coordinated responses at the national,
sub-regional and regional levels, building on existing machinery. will be
required in order to bring about lasting and effective solutions.
Heads of government agreed that they will devote special attention to the
issues of crime and security at their 13th inter-sessional meeting in Belize
in early 2002. To facilitate decisions they agreed to establish a special
Regional Task Force to analyse the fundamental causes of crime and security
threats in the region and to develop recommendations for consideration by
attorneys-general and ministers responsible for national security in advance
of their meeting in Belize from 4 to 6 February 2002.
Heads of government underscored that a viable and sustainable tourism
industry was critical to the economic well being of all the states of the
region. They readily acknowledged that, although there existed Caribbean
cooperation in tourism at some levels, this needed to be more focused and
intensified, with a view to promoting the Caribbean region as a single
Heads of government looked forward to the convening in The Bahamas on 20-21
October 2001 of a Caricom summit on tourism aimed at jointly developing
innovative strategies for strengthening the industry and imparting new
orientation and dynamism to the region's tourism product.
Heads of government, in light of the continuing importance of agriculture to
the economic and social development of member states, reviewed the pace of
implementation of the Community Agricultural Policy for the transformation
at the region's agriculture to international competitiveness. They
acknowledged that the regional programme, which had been refocused for
greater effectiveness, and which was intended to support national
initiatives, had been compromised by inadequate resources. Heads of
government endorsed the initiatives being developed by the Caribbean
Development Bank and the Caricom Secretariat to tackle the problem and
pressed for their urgent implementation.
With respect to the Caribbean Agricultural Research Development Institute
(Cardi), heads of government agreed to await proposals from the president of
Guyana, as lead head of government responsible for agriculture, regarding
the future of Cardi.
External economic relations
Heads of government reviewed the state of external trade negotiations in
which the region is engaged. They acknowledged the progress made so far as
reflected in the declaration adopted by the Third Summit of the Americas in
Quebec City, but reiterated the need to increase efforts to have the
region's interest and priorities included in the FTAA negotiations.
Heads of government expressed satisfaction at the role being played by the
region's representatives, coordinated by the Regional Negotiating Machinery
(RNM) in the preparations by the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group
of states, for the next phase of negotiations with the European Union.
In addressing the activities in the World Trade Organization (WTO), heads of
government reiterated their commitment to a rules-based multilateral trading
system which caters for the concerns and peculiarities of smaller economies
such as those of the Caribbean Community.
To that end, they recognized that the region will need to deploy its best
technical skills in pursuit of its interests in the negotiations in
agriculture and services that are part of the built-in agenda, the work on
unresolved implementation issues of concern to developing countries and in
the ongoing preparations for the fourth WTO ministerial meeting to be held
in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001.
The heads of government recognized that the next phase of negotiations at
the hemispheric, bi-regional and multilateral levels which will take place
simultaneously, will place increasing demands on the human, technical and
financial capacities of the region.
To ensure the readiness of the region to meet those demands, heads of
government agreed on the urgency for strengthening the institutional
arrangements for coordinating the region's participation in external trade
ACP-EU waiver request for the Cotonou agreement
Heads of government were very disturbed at the failure of the Council for
Trade at the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its meeting on 5 July 2001,
to agree to begin the consultation on the European Union request for the
waiver for the Cotonou Agreement and the [word indistinct] banana regime.
They were also concerned to learn of a proposal to amend the waiver request
to the WTO for the Cotonou Agreement which would have the effect of
precluding access of ACP bananas under the Bound "A" quota and the
autonomous "B" quota and of confining the preference for ACP bananas (Quota
"C") to the duty-free concession and only to 31 December 2005.
They were disappointed that some Latin America banana exporting countries
had sought to delay the approval of the waiver on technical grounds.
Heads of government expressed their appreciation to those WTO members which
support the urgent consideration of the waiver request, and urged Ecuador,
the United States and other WTO member countries, to join the movement for
an expeditious and favourable decision on the waiver request.
Heads of government were informed that since their inter-sessional meeting
of February 2001 the illegal settlers that had been found within Belize had
all been relocated to Guatemala.
They welcomed the fact that this removal was done peaceably end in
conformity with the agreement on confidence-building measures signed by
Belize and Guatemala at the OAS headquarters on 8th November 2000 and
reaffirmed in Miami on 17 January 2001.
They were informed that pursuant to the agreed procedure, Guatemala and
Belize had submitted to the facilitators and the secretary-general of the
Organization of American States their positions on the substantive issues
raised by Guatemala's claim to Belize's territory and that the parties were
now awaiting recommendations from the facilitators designed to lead to a
definitive solution of the dispute.
Heads of government recalled UN General Assembly Resolution 35/20 adopted on
11th November 1980, which called for ensuring the "security and territorial
integrity of Belize", and that this call was endorsed by OAS Resolution
AG/RES 501 adopted on 27 November 1980. Heads of government expressed full
confidence that the facilitators would take these resolutions into account
in their deliberations.
They urged both Guatemala and Belize to seriously consider the
recommendations made by the facilitators and to remain engaged in the
current round of negotiations.
Heads of government reaffirmed their absolute support for the sovereignty,
security and territorial integrity of Belize in accordance with the border
agreed in the 1859 Border Convention.
Heads of government expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the
Organization of American States and the Panel of Facilitators in assisting
the parties to maintain peaceful and harmonious relations and in attempting
to achieve a lasting solution to the dispute.
Heads of government reaffirmed their solidarity with Guyana in its
determination to counter the threat posed to its sovereignty and territorial
integrity as a result of Venezuela's non-acceptance of the Arbitral Award of
1899, which definitively settled the border between the two countries.
They regretted the constraints posed by Venezuela's claim to Guyana's
development, particularly in the Essequibo region. They supported the
position taken by Guyana that the Geneva Agreement does not preclude it from
fully exploiting all of its natural resources.
Heads of government welcomed the continuing commitment of the governments of
Guyana and Venezuela to the good offices procedure established under the
aegis of the UN secretary-general.
They encouraged both countries to continue to avail themselves of this
mechanism with a view to finding a peaceful settlement of the existing
OECS-Venezuela border dispute
Heads of government were made aware of important issues surrounding the
delimitation of maritime areas in the eastern Caribbean between certain
Caricom member states and Venezuela. They rejected the public statements
made by the president of Venezuela regarding the geographic feature that he
referred to as Bird Island.
Heads of government stressed that any future discussions on this issue must
be conducted in accordance with applicable principles of international law.
In this regard, they highlighted the critical importance of the UN Law of
the Sea Convention 1982, as the universal instrument representing the
codification of international law of the sea. Heads of government declared
their support for the maritime integrity of the affected member states of
the community, including relevant maritime areas and called on all states to
respect the rules and principles contained in the convention.
Heads of government welcomed the steps taken thus far by the government of
Haiti, the Fanmi Lavalas and the Convergence Democratique, towards resolving
the political situation in Haiti.
They urged all political parties to constructively contribute to an early
resolution of the political crisis.
Heads of government noted that the people of Haiti continued to be the main
victims of this political crisis and expressed their grave concern with
respect to the rapidly deteriorating social and economic situation in Haiti
and the social misery this has brought to the majority of the Haitian
They expressed deep concern over the continued and tragic loss of life by
Haitian nationals, many of whom continue to risk their lives by leaving
Haiti, via unseaworthy craft. Heads of government were informed that 20
bodies had been recovered in The Bahamas alone during the first six months
of 2001 and, from all indications, this represented a mere fraction of the
total loss of life.
They agreed to issue a statement on developments in Haiti, which is attached
at Annex II.
Inter-American Democratic Charter
Heads of government emphasized the long-standing tradition of adherence to
the principles of representative parliamentary democracy, good governance
and the rule of law, which characterized the governments of Caricom member
states, and which had furthermore been enshrined in the Charter of Civil
Society of the Caribbean Community.
They were therefore fully committed to supporting all genuine efforts aimed
at strengthening the institutions of democracy throughout the hemisphere and
at enhancing inter-American cooperation in defence of representative
democracy, including through the adoption of further instruments such as the
Inter-American Democratic Charter. as proposed by the Third Summit of the
Americas held in Quebec City in April 2001.
In that regard, heads of Government stressed that the proposed charter was a
document of fundamental importance, which should be developed with the
utmost care through the most inclusive and well-informed dialogue among
member states, including the full involvement of civil society, and taking
into account the constitutional and legal procedures of each member state.
Every effort should be made to produce a final document which, through the
clarity of its provisions and the political support it commanded among the
governments and peoples of the Americas, would be both implementable and
Heads of government were satisfied that the appropriate processes were now
in place to facilitate the wide ranging and serious consultations necessary
to give effect to the mandate of Quebec City, and looked forward to the
active contribution of their governments and civil society to the drafting
process leading to the adoption of the charter in Lima in September this
Heads of government expressed their deep appreciation to the government and
people of The Bahamas for the splendid arrangements made for their
conference which contributed greatly to the success of their meeting they
extended the best wishes of the governments and people of the Caribbean
Community to the government and people of The Bahamas, as they celebrate
their 28th anniversary of independence.
Date and Venue
Heads of government accepted the offer of the government of Belize to host
the 13th inter-sessional meeting of the conference of heads of government
from 4 to 6 February 2002 and of the government of Guyana to host the 23rd
meeting of the conference of heads of government in July 2002.
Heads of government also noted with appreciation the kind offer of the
government of the Turks and Caicos Islands to host the 14th meeting of the
Bureau from 10-11 January 2002.
[Issued in] Nassau, The Bahamas, 6 July 2001
Source: Cana news agency, Bridgetown, in English 1815 gmt 8 Jul 01
/BBC Monitoring/ © BBC