‘It has been brutal’ – Prime Minister Skerrit

A visibly emotional Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica, briefed the world on Thursday about the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria which directly hit the island on Monday evening.

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A visibly emotional Prime Minister Skerrit

The island is now under a state of emergency and a curfew is imposed.

“It has been brutal,” he said on a live programme hosted at ABSTV studios in Antigua and Barbuda. The Prime Minister had earlier flown into Antigua and Barbuda from Dominica where he also held a Town Hall Meeting with Dominicans living there.

“It was almost complete devastation. Every village in Dominica, every street, every cranny, every person in Dominica was impacted by the hurricane. We have no running water now, no electricity. We have very limited telecommunication services by Whatsapp mainly; all of the telecommunication services are down. Private homes ave been damaged, some beyond any form of repair – all flat on their faces. Many of our schools have been destroyed. Our main hospital is with no electricity now. They’ve been running very, very difficult operations with no generators.  The generators had to be set aside because of the flooding… Nurses have been working the last 96 hours non-stop trying to provide care to the patients… Communication to many parts of the country is impossible. We will have to access villages by sea and also by helicopter,” the Prime Minister said.

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Chile’s President to visit Barbados, Saint Lucia this week

President of Chile,  Michelle Bachelet (Photo via www.prensa.presidencia.cl)
President of Chile,
Michelle BacheletPresident

President of the Republic of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, will pay an official visit to Barbados on Thursday, August 24, the Barbados Government Information Service announced.

During her brief stay, President Bachelet will meet with Acting Governor-General, Sir Philip Greaves, in a courtesy call at Government House.

Later that day, she will join Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and several senior Government officials at Ilaro Court for a working meeting. (more…)

Flashback to CARIFESTA XII – Haiti, 2015

CARIFESTA XIII runs from the 17-27 August 2017 in Barbados.

In the build up to this edition of the festival, the CARICOM Secretariat has produced a throwback magazine from CARIFESTA XII, held in Haiti in August 2015. This magazine (see above) includes highlights from the various performances and cultural presentations from two years ago,  which  should wet the appetite for what is expected to be a great regional cultural showcase in Barbados.

The magazine can also be accessed via this link https://issuu.com/caricom/docs/caricom_view_-_carifesta_xii__haiti (more…)

CET, Rules of Origin critical to viability, competitiveness of indigenous industries – Review Consultation hears

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The protection of indigenous industries to ensure their viability and competitiveness on the global market and the harmonisation of rates across CARICOM were among the key concerns raised at a Consultation on the revision of CARICOM’s two trade instruments.

The trade and revenue instruments are the CARICOM Common External Tariff (CET) and the Rules of Origin.

At the brief opening ceremony of the one-day Consultation on 25 July, 2017, at the CARICOM Secretariat, CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, Mr.Joseph Cox called for frank discourse against the background that the CET in its current format, was not sustainable and was not serving the purpose for which it was originally intended.

He said order, structure and modernisation were necessary for the instruments to work for the Region.

Regional stakeholders at the Consultation acknowledged the importance of the CET and the RoO to the economic growth of the Region. They recommended the careful consideration of derogations of the CET on some products, as well as the implementation of a modernised and simplified version of the Rules of Origin.

Consultant, Mr. Dan Ciuriek, said that the review of the regime was to ready it for free circulation, a fully functioning CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), and to be effective as a springboard into the global economy.

Listen as Mr. Bernard Black, Senior Project Officer, Customs and Trade Policy at the CARICOM Secretariat, provides some insight into the discussion and the next steps that are to be taken.

CARICOM, UN to strengthen cooperation at New York meeting

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CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque

Cooperation between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United Nations (UN) System will be further strengthened around several issues including climate change, security, human development, health and education at the Ninth CARICOM-United Nations General Meeting this week.

The two-day meeting begins 20 July 2017 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. It is happening against the backdrop of a changing international environment, replete with uncertainty and complexity, and requiring greater collaboration.

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque is leading a delegation from the CARICOM Secretariat which also includes Ambassador Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, and Dr. Douglas Slater, Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development. The Community’s representatives are also drawn from regional organisations including the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD), Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), University of the West Indies (UWI), and the University of Guyana (UG). (more…)