CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry of Suriname, the Hon Ferdinand Welzijn and Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, Mr. Joseph Cox at the opening of the 44th Meeting of COTED
“The people of the Region are asking us to do better”, the Secretary-General said.
He was at the time delivering remarks at the opening of the Forty-Fourth Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) at the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana. The COTED is responsible for the promotion of trade and economic development of CARICOM. In particular, it is required to oversee the development, operation and implementation of the CSME.
A dreamy holiday destination for sun lovers and beach goers, Grenada, also called the “Spice Island,” is home to over 100,000 people. With an ocean area 80 times larger than its land space, a rich and pristine coastline and colorful coral reefs driving its tourism industry, and a real understanding of climate risks, this Eastern Caribbean Island has recently positioned itself as a real blue economy champion in the region. Over 13,000 kilometers west, another small island developing state in the Western Indian Ocean with similar challenges and opportunities—the Seychelles—is also leading on the blue agenda.
What common challenges and opportunities are facing small economies? What can the World Bank contribute to generate stable growth in small economies? These are key questions raised in recent conversations in the Caribbean and Washington.
Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, recently appointed as chair of the World Bank Group Small States Forum taking over from Seychelles Minister of Finance Jean-Paul Adam, called for the need to change the narrative from big to small, and in doing so, address opportunities for small states.
The CARICOM Electoral Observation Mission for Wednesday’s General Elections in The Bahamas has been assured that the Commission responsibly for the conduct of the poll is prepared, despite some concerns about the conduct of the advanced voting process.
The Mission, in an Arrival Statement, said acting Parliamentary Commissioner Mr. Charles Albury gave the assurance that despite the advanced voting concern and the fact that he only took up his acting position five (5) days prior to the scheduled date of the elections, he and his team of competent staff would ensure a smooth electoral process.
The CARICOM eleven member Mission, which began arriving in The Bahamas on 4 May, is headed by the Chief of Mission Ms. Josephine Tamai, the Chief Elections Officer of Belize, with Mr. Orette Fisher, Director of the Elections Commission of Jamaica as Deputy Chief of Mission. The other Members, who all have election management and observation experience, are nationals of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. They are supported by two staff members of the CARICOM Secretariat.
In addition to the acting Parliamentary Commissioner, the Mission has met the National Youth Council, the Commissioner of Police, the Democratic National Alliance (DNS) and the Bahamas Constitution Party (BCP). It plans to also meet with other political parties and stakeholders including the media and civil society groups in an effort to obtain an overview of the general atmosphere and level of preparedness for the elections.
The Mission will observe Election Day activities including the opening of the polls through to the tabulation and announcement of the results. Following the elections, it will issue a Preliminary Statement outlining its initial assessment of the process, followed by a Final Report which will be submitted to CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque.
Work to strengthen the Region’s governance and implementation structures continued Thursday with the first joint meeting of the CARICOM Secretary-General, Heads of Community Institutions and the CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors at the Pegasus Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana.
Thursday’s exchanges followed the fifth Meeting of the Committee of Ambassadors, held at the CARICOM Secretariat, also in Georgetown, on Wednesday. The Committee plays an important role in the governance structure of the Community, providing strategic advice and recommendations to the Community Council towards advancing the integration movement.
The Heads of Community Institutions meet regularly with the Secretary-General to seek to harmonise efforts towards implementation of the CARICOM Strategic Plan.
Several participants joined the meeting via video conference.