CARICOM records noteworthy successes in 2017 despite challenges

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Secretary-General at the CARICOM-UN High Level Conference with the UN SG Antonio Guterres and Head of UNDP Achim Steiner
CARICOM Secretary-General Amb. Irwin LaRocque (l) at the CARICOM-UN High Level Conference with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (r) and Head of UNDP Achim Steiner

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The more than US$2B pledged at the CARICOM-UN Conference for long-term recovery for hurricane-affected countries and the establishment of the regional renewable energy center are among the successes CARICOM recorded for 2017 in spite of the year’s challenges.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said in his End of Year Message that the Community was ending 2017 with several other noteworthy achievements, including a change in posture by International Financial Institutions and some Development Partners with respect to access to concessionary development financing.

“It is encouraging to note that our relentless advocacy with respect to the lack of access to concessional development financing appears to be bearing fruit. There is some re-thinking on this issue taking place at the level of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and some of our international development partners (IDPs),” the Secretary-General stated.

Adding that CARICOM will continue to advocate for this change he said the Region’s vulnerability to external shocks, which the hurricanes laid bare, emphasised the urgent need for the international community to dispense with GDP per capita as a primary criterion for access to concessional development financing. (more…)

A year that will have a lasting impact – CARICOM Secretary-General

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SG

 

End of Year Message

by the Secretary-General

of the

Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

Ambassador Irwin LaRocque

 

There is no doubt that the events of 2017 will have a lasting impact on our Community.  The ravaging effects of this year’s hurricane season will cast a long shadow over our Community for some time yet.

Six of our Members and several of our Caribbean neighbours experienced the wrath of unprecedented back-to-back Category 5 Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The heavy toll of lives, property and infrastructure had an effect wider than the affected countries.  Our Community has bonded together, as its governments, people and institutions render yeoman support to the stricken countries.  The international community has been at our side in the relief undertaking in a highly appreciated show of solidarity.

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, (CDEMA) the Community’s specialised institution, performed magnificently as it coordinated the relief efforts and helped to set the stage for recovery.  I must extend the Region’s gratitude to the Agency for a job well done.  The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) was also prompt in meeting its commitments to the affected countries with the appropriate policies.

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STATEMENT BY THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY (CARICOM) ON EU LIST OF NON-COOPERATIVE TAX JURISDICTIONS

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STATEMENT BY THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY (CARICOM)

ON EU LIST OF NON-COOPERATIVE TAX JURISDICTIONS

 

 

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) strongly objects to the disappointing decision of the European Union to “blacklist” four CARIOM jurisdictions under the guise that they maintain harmful preferential tax regimes or have failed to comply with international standards for tax transparency and good governance.  This classification will significantly damage the reputation of these jurisdictions even if they are eventually removed from the list.  The classification perpetuates a false narrative that ignores the continued and diligent efforts made by  CARICOM Member States to comply with the onerous regulatory measures, and standards for tax transparency, accountability and cooperation, enunciated by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and associated institutions such as the Global Forum and  the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The Caribbean Community considers the EU unilateral screening process to be unjust and inequitable since it has not been applied  to its own Members nor subject to peer review examination.  The process involves an assessment of a country’s tax regime against criteria, which in their entirety, go beyond the generally acceptable international tax transparency and accountability standards, compliance with which, CARICOM States have worked assiduously over the past several years.  Implementation of  the expanded scope of the EU’s criteria requires domestic legislative and administrative changes  that go beyond the timelines set by the EU Code of Conduct Group.  Moreover, such reforms cannot be undertaken by our small jurisdictions without considerable technical assistance due to significant capacity constraints. (more…)

‘Our region needs to be a zone of peace’- Guyana PM tells CANSEC conference

Prime Minister of Guyana, the Hon. Moses Nagamootoo with some members of the CANSEC delegation during a photo op. (Photo via DPI)
Prime Minister of Guyana, the Hon. Moses Nagamootoo with some members of the CANSEC delegation during a photo op. (Photo via DPI)

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo has signalled the need for Guyana and the rest of the region to be a zone of peace, free from the scourge of money laundering, piracy and other illicit activities.

Integrated Vector Management: a critical strategy for fighting vector-borne diseases in the Region

Dr. James Hospedales

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 5 December, 2017.  “The increased severity of dengue and the occurrence of new viruses that have swept through the Region tell us we have a gap in regional health security where vector borne diseases are concerned.  This year we had storms that were unprecedented.  We are expected to see more monster storms which will cause disruption including making the environment more favorable for vectors.  Hence the need for integrated vector management and looking at some of the new tools that are available.”

These were the words of Dr C James Hospedales, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), as he spoke at the Opening Ceremony of the Integrated Vector Management (IVM) coordinated by the Agency.

The two-day meeting held from 5-6 December 2017, at the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre, brought together participants from 27 English, French, Dutch and Spanish speaking countries in the Region to review and discuss the adaptation of standardised protocols for improved vector surveillance, including insecticide resistance testing.  The meeting will engage regional vector control managers in discussions related to the adaptation and use of a IVM toolkit in national vector control programmes.

The transmission of vector-borne diseases is strongly influenced by demographic, social and environmental factors, resulting in the emergence and re-emergence of yellow fever, malaria and dengue; and more recently, the emergence of chikungunya and zika in the Region. (more…)