Full, safe, unhindered access to Single Market needed for sustainable growth – COTED Chair

Chairman of COTED,  the Hon. Ferdinand Welzijn, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry of Suriname
Chairman of COTED, the Hon. Ferdinand Welzijn, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry of Suriname

The private sector’s full, safe and unhindered access to the CARICOM Single Market was important for the promotion and  sustainability of economic growth, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry of Suriname, the Hon. Ferdinand Welzijn, said on Thursday.

Delivering remarks at the opening of the Forty-Fourth Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in Georgetown, Guyana, Minister Welzijn, who is chairing the Meeting, said that development depended on public-private partnership.

 “After all it is the private sector that trades and does business,” he pointed out.

His remarks were made in the context of one the main  item for discussion at the Meeting – the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).  The Minister said that his background in the private sector provided a full understanding of the concerns and frustration of entrepreneurs who were facing trade difficulties within CARICOM. (more…)

‘We must do better’ – CARICOM SG (with Video)

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
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

While the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has significantly advanced the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), “we must do better”, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary-General said Thursday.

“Yes, we have done a lot, but we must do better.

“The private sector is asking us to do better.

“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.

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CCJ orders Guyana to repay taxes to beverage companies

CCJ Headquarters, Trinidad and Tobago
CCJ Headquarters, Trinidad and Tobago

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) (on Tuesday 9 May, 2017) ordered that SM Jaleel & Co Ltd (SMJ) and Guyana Beverages Inc. (GBI) be repaid monies collected in unlawful environmental taxes imposed by the Republic of Guyana. The Court however limited their claim to taxes collected within 5 years of the claim, from 2011 to 2015. The companies’ claim was filed in the Court’s original jurisdiction which deals exclusively with cases concerning the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) which governs the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

SM Jaleel & Co (‘SMJ’), a Trinidad and Tobago-based company which manufactures and sells beverages, is the sole owner of Guyana Beverages Inc., a Guyanese company which sells and distributes SMJ’s beverages imported into Guyana. The companies approached the Court for a declaration that Guyana’s environmental tax of G$10 per beverage container violated the provisions of the RTC as Guyanese companies were not eligible to pay this tax. The companies applied for an order for reimbursement of US$11 million in taxes paid from January 1, 2006 to August 7, 2015. Guyana, in its defence, argued that the companies had incorporated the tax into the price of their beverages and passed on the tax to their customers. On that basis, Guyana further argued that reimbursement of the tax collected would result in the unjust enrichment of the companies. Guyana also argued that the companies should receive no reimbursement as they had delayed too long before making their claim. (more…)

Bahamian election officials prepared for May 10 Poll, CARICOM Electoral Observation Mission told

Josephine-Tamai
Chief of Mission, Ms. Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Department of Belize

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.

Orette_Fisher
Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr. Orrette Fisher, Director of Elections of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica.

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.

 

Read Arrival Statement: ARRIVAL STATEMENT_CEOM_ THE BAHAMAS

 

Total Community involvement essential to fighting Aedes aegypti mosquito

Dr. James Hospedales
Dr. James Hospedales

 “Community participation is critical to the success of any programme designed to eliminate breeding sites of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.   Efforts are doomed to failure if even one household is negligent.”

So said Dr C James Hospedales, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), as he commented on the importance of Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week, which is being observed from May 8-12.

In his assessment of the mosquito prevention efforts in the Region thus far, Dr Hospedales noted that strategies for the control of the mosquito, which causes Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika are failing, and stated that what is needed is an “all hands onboard approach.”Dominica Aedes_Aegypti_Mosquito (more…)