CARICOM voices strong objection to new EU blacklist

 December 15, 2017 @ 3:22 pm   
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Plenipotentiary Representative of France to CARICOM, His Excellency Antoine Joly (left), presents his Letter of Credence to CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque
Plenipotentiary Representative of France to CARICOM, His Excellency Antoine Joly (left), presents his Letter of Credence to CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)     The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) strongly objects to the recent labelling of some of its Member States by the European Union as Non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, CARICOM Secretary-General said Wednesday, 12 December, 2017.

He was at the time accrediting a new Ambassador of France to CARICOM, His Excellency Antoine Joly at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.

The Secretary-General urged France to leverage its influence for the EU to desist from “taking such arbitrary and punitive actions against,” those CARICOM Member States it had blacklisted. Those countries, he emphasised, have not been so labelled by the relevant regulatory authorities such as the Financial Action Task Force and the OECD Global Forum.

“This decision by the EU has been based on new and unilaterally-determined criteria, that go beyond the generally accepted international tax transparency and accountability standards which our countries have been diligently meeting over the past several years,” he stated.

“CARICOM strongly objects to this listing of our Member States and calls on the EU to remove our Member States from this pernicious list,” he added, noting that the Community stood ready to discuss this matter with the European Council.

A major consequence of “blacklisting” was the “de-risking” strategies that included the withdrawal of correspondent banking services by certain international banks, the CARICOM Secretary-General told the French envoy. He said that the impact has had a “detrimental impact on the trade and financial operations” of the Region’s economies.

“As Ambassador to the Community, your direct engagement in promoting awareness about the extent of our capabilities and the obstacles we face in our aspirations for economic development is of great significance,” he told the new French envoy.


Caribbean closer to having a Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code

 December 16, 2017 @ 10:00 am   
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Participants at the meeting
Participants at the meeting

With just a few months left before the Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code (REEBC) is taken to the Council of Trade and Economic Development (COTED), Caribbean energy experts are confident that Member States will accept the code that has been developed after a series of regional consultations.

Speaking at the final Regional Project Team (RPT) meeting for the CARICOM Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code (CREEBC) in Suriname, Mr. Norbert Churchill, Chairman of the Regional Project Team, noted that there was an urgent need for the Region to accept and implement such a code. He highlighted the recent catastrophic hurricanes that battered the Region and explained that Regional leaders agreed that it was time to establish policies, standards and codes that would help to strengthen the resilience of the Caribbean.

According to World Trade Organisation (WTO) guidelines, any standard developed is a voluntary document so it is the responsibility of the Member State to adopt and implement accordingly.

Mr. Glynn Morris, Programme Leader of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, through the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (REETA) Programme, said that “it is not only the formal implementation that is important, but it is also the direction and the leadership that is shown by governments who commit to taking an initiative like this forward.”

CARICOM will ensure that Member States have the necessary assistance in this process as a strategy for implementation of the REEBC to be developed.

Dr. Devon Gardner, Head of the Energy Unit, CARICOM Secretariat, stated that the Community was working with partners to ensure that there will be mechanisms in place to drive energy efficiency markets which will make the implementation process easier.

He said the development of the draft standard over the past nine months had benefited from the involvement of women and youth who are key stakeholders.

The first RPT meeting that was held in Jamaica had approved the use of the International Energy Conservation Code 2018 (IECC 2018) as the reference guide for the Regional EEBC. Since then, a Draft Caribbean Application Document (CAD) was developed, through cooperation between the CARICOM Secretariat and the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), and reviewed by Committees established within the Member States that engaged key stakeholders. The revised draft of the CAD was then circulated in Member States for validation.

The project is being funded by the GIZ. Once the Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code is approved by COTED, a regional energy standard will be developed within a year.


‘Some don’t have bodies to bury’: My journey back to Dominica after the hurricane

 December 14, 2017 @ 11:57 am   
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This year the Caribbean experienced its most destructive hurricane season in decades. While large countries dominated the headlines, the small island nation of Dominica suffered the worst devastation it has ever seen. Josh Toussaint-Strauss visits his family in the country and asks, with next year forecast to be worse, how Dominicans see their future. (The Guardian)