CARICOM Foreign Ministers meet in New York

CARICOM Foreign Ministers and the Secretary-General at the last meeting of the COFCOR in May 2017

CARICOM’s response to the increasing number of HIV/AIDS infections regionally is among  matters prioritised for discussions among Foreign Ministers on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.

The 10th Special Meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council for Foreign and Community Relations began today, 22 September 2017, in New York, USA.

Foreign Ministers are also discussing the scaling down of MINUSTAH (the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti), as well as the UN response to the cholera epidemic there. The Sustainable Development goals, especially the regional priorities for climate change, are also on the agenda. (more…)

Incoming COFCOR Chair Stresses Unity

Chair of COFCOR, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Senator Maxine McClean.

BGIS, Bridgetown: – The present and future global environment demand that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) engages in a process of “evaluation, revision and consolidation”.

This advice was given by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, while addressing the opening ceremony of the Twentieth Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, this morning.

Senator McClean, the incoming Chairman of COFCOR, told her fellow Foreign Affairs Ministers: “It is imperative that we deepen and strengthen community engagement and, as a cohesive body, leverage our voices as one to derive maximum benefit for the region”.

Outgoing COFCOR Chairman, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Commerce and Regional Integration of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sir Louis Straker addressing the opening ceremony of the 20th COFCOR Meeting.

She stressed that recent political developments in the hemisphere and Europe involving long-term CARICOM partners would likely have “a profound impact” on the region.

“The imminent exit of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) will generate domestic and foreign policy changes in the United Kingdom. These, in turn, will affect the countries of CARICOM, given the deep and long-standing historical relationship.

“The extent of the impacts on economic, trade, and political relations, as well as development assistance between the UK and CARICOM, will be determined by our preparedness and our coordinated efforts to shape our future relationship with the United Kingdom,” she pointed out.

She also noted that to date, the United States (US) administration had not formulated a policy for engaging the region; however, current US policies were “already having an impact on our sustainable development priorities and aspirations”. (more…)

Regional integration provides resilience – CARICOM SG

(front row, from left) Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, Jamaica; Hon. Senator Francine Baron, Dominica; Hon Maxine McClean, Barbados (Chair of COFCOR); Hon. Yldiz D Pollack-Beighle, Suriname; HE Elma Gene Isaac representing Saint Lucia; Ms. Sharon Haylock representing The Bahamas Back row, from left) Hon. H. Charles Fernandez, Antigua and Barbuda; Hon. Carl Greenidge, Guyana; Hon. Nicolas Skeete, Grenada; Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General; Hon. Mark Brantley, St. Kitts and Nevis; HE Peterson Noel representing Haiti; Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Belize; Hon. Dennis Moses, Trinidad and Tobago; Hon. Sir Louis Straker, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The strength of the regional integration movement provides a solid platform upon which the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) can build its resilience within a global environment constantly in flux.

That sentiment was expressed by the Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, earlier today, Thursday 18 May 2017, when he addressed the opening of the 20th Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR). Barbados is host of the two-day meeting, being chaired by Hon. Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados.

Ambassador LaRocque said COFCOR was meeting at a time when international order was in greater flux than usual. As the balance of power shifted and voids became evident in international leadership on matters of great global import, such as climate change, new and assertive actors were beginning to fill those voids, he added.

(Remarks – CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque:   COFCOR_SG’s Opening Remarks

(Remarks – Chair of COFCOR, Hon. Maxine McClean of Barbados:  COFCOR_Statement by the Chair

“Globalization and multilateralism, characterised by open borders, the institutionalization of economic and political cooperation, and shared sovereignty are unravelling, increasingly challenged by the rise of populism, protectionism and isolationism,” the CARICOM Secretary-General told the gathering of the Region’s Foreign Ministers (more…)


Visibility, solutions for national and citizen security matters – COFCOR Communique


CARICOM Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque (standing left) at the COFCOR Meeting
CARICOM Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Ministry Officials and CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque at the COFCOR Meeting

Foreign Ministers took the opportunity of their annual retreat to reflect on “Current and Emerging Transnational Security Threats: The Foreign Policy Dimension of Security”.

 While identifying transnational security issues, Foreign Ministers also made clear their intentions to bring visibility to and examine solutions for important areas related to national security and citizen security, namely securing the territorial waters of Member States; managing cross-border health threats; and combating the illicit transfer of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs).

Part of the outcome of the 18th Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) held 21-22 May 2015 in Saint Lucia.

Read the full communique issued at the conclusion of the meeting:   Communique – 18th COFCOR – SAINT LUCIA


Intensifying cooperation with the Caribbean Community: Germany’s Foreign Minister

berlin sg2
Conference of Foreign Ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Germany in session in Berlin, Germany.

We are united not only by shared values, but also in our efforts to master the challenges that concern us in equal measure around the world as responsible members of the international community.

Foreign Minister of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the first Conference of Foreign Ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Germany which ended in Berlin yesterday.

More:  German Federal Foreign Office