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…)

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

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.

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.




A CXC success story

Challenged by her young son to spell a girl’s name, Mary Jackson turned to CXC’s Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC) for academic elevation. The testimonial video chronicles the amazing story of Jackson’s transition from school drop-out to academic success.

Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC)
The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is an Institution of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

Strengthening Cooperation – three Caribbean Community Institutions sign MOU

Signing – (l-r) Mr. Lindley Simeon Collins – CAHFSA; Mr. Milton Haughton – CRFM; Mr. Deryck Omar – CROSQ

Three Caribbean Community Institutions, Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) through which to cooperate, coordinate and combine their resources, experience and expertise in the discharge of their obligations to the Community.

The signing by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA), and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), took place on the sidelines of the First Joint Meeting of the CARICOM Secretary-General, Heads of Caribbean Community Institutions, and  the CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors, at the Pegasus Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana. (more…)

Working together – CARICOM SG, Ambassadors and Heads of Community Institutions

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.