Belize hosts pivotal CARICOM-Mexico Summit

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The CARICOM-Mexico Summit on Wednesday 25 October, 2017, in Belize is seen as a pivotal opportunity for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to strengthen cooperation with Mexico, one of the world’s largest integrated economies.

The Summit, at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza, brings together CARICOM Heads of Government and their Foreign Ministers, and the President of Mexico and his Foreign Minister.

It is being co-chaired by CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell of Grenada and President of Mexico His Excellency Enrique Peña Nieto. They will be joined in addressing the Opening Ceremony by CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, and the Prime Minister of Belize Mr. Dean Barrow.


With the Caribbean Community and Mexico still recovering from widespread destruction and loss of life caused by a spate of natural disasters in September, disaster management and recovery will be a major focus of the discussions. (more…)

Major Financial Institutions willing to reassess development financing policy

(From left) Amb. Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, CARICOM Secretariat; His Excellency Javier Maria Carbajosa, Plenipotentiary Representative of Spain to CARICOM; and Amb. Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General
(From left) Amb. Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, CARICOM Secretariat; His Excellency Javier Maria Carbajosa, Plenipotentiary Representative of Spain to CARICOM; and Amb. Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General

International Financial Institutions (IFIs) including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are now willing to reassess the policy of GDP per capita attached to concessionary development financing.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, said that this was a major result of his recent discussions in Washington with the President of the World Bank and the Executive Director of the IMF.

Speaking on Tuesday, 17 October, at the accreditation ceremony of the new Ambassador of Spain to CARICOM, His Excellency Javier Carbajosa Sanchez, the Secretary-General said the Banks were willing to work with CARICOM, but they cautioned that a final decision resided with the countries which sat on the boards.

CARICOM has been lobbying consistently for a reversal of the policy of graduation which sees some Member States denied access to concessionary development financing. Their graduation to middle income status, with the use of GDP per capita as a major criterion, has attracted commercial rates for development loans. This situation increases already high debt burdens in Member States.

“That debt burden was significantly incurred by reconstruction after major climatic events in a Region designated as the most natural disaster-prone in the world,” Secretary-General LaRocque said.

See more photos of the accreditation ceremony. (more…)

CARIFESTA XIII ends in true Regional integration style

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Barbados’ Minister of Culture Hon. Stephen Lashley passes on the CARIFESTA Baton to Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Community Development and Culture Dr. the Hon. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly,

The Region’s cultural performers transformed the Kensington Oval in Barbados into a sea of Regional integration as they brought the curtains down on CARIFESTA XIII, Sunday night.  The Closing Ceremony for the ten-day festival featured performances from some of the region’s top music and dance groups, steel bands, and individual artistes, while delegates and patrons partied to the regional cultural mix.

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Kensington Oval, Barbados – Closing Ceremony

Headlining attendance at the ceremony were Barbados’ Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Hon Stephen Lashley, Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Community Development and Culture Dr. the Hon. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, and Assistant Secretary General for Human and Social Development at the CARICOM Secretariat Dr. Douglas Slater.

Dr.  Slater, in remarks delivered on behalf of CARICOM Secretary General  Ambassador Irwin LaRocque,  thanked the Government and people of Barbados for their hospitality in hosting the event. Noting that organizing an event of the magnitude of CARIFESTA was a major undertaking, he congratulated the Minister of Culture and his team for doing so successfully,   especially having to overcome the challenge of Tropical Storm Harvey, which brought heavy rains to the island and forced the postponement of the August 18th Opening Ceremony.

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Assistant Secretary-General HSD, CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Douglas Slater addresses the Closing Ceremony

Dr. Slater said an important legacy of CARIFESTA XIII was the way in which Barbados has placed the development of Regional cultural and creative industries at the centre of the festival through the Grand Market and Buyers Shopping Mall.

“Barbados has further expanded the concept of the Caribbean market place for the arts which was introduced in CARIFESTA XI in Suriname 2013.”

Minister Lashley, in his remarks, pointed to the opportunities created from the presence of more than 20 regional and international buyers as a measure of the festival’s success. The Minister    handed over the CARIFESTA baton to his Trinidadian counterpart, Minister Gadsby-Dolly. Trinidad and Tobago will host CARIFESTA XIV in 2019 under the theme “The Tangible and Intangible, Connect Share and Invest”.

Patrons were then given an early taste of what to expect at CARIFESTA XIV. The ceremony ended with performances from several Barbadian artistes including new cultural ambassadors Allison Hinds and Red Plastic Bag.