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…)
TWENTIETH MEETING OF THE COUNCIL FOR FOREIGN AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS (COFCOR),
BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS: 18-19 MAY 2017
The Twentieth Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) took place in Bridgetown, Barbados on 18-19 May 2017, under the Chairmanship of Senator the Honourable Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados.
The Ministers also acknowledged that Brexit would present both challenges and opportunities for the Community and gave consideration to a range of strategies for engagement with the UK and the EU.
The COFCOR was attended by the Honourable H. Charles Fernandez, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Immigration of Antigua and Barbuda; Honourable Wilfred Peter Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize; Senator the Honourable Francine Baron, Minister of Foreign Affairs and CARICOM Affairs of Dominica; Honourable Nicholas Steele, Minister of Health, Social Security and International Business of Grenada; Honourable Carl Greenidge, Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guyana; Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica; Honourable Mark Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation of St. Kitts and Nevis; Honourable Sir Louis Straker, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Her Excellency Yldiz D. Pollack-Beighle, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Suriname; Senator the Honourable Dennis Moses, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago.
The COFCOR received an update on the issues of strategic importance to the Community before the Organisation of American States (OAS). Ministers reiterated their commitment to the work of the hemispheric body and looked forward to discussions to be held at the upcoming Forty-Seventh Regular Session of the OAS General Assembly under the theme “Strengthening Dialogue and Concentration for Prosperity” in Cancun, Mexico, on 19-21 June 2017.
Mrs. Sharon Brennen-Haylock, Director-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented The Bahamas; His Excellency Peterson Benjamin Noel, Ambassador to CARICOM represented Haiti; Her Excellency Elma Gene Isaac, Ambassador to CARICOM and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) represented Saint Lucia. The OECS Secretariat was represented by His Excellency. Anthony Severin, Head of International Relations.
Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; the Honourable Sir Louis Straker, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Commerce and Regional Integration of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, immediate past Chair of the COFCOR; and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados and Chair of the COFCOR, Senator the Honourable Maxine McClean, addressed the Opening Ceremony.
The Secretary-General posited that the Council was meeting at a time when a number of developments are taking place against the backdrop of an international order which is in a period of greater flux than usual. He referred to a number of developments which had implications for the Community, including Brexit, the uncertainty concerning the policy of the new United States (US) Administration towards the Caribbean and the coming negotiations on the Post Cotonou arrangements between the ACP Group of States and the European Union (EU). (more…)
Foreign Ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) gathered in Bridgetown, Barbados, at the Twentieth Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) deliberated on the changes taking place in the international environment as well as in their wider regional environment and on their implications for the coordinated foreign policy positioning of their countries.
They reiterated the importance they accord to maintenance of the rule of law, respect for human rights and democracy, as well as to the fundamental principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of states. These values and principles were viewed as being of paramount importance when addressing international situations of concern.
The Foreign Ministers were united in their view that respect for these values and principles would prove valuable and pertinent in addressing concerns over the situation in Venezuela. Persuaded that the solution to the present situation had to be sought internally, supported by a mediated process, they were of the view that the deeply entrenched positions needed to be softened so that trust could be built on both sides in order to facilitate dialogue so that the people of Venezuela could peacefully overcome their crisis.
Foreign Ministers decried the violence taking place and deplored the resulting loss of life and property.
Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, CARICOM Secretariat, Ambassador Colin Granderson in discussion with Chile’s Ambassador to CARICOM HE Claudio Rojas Rachel and his wife at Thursday’s Opening of the Twentieth Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Barbados. (Photo via BGIS)
The Region’s Foreign Ministers are deliberating over wide-ranging issues including a new CARICOM Diplomacy for a Changing International Environment, Post-Cotonou Partnership and the Future of the ACP, and the way forward on Trade and Development Cooperation with a Post-Brexit United Kingdom.
The meeting closes Friday with a media conference scheduled for 5:00 p.m..
The COFCOR meets formally once each year and is responsible for determining relations between the Community, international organisations and Third States.
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”.
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…)