In the wake of the recent hurricane devastation suffered by the Caribbean, Grenada is supporting calls made by Barbados for a new vulnerability index to determine the region’s eligibility for concessional aid.
Immediately following the passage of Hurricane Maria last month, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had appealed directly to the international community for such support, saying “we are vulnerable countries in this region, and assessing us on the basis of how our economies are doing at any particular time is misleading because all of our gains can be wiped out in a few hours by a serious hurricane as is now the case with Dominica; as was the case some years ago with Grenada, Jamaica and others.
“Therefore, when we talk about vulnerability and the use of a vulnerability index to determine our eligibility for concessional aid, that is what we are talking about and Hurricane Maria makes the point more eloquently than any of us could have made it,” he said at the time.
In echoing pretty much the same sentiment last night, Grenada’s minister of tourism Clarice Modeste-Curwen told the opening of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference at the Grenada Radisson Hotel that the recent spate of superstorms – including Irma, which wreaked havoc on Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands and St Martin -– was proof enough that the threat of global warming is real.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and President of the Republic of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, have expressed a keen desire for both countries to strengthen and expand their 50-year-old friendship.
They expressed this wish today during a courtesy call and reiterated it later when officials from both countries met for a working meeting at Ilaro Court. Mr. Stuart pointed out that Chile was the first Latin America country Barbados established diplomatic relations with after its Independence.
President Bachelet added that it was necessary to examine areas both countries needed to collaborate on and look to see how they could be expanded.
During the hour-long talks, Prime Minister Stuart and President Bachelet discussed climate change and the effects of non-biodegrable materials on the environment, including marine life; the situation in Venezuela and CARICOM’s response; and the Air Services Agreement which was signed in November 2013, and entered into force last year, among others.
After having to be rescheduled due to Tropical storm Harvey, CARIFESTA XIII officially opened Sunday evening in Bridgetown, Barbados.
The Caribbean Region’s premier festival was declared open by Barbados Culture Minister, the Hon. Stephen Lashley at a ceremony held at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown. Prime Minister of Barbados, the Right Hon. Freundel Stuart, and Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, as well as Barbados Ministers of Government, officials from the CARICOM Secretariat and delegations from across the Region and observer countries were at the opening.
The proceedings began with a parade of countries showcasing their cultural traditions and wearing their country colours and costumes. The parade began at Queens Park and ended at the Kensington Oval. Before the ceremony began, each country that was represented paraded at the front of the Oval, showcasing a fusion of regional cultures, colours and ingenuity.
The opening ceremony will be held on Tuesday, July 4, at the Grenada Trade Centre, and the conference will conclude on Thursday, July 6.
Mr. Stuart and his CARICOM counterparts will have a packed agenda for the upcoming summit, with Heads of Government expected to review the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and plans for its implementation among Member States. They will also be given an update on the progress towards completing the Protocol on the Refusal of Entry of Persons.
When they meet in a closed-door session, regional leaders will discuss the matter of regional security, as it relates to CARICOM’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy, especially as the Caribbean attempts to grapple with terrorism and violent extremism.