National Drug Observatories critical to fight against drugs in CARICOM

The critical importance of Drug Observatories (DOs) was underscored at the Opening of the Regional Seminar for Drug Observatories in the Caribbean on 4 April, 2018, at the Radisson Georgetown Princess Hotel, Guyana. The significance of international cooperation and synergies in the fight against illicit drugs was emphasised also to the gathering mainly of CARICOM practitioners, policy-makers and researchers in the field.

Ms. Beverly Reynolds, Coordinator for Health and Human Development, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, said Drug Observatories were expected to “provide a more accurate picture of the drugs situation” in a country.

“They help to identify emerging trends at an early stage and they provide decision-makers with the evidence needed for designing and evaluating appropriate strategies…”, she said.

 Chargé d’Affaires for the United States Embassy in Guyana, Terry Steers-Gonzalez, reiterated his government’s continued support for DOs around the world, noting their important functions to collect monitor, analyse and treat data and to disseminate information to local, regional and international stakeholders to inform decision-making.

Mr. Terry Steers-Gonzalez, Chargé d’ Affaires, US Embassy in Guyana, delivers remarks at the opening of the seminar

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Guyana signs CXC and MASA Agreements

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Hon Carl Greenidge, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guyana

Guyana signed the Revised Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and the CARICOM Multilateral Air Services Agreement (MASA) during the 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in Haiti, Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Hon Carl Greenidge, who is heading the country’s delegation to the Meeting signed the Agreements.

The Revised Agreement Establishing the CXC seeks to update the CXC’s legal structure in light of subsequent organisational practices, recent market developments and current needs, with particular emphasis on accommodating requests from additional territories and institutions to join or otherwise participate in the CXC. The CARICOM Multilateral Air Services Agreement expands the scope for airlines owned by CARICOM nationals to provide air services throughout the Community.  It allows for no restriction on routes, capacity or traffic rights and should facilitate increased intra-regional travel and provide more cargo options for exporters and importers with resulting cost savings.

This should provide a major boost to the regional transportation sector which is a critical aspect of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

 

Exploring SmartRoom Guyana – on the Journey to a Single Regional ICT Space

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With the vision of the Single Regional ICT space in mind, Staff at the CARICOM Secretariat on Thursday experienced a hands-on demonstration of SmartRoom Guyana, at Guyana’s National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD).39767730451_d321ff5e7e_z

SmartRooms are the beginning of smart cities which have been cited as one of the desired outcomes of the Single ICT space, for which CARICOM Heads approved a roadmap last year. SmartRooms are becoming central to development agenda across the world and now occupy an important place in the corporate, national, and international research and development work and life.

Thursday’s demonstration was used as a sensitization exercise to share the functioning and opportunities provided by a SMARTRoom, brainstorm about resource mobilisation for other smart rooms across the region and examine the other uses and possibilities for the Secretariat which is embarking on an IT upgrade project in 2018, supported by the Government of India.24898025637_b2180c33b1_z

SMARTRoom Guyana is targeting the country’s Education Sector in the first instance, with links to Smart Classrooms aim at extending E-learning and developing students learning ability. The smart classrooms are the new generation educational product and represent a step towards the future of education.  This finds strong nexus with the CARICOM Human Resource Development Strategy (HRD) 2030 – approved last year by the CARICOM Heads of Government. (more…)

Caribbean felt full brunt of climate change in 2017

Dominica hurricane

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados,  CMC – In 2017, the Caribbean felt the full brunt of climate change with a warning that current trends indicate that there will be no respite.

Within a two-week period, Hurricanes Irma and Maria brought home the reality of the impact of climate change as they churned their way across the Lesser Antilles destroying everything in their paths. Hurricane Harvey had in August set the stage for what was to come; with devastation in Houston, Texas, amounting to nearly US$200billion.

“The unprecedented nature of this climatic event highlights the unusual nature of weather patterns that continue to affect nations across the globe,” the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Irwin LaRocque said in a message to United States President Donald Trump, as Harvey made landfall in the United States after whipping up strong winds and heavy rains in the Caribbean.

It took less than a month for his statement to bear fruit. Hurricanes Irma and Maria, two Category 5 storms left so many Caribbean islands devastated in September that the CARICOM Chairman and Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell said “there can be no question that for us in the Caribbean, climate change is an existential threat”. (more…)

CARICOM records productive engagements at UNGA

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Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers took full advantage of the just-concluded 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly to strengthen diplomatic relations with members the global community.

They had a fruitful engagement with United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon on the Community’s priorities and developments in the UN, in a final exchange of views and ideas prior to him demitting office in December 2016. The UN SG lauded CARICOM’s strong partnership and thanked CARICOM Member States for their continued leadership in climate change and for their efforts to implement the 2030 sustainable development agenda. CARICOM noted the resource and capacity constraints in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Community had successful meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, and Morocco in an effort to forge new relations and deepen existing ties to support regional development. In this regard, discussions were held with a representative from the Italian Ministry of the Environment regarding the implementation of an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CARICOM Member States, and with senior UN officials to discuss ongoing cooperation in security and elections.

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Assistant Secretary-General of the Directorate of Foreign and Community Relations, Ambassador Colin Granderson and other representatives of the CARICOM Secretariat held productive discussions with the President of Costa Rica, His Excellency Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera. (more…)