Strong regional foreign policy coordination critical in changing global environment – President Granger

PRESIDENT David Granger served as Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) from January to July, 2017 and during his tenure, he emphasised the economic, environmental and physical security of the citizens who make up the populations of member states. The Guyanese Head of State placed at the top of the regional agenda our right, as members of the Community, to citizenship, to food security and economic viability, a safe and secure existence and the protection of our territorial integrity.

AGRICULTURE TALKS: Guyana's President David Granger and Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Freundel Stuart
MEGA FARM VISIT: Guyana’s President David Granger (centre) and Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Freundel Stuart (right)

 

 

Recognising that the small states that make up the Region must stand firmly together in the face of a constantly changing global environment, President Granger believes that the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) is the key to addressing these bread and butter issues for CARICOM citizens.

Foreign Policy Coordination
Effective foreign policy coordination is viewed as an important enabler for building resilience by effectively positioning CARICOM and the Member States in the global arena through collaboration, cooperation and strategic alliances, the promotion and protection of the interest of CARICOM and other small states to mitigate vulnerability and the leveraging of resources for regional priorities. Heads of Government of CARICOM continue to articulate and harmonise policies and programmes to safeguard and promote the Community’s interests within the global environment. President Granger has attached great importance to foreign policy coordination, even as individual states within the Community pursue their national interests. He believes that foreign policy coordination is one of the four pillars on which the Caribbean Community stands.

Within a current international environment that is replete with uncertainty and complexity, President Granger warned that the efficacy of the Community’s international advocacy could be impaired if coordinated regional positions are weakened.

“The Caribbean Community cannot cling to an obsolete model of insularity in light of these international changes. The mirage of 15 airlines, 15 cricket teams, 15 defence forces and 15 embassies in the capitals of the world might mesmerise a few sentimental romantics, but could deplete the treasuries of our states. The Community, challenged by the constantly changing international situation, must redouble its efforts to ensure a more safe society for its citizens, more stable economies for its countries, deeper solidarity and a more secure hemisphere,” the President said.

Read More: Guyana Chronicle 

U.S. Strategy for Engagement in the Caribbean

US and CARICOM Flags at NYSE

Caribbean 2020: A Multi-Year Strategy To Increase the Security, Prosperity, and Well-Being of the People of the United States and the Caribbean

The Caribbean region is the United States’ “third border,” characterized by common interests and societal ties that yield daily, tangible benefits for U.S. citizens. The United States is the primary trading partner for the Caribbean, representing a vibrant economic partnership that in 2016 saw a $4.6 billion trade surplus for the United States, 14 million U.S. tourist visits, and 11,042 Caribbean students studying in the United States. We also face many common threats across the region. Small, but significant, numbers of violent extremists from the region have joined ISIS. Caribbean countries have some of the highest murder rates in the world. Rising crime and endemic corruption threaten governments’ ability to provide security and good governance. They also drive irregular migration to the United States. As the United States works to secure its southern border, we should prepare for transnational criminal organizations to shift more of their operations to the Caribbean as a transit point for drugs, migrants, weapons, and other illicit activity.

This strategy, coordinated with the interagency, identifies the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development’s priorities for United States engagement with the Caribbean region in the areas of security, diplomacy, prosperity, energy, education, and health. On security, we will work with our Caribbean partners to ensure ISIS is denied a foothold in the region, dismantle illicit trafficking networks, enhance maritime security, confront violent and organized crime, and increase the sharing of threat information among countries. Our diplomacy will both raise the political level of our dialogue with the Caribbean and focus it more tightly on this strategy’s six priorities. We will increase our own and our neighbors’ prosperity by promoting sustainable growth, open markets for U.S. exports, and private sector-led investment and development. On energy, exports of U.S. natural gas and the use of U.S. renewable energy technologies will provide cleaner, cheaper alternatives to heavy fuel oil and lessen reliance on Venezuela.

On education, we will focus our resources on exchanges and programs for students, scholars, teachers, and other professionals that provide mutual benefits to U.S. and Caribbean communities and promote economic development and entrepreneurship. In the area of health, we will continue to partner with countries in the region in the fight against infectious diseases, like HIV/AIDS and Zika, recognizing deadly pathogens are threats that know no borders.

Read more at: US State Department

CARICOM border officials commend CSME training

CARICOM Border officials with CARICOM Secretariat Members of Staff
CARICOM Border officials with CARICOM Secretariat Members of Staff

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Immigration and Customs Officers took the opportunity this week to discuss CARICOM Single Market and Economy processes at a training workshop. The two-day session in Barbados sought to ensure there was common understanding of the Free Movement of Persons regime. Participants were also involved in training in Customer Service and the Right of Establishment and Provision of Services.

There was representation from all Member States who are significantly participating in the CSME and some officials were engaged on-line. The training took place at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Conference Centre with support from the 10th European Development Fund and ended yesterday 14 June 2017.

In the wrap-up comments, participants commended the timeliness of the activity and the information received. They also highlighted networking and sharing experiences as a useful tool for implementation of obligations within the CSME.

Participants committed to ensuring follow-up activities are implemented within their home state as they engage peers via the development and execution of training. This is expected to assist with maintaining and reinforcing capacity within Member States.

 

Customs and Immigration Officers urged not to fall prey to corruption

Customs and Immigration Officers are being urged not to fall prey to corruption. This call was made by CARICOM Assistant Secretary General, Dr. Douglas Slater. Dr. Slater delivered the keynote address during the opening ceremony of the sixth Joint National Border Security Training held at the Police Officer’s Training Centre, Camp Road, Georgetown, Guyana.

The aim of the training is to enhance the capacity of border security officials in Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states to prevent, detect and minimize the opportunity of illegal activities. Dr. Slater noted that due to the economic situation in the Caribbean, law enforcement agents are faced with the temptation of corruption. The Assistant Secretary General told the participants that it is important that they refrain from such inducements.

“We know that our workers including our border protection agencies, they do have temptations and the criminals are out there and will be making offers. You have a responsibility and I expect you to uphold that responsibility to desist from such temptations, because if you do not have proper discipline and professionalism chaos will result”, Dr. Slater explained.

Read more at: Government Information Agency