How to build back better after a hurricane with the next one a few months away

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OP-ED By Irwin LaRocque and Achim Steiner*

CARICOM SG, Irwin LaRocque
Ambassador Irwin LaRocque
Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator
Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator

 Imagine relocating the entire population of your country in the face of a colossal hurricane and two months later still not being able to get back home. Now imagine spending several nights in a shelter and taking a stroll the next morning only to find what you used to call community, city or country reduced to an apocalyptic scene.

This is no fiction. Irma and Maria, two back-to-back category 5 hurricanes, the most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic, swept across the Caribbean in September, cutting a swathe of destruction, taking lives, devastating infrastructure and severely damaging the economies of small climate-vulnerable countries.

Entire islands were decimated, like Barbuda, the smaller of the two-island state of Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica, both Members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands were also devastated while The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands were severely affected. Haiti and St Kitts and Nevis also suffered damage. All of the islands are Members or Associate Members of CARICOM.

The island of St Marten, divided between Sint Maarten, a constituent country of the Kingdom of Netherlands and St Martin, a dependency of France as well as Cuba and the Dominican Republic were impacted, in addition to Puerto Rico and Florida, in the United States. (more…)

CARICOM Heads of Government offer their good offices to facilitate dialogue in Venezuela

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CARICOM Heads of Government have issued a statement on the Venezuela. The statement was contained in the Communique issued at the conclusion of the Thirty-Eighth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM held 4-6 July, 2017, in St. George’s, Grenada.

Please see the statement below:

CARICOM Heads of Government, meeting in Conference in Grenada on 4-6 July, 2017, discussed the serious challenges facing Venezuela and its people. They reaffirmed their guiding principles of adherence to the rule of law, respect for human rights and democracy, as well as for the fundamental principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of states.

Concerned with the difficult political, economic and social situation in Venezuela, in particular the increase in violence and polarization between the Government and the Opposition, and its effect on the people of Venezuela, and recognising the urgent need to find a solution to the present situation, and that this had to be sought internally, CARICOM Heads of Government called for all parties to commit to engage in renewed dialogue and negotiation leading to a comprehensive political agreement with established time tables, concrete actions and guarantees to ensure its implementation for the well-being of the nation. In this regard, CARICOM Heads of Government offered their good offices to facilitate this dialogue.

CARICOM Heads of Government mandated the Chairman of Conference to communicate with the parties concerned in Venezuela about this offer.

Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) Statement on the Situation in Venezuela

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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.

 

Bridgetown, Barbados

19 May 2017

CARICOM Foreign Ministers reaffirm support for Guyana’s territorial integrity

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Guyana’s Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Carl Greenidge briefed the Council for Foreign Ministers of the Caribbean Community (CORFOR) on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York

CARICOM Foreign Ministers have welcomed Venezuela’s decision to receive a United Nations Technical team which will provide recommendations to the UN Secretary-General on the way forward to a full and final solution to the Guyana/Venezuela territorial controversy.

The Council for Foreign Ministers of the Caribbean Community (COFCOR) met on 29 September, 2015, in the margins of this week’s 70th Session of The United Nations General Assembly in New York, and was briefed by Guyana’s Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Carl Greenidge on the recent developments with respect to the territorial controversy with Venezuela. The Ministers noted that the decision by CARACAS to receive the UN Team in the shortest possible time will hasten the efforts aimed at bringing that controversy to an early end.

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The Presidents of Guyana and Venezuela greet at Sunday’s meeting convened by the UN Secretary-General (Min. of the Presidency, Guyana Photo)

The Ministers welcomed Sunday’s meeting convened by the UN Secretary-General with the Presidents of Guyana and Venezuela and noted that Venezuela’s decision to return its ambassador to Guyana and to grant agrément to the Ambassador Designate of Guyana to Venezuela would set a firm basis for the return of full-fledged diplomatic relations between Guyana and Venezuela.

The Ministers noted Guyana’s call for a juridical solution to the controversy, given the divergence of views between the two sides about the validity and nullity of the Arbitral award of 3rd October 1899. They  underscored the need for the Caribbean region to be maintained as a Zone of Peace.

See full COFCOR Statement: (more…)