‘Purpose fit solutions’ needed to close CSME implementation gap

“As a region we are not where we want to be with the implementation of the CSME, and as we consider the sub items on the agenda we must do so in a manner to report and achieve progress going forward.”- Chair of COTED, the Hon. Chet Greene
As Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ministers with responsibility for trade meet in Georgetown, Guyana, calls have been made to ramp up the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The Ministers are in Georgetown for the two-day Forty-Sixth Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) which opened on Wednesday at the CARICOM Secretariat. The CSME is one of the main agenda items of the Meeting.

Speaking at the opening session, both Chair of the Meeting, the  Hon Chet Greene, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Immigration of Antigua and Barbuda, and Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General, placed emphasis on the CSME and wanted swifter action on its implementation.

“…Article 15 section 2 (b) confers on this Council the responsibility to, “promote the development and oversee the operations of the CSME”. As a region we are not where we want to be with the implementation of the CSME, and as we consider the sub items on the agenda we must do so in a manner to report and achieve progress going forward. Certainly, the confidence of our people and our businesses within the integration process must not be shattered”, Minister Greene said.

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COTED plays crucial role in advancing integration – CARICOM SG

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, said matters under consideration at the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) presented an opportunity to provide solutions that would advance the regional integration movement.

He was speaking on Wednesday morning at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana, during the opening session of the Forty-Sixth Meeting of the COTED.

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CARICOM Secretariat showcases spirit of Community at Career Fair

The CARICOM Secretariat on Friday mounted a booth at the Career Fair hosted by the Lions Club at the Girl Guides’ Pavilion in Georgetown, Guyana. There, staff members showcased the work of the Secretariat and the Community and interacted with the youth who came out in their numbers.

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CDB to fund programme to increase social resilience to natural disaster

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Despite the high vulnerability of the Caribbean Region to natural disasters and the effect they can have on , social resilience is often overlooked in mitigation and rebuilding efforts.

In direct response to this issue, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has announced that it will fund a programme to enhance capacity for mental health and psychosocial support in disaster management in the Caribbean.

“It is critical that a country’s response to any disaster includes a targeted psychosocial support and mental health component to rebuild individual and social resilience,” said Daniel Best, Director of Projects, CDB. (more…)

Saint Lucia gets CARICOM Development Fund support to jumpstart Village Tourism Initiative

The Government of Saint Lucia on Friday signed on for the 2nd cycle from the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF). Since its establishment, Saint Lucia has benefited from the CDF. For the first funding cycle, the Saint Lucia CAP (Country Assistance Programme) was valued at approximately USD $6.1 million or XCD $16.47 million in loans and grants and was designed to enhance private sector competitiveness and youth entrepreneurship.

During this second funding cycle, the CDF Board has approved two (2) projects to support initiatives that are geared to expanding Saint Lucia’s exports, which include strengthening the institutional infrastructure for trade and implementing new programmes for trade competitiveness and village tourism development.

The Village Tourism Grant in the sum of USD $120,000 (XCD $324,000) to finance technical assistance for coordination of the development of village tourism including the provision of technical advice on the establishment of the institutional framework, and for preparation of a road map and business plan for village tourism. Co-financing for the development and support to implement the revised National Export Development Strategy for Saint Lucia in the amount of USD$332,800. (Office of the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia)

CARICOM Development Fund
The CDF was established under Article 158 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas “for the purpose of providing financial or technical assistance to disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors”. It is the centre-piece of the regime to address the disparities among the Member States of CARICOM which may result from the implementation of the CSME. The Agreement Relating to the Operations of the Fund was signed in July 2008 and the CDF began operating on November, 2008. Whilst all Members of the CDF are eligible to receive financial and technical assistance support from the Fund, only the designated disadvantaged countries – the LDCs (OECS and Belize) and Guyana (as a Highly-Indebted Poor Country) received access to resources during the first contribution cycle. Under the second contribution cycle the MDCs, as well as the LDCs, will be able to access resources to address development challenges in their disadvantaged regions and sectors, once the enabling policy framework and operational procedures are agreed to by the Community. The relevant policy, procedures and implementation plan to facilitate this are currently being developed within the framework of the formulation of Regional Cohesion Policy, which the CDF has taken the lead role in preparing on behalf of the Community.