PARAMARIBO, Suriname – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders meet here for their annual summit starting this weekend with the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), food security and governance among the key matters for consideration.
“We’re expecting that it will be a very fruitful meeting and we’re working towards that,” said CARICOM Secretary General, Dr Carla Barnett, in a pre-summit interview, done apparently with the Georgetown-based CARICOM Secretariat and posted on its official website.
According to Barnett, the President of Guyana, Dr Irfaan Ali, is to present a report following the CARICOM Agri Investment Forum and Expo held in Georgetown earlier this year during the summit that opens on Sunday and ends on Tuesday.
President Ali holds responsibility for agriculture in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet.
Dr Carla Barnett (GP)
“The wide range of issues of importance to the Community that the Heads of Government will discuss include governance, and the way decisions are taken and implemented in the Community,” according to the CARICOM Secretariat.
Barnett said that the summit will allow the regional leaders to “take stock of where we are in implementing the CSME, (and) as a part of that the discussions, the work that has been done on the CARICOM Agri Food Investment that is very critical and we will be getting a report from the President of Guyana”.
The CSME allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour and services across the 15-member regional grouping.
Barnett said that the summit will also be discussing security issues and “one of the critical things we will be talking about of course is the question of governance.
“It was raised at the inter-sessional in Belize in March and we have done a little bit of work that will help us to discuss the way we make decisions and the way we implement decisions so that we can seek to do that more efficiently and more effectively so we can include member states more integrally in the definition of how we implement our decisions….,” she added.
The summit comes at a time of great division within CARICOM, especially in recent months, when the regional leaders failed to agree on at least two important decisions, namely their attendance at the Summit of the Americas that was held in the United States and the choice of a candidate for the position of Commonwealth Secretary General, both events taking place last month. (CMC)