MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – Leaders from around the Caribbean region began a series of high level meetings today as the 31st annual meeting of CARICOM kicks off in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Heads of Government from CARICOM states and Associate Member states, other delegates and specially invited guests are attending the four day conference. United Nations Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss Khan will also attend.
The leaders will address both regional and broader issues. Discussions will cover trade and development including the CARIFORUM/EU Economic Partnership Agreement, and the global challenges related to economic recovery and how to best facilitate the transition from stabilization to transformation. Fallout from the global recession, which has had a profound impact on the region, both economically and from the increasing threat of organized crime. CARICOM Chair and Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding has urged a shared commitment to tackling these issues.
There will also be a discussion on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the implications for and impact on the Region. With failed efforts to stem the flow of oil, there are concerns that countries of the Caribbean will be affected.
Also on CARICOM’s agenda for this week are the recovery and development of Haiti in the wake of that country’s devastating earthquake. The CARICOM Heads of Government will also consider other subject matters under broad themes including Economic and Financial Issues; Matters related to External Trade; Human and Social Development; Critical Issues in the Development of the Community; Strengthening of the Community; and Information and Communication Technologies for development.