ST. LUCIA – On the advent of the 29th Conference of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government, St. Lucian Prime Minister the Honourable Stephenson King asserts that CARICOM leaders are poised to take a more proactive approach to decision implementation.
The meeting, which is scheduled to take place from July 1st-4th in Antigua and Barbuda signifies the 35th anniversary of the existence of CARICOM.
Prime Minister King highlights one of the major focus areas on the meeting’s agenda.
“An entire day will be allocated to discussing issues on tourism, and the manner in which the region can come together,” Prime Minister King said. “We’re looking at matters of establishing the development fund, so as to ensure in the whole scheme of things that CARICOM continues to articulate its philosophy, its policy.”
Aside from tourism, issues of food security, rising energy costs, and climate change are high on the agenda of the conference.
Joining the high priority topics for discussion are matters relating to external trade negotiations, particularly the imminent signing of the highly discussed CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement.
Prime Minister King noted the need to review current and past negotiation experiences in an attempt to improve future negotiations. “The whole idea is to continue to reach out to those other nations and to develop agreements with them that will allow us to continue to operate within the global environment rather than the narrow hemispheric environment. That in itself means that CARICOM has to be a lot more proactive; proactive not only in its preparations for such meetings but in the follow up to meetings.”
Along with the Prime Minister, the St. Lucian delegation to the conference will include the Minister for Tourism, the Ambassador to CARICOM and the OECS, and officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Conference of Heads of Government is the highest organ of CARICOM, which provides policy direction and is empowered as the final authority.