Concrete Goals for Northern Caribbean Conference in Cayman

GRAND CAYMAN – The Northern Caribbean Conference (NCC) on Economic Development and Co-operation offers the opportunity for countries in the sub-region to achieve practical results by tackling their common issues.

Immigration, trade, education and security will be the key focus areas at the December 17 Conference, to be held at the Ritz-Carlton in Grand Cayman. Participation is expected from the Bahamas, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, with the aim of encouraging closer regional collaboration and augmenting economic development.

“There are specific things we can deal with right now, such as in the movement of people between our countries,” Mr. Earl Jarrett, General Manager of Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) said. He pointed out that there was a significant population of Jamaicans in the Cayman Islands, while there were Haitians in the Bahamas and Jamaica.

“We have people moving around despite the structures put up by government,” Mr. Jarrett said at a press briefing held in Kingston and Grand Cayman concurrently, on Tuesday, November 23. The NCC will be hosted by the National Building Society of Cayman (NBSC) and JNBS.

Apart from the development of mechanisms to manage the movement of people, Mr. Jarrett pointed to the problems in trade, such as the live cattle being smuggled into Cayman from the parishes of St. Elizabeth and Westmoreland in Jamaica. If that trade were to be formalized, with the development of a rational way of getting foodstuff into that country and Haiti, he said, “We would begin to see new possibilities emerge.”

Cooperation in the field of education is another area of opportunity, with the possibility of Jamaica and Cuba playing a significant role in the trade of education services, Mr. Jarrett indicated. And tourism could be boosted by adopting the principle used during the Cricket World Cup, where a tourist who entered one country, could move across all countries.

“We can begin to take advantage of the opportunities ahead of us,” the General Manager declared. This potential is significant with the Northern Caribbean islands having 75 percent of the regional population and 70 percent of tourist arrivals.

And the NCC has no negative connotations for existing Caribbean Community commitments, Mr. Jarrett declared. “That is a process which we respect and we want to be a part of.”

The conference will include presentations from Cayman’s Premier McKeeva Bush; the Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Hon. Bruce Golding; and CARICOM Special Representative on Haiti, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson. It will also be addressed by representatives from American, Canadian and British development agencies; as well as entrepreneurs and members of academia.

Earl Jarrett (at microphone), General Manager of Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), addresses a press briefing at the JNBS chief office in Kingston, which was linked live with a concurrent briefing being hosted in Grand Cayman by Dunbar McFarlane, General Manager of National Building Society of Cayman (NBSC). The audience of media and JN Group support team, was told about the Northern Caribbean Conference on Economic Development and Co-operation, to be held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Grand Cayman on December 17. The Conference is being sponsored by JNBS and NBSC.

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