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Haiti Ratifies Revised Treaty Of Chaguaramas

BARBADOS – The Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council of Ministers the Honourable Brent Symonette, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Bahamas received the official notification that Haiti had ratified the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas from the Honourable Jean Renard Clerisme Minister of Foreign Affairs of Haiti during the 21st Meeting of the Community Council held in Barbados on Friday, February 8.

In accepting the document from the Chairman, CARICOM Secretary-General His Excellency Edwin Carrington expressed his delight and quipped “it has been a long time in coming.” Haiti’s Parliament had approved the Revised Treaty last October and the final act in Haiti’s internal procedures for ratification was for this approval to be gazetted in the Official Monitor. This was completed earlier this week.

The Council considered the arrangements for the follow-up to the 2007 Conference on the Caribbean, in particular the proposed series of activities to be held in New York in June 2008 during Caribbean American Heritage Month. The Bureau of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) under the Chairmanship of Antigua and Barbuda, with the support of the CARICOM Secretariat and the Consuls General in New York, will spearhead the arrangements for the June 2008 activities – an important component of which will be the meeting between CARICOM Heads of Government and Congressman Charles Rangel, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee of the US House of Representatives. The COFCOR Bureau also includes Grenada, incoming Chair and Belize outgoing Chair.

The first Conference was held in June 2007 in an initiative to strengthen the relations between CARICOM and the United States and has resulted in CARICOM being invited to a Congressional hearing on deportees and to an investigation by the United States International Trade Commission specifically on the trade between CARICOM and the USA.

The Community Council, at the meeting held at the Accra Beach Hotel, approved the work programme and budget of the CARICOM Secretariat and welcomed a report by the Secretary-General His Excellency Edwin Carrington on the first meeting between the CARICOM Secretariat and other regional institutions which took place in Georgetown, Guyana last October. The Council noted the possibilities for greater co-operation and co-ordination among the institutions which regular interaction could bring.

The Council also approved the arrangements for the 19th Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government including the draft agenda now to be submitted for the consideration of Heads of Government. The Inter-Sessional Meeting is scheduled to be held in The Bahamas on 7-8 March. The Inter-Sessional meeting will be preceded by meetings of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on 5 March and the Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP) on 6 March both in The Bahamas.

As part of their exhaustive agenda, the Ministers also received an update on the plans for the Caribbean Festival of the Arts (CARIFESTA X) from Guyana, the hosts of the Festival. The Festival is scheduled to be held in Guyana from August 22-31 2008.

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