Tourism tops agenda for upcoming conference for Caribbean Heads of Government

Greater Georgetown, Guyana – Tourism, Agriculture, Services, Free Movement of Skills within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), and Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) are among the major agenda items in the Economic Development cluster of the upcoming Thirtieth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

The Conference will be held in Georgetown 2-5 July 2009. It will be preceded by a meeting of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on External Trade Negotiations on 1 July.

At a media clinic Friday afternoon via videoconferencing anchored at the CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, and including Barbados, His Excellency Edwin Carrington said discussions on Tourism – which has suffered serious setbacks as a result of the global financial situation – will be lead by the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, Prime Minister of the Bahamas, who has lead Responsibility for Tourism in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet.

His Excellency Bharrat Jagdeo, President of the Republic of Guyana, will spearhead consideration of Agriculture. The Agriculture Sector is preparing for some specific activities following several initiatives and interventions including the most recent consultation on Agri-business held in Georgetown last month.

The Secretary-General told representatives of the media, that though the Services Sector was an economic driver, the Community had not done as much as it could to move the Sector forward. Efforts to put the Sector on a more structured footing are currently underway and preparations are far advanced for a Regional Symposium on Services to be held in Antigua and Barbuda 15-17 July 2009. The Hon. Baldwin Spencer, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda who has lead responsibility for Services, launched the Symposium earlier this month.

Significant discussions are expected in the area of the Free Movement of Skills within the CSME for which the Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica, has lead responsibility.

Secretary-General Carrington said that there was a new area of “discontent in intra-regional trade” and issue which Jamaica is expected to raise at the Conference.

With regard to ICT4D, the Secretary-General said the Region hopes to advance its competitiveness by implementing an effective strategy for ICT4D. A Regional Strategy for ICT4D, he said, was a vital aspect of any transformation and improvement in the Caribbean economy. The Hon. Tillman Thomas, Prime Minister of Grenada, and lead Head of Government with responsibility for Science and Technology, will lead the discussions on ICT4D.

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