by Linda Straker
The future of trade between CARICOM and the United Kingdom in the post-Brexit era is high on the agenda for the 38th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government scheduled to take place in Grenada from 4-6 July 2017.
“How we interact with a United Kingdom that is not part of the European Union (EU) is very important, and as CARICOM there is need for a united approach,” said Grenada’s Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Nickolas Steele, during a special post cabinet news conference held to specifically inform the media about the meeting.
“There are many treaties with the EU that will have to be re-negotiated for CARICOM member states because it will not be the same common approach as exists presently. These treaties were EU treaties but now we will have to negotiate UK treaties,” said Steele who explained that the CARICOM office on Trade will be leading the discussions.
The meeting will be attended by 13 Heads of Government and 2 Foreign Affairs ministers as well as organisations within the region such as the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). There will also be participants from Associate members Turks and Caicos Islands, Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
It was also disclosed by Alva Browne, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that there will be a high representation from China, the World Bank and special surprise guest whose identity has to be concealed due to security reasons.
More than 130 delegates are expected to attend the 3-day meeting which will be chaired by Guyana’s President David Granger, who is the present Chairman of CARICOM. He will be handing over to Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell who will be chairing the regional body for the next 6 months.
Besides focusing on the trade in the post-Brexit era, among the topics for plenary sessions are: Air Transportation in the Region, CARICOM Human Resource Strategy, Regional Security, Tourism, CARICOM Small states opportunities for financing as well as plans for statistics development within the region.
All plenary sessions will be held at the Radisson Convention Centre, while the traditional closed plenary will be held at the privately owned Calivigny Island, accessible only via boat.