by Donella Hosten
CARICOM Heads of Government — according to Chairman and Prime Minister of Grenada, Hon Dr Keith Mitchell — have made some decisions that will have both long-term and short-term implications for the people of the region.
Dr Mitchell described the sessions as ‘very successful,’ as he mentioned agenda items addressed during the 2-day session, including an implementation plan for the standing measures with respect to the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), and ways to address the lag and economic growth presented by the Caribbean Development Bank and the World Bank.
“We are determined to do the work to be able to access them,” said Dr Mitchell, referring to the funding available for the small states at the multilateral level from the Caribbean Development Bank and the World Bank.
Also discussed was the improvement of a more efficient movement of people and goods within the region. According to the Chair, the Heads have agreed that there needs to be the ‘creation of an independent public/private sector governing body to guide the development and management of a sustainable regional tourism market…’
Falling under this, was the issue of air transportation, which was highlighted as something that must be worked on and improved. Dr Mitchell said measures must be put in place for Caribbean nationals to be able to travel with ease within the region and ‘mandated the government owned airlines to continue to work towards increasing the levels of collaboration and coordination.’ The Heads believe that a single airspace should be pursued, and mandated the Secretariat to [have] a multi-layered regime of aviation taxes for the financing of civil aviation related activities.
Also discussed with great passion by the Heads of Government, was the issue of Human Resource Development. Dr Mitchell affirmed that a Human Resource Development strategy along with an action plan, established by the Commission in 2015, was agreed upon. This action plan seeks to enable persons within the region to achieve their fullest potential. They are hoping to have the construction of a ‘globally competitive, innovative and seamlessly integrated education system to drive inclusive sustainable development in our region’ by 2030, Dr Mitchell commented.