by Linda Straker
- CARICOM’s 2-day 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting takes place in Haiti
- Meeting to advance plans to strengthen key elements of CSME
- CARICOM Counter-Terrorism Strategy is being finalised for adoption.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell in his capacity as the outgoing chairman of CARICOM will be among regional Heads of Government who will be attending CARICOM’s 2-day 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting taking place in Haiti.
He left the island on Monday morning. The 26-27 February meeting is being held at the Mariott Port-au-Prince Hotel. A news release from the CARICOM Secretariat said that among the matters down for discussion is the building of a more climate resilient community following the devastating 2017 hurricane season.
Irma and Maria, two back-to-back Category Five hurricanes swept across the Caribbean last September, cutting a swathe of destruction, taking lives, devastating infrastructure and rolling back years of economic development in several CARICOM Member States. Dominica and Barbuda (Antigua’s sister isle) were decimated. Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands were also devastated. The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands were severely affected, and Haiti and St Kitts and Nevis also suffered damage.
Also on the agenda is the high incidence of crime and violence across the community will also be examined. Heads at their last meeting discussed key initiatives directed towards combating transnational organised crime which, they noted, continues to be one of the most immediate and significant threats facing the Region. “They also directed their focus towards the development of a CARICOM Counter-Terrorism Strategy which is being finalised for adoption,” the release stated.
The release also said that the meeting would seek to advance plans to further strengthen key elements of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) including those related to travel and trade. Discussion will also focus on key transportation issues including regional air services, and on advancing regional initiatives in tourism aimed at stimulating further sustainable growth in the sector.
Heads will look at the impact on CARICOM Member States of blacklisting actions. Last December the EU included 4 Member States on a list of countries it deemed non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. There is also ongoing concern about the de-risking strategies by global banks and the labelling of CARICOM Member States in some quarters as tax havens.
The meeting at the Mariott Port-au-Prince Hotel opens on Monday with a brief Opening Session at which remarks will be presented by CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; the immediate-past CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell of Grenada and the current Chairman, President Jovenel Moise of Haiti.