July 5, 2013

Heads of Government meeting observes 40th anniversary of CARICOM

Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, is presiding over the 34th Meeting of Heads of Government taking place in Port of Spain this week.{{more}}

Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar assumed the six-month rotational chairmanship on 1 July.

The meeting, which opened on Wednesday evening, coincides with the observance of the fortieth anniversary of CARICOM, and has recorded representation from all member states with only one not represented at the level of Head of Government. Three Heads of Government of Associate Members are also attending the meeting.

In addition to Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar, outgoing chairman Michel Martelly, President of Haiti, Perry Christie, Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados, Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, as well as Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General, addressed the opening ceremony at the Diplomatic Centre.

The historic meeting, which is being convened in the city where the founding Treaty of Chaguaramas was signed on 4 July, 1973, featured a re-enactment of the treaty signing yesterday at the Chaguaramas Convention Centre.

The Heads of Government are in an all-day retreat today, July 5. There will be a cultural event this evening featuring performers from the countries whose leaders signed the original treaty in 1973 – Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago – as well as from Haiti, CARICOM’s newest member state.

High on the agenda at the meeting is charting a new direction for growth and development; transportation, the reform process in CARICOM; and a proposal for a high-level meeting on persons with disabilities and special needs.

Special guests at the meeting are Obiang Nguema, President of Equatorial Guinea and chairman of the ACP; Danilo Medina, President of the Dominican Republic; and Nicolás Maduro, President of the Republic of Venezuela.

The delegation from St Vincent and the Grenadines, which is being led by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, includes Jomo Thomas, chairman of the recently appointed national reparations committee.

The Conference ends on July 6.