BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) — CARICOM chairman, prime minister Mia Amor Mottley, will welcome fellow heads of government to Barbados for the 31st Intersessional Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), from February 18 to 19.
The two-day summit will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St Michael.
The areas to be examined include:
- The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME);
- The report on the commission on the economy;
- Engagement with the private sector, labour and civil society;
- CARICOM advocacy against blacklisting, de-risking, and withdrawal of correspondent banking;
- Supporting CARICOM resilience and digital transformation
- Update on matters of importance for science and technology.
They will also examine the recommendations from the 25th meeting of the prime ministerial sub-committee on external negotiations.
In caucus, CARICOM heads of government will try to find consensus on security matters and border issues between Belize and Guatemala, and Guyana and Venezuela.
Regional leaders are keen to forge stronger links with Africa, and they will also take time to discuss their first CARICOM-African Union Summit to be held in June, as well as the 15th meeting of the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development, (UNCTAD), which takes place in Barbados from October 18 to 25.
Another key highlight for CARICOM leaders will be the opportunity to bolster multilateralism through an exchange with a special guest.
The Intersessional summit will close with the ratification of a number of decisions made at the two-day caucus, the adoption of the Communiqué, and setting the date for the 41st regular meeting of the conference of heads of government in July in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Barbados will also host several regional counterparts when the United States (US) embassy hosts a US commercial service trade mission to the Caribbean at the Hilton Barbados Resort, Needham’s Point, St Michael, from May 31 to June 5.
This was disclosed recently when United States ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Linda Taglialatela, met with the minister of small business, entrepreneurship and commerce, Dwight Sutherland, at the Warrens’ Office Complex, Warrens, St Michael.
Ambassador Taglialatela informed minister Sutherland that the trade mission would offer US companies the opportunity to explore markets in the Caribbean, namely Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago.
“It will also provide opportunities to local and regional micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to establish relationships, partnerships and joint ventures with US companies,” she said.
The trade mission will also feature sessions relating to access to finance, logistics, disaster resilience, and recovery, as well as export compliance. It is expected that 80 to 100 companies from the US will be in attendance.
Minister Sutherland stated that the mission was timely; “It comes at a time when Barbados celebrates ‘We Gatherin’ and while the ministry is continuing its efforts to provide opportunities for small businesses to develop and grow, especially in new and innovative areas, such as renewable energy.”
The small business minister told the ambassador that the government had a mandate to create a fossil-free environment by 2030 and there were many opportunities for businesses to provide services in this sector.
“The mission would, therefore, give small local businesses opportunities to partner in these areas; to give them the ability to compete in the global market space,” he stressed.
In addition to the trade mission, there was a discussion on other areas relating to the financial literacy bureau, the electronic single window and the Barbados Trust Fund Limited, and how the US could offer support in these areas.
The meeting also touched on issues relating to the importation of pork. While reiterating there was no ban on the importation of pork, minister Sutherland, however, told ambassador Taglialatela that there must be opportunities for local pork producers to remain competitive in the marketplace, and the government was utilizing the Treaty of Chaguaramas “to ensure local pork producers could have their fair share of the market”.
This article draws on Barbados GIS reports from Cathy Lashley and Joy-Ann Gill.