Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his fellow Government officials have conducted a very exhaustive and diligent leadership of the Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting of The Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM. This meeting, was held on the Placencia Peninsula, where 15 Caribbean Leaders flew into Belize to meet with their peers to discuss a number of issues facing the Caribbean Community as a collective.
The meeting started on Monday, February 15, and ended officially on Wednesday, February 17. These Prime Ministers were anxious to get started, and among the agenda items included the loss of correspondent banking relationships that the Caribbean Banks have been facing since the American Bankers have been de-risking, the possible threat of the Zika Virus which has left the Caribbean mostly untouched, the issue of crime and security, Climate Change, and a few others.
At a closing press conference, Secretary General Irwin LaRocque conveyed to the press from all over the Caribbean Nations that Prime Minister Barrow and his team did excellently in the way the meeting was conducted. Secretary General LaRocque said, “The arrangements made for today, the conduct of the meetings, over the past day and a half , has been most efficient. You’d be surprised at the amount of work our Heads of Government have achieved in a day and a half. Some of the topics, as you’ve heard, are fairly weighty, but they were dealt with thoroughly, and with guides to action.”
Among the accomplishments of the meeting, was the formal establishment of the Council of National Security and Law Enforcement as an organ of the Caribbean Community. That came by way of amending of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, and there was a similar CARICOM body, called the Council of National Security Ministers, which dealt with this issue. The Council of National Security and Law Enforcement will take over that decision making role. At this 27 Inter-Sessional Meeting, the Heads of Government also discussed the interest of Six Territories in the Caribbean, which includes some the French and Dutch Territories. They’ve expressed an interest in becoming Associate members of CARICOM. A technical working group has been looking at their applications, but the Caribbean Prime Minister recognize a need to develop a policy of enlargement so that new territories could join up as Associate Members. This issue has been adjourned until July, when the framework of engagement is hopefully completed.
Also, the Heads Of Government endorsed the extension of Secretary General Irwin LaRocque’s term in office. His contract expires later this year, and this is the only meeting that will happen before that date. At this Inter-Sessional Meeting, all the Prime Ministers have expressed their confidence in Ambassador LaRocque’s diligence in managing the affairs of CARICOM since his elevation to office back in 2011. He will continue to serve the Caribbean Community.