Monday July 09, 2012 – The general consensus emanating from the 33rd Regular Meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government conference was that it provided an opportunity for renewal of commitment by Caribbean leaders to the regional organization.
The Chairman of CARICOM and Saint Lucian leader Honourable Dr. Kenny Davis Anthony has described the three days of deliberations amongst his regional counterparts as ‘extremely productive’.
In a draft statement released at the closing ceremony to the press including regional media representatives, Prime Minister Anthony gave an indication of just how varied the discussions were, embracing global events, regional, sub regional and even domestic issues in some cases.
“And we agreed that the major focus at this time should be on economic growth and development. We identified tourism, agriculture and construction as the economic sectors that offer prospects for early resuscitation of economic growth. We think the Caribbean Development Bank – CBD needs to structure its lending products and processes in such a manner that they would assist at efforts of growth and sustainable development and that the multi-lateral financial institutions should assist in providing a buffer to buttress member states against external shocks.”
The Prime Minister elaborated on the decisions taken as it pertains to the Caribbean Single Market and Economy. “ We took a number of decisions with respect to advancing the CSME including free movement of skilled community nationals, to embrace additional categories. Adherence to the decisions that make CARICOM nationals welcome in other member states for example an automatic six month stay, subject to general and security exceptions. Acceptance of the principle that member states who are able to proceed should do so providing that the door is always left open for other member states to join when able to do so.”
Along side Dr. Anthony at the head table of the closing press briefing were colleague Prime Ministers Honourable Ralph Gonzales of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Honourable Freundel Jerome Stuart of Barbados and Honourable Denzil Llewellyn Douglas of St. Kitts and Nevis
The Secretary General of the Caribbean Community His Excellency Irwin La Racque also sat on the press conference. The conference was hosted in the north of the island. Saint Lucia last hosted the regional meeting in 2008.