Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 14, 2015 (SKNIS): Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris discussed matters of regional significance when he met with Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque on Tuesday (April 14) in Basseterre.
Ambassador LaRocque updated Prime Minister Harris on the decision that CARICOM Heads of Government took concerning 11 priorities of reform of the integration movement. The priorities came out of a number of consultations that were held in each of the member-states. Priority areas include human social development, education, integration, health, social development, energy, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and governance for integration.
He said that heads had agreed to the formation of a CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors to serve as focal point in each member state to coordinate and follow-up on CARICOM matters. The Secretary General said that this appointment was to operate out of the Office of the Prime Minister. Other matters addressed included the reform of the CARICOM Secretariat in order to streamline the conduct of business. This most effectively would include more engagement between CARICOM and the various leaders of member states.
Secretary General LaRocque noted that each ambassador would serve as a connection to the regional body.
“That ambassador is going to be a critical link between the work at the regional level and the national level, in terms of the consultative mechanism that has to be put in place and follow up and to ensure that the view of the head of government is imbued in everything that we do and the interactions that we have,” Ambassador LaRocque said. “This body, the Committee of Ambassadors – its inaugural meeting will take place prior to the Heads of Government meeting in July.”
It was noted that nine member-states had already appointed their ambassadors while three states were outstanding. The establishment of the Committee of Ambassadors is incorporated in the formal enactment of the body that had been identified in the CARICOM Treaty.
The Prime Minister and the CARICOM Secretary General also discussed the subject of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Ambassador LaRocque took the opportunity to commended St. Kitts and Nevis for the prompt payment of its obligation to CARICOM.
It was noted that CARICOM Heads had put in place a commission on human resource development and that the marijuana commission, while it had commenced with a focus toward medicinal marijuana, had now extended its deliberations towards security. The Prime Minister was also brought up to date on the matter of the governance of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
Also in attendance were Honourable Senator Vincent Byron, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Legal Affairs and Communications; Honourable Lindsay Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce and Honourable Ian “Patches” Liburd Minister of Public Infrastructure, Posts, Urban Development and Transport as well as Glenda Itiaba, Chef de Cabinet of the CARICOM Secretariat. Ambassador LaRocque took the opportunity to engage Attorney General Byron as well as Ministers Grant and Liburd on matters pertaining to the CCJ, Tourism and Energy.