Communique: 46th Regular Meeting Of The Conference Of Heads Of Government Of Caricom Held In Guyana 25-28 February

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Communique: 46th Regular Meeting Of The Conference Of Heads Of Government Of The Caribbean Community (Caricom) Held In Guyana 25-28 February 2024

CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana – Friday, 1 March 2024   –   The Forty-Sixth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held from 25 – 28 February in Georgetown, Guyana.

Chair of the Conference, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of Guyana, presided over the Meeting.

Members of the Conference in attendance were: Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda,  Honourable Gaston Browne; Prime Minister of Barbados, Honourable Mia Amor Mottley; Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Honourable Philip Davis; Prime Minister of Dominica, Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit; Prime Minister of Grenada, Honourable Dickon Mitchell; President of Guyana, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali; Prime Minister of Haiti, His Excellency Dr. Ariel Henry;  Premier of Montserrat, Honourable Joseph Taylor-Farrell; Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew; Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Honourable Philip Pierre; Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves; President of Suriname, His Excellency Chandrikapersad Santokhi; and the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley.

Belize and Jamaica were both represented by their Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Honourable Francis Fonseca and Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson-Smith, respectively.

Associate Member States represented were Bermuda by Premier, the Honourable Edward David Burt; the British Virgin Islands, by Premier, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley and the Turks and Caicos Islands, by Honourable Arlington Alexander Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services.

OPENING CEREMONY

CARICOM Secretary-General, Dr. Carla N. Barnett, welcomed the Community and Guests to the Opening Ceremony at the National Cultural Centre in Georgetown. She noted that it was fitting for another Regular Meeting to be held in the home of one of the four Signatories to the Original Treaty of Chaguaramas, as celebrations continue for CARICOM’s landmark 50th Anniversary.

The Secretary-General said that significant technical and policy work by the Secretariat and Member States has led to accomplishments in various areas.  She also pointed to the Region’s influence in key international forums where Member States have a voice in addressing complex and multi-faceted global issues.  “CARICOM speaks loudly and clearly in the international community. Our determined advocacy has helped to spur positive change for critical hemispheric and global issues,” she said.

The Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica and Outgoing Chair, pinpointed signing of a Double Taxation Agreement to ease trade and investment within the Community; continued calls toward raising climate change awareness; deepened engagement with international partners to secure crucial support for our development priorities; efforts toward a lasting solution to the challenges faced by Haiti; and regional collaboration to defuse the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy, as signal achievements over the past year.

“These achievements are not merely footnotes; they represent the collective spirit of the Caribbean. They represent the unwavering commitment of our governments, the dedication of our people, and the power of regional collaboration,” he emphasized.

His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, Chairman, stressed the importance of accountability to the people of the Region and of ensuring the fulfilment of commitments made. He highlighted initiatives in areas including Food Security, Climate Change, Regional Digitalization and Youth, and Regional Transport.

On Haiti, the CARICOM Chair emphasized, “Our Region has one interest when it comes to Haiti – that is the people of Haiti. We will not deviate from that interest.”

He also underscored the “brilliance of culture” in the Region. “In this Region, culture is our staple. Culture is that common thread that brings us together,” he emphasized.

A highlight of the Opening Ceremony was the presentation of a drumming corps comprising performers from host country Guyana, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Their spirited, lively performance, “Sounds of the Caribbean”, and other cultural performances by Guyanese young people added colour and energy to the ceremony.

The Ceremony can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZRii9kvmlk

Presentations are available at https://hgc.caricom.org.

CARICOM SINGLE MARKET AND ECONOMY (CSME)

The Conference received an update from the Prime Minister of Barbados, Chair of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (PMSC-CSME), on progress regarding its implementation.

The Conference noted the report of the PMSC-CSME on the status of important CSME objectives and agreed on urgent steps to expedite several of them. These include intensified work towards free movement, speeding up reviews to facilitate harmonization of certain Business Laws and Mutual recognition. They stressed the importance of digital transformation with respect to companies’ registries and agreed to establish a regional committee of information technology experts to help with this digital transformation, under the leadership of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell as Lead Head responsible for ICT and Incoming Chair.

The Conference noted the work underway to complete initiatives such as the establishment of a Regional Securities Market by July 2024.

WORK TOWARDS FREE MOVEMENT OF ALL COMMUNITY NATIONALS

The Conference received a report on the work of the Reconstituted Inter-Governmental Task Force (ITGF) to implement the Decision of the Conference of July 2023 to work towards Free Movement of all Community Nationals.

They agreed that draft amendments to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas should include basic guarantees to be afforded to all CARICOM nationals exercising the right of free movement and directed the IGTF and Legal Affairs Committee to complete their work for the consideration of a meeting of the Conference to take place on 15 March.

THE AGRI-FOOD SYSTEMS AGENDA- FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY

Heads of Government received a report from the Chairman, Lead Head of Government with responsibility for Agriculture and Agriculture Development in the CARICOM Quasi-Cabinet, and from the Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha, Minister of Agriculture of Guyana and Chair of the Ministerial Taskforce on Food Production and Food Security.

The Meeting was updated on efforts towards achieving the 25 by 2025 Food and Nutrition Security Initiative, including policy approvals; removal of barriers to intra-regional trade; agricultural trade promotion; cross-border investments; human resource development and capacity building; increased production and productivity; and transportation and logistics.

The Agriculture Minister noted that there has been increased awareness and buy-in to improve Food and Nutrition Security in the Region, and outlined that more than 73 projects and programmes which support the 25 by 2025 initiative are being implemented by over 13 regional partners and donors. Another 20 or so initiatives are at different stages of formulation.

The Conference commended the Chairman’s leadership on this critical agenda item. They encouraged Member States to take advantage of the agricultural insurance product being offered to the sector and encouraged greater collaboration among Member States. They noted cooperation projects with the Community’s external partners, including Cuba, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Conference further observed that the upcoming pilot regional ferry service would be a key component oF the Region’s food security efforts.

They agreed that Member States would develop a Pre-Clearance/Regional Export Trade Mechanism for agricultural produce for endorsement and approval by the Conference at its 47th Regular Meeting in July 2024, and requested that the MTF accelerate the identification of additional investor-friendly policies and programmes for implementation under the 25 by 2025 food security initiative.

Heads of Government also strongly encouraged the regional private sector to take advantage of the proposal from Suriname, which is making available 300,000 Ha of land for regional agricultural development. They underscored the private sector’s role in taking urgent action to invest in the production of agricultural items for which frequent suspensions of the CET are granted.

DEVELOPMENTS IN REGIONAL AIR AND MARITIME TRANSPORTATION

The Meeting received a report from the CARICOM Private Sector Organisation (CPSO) on efforts to address the Region’s air and maritime transportation issues. The CPSO noted that opportunities exist for maritime solutions in agro-food products requiring cold chain including fresh produce, meat and poultry and to supplement the movement of persons. They also noted that container-shipping capacity exceeds demand and purpose-specific interventions are needed to connect opportunities.

Heads of Government expressed appreciation to the regional Private Sector for their work to complete “Commercial Assessment Phase 1” and encouraged the CPSO to place greater emphasis on re-engineering routes. They reiterated the need for the Private Sector to capitalise on the myriad investment opportunities in regional air and maritime transportation.

REPLENISHMENT OF THE CDF CAPITAL FUND

Heads of Government consulted on the replenishment of the CDF Capital Fund for the 3rd Contribution & Subvention Cycle. They agreed on the baseline period of 2016 -2021 for the formula for the replenishment of the CDF based on a capitalization of US$80 million, and to review and revise the contribution formula before the next replenishment cycle.

Heads of Government agreed to establish a committee led by Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana to examine innovative ways to finance the CDF.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND CLIMATE FINANCING

Heads of Government reviewed the situation facing the Region as it relates to Climate Change and took stock of the outcome of COP 28. They noted the continuing inadequacy of the international response and the rapidly closing window of opportunity to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels despite many commitments and promises. Heads issued a Statement on Climate Financing.

GLOBAL AND HEMISPHERIC ISSUES

The Conference expressed grave concern with the ongoing situation in Gaza.

They acknowledged efforts made by Member States of the Community to support the residents of Gaza facing catastrophic food insecurity, displacement, and intersecting humanitarian crises, given the operational challenges facing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

They also acknowledged the need for CARICOM to advocate for a positive resolution, and underscored the pre-eminent role that the Community can assume with Trinidad and Tobago as the current President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and Guyana as a member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and President of the Council in February 2024.

Heads of Government issued a Statement on the Ongoing Situation in Gaza.

HAITI

Heads of Government issued a Statement on Haiti.

PREPARATIONS FOR THE 2024 ICC T-20 CRICKET WORLD CUP

The Conference received an update on preparations for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 from Dr. Kishore Shallow, President of Cricket West Indies.

Six Member States (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago) will host matches of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 Tournament from 4 – 30 June 2024.

The Conference noted the indication from the CWI President that to date, CWI has received four million applications for tickets from 120 countries. Heads of Government urged the CWI to put measures in place to ensure the availability and ease of access to tickets for matches by the people of the Region who have long been passionate supporters of the sport.

The Conference underscored the unique character of West Indies Cricket and the importance of a strategic review of cricket both as a game and business towards ensuring growth and sustainability of the sport in the Region. In that context, Heads acknowledged the proposal by Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and Chairman of the CARICOM Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Cricket, to host a conference on West Indies Cricket on 19 April 2024 in Port of Spain to explore the business trajectory for the sport.

Heads of Government expressed appreciation for the technical work that the Health, Safety and Security Sub-Committee (HSSC) had commenced to facilitate hassle-free travel and improved citizen security for the 2024 T20 Cricket World Cup.

REPARATIONS

The Meeting heard from Sir Hilary Beckles, Chairman, CARICOM Reparations Commission, and Prime Minister Mottley, Chair of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee (PMSC) on Reparations, on the successful advocacy of the CARICOM Reparations Commission over the past decade, in bringing global attention to the Region’s call for Reparatory Justice.

They endorsed the Regional Strategic Framework as recommended by the PMSC, and approved the Regional Work Plan and Budget for 2024 – 2026.

The Conference proposes to place more emphasis on direct engagement, advocacy and negotiations, including strengthening partnership with the African Union. They agreed to broaden the context for Reparatory Justice to include native genocide, chattel enslavement, indentureship and colonialism, and recognised the peculiar circumstances of overseas territories in the Region in relation to Reparatory Justice. They requested the PMSC on Reparations to advise on modalities for their involvement in CARICOM’s Reparations agenda.

They also agreed to seek to have Reparations included on the agendas of the SIDS Conference in Antigua and Barbuda in May 2024, and the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) Conference in October 2024.

CARIFESTA

Heads of Government welcomed the offer from Barbados to host XV CARIFESTA in August 2025.

HIGH LEVEL DIALOGUE WITH GUESTS

Heads of Government extended a warm welcome to Special Guest of the Conference, His Excellency Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil.  They noted that his presence is indicative of the strong bond between the Region and Brazil and that the two sides share a rich history of South-South cooperation and are united by geography as well as by a common desire to build prosperity for their peoples.

They expressed appreciation for the instrumental role played by Brazil in facilitating the Guyana-Venezuela Joint Commission in January 2024.

The Conference highlighted the immense potential for mutually beneficial cooperation in areas including Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation; Disaster Preparedness; and Food and Nutrition Security, especially for the Region’s 25 by 2025 initiative.

President Lula expressed his great joy to be present at the Conference. He noted that his country took a strategic decision to prioritise its relationship with countries in CARICOM.  He underscored Brazil’s support for efforts to address the Region’s priorities of climate change, regional security, intra-regional connectivity, and sustainable development including through advocacy at the G20 during Brazil’s Presidency in 2024.

The Second CARICOM-Brazil Summit is to be held in 2024.

Heads of Government also welcomed His Excellency Adel Al-Jubeir, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia.  They looked forward to the early opening of a CARICOM House in Saudi Arabia as well as the formalization of a mechanism to ensure other projects in the pipeline are realised.

The Minister of State underscored his country’s desire for a long-term partnership in areas including trade and investment, environment and climate change, and education.

ENGAGEMENT WITH SIR CLIVE LLOYD

The Conference received Guyanese cricketing legend, Sir Clive Lloyd and announced the consensus of the Community to confer on him the Region’s highest honour, the Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC)

They lauded his sustained excellent performance over decades and hailed him as “one of the brightest examples of leadership” from the Region.

BELIZE – GUATEMALA AND BELIZE – HONDURAS

The Heads of Government received an update on the Belize – Guatemala and the Belize – Honduras cases before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and commended the Parties for their willingness to seek a peaceful resolution to all legal claims against Belize to land and insular territories and to any maritime areas pertaining to those territories, through the ICJ.  They called on all Parties to abide by the ICJ decision when delivered, and to work together to demarcate the borders in compliance with the ruling.

The Conference expressed concern over the continued illegal activities by Guatemalan nationals along the Belize – Guatemala border and called on the Guatemalan Government to dissuade its nationals, in accordance with the Confidence Building Measures signed in 2005, from entering Belizean territory.   They called on both governments to work together to confront illicit activities along the Belize – Guatemala border by organizing joint patrols with the assistance of the Organization of American States (OAS).

They commended the work carried out by the OAS in reducing tension and building good neighbourly relations between Belize and Guatemala and encouraged both countries to continue to mobilize resources for the operations of the OAS office, whose work will continue to be critical including after the ICJ decision on the territorial, insular and maritime dispute.

GUYANA – VENEZUELA

Heads of Government received an update on developments in Guyana/Venezuela relations. They decried the significant Venezuelan military border activity, but noted a lowering of tensions since the Joint Declaration of Argyle for Dialogue and Peace between Guyana and Venezuela, was issued on December 14, 2023, following the meeting of the Presidents of the two countries.

They welcomed the convening of the first meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Guyana and Venezuela and their technical teams in Brasilia on January 25, 2024, as a positive step to rebuilding cooperation between the two countries, while the International Court of Justice determines the case concerning the land boundary.

Heads also noted that Venezuela has until April 8, 2024, to submit its counter-memorial on the merits of the case regarding the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award that had determined the boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela, and urged it to do so.

They reaffirmed their solid support for the maintenance and preservation of Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

CANDIDATURES

Heads of Government expressed CARICOM’s endorsement of the candidature of H.E. Albert Ramdin, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation of Suriname, for the post of Secretary-General of the Organization of American States.

APPRECIATION

Heads of Government expressed their appreciation to the Government and People of Guyana for their excellent hospitality and the arrangements as Hosts of the meeting.

DATE AND VENUE OF NEXT REGULAR MEETING

Heads of Government accepted the invitation of Grenada to host the 47th Regular Meeting of the Conference from 3 -5 July 2024.

STATEMENTS

Statement: CARICOM Heads of Government Exchange on Haiti

CARICOM Heads of Government, including Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, met with International Partners of Haiti including, Canada, France, the United States, the United Kingdom and the United Nations in a coordination meeting on the situation in Haiti in the context of the Security Council Resolution 2699. Haiti, as a sister nation of the Community was a key focus of the 46th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in Georgetown, Guyana, on 26 February.

The Heads of Government and the Partners received an update on the situation by the Coordinator of the Eminent Persons Group, former Prime Minister Kenny Anthony. In the course of a frank and in-depth discussion on the situation in Haiti, the CARICOM Heads expressed their deep concern over the continued deterioration of the security, humanitarian and political situation and the continued delay in overcoming the political stalemate, which have blocked the possibility of free and fair elections. CARICOM Heads underlined the critical and immediate need for a clear political path forward which should be participatory and inclusive.

The CARICOM Heads took note of the commitment made by Prime Minister Ariel Henry to major steps to move the political process forward, including the holding of general elections to restore constitutional government and authority no later than 31 August 2025. To this end, an electoral needs gap assessment team will be dispatched by CARICOM by 31 March 2024, in consultation with the United Nations in line with existing Security Council mandates, with the support of Canada, USA and the OAS. The Assessment Team will support planning and efforts of the relevant Haitian institutions to be established.

The CARICOM Heads and the key Partners recognised the depth of the suffering of the Haitian people. This has been exacerbated by the lack of consensus among the political stakeholders, civil society, the private and religious sectors and the Government of Haiti. In this regard, the CARICOM Heads called on all concerned to make the necessary concessions to arrive at a resolution of the political impasse. They urged that each Stakeholder must recognize that they will not obtain all that they want, but Haiti must obtain what it needs.

Against this background CARICOM will extend an invitation to the Stakeholders to participate in a meeting urgently to address and settle the critical political path that is participatory and inclusive.

Statement on the Ongoing Situation in Gaza

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) remains deeply distressed by the ongoing violence and deteriorating situation in Gaza, which has resulted in the tragic loss of civilian lives, including the deaths of women and children on an unprecedented scale, and widespread displacement and suffering.

CARICOM reiterates its strong condemnation of the attacks by Hamas and the taking of hostages on 7 October 2023, as well as of the Israeli actions that violate international humanitarian law and the human rights of the Palestinian people. The incessant Israeli bombardment of Gaza has led to catastrophic loss of civilian lives, the destruction of critical infrastructure and the deprivation of basic necessities, food, water and medical care.

In this regard, CARICOM urges an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in Gaza and safe and unimpeded access for the delivery of adequate and sustained humanitarian assistance. We also strongly advocate for the rule of law to prevail and for the return to their families of all hostages and persons held in administrative detention without charge.

Israel’s continued and expanding occupation of territory in the occupied West Bank poses a serious and continuing threat to a peaceful, secure and stable world. CARICOM, therefore, reaffirms its unwavering commitment to a holistic roadmap towards a two-state solution, in keeping with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 242, as the only viable path to peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

CARICOM also deplores the fact that Israel has flouted the Resolutions of both the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council calling for a ceasefire, as well as the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The Community, therefore, calls on the United Nations General Assembly to invoke its powers under UN General Assembly Resolution 377A “Uniting for Peace” to hold an emergency session and to issue appropriate recommendations to UN Member States to collectively impose measures designed to motivate Israel to adhere to its obligations under the said UN Resolution and under the ICJ Order.

The Community, therefore, calls for a renewed commitment to a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through meaningful dialogue and negotiation and calls upon the international community to play a constructive role in facilitating a lasting solution to the conflict and achieving a durable peace that guarantees the human rights, dignity and security of both sides.

Statement on Climate Change

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) remains on the frontlines of the global climate crisis, an issue the Region has been aggressively advocating on for the past thirty years. Despite the many commitments and promises of international partners, the window of opportunity to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is rapidly closing.

Heads of Government are concerned that while COP 28 was widely regarded as a historic event, with the completion of the first global stock take (GST), on progress in achievement of the Paris Agreement goals, the outcomes of GST show that emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise and the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of Parties will not keep global temperatures below the 1.5-degree goal enshrined in the Paris Agreement.

Heads of Government also expressed concern to be heading to COP 29 where a New Finance Goal will be articulated to replace the 100bn goal, which has not yet been met, even as developing countries require trillions to deal with the escalating impacts of Climate Change. Developed country parties have not provided enough finance at scale, technology and capacity building support required to help developing countries tackle their pressing needs to build their resilience, especially in adapting to the adverse and increasingly catastrophic impacts of Climate Change. The clear absence of definitive timelines for action and quantitative commitments for scaling up of investments, and particularly adaptation finance emerging out of COP 28, cause great concern to our Region.

The Conference noted that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) recognized as the most vulnerable group of countries and a special case for sustainable development, have been facing strong push back against the recognition of their special circumstances especially in the context of climate finance. There is limited international support for special allocations for SIDS within financing arrangements and available climate finance from international and private sources is limited, expensive and too onerous to access.

In light of the preceding, Heads of Government called for CARICOM to take a strategic, unified and coordinated approach to ensure that the Region remains influential in the climate and development arena through engagements with key partners and advocacy groups.

They called for renewed focus by the Region to advocate for inclusion of forests, nature-based solutions and blue carbon into market mechanisms with the aim of articulating clear regional positions and strategies.

Heads of Government reiterated the call for improved readiness programmes, simplified approval procedures, a change to the criteria for determining access to low-cost finance, and for the adoption of programmatic approaches to address the bottlenecks in accessing finance.

The Region reiterates its support for the Bridgetown Initiative’s call to expand capital adequacy of international financial institutions.

Heads recognized that the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States, scheduled to be held in Antigua and Barbuda, 27 – 30 May 2024, will be an inflection point for many of these discussions to be articulated. As such, the Region remains committed to participating in the Conference at the highest level.

CARICOM STATEMENT ON CRIME AND PUBLIC SAFETY

Following the inaugural symposium on Crime and Violence as a Public Health Safety Issue and the Declaration of the Heads of Government in Trinidad and Tobago on 17-18 April 2023, CARICOM Heads of Government met in caucus in Georgetown, Guyana, on 27 February 2024 to discuss the prevailing dire state of crime, violence, and public safety amongst its Member States.

Heads of Government reiterated their firm commitment to the principles stated in, and to the implementation of the actions set out in the Declaration on Crime and Violence as a Public Health Safety Issue.

In reaffirming the right to freedom of expression and to public speech CARICOM Heads of Government strongly condemned the development, presence, tolerance, or acceptance of violent, anti-social music and social media content that denigrate women and encourage or promote or support the use of violence, guns, and other anti-social behaviour, particularly targeted to our Youth.

CARICOM Heads of Government affirmed their support for engaging with young people in the creative economy, including the entertainment and music industry, and the sporting industry to develop, support and spread across the Region positive content to offset the negative impact of anti-social, violent, and criminal behaviour which some elements in that sector promote and support.

Given the serious, significant and chronic negative developmental impact that crime and violence is having on Member States, CARICOM Heads of Government committed to working with all sectors and institutions, including civil society, academia, labour, churches, our creatives, law enforcement, the judiciary, political parties, employers and businesses, and our external partners to implement all of the measures set out in the Declaration on Crime and Violence as a Public Health Safety Issue.

CARICOM Heads of Government remain committed to maintaining this Region as a zone of domestic peace and safety to ensure the preservation of our Caribbean civilization.

Statement on Matters Related to Regional Financing for Development in the Region

Heads of Government are of the view that funds should be streamlined to ensure that there are no conflicting mandates.

In this regard, Heads of Government supported the establishment of the Blue-Green Investment Bank, which is being established by Barbados, whose mandate is exclusively on investments aimed at achieving adaptation and safeguarding resilience in our Region and in our individual Member States.

Heads of Government are also of the view that pursuit of the CARICOM Development Fund’s (CDF) mandate should support investments aimed at stabilising Disadvantaged Countries, regions and sectors, with a view to achieving high levels of long-term economic growth in our Region and our individual Members States.

Heads of Government noted the existence of substantial amounts of funds held by households and the Private Sector in the financial institutions of the Region, both bank and non-bank.  A fraction of these deposits could be mobilised to finance Bonds issued by the CDF after consultation with the Regional Central Banks and preserve compliance with the prudential requirements of the financial sector in the respective jurisdictions.

It was agreed that the Lead Head of Government in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet with responsibility for CARICOM Single Market and Economy, Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, will coordinate the establishment of a Working Group on Financing for Caribbean Development, to be convened and headed by Vice-President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo to address the matter of mobilising financing including from the sources identified above, to be intermediated through the Blue-Green Investment Bank and the CDF to advance the objectives of regional resilience and growth.

It was also agreed that this Working Group on Financing for Caribbean Development should conclude its work within four months of the current meeting with a view to submitting the Report by the next meeting of Heads of Government.

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