Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government had the COVID-19 pandemic and the Region’s response high on the agenda for their 42nd Regular Meeting which was held online on the 5-6 July 2021. The impact of recent natural disasters, including the eruption of La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the widespread flooding in Guyana and Suriname were all examined. They are also expected to receive updates on Hurricane Elsa’s passage through several Member States.
The Meeting addressed several critical economic development matters including prioritizing regional food production and food security; the removal of regional roaming charges to help enhance the ICT sector; the push towards a common CARICOM Tourism policy; and revival of regional air transportation, post covid. It also examined ongoing issues related to tax transparency, blacklisting and de-risking.
The Heads of Government also examined issues impacting the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), and engaged representatives of the regional Private Sector, Labour and Civil Society. Community and international relations, and crime and security issues were also before the meeting.
The two-day Meeting was chaired by incoming CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda, who addressed the Opening Session on Monday 5 July at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Caribbean Time. The Opening also heard remarks from outgoing Chairman of CARICOM, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago and CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque.
The Chairman hosted an end-of-meeting Press Conference in the afternoon on Tuesday 6th July, which was also livestreamed on these two platforms.
Source: CARICOM, 2021 (www.caricom.org)