The Ninth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government
of the Caribbean Community was held at Deep Bay, Antigua and Barbuda from
4 to 8 July 1988. For the second successive year, and the second time in the
history of the Conference, all member States were represented at the level of
their Heads of Government. The heads of Government in attendance were: DR. the
Rt. Hon. Vere Bird, Prime Minister, Antigua and Barbuda; The Rt. Hon. Sir Lynden
O. Pindling, Prime Minister, the Bahamas; the Rt. Hon. L. Erskine Sandiford,
Prime Minister, Barbados; The Rt. Hon. Manuel Esquivel, Prime Minister, Belize;
the Rt. Hon. Mary Eugenia Charles, Prime Minister, Dominica; The Rt. Hon. Herbert
Blaize, Prime Minister, Grenada; His Excellency Hugh Desmond Hoyte, SC., President,
Guyana; The Rt. Hon. Edward Seaga, Prime Minister, Jamaica; Hon. John Osborne,
Chief Minister, Montserrat; Dr. The Rt. Hon. Kennedy Simmonds, Prime Minister,
St. Kitts and Nevis; The Rt. Hon. John Compton, Prime Minister, Saint Lucia,
The Rt. Hon. James Mitchell, Prime Minster, St. Vincent and the Grenadines;
and The Hon. A.N.R. Robinson, Prime Minister, Trinidad and Tobago.
Mr. Roderick Rainford, Secretary-General
of the Caribbean Community, chaired the Inaugural Session. Dr. The Rt.
Hon. Vere Bird, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, delivered the Opening
Address. Prime Minister Bird referred to the launching of the Caribbean
Free Trade Area (CARIFTA) in Antigua and Barbuda twenty-three years earlier
by himself and then Prime Ministers Barrow and Burnham "with the purpose
of rebuilding Caribbean Unit”. He traced the growth in the membership
of CARIFTA, its advance into the Caribbean Community, the establishment of the
Caribbean Development Bank and the formation of sub-regional organisations among
the Leeward and Windward Islands.
The Prime Minister added:
“When I reflect on my almost fifty years of association with the history of
the Caribbean, when I think of the men with whom I sat in Council shaping the
direction of the Region, when I consider the long and hard road we travelled,
I have no doubt that the ambition for a West Indian nation, which my generation
inherited in the 1940’s from Marryshow and Rawle, was right. I also have no
doubt that it remains right for this generation to maintain, as a desirable
goal, the prospect of a vibrant Caribbean nation in the future”.
Speeches were also delivered
by the Rt. Hon. Sir Lynden O. Pindling, Prime Minister, The Bahamas; The Hon.
L. Erskine Sandiford, Prime Minister, Barbados; The Rt. Hon. Manuel Esquivel,
Prime Minister, Belize; The Rt. Hon. Herbert Blaize, Prime Minister, Grenada
and the Rt. Hon. John G. M. Compton, Prime Minister, Saint Lucia.
Conference sent a cable to the
members of the West Indian cricket team, congratulating them on the way in which
they had brought to the Region through their victory in the Third Test Match
against England at Old Trafford.
The Meeting received messages
of greetings and congratulations from His Excellency Sir Shirdat Ramphal, Secretary-General
of the Commonwealth His Excellency Mr. Daniel Ortega Saavedra, President of
Nicaragua; His Excellency Mr. Ramsawack Shankar, President of Suriname; His
Excellency Mr. Leo Tindmans, Minister of External Affairs of Belgium; Mr. Mostafa
K. Tolba, Executive director of the United Nations Environment programme; and
Mr. Yves Renard, President of the Caribbean Conservation Association.
DEVELOPMENTS IN THE COMMUNITY
The Heads of Government reviewed the developments in the
economies of the Region during 1987 and were heartened by the signs of positive
economic growth in most Member States. They were concerned, however, that some
member States continued to experience difficulties with balance-of-payments,
external debt and debt servicing. They observed that, while efforts towards
restructuring the economies and improving national economic management had begun
to show signs of progress, the external environment still played a decisive
role in determining the performance of the performance of the regional economy.
They recognised, therefore, that the relatively reasonable performance in 1987
provided no opportunity a relaxation of policy and effort.
The Heads also expressed satisfaction
at the improvement in intra regional trade recorded in the last year. They noted
the recent action taken by some Member States to remove the barriers to the
flow of trade within the Region, and reiterated their commitment to a return
to free and unrestricted trade within the Common Market, in accordance with
the provisions of the Annex to the Treaty, with effect from 1 October 1988,
taking into account those circumstances which might require special treatment.
The Heads of Government were
encouraged by the steps being taken to strengthen the institutional arrangements
in the Community for the promotion of regional industrial development.
In this context, Conference welcomed the positive steps taken to establish the
CARICOM Enterprise Regime, which would come into force as soon as two more ratifications
were obtained, and welcomed the strong interest of the private sector in that
They further noted that Guyana,
Jamaica and Montserrat had also signed the Protocol for the CARICOM Industrial
Year of Increased Food production
Conference agreed to declare 1990 the “Year
of CARICOM Increased Food Production”, with particular emphasis on the relevant
national and regional programmes and projects.
Protection of the Environment
The Heads of Government reiterated their commitment to
the Caribbean environment. Without prejudice to the right of each State
to pursue its own national development goals as it deemed appropriate, they
undertook to pay greater attention to environmental considerations in the formulation
of development policies, plans and programmes.
Export Bank (CXB)
Conference reaffirmed the need for export credit and insurance
facilities to support the Region’s drive to increase non-traditional exports,
but agree to defer, for the time being, the establishment of the Caribbean Export
Bank to an independent regional institution. They agreed instead to request
the Caribbean Development Bank to consider establishing a facility to provide
export credit in priority areas and to mobilise the necessary funds for the
operation of the facility.
Conference noted the draft air transportation agreement
between Governments of CARICOM States and the UK, tabled by the Government of
Trinidad and Tobago and was informed that the UK Government had circulated a
draft agreement to some of the Eastern Caribbean Governments.
Conference agreed that a meeting of the Eastern Caribbean
Governments would be convened at Ministerial level to discuss the two drafts to
arrive at a common negotiation position.
and Drug Abuse Control
Heads commended the progress made toward the
implementation of the Regional Programme for Drug Abuse Abatement and Control
and endorsed the direction of the Programme taken so far.
In particular, they welcomed the assistance being given
by the European Economic Community to carry forward, in a timely manner, regional
activities in preventive education and public information. They noted
that support might be forthcoming from other donors for activities in law enforcement
training. They recalled that these areas had been identified for priority
attention by their Eight Meeting.
Heads of Government reaffirmed their total commitment to
the against drug abuse in the Region and against all illegal trafficking in
drugs, whether within the Caribbean or beyond. They expressed their willingness
to cooperate with other countries or the established of internationally acceptable
mechanisms to bring offenders to justice.
Heads of Government, however, voiced deep concern regarding
the inadequate level of effectiveness of campaigns by major consumer societies
against drug users within their own borders. It is the unanimous view
that the battle against dangerous drugs cannot be successful without an effective
campaign against users, involving education, surveillance and interdiction,
as well as the eradication of the production of dangerous drugs in major consumer
and Technology Policy
Conference endorsed the Regional Science and Technology
Policy approved by the Standing Committee of Ministers responsible for Science
and Technology and noted that the Policy gave priority to the training of our
human resources; applied research and development in areas to improve
agricultural production; linking research and development with the productive
and services sectors and the profitable development of the natural resources of
the Region; the enhancement of systems, including telecommunications, to enable
the acquisition and exchange of technology information on the Region; and the
greater efficiency in the acquisition and in the use of technology.
Conference agreed that the Regional Science and
Technology Policy should be regarded as a high priority and mandated the
Standing Committee of Ministers responsible for Science and Technology to
continue its deliberations on the implementation of the Regional Science and
Programmes and Institutions
Conference received and noted a status report on the review
of the functioning of regional organisations and of the programmes administered
by the Caribbean community Secretariat. Conference agreed that the review,
which would exclude the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) as well as the Caribbean
Agricultural and Rural Development Advisory and Training Service (CARDATS),
would examine the objectives and performance of the organisations and the Secretariat
and make recommendations on the most cost-effective means of attaining the agreed
The Heads received a progress report on the CARIFESTA programme
and approved the recommendations formulated by the Seventh meeting of the Standing
Committee of Ministers responsible for Education. The Heads agreed that
a Meeting of Ministers responsible for Culture should b convened in Jamaica
to determine the most cost-effective and culturally beneficial structure for
promoting future CARIFESTAS, beginning with the CARIFESTA to be held in Jamaica
Conference noted the important role being played by the
tourist industry in the economies of a growing number of CARICOM Member States.
The Heads of Government recognised the potential linkages between tourism and
such other sectors as agriculture and transport, and the value of increased
cooperation in this area among Member States. To this end, conference
agreed to a proposal by the Government of Belize for the establishment of a
Standing committee of Ministers responsible for Tourism as an Institution of
PRESIDENCY OF THE
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The Heads of Government reaffirmed their sponsorship of
the candidature of Dame Nita Barrow for election to the Presidency of the
Forty-third Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). And pledged
their continued efforts to secure her election to that position.
They emphasised that No CARICOM country had ever represented
the Latin America and Caribbean Group in that capacity. They stressed
the principle of fairness and equitable distribution and expressed the wish
that consensus might soon be achieved within the Latin American and Caribbean
Group (GRULAC) on this matter, to demonstrate regional cohesion and strengthen
regional relations in which the strong desire of all CARICOM countries to play
their rightful part within the UN system will be fully realised.
OF THE COMMUNITY
The Heads of Government reviewed the Community’s
relations with Latin America during the past year, and reaffirmed their desire
to strengthen those relations, particularly in the areas of trade and economic
They noted that all CARICOM States Members of the Organisation
of American States had ratified the Protocol of Cartagena which is designed
to permit the entry of Belize and Guyana to the OAS. The Heads urged those
OAS Member States which have not yet done so, to ratify the Protocol at the
The Heads of Government expressed satisfaction with the
recent political developments in Surinam and welcomed that country’s return
to representative democracy. They expressed their support for Suriname’s
effort to obtain international assistance within a framework of national sovereignty,
for the fulfilment of its development aspirations.
Having reviewed the operations of CARIBCAN, Conference
agreed on a set of proposals designed to improve the commercial aspects of the
arrangement and reiterated its appeal to the Government of Canada to introduce
an effective investment component into the arrangement.
Conference discussed the recent developments relating to
the Caribbean Basin Initiative. Heads of Government noted that a number
of reviews of CBI had been conducted by visiting US congressional missions during
1987.thy observed that these missions had corroborated their own assessment
that, while the CBI had the potential to economic development in the Region,
actual performance had fallen below expectation, primarily because the existing
legislation had failed to deal adequately with critical areas such as investments
and financial assistance, and had excluded several products in which the Region
had a production capacity and also because of protectionist measures introduced
or threatened form time to time. Th Heads of Government further observed
that action such as the reduction in the sugar quotas and administrative and
legislative measures against CBI products have created an atmosphere of uncertainty
for both trade and investment.
The Heads of Government therefore welcomed the
introduction of new legislation aimed at correcting some of these deficiencies,
and expressed the hope that the Bills would receive the support of Congress and
the Administration, and would be passed in a form designed to make the maximum
contribution to improving the overall impact of the CBI.
Relations with the
European Economic Community
The Conference reviewed the performance of the Region under
the Lome III convention. They expressed concern at the slow pace of implementation
of the financial assistance programme under this convention, particularly with
respect to the regional programme. They noted the developments in Europe
toward the creation of a Single European market by 1992 and expressed grave
concern at the possible impact on Caribbean exports to this market, especially
bananas. They accordingly noted the mandate from the Common market Council,
for the Secretariat to undertake a study on the probable impact of this development
on the Caribbean. The Heads of Government agreed to keep the situation
The Heads also noted that the negotiations for the
Successor Arrangement to Lome III would be launched in October 1988 and endorsed
the Caribbean position for these negotiations.
Conference expressed satisfaction with, and gave encouragement
to, the efforts being made by the Region, through the CBD, to mobilise concessionary
and conventional financing from Japan and to open up joint venture avenues with
that country. Conference strongly supported an intensification of these
WIDENING OF THE
The Heads of Government welcomed the interest shown by a
number of States and organisations in establishing formal relations with the
They noted the statement of the Chief Minister of
Anguilla of his country’s intention to consider applying for membership of the
The Heads agreed to the participation of Suriname as
observers in the deliberations of the Standing Committee of Ministers
responsible for Transportation.
They agreed to the participation of the Netherlands
Antilles as observers in the deliberations of the Conference of Ministers
responsible for Health and of the Standing Committees of Ministers responsible
for Agriculture, Education, Labour, Science and Technology, and Transportation.
Conference considered a letter from the Turks and Caicos
Islands requesting a discussion on that country’s links with the Community,
agreed to the commencement of those discussions and directed that a report on
the matter be presented at its Tenth Meeting.
Conference also agreed to grant the West Indies Junior
Chamber Liaison Stature with the Caribbean Community Secretariat, thus entitling
that organisation to regular consultation with the Secretariat with a view to
the involvement of the Jaycees in appropriate Community programmes.
CARICOM IN THE
The Heads of Government considered the report which they
had commissioned on the development prospects of the Caribbean Region to the
year 2000. They noted that the report assessed the prospects for the Caribbean
against the back-drop of the fundamental structural changes taking place in
the financial, technological, geopolitical and other aspects of the global environment,
and the expanding working age population of the Region.
The Heads recognised that those changes, while creating
uncertainty and major challenges, also provided opportunities to foster development.
They further recognised that a number of policy issues needed to be resolved
to enable Caribbean economies to be more competitive by the twenty-first century.
The Heads reaffirmed their commitment to seek higher levels
of national economic performance, accelerated human resource development and
increased employment opportunities and to improve the range, price and quality
of regional products. They observed, however, that an intensification
of regional cooperation and coordination would enhance the attainment of these
They also observed that development, in the present circumstances,
would require the combined effort of government, academia, labour and the private
sector. They therefore agreed that the report should be subject to broad-based
discussions in each Member State to arrive at a national understanding on a
future plan of action. Heads agreed to a similar process at the regional
level which would seek to distil, from the various national reviews, a plan
of action for the Region.
Heads of Government publicly recognised the assistance
given by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the University of the West Indies in
undertaking the study, and the work of the tem coordinated by Prof. Bourne,
which prepared the report.
LAW OF THE SEA
The Heads underscored the importance the attached to the
United Nations convention on the Law of the Sea. They reiterated the hope
that it may soon enter into force and urged all States which has not yet done
so, to ratify that Convention as soon as possible.
The Heads noted with satisfaction the progress being made
in the work of the Preparatory Commission for the International Sea-Bed
Authority and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
They endorsed a programme of action for the coming year
in relation to the proposal for cooperation among Member States, in respect of
access to their fisheries zones and management of their exclusive economic
In their review of the Caribbean development within the
context of the changing global environment, the heads of Government noted the
uncertainties faced by the Region in both the trading and financial spheres.
They observed that Caribbean countries faced difficulties in obtaining access
to international finance, particularly in the light of the reduced availability
of loan financing and the increased cost of debt finance. They further
noted that the threat of graduation form assistance from the multilateral development
financial institutions crested greater uncertainties about the future of financing
Caribbean development. They recognised that, while there was need to improve
their international financial management, inflows of financial assistance on
reasonable terms and conditions were still required from the international financial
They called on the international community to give more
sympathetic treatment to the problems of small developing countries of the
Heads of Government considered the serious economic and
financial difficulties now being faced by Trinidad and Tobago as a result of
the collapse of world oil prices and took note of the fact that both international
financial institutions and bilateral aid donors seemed not to be seized of the
urgency and importance of these problems not only to Trinidad and Tobago but
also to CARICOM as a whole. They recalled that during that country’s oil
boom, Trinidad and Tobago had provided other countries with significant amount
of financial inflows and buoyant markets for gods and services.
They therefore called upon the relevant international financial institutions
and bilateral aid donors to provide external inflows, adequate in volume and
on appropriately concessional terms, to Trinidad and Tobago to facilitate the
ongoing process of adjustment and economic recovery in that country.
With respect to trade, the Heads observed that the
Caribbean countries all had an interest in the attainment of a stable and
equitable international trade and economic environment. They looked forward to a
positive outcome of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations which
would further strengthen the international trading system and make it more
responsive to the needs of developing countries such as those in the Caribbean.
The Heads noted several important initiatives being taken
within the international system to strengthen and foster the growth of south-south
trade. In this connection, Conference noted the signature by two Member
States – Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago – in April 1988, of the Framework Agreement
establishing the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries
(GSTP). Conference reaffirmed the commitment to Member States to this
effort at self-reliance through economic cooperation by the Group of 77, and
looked forward to the launching of the Second Round of Negotiations under the
GSTP, in which fuller participation by CARICOM Member States was anticipated.
Conference expressed its support for the objectives and
the work of the South Commission and noted that Member States would make
individual voluntary financial pledges to the Commission.
Heads noted with satisfaction the developments now taking
place in Belize’s relations with the Republic of Guatemala. They welcomed
the formation of the Joint Commission of Officials of both Governments with
the additional participation of the United Kingdom charged with the preparation
of a comprehensive draft treaty which will provide a just and honourable solution
to the long-standing difficulties between them.
Heads reaffirmed their full support for Belize’s independence
and territorial integrity. They also reaffirmed their full support for
the new initiatives towards negotiating a settlement that will not include land
cession on the part of Belize.
Heads called on the Government of the United Kingdom to
continue to give Belize all the support necessary to achieve a solution that
will enable Belize and Guatemala to develop normal peaceful bilateral relations,
as should exist between neighbouring sovereign and independent countries.
The Heads welcomed the continued improvement in relations
between Guyana and Venezuela, as demonstrated in the expanding and deepening
network of bilateral cooperation.
With regard the controversy between the two countries,
the Heads also noted the reiteration, by the Presidents of Guyana and Venezuela,
of their determination to cooperate fully with the Secretary-General of the
United Nations in the fulfilment of the mandate given by him by Article IV (2)
of the Geneva Agreement.
Conference commended the efforts being made by the Governments
and peoples of Central America to bring peace to that sub-region, within the
framework of the Esquipulas II Sapoa Accords. The Heads of Government
encouraged the continuation of these efforts and called for maximum international
support for them.
They regarded these initiatives, together with similar
initiatives in other parts of the Region, as evidence of both the determination
and the ability of the people of the Caribbean and Latin America to devise their
own solutions to their problems.
The Heads reiterated their call for a political solution
to the problems in Central America on the basis of full respect for the
principles of independence, sovereignty and non-interference in the internal
affairs of states.
Conference took note of the special plan of economic cooperation
for Central America approved by the United Nations, and was particularly pleased
at the inclusion of Belize in the plan.
The Situation in
The Heads of Government reviewed the recent developments
In Panama and reaffirmed the sovereign right of the Panamanian people to
determine their own destiny, free from external pressures.
The Heads noted with much concern the dangerous situation
existing in Southern Africa, which constituted a threat to peace and security,
both in that region and beyond it. They recognised that at the core of
this situation lay the racist Pretoria Regime and the means by which it seeks
to ensure the perpetuation of white minority rule in South Africa and Namibia.
They viewed with alarm, the recent measures adopted by
the Pretoria regime in its continued attempt to stifle all opposition to apartheid,
such as the insulation of the country from scrutiny by the international press
and the banning of anti-apartheid organisations. They deplored the proposed
judicial murder of the Sharpville six and the assassination of Dulcie September
They pointed out that such actions gave further
confirmation of the Regime’s insistence on the preservation of white minority
rule at all costs, and of the absence of any desire for a peaceful settlement.
The Heads reaffirmed their support for the just struggle
of the oppressed peoples of South Africa and Namibia, who remain undeterred
in spite of the intensified brutality of the Pretoria Regime. They reiterated
their call for these people to enjoy their inalienable right to live in freedom
and dignity. In this regard, they expressed support for the current dialogue
aimed at the withdrawal of South African troops from Angola and for the independence
of Namibia, in accordance with Security Council Resolution 435, and expressed
the hope that the momentum begun would continue without interruption.
The Heads, while recognising the widening support which
the struggle was gaining internationally, called on the international community
to maintain its vigilance and to intensify pressure on the Pretoria Regime for
the early dismantling of the abhorrent system of apartheid, and for the ushering
in of a regime of peace, freedom and justice in Southern Africa.
The Heads also called for the deepening and widening use
of sanctions which, on the basis of factual data relating to the decline of the
South African economy, is a most effective strategy top bring South Africa to
the negotiating table.
The Heads recalled that on July 18 next Nelson Mandela
will be celebrating his 70th birthday and that 1988 marks the twenty-sixth
year of his physical captivity. They formulated sincerest wished to him
on the occasion of his birthday and renewed their call for his immediate and
Apartheid in Sport
The Heads reviewed the current status of the International
convention Against Apartheid in Sport, which was adopted by the United Nations
General Assembly on 10 December 1985. They urged all States which had
not already done so, to take the necessary steps, as a matter of urgency to
become parties to the Convention, which came into force on 3 April 1988.
The Middle East
The Heads of Government noted that since their last Meeting,
the situation in the Middle East had deteriorated. They regretted the
abuse of human rights and the loss of life associated with the upheavals in
the Occupied Territories.
This emphasizes the need for Conference for peace as
called for by the United Nations for finding a just and lasting settlement to
the Middle East question guaranteeing the right of all states and peoples in the
region to exist in peace within recognised and secure borders.
The Gulf War
The heads of Government expressed their sadness at the
massive loss of life occasioned by the worsening situation in the Gulf.
They called on Iran and Iraq to use all available means to arrive at an early
resolution to the conflict.
The Conference recorded its extreme dismay at the recent
shooting down of Iranian civilian aircraft. The Heads expressed sympathy,
on behalf of the peoples of the Caribbean Community to the relatives of the
The Heads welcomed the Geneva Agreement. They called
for the strict implementation of the Agreement by all parties concerned so as
to ensue the restoration of conditions of peace and stability in the Region.
Reviewing the current state of international relations,
the Heads expressed the view that the new tendency that appeared to be developing
in relations between the United States and the Soviet Union held the promise
of reducing tension, not only between those two countries, but internationally
as well. In this regard, they were encouraged by the conclusion of the
Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty banning intermediate-range nuclear
weapons from Europe.
The Heads expressed the hope that this limited
disarmament initiative and the new climate of understanding accompanying it, and
its further manifestations in the recent Moscow Summit, would together lead to
the creation of an atmosphere in which disarmament agreements of wider
application could be concluded.
Notwithstanding the disappointing results of the Third
Special Session of the United devoted to Disarmament, the Heads urged the
continuation of the new direction in relations between the Super Powers as an
important and welcome contribution to the quest for disarmament; particularly in
its nuclear aspect, and the strengthening of international security in general.
The Heads of Government affirmed their support for the
Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and the right of the people of the Republic to
self-determination and the independence in accordance with the relevant
resolution of the United Nations and of the Organisation of African Unity and
called Morocco and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, to negotiate just and
lasting solution to the conflict in Western Sahara.
DATE AND VENUE OF
The Heads of Government were pleased to accept the offer
by the Government of Grenada to host the Tenth Meeting of Conference, which
should open on the evening of 3 July 1989 and continue until 7 July 1989.
The Heads also accepted the offer of Dominica to host the Eleventh Meeting of
Conference in 1990.