The Tenth Special Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the
Caribbean Community was held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on 8-9
November 2004. The meeting was chaired by Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell, Prime
Minister of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique, and Chairman of the
Other Heads of Government in attendance were: The Prime Minister of Antigua
and Barbuda, Hon Baldwin Spencer; the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Hon.
Owen Arthur; the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Hon. Roosevelt
Skerrit; the President of Guyana, His Excellency Bharrat Jagdeo; the Prime
Minister of Jamaica, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson; the Chief Minister of
Montserrat, Dr. the Hon. John Osborne; the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Dr.
the Hon. Kenny D. Anthony; the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,
Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves; the President of Suriname, His Excellency Drs.
Runaldo R. Venetiaan; and the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Hon.
The Bahamas was represented by Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign
Affairs while Hon. Godfrey Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs, represented
Belize. Hon Timothy Harris, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
represented St Kitts and Nevis.
Opening remarks were delivered by Hon. Patrick Manning, Prime Minister of the
host country Trinidad and Tobago and the Chairman of The Conference, Dr. the Rt.
Hon. Keith Mitchell. Remarks were also made by the Deputy Secretary-General of
the Caribbean Community Secretariat, Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite.
In his remarks, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago asserted that his
country has been consistent in the pursuit and support of regional development.
He said that Trinidad and Tobago had introduced and shouldered many initiatives,
based on their importance and the difficulty which fellow Member States would
face in treating with the issues they were designed to address.
He added that the Region faced many challenges and Member States have sought
to respond appropriately and at every level. He cited as examples the
establishment of a Task Force on Crime, and the Region's response to Member
States in the face of the devastation in the 2004 hurricane season.
Prime Minister Manning added that Trinidad and Tobago had heightened the
implementation of policies that will make the CARICOM economy stronger and
reduce the Region's vulnerability to the international economic environment. He
cited the launching of the CARICOM Trade Support Programme which is intended to
support and strengthen the Region's private sector, by providing assistance to
firms, so as to enable them to improve their competitiveness and export
capability. This, the Prime Minister said, is part of the strategy to make
businesses in the Region CSME-ready on a timely basis.
In delivering the keynote address, Chairman of the Caribbean Community and
Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the Rt. Honourable Keith Mitchell said that the
Region must recommit and work towards meeting the deadlines for the full
implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.
He drew attention to the devastation to Grenada by Hurricane Ivan, adding
that the ravages brought on by the storm had reaffirmed his conviction that the
Region needed the Regional Development Fund as established in the Treaty. He
added that had the Fund been in place, it would have triggered an automatic
response at the Community level to the immediate needs of Member States
following the passage of the hurricane.
The CARICOM Chairman added that in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan, Grenada
had benefited from one of the pillars of the CSME-the Free Movement of Skilled
Nationals. He added that Grenadians were deeply committed to being involved in
Prime Minister Mitchell stressed that there are lessons to be learned from
the 2004 hurricane season and that the Community must have detailed and
well-articulated disaster management systems in place. He added that the Region
would not develop if hard-earned economic growth and development were repeatedly
set back by natural disasters.
Deputy Secretary-General Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite emphasised that the
meeting was taking place at a critical time in the Community's history and with
a focus on a fuller implementation of the CSME.
She noted that the Conference, when it decided to meet in Special Session to
focus on the CSME implementation, was conscious that regional and world
developments continue to show that a Single Market and Economy is the best
option to equip CARICOM Members States to face the onslaught of globalisation,
and at the same time address the expectations of CARICOM nationals. She added
that the Region cannot falter in the pursuit of its goal, but would have to act
as if lives depended on it, because they do.
The CARICOM Single Market and Economy
Heads of Government focussed their attention on the development of the
CARICOM Single Market and Economy, taking stock of what had been achieved
towards its full establishment and addressing outstanding elements critical to
its fulfillment. In their consideration, they were joined by representatives of
the Caribbean Development Bank, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, the Private
Sector and the Caribbean Congress of Labour.
Heads of Government issued a statement reflecting the deliberations and
decisions on the CSME. The Statement is attached.
The Petroleum Stabilisation Fund
Heads of Government saluted the establishment of a Petroleum Stabilisation
Fund by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago on behalf of CARICOM Member States
to support poverty reduction initiatives in the Region.
Issues of Governance
Heads of Government agreed that the Prime Ministerial Expert Group on
Governance would meet in January 2005 to consider recommendations from the three
technical working groups; (a) enhancing the functioning of the Assembly of
Caribbean Community Parliamentarians; (b) the establishment of a CARICOM
Commission or other Executive Mechanism; and (c) Automaticity of financing of
regional institutions. It would also consider the relevant issues arising out of
the Think Tank on Governance held in Trinidad and Tobago, February 2004, as well
as comments from civil society.
The recommendations from this process will be considered by Heads of
Government at their Inter-Sessional Meeting, in Suriname, in February 2005.
Update on the Region's response to Regional Hurricane Disasters
Heads of Government considered a report from the Prime Minister of Grenada
and from the representatives of other Member States affected by the passage of
recent hurricanes. They also received reports from the CARICOM Secretariat, the
Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency, the Caribbean Environmental Health
Institute and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre on the Region's
response to the destruction caused by the hurricanes on these states, as well as
on action which will be required of Member States in order to mitigate the level
of damage associated with natural disasters which can affect the Region.
These disasters served to re-emphasise the very vulnerable nature of Small
Island Developing States and the urgent need to build resilience. The Grenadian
situation, in particular, highlighted the complexity posed when a severe event
impacts a vulnerable situation, resulting in devastation not only of structures
but also of the very fabric of daily existence including governance, security
and civil society systems.
Heads agreed that it was clear that a comprehensive approach to disaster
management which links development planning and risk reduction initiatives was
They reiterated their commitment to seeking the agreement of the donor
community that assistance to Grenada be in the nature of grants and aid and not
loans. They also reiterated their call for a donor conference on Grenada as the
resources for the reconstruction of Grenada are beyond the means of the Member
Heads welcomed the outcome of the first Donors Meeting coordinated by the
World Bank and held in Washington, D.C., on 4 October 2004 at which the
OECS-ECLAC Study: "Grenada: Macro-Socio-Economic Assessment of the Damages
caused by Hurricane Ivan" was presented and initial emergency response
pledges confirmed. They looked forward to the follow-up meeting which will be
held in Grenada on 19 November when it is anticipated that Donors will confirm
additional contributions and receive information on the structure and functions
of the Agency for Reconstruction and Development (ARD) established by the
Government of Grenada to manage the reconstruction and recovery process.
They agreed to examine the possibilities of providing scholarships to
Grenadians working in the tourism and hospitality industry, as well as
short-term employment, and welcomed the fact that the Caribbean Hotel
Association had already initiated efforts in this regard.
Heads of Government noted the establishment of a CARICOM-Grenada Unit to
support reconstruction and recovery in Grenada.
The International Meeting to review the Barbados Programme of Action,
Noting that this was the final opportunity for discussion as a group, prior
to the convening on 10-14 January 2005 of the International Meeting to review
the Barbados Programme of Action for Small Island (and Low-Lying) Developing
States, Heads of Government received with appreciation, a status report on the
Region's ongoing preparations for this important Conference.
Heads of Government agreed that the International Meeting presented a
critical opportunity for the Region to highlight the initiatives taken to
implement the 1994 Barbados Programme of Action and the Region's continuing
economic, social and environmental vulnerabilities. Heads of Government agreed
that the opportunity presented by the Mauritius Meeting should be used to engage
the Region's partners in a collaborative effort to assist in strengthening the
resilience of Member States to these numerous vulnerabilities.
Heads of Government also noted with satisfaction that in addition to the Lead
Head of Government for Sustainable Development, Hon. Said Musa, Prime Minister
of Belize, Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur, Prime Minister of Barbados would also represent
the Region at the International Meeting. They urged all other Member States to
make every effort to be represented at the highest possible level.
The World Conference on Disaster Reduction
Heads of Government noted the Region's preparations for the World Conference
on Disaster Reduction which is to be held in Kobe, Japan from 18 to 22 January
2005. The Conference will be held under the theme, "A Safer World for
All" and is billed as a milestone event to increase the international
profile of disaster risk reduction; to promote the integration of disaster risk
reduction into development planning and practice; and strengthen local and
national capacities to address the causes of disasters that continue to
devastate and impede the development of many countries.
They welcomed the fact that the Region will be represented at the highest
level at the Conference.
Heads of Government expressed grave concern over the deterioration of the
political, economic, social and security situation in Haiti. They reiterated
that there could be no compromise on the fundamental principles of respect for
human rights, due process and good governance enshrined in the CARICOM Charter
of Civil Society.
Heads of Government noted an initiative currently underway under the
leadership of Brazil to address the political instability in Haiti by
facilitating dialogue among the Haitian parties.
Heads of Government expressed their willingness to contribute to this
initiative and in this regard, mandated the COFCOR to undertake dialogue with
the Rio Group and other interested parties and report to the Heads for further
consideration and direction.
Heads of Government recalled that CARICOM had been engaging with Haiti in
various ways, including through the provision of humanitarian relief, following
the disastrous floods of April and September 2004. Heads reiterated their
commitment to the people of Haiti and the importance which the Community
attaches to the provision of humanitarian assistance to Haiti.
Heads of Government reaffirmed their support for the candidature of Trinidad
and Tobago for the site of the Headquarters of the FTAA, given the attributes
that make it the favoured site for the headquarters of the hemispheric free
trade area. They called on other countries of the Hemisphere to make Trinidad
and Tobago their preferred choice for the site.
Heads of Government also reiterated their support for the candidature of His
Excellency Albert R. Ramdin of Suriname for the position of Assistant
Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States at elections to be held
in June 2005.
Heads of Government also endorsed the candidature of Judge Patrick Robinson
of Jamaica for re-election to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former
Yugoslavia for the period 2005-2009.
Heads of Government further reiterated their strong support for the Pacific
Region to be accorded the post of Secretary-General of the African, Caribbean
and Pacific (ACP) Group of States in keeping with the principle of rotation and
as decided by the ACP Council of Ministers in 1999 and endorsed by the ACP
Summit held in Fiji in 2001.
Group of 77
Heads of Government pledged their support to Jamaica which will assume the
Chairmanship of the Group of 77 in January 2005.
Heads of Government expressed their appreciation to the Government and People
of Trinidad and Tobago for once again hosting them at a Special Meeting of the
Conference. They recognised that the warmth and hospitality exhibited by the
Government and People of Trinidad and Tobago had contributed to the constructive
discourse which marked their Meeting.
Date of Sixteenth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference
Heads of Government welcomed the offer of the Republic of Suriname to host
them at the Sixteenth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference on 16-17
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
9 November 2004
DELIVERING THE CSME BY 2005:
THE PORT-OF-SPAIN STATEMENT ON THE CARICOM SINGLE MARKET AND ECONOMY
Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) met in
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, for the Tenth Special Meeting 8-9 November
2004, pursuant to the decision of the Conference at its Twenty-Fifth Regular
Meeting at Grand Anse, Grenada in July 2004 to convene a Special Meeting to
discuss progress towards the establishment of the CARICOM Single Market and
Economy (CSME), including realising the Single Market targets by 2005. They
declared their resolve to advance the regional integration movement as a vehicle
for the economic and social development of all Member States, their peoples and
the CARICOM Region as a whole.
Heads of Government remain convinced of the logic of the CSME, its embodiment
of the essence of a mature economic integration enterprise and its potential for
unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit that is inherent in the Caribbean people,
for stimulating the productive sectors of Member States, for increasing
productivity within such sectors and for building a Caribbean architecture of
economic independence, sustained economic growth and social cohesion.
In this context, Heads of Government reviewed the status of implementation in
each Member State towards the 2005 timeline agreed in 2002 - and fast tracked by
the decision of Heads of Government at their Fourteenth Inter-Sessional Meeting
in 2003, to 2004 for Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago - for the removal
of restrictions. Those States committed to meeting the 2004 timeline are on
track for achieving this. Those on target for 2005 will be able to do so with
some technical assistance and facilitation by the CARICOM Secretariat. Legal
amendments have been prepared and submitted to each Member State so that the
legislative process can be completed.
A realistic assessment of the implementation of the CSME by Member States
indicates that overall, the core measures relating to the establishment of the
Single Market would be in place by December 2005.
Key elements to complement the removal of restrictions on the free movement
of goods, services, capital and skilled CARICOM nationals include the financing
of the CSME Work Programme and the establishment and operationalising of the
Development Fund for Disadvantaged Countries, Regions and Sectors. The
Conference mandated the Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP) to agree on a
financing mechanism for approval of the Conference at its July 2005 Meeting. The
Development Fund it was agreed, is essential to enable small states to
liberalise their markets without undue dislocation and must be in place by 2005.
The Conference agreed that it was time to expand the categories of CARICOM
nationals who have the right to free movement within the Community beyond the
five stated professional categories - graduates, media workers, artistes,
musicians and sportspersons - taking into consideration the call from the labour
movement for the inclusion of additional categories of workers. The Lead Head
with responsibility for Labour and Free Movement of Skills will work with a Task
Force to develop proposals for the consideration of the Council for Human and
Social Development (COHSOD) and a submission to Heads of Government in time for
their July 2005 Meeting.
Heads of Government, accepting that it is the role of Governments to provide
the enabling environment for the growth of economic activity, recognise that
non-State actors have an important role to play in the promotion of the CSME
agenda. To this end, they mandate that non-State stakeholders such as the
private sector, labour, consumers and NGOs, be provided with the information
they need to be properly advised and equipped to capitalise on the opportunities
as well as prepare for the challenges consonant with the creation and
implementation of the CSME.
Private sector presentations at the Meeting highlighted the fact that despite
incompletion of the process towards the full implementation of the CSME, the
Single Market is creating an enabling environment for the successful
cross-border operations of business and, in particular, financial services
enterprises. This provides further impetus for the completion of the work to
create the CSME.
The Heads of Government remain convinced that at all times it must be borne
in mind, as a central focus of the CSME, that its ultimate aim is a marked
improvement in the quality of life of the people of the Community.
They share the view that the success of the CSME will not be complete until
the people of the Caribbean come to feel that they own the process and accept
their responsibility for ensuring its success, recognising that their individual
and collective advancement is intrinsically linked with the regional economic
integration project. Heads of Government welcome the undertaking by Barbados to
fund the Worker Education component of a renewed Public Education Programme and
agree that 2005 be declared the Year of the Single Market.
They note that the Single Market has laid the platform for the progression to
the Single Economy. They share the view that movement from the Single Market to
the Single Economy constitutes an advance beyond market arrangements to the
establishment of the environment for competitive production in the Region. To
this end, Heads of Government agree to an indicative timeline of 2008 for the
Single Economy and have mandated the preparation of a Regional Development
Strategy in time for adoption at their Inter-Sessional Meeting In February 2005.
Heads of Government agree that the Tenth Special Meeting, held primarily to
discuss and advance the progress towards the creation of the CSME, was a
worthwhile and timely opportunity for a frank exchange of views and an important
juncture at which to have taken stock of the efforts so far to create this new
regional economic architecture.
The legislative work to be done, and the resolve of Member States and the
administrative arm of the Caribbean Community should be infused with new energy
to embark on the next leg of the journey towards the CSME. This is a journey
that will involve a process of fundamental harmonised liberalisation and the
adoption of a strategy for the economic repositioning of CARICOM to achieve
sustainable growth and continued improvement in the lives of our Caribbean
Port-of Spain Trinidad and Tobago
9 November 2004