35ª Cumbre: la Caricom creará comisión para debatir despenalización de la marihuana

Taking the marijuana debate further

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders have agreed to the establishment of a Commission to further the debate on the decriminalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

CARICOM Secretary General Irwin La Rocque told reporters that while the composition of the Commission is yet to be determined it will most likely be made up of experts “in their field.

“The objective of such a Commission on marijuana is to conduct an inquiry into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Caribbean.”

http://cananewsonline.com/news/99626-taking-the-marijuana-debate-further.html

 

España busca apoyos para Consejo de Seguridad en el Caribe no hispanohablante

El presidente del Gobierno español, Mariano Rajoy, pidió hoy a la Comunidad del Caribe (Caricom) que apoye las aspiraciones de España de ocupar un puesto en el Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU y prometió defender en ese foro los intereses de sus miembros, en su mayoría excolonias británicas y francesas.

“España, estamos convencidos, puede ser un excelente abogado de los intereses del Caribe, especialmente en un momento en que la agenda del Consejo de Seguridad va a ser enormemente compleja y cargada, visto el convulso escenario internacional”, dijo Rajoy durante su intervención en la 35 cumbre anual de Caricom.

La cumbre tiene lugar esta semana en la pequeña isla de Antigua, de unos 280 kilómetros cuadrados y 80.000 habitantes, que junto a Barbuda forman uno de los quince países miembros de Caricom.

El resto de los integrantes de Caricom son Bahamas, Barbados, Belice, Dominica, Granada, Guyana, Haití, Jamaica, Montserrat, San Cristóbal y Nieves, Santa Lucía, San Vicente y las Granadinas, Surinam y Trinidad y Tobago.

“Nos sentiríamos muy honrados si pudiéramos contar con su confianza. Nuestro mejor aval es la trayectoria, el grado de conocimiento, la implicación y la presencia que España tiene en el Caribe”, dijo Rajoy tras explicar que su Gobierno ha decidido presentar la candidatura española a un puesto no permanente en el Consejo de Seguridad de Naciones Unidas para el bienio 2015-2016.

Se trata de la primera vez que un presidente del Gobierno español visita Antigua y Barbuda, un país cuyo nombre “está tan unido a la historia de España como lo están, de uno u otro modo, muchos otros de sus países” de la región, según recordó Rajoy en las escasas horas que estuvo en la isla, procedente de Panamá y antes de regresar a Madrid.

“Por razones históricas y culturales la vinculación de España con el Caribe siempre ha sido intensa”, añadió, al recordar que el viernes se cumplen quince años de la firma del primer acuerdo de colaboración entre España y Caricom.

Desde entonces, se han alcanzado “logros” como haber establecido cumbres bilaterales de las que ya se han celebrado cuatro; Comisiones Mixtas de Cooperación y un Fondo Mixto Caricom-España.

A través de ese fondo España se ha mantenido entre los diez primeros donantes de la organización regional, con más de 20 millones de dólares otorgados en la última década, afirmó Rajoy, “sin contar las contribuciones bilaterales, especialmente importantes en el caso de Haití”.

“Nos hemos convertido en aliados muy valiosos y España va a seguir siendo un socio activo en la región, con un alto grado de implicación y compromiso”, prometió.

Para ello, dijo, “contamos con una fuerte presencia diplomática, con cinco embajadas residentes y embajadas ante las tres organizaciones más importantes de integración regional y, sobre todo y a diferencia de otros países, no estamos reduciendo nuestra presencia, sino que la estamos ampliando”.

“Somos uno de los países europeos con mayor presencia en Caricom”, defendió Rajoy, al señalar que “hoy tenemos posiciones muy importantes en el sector energético en Trinidad y Tobago; en Jamaica por nuestra implicación en el sector turístico o en Haití como socios en su desarrollo”.

El jefe del Gobierno español subrayó el particular reto que supone el cambio climático para la mayor parte de los integrantes de Caricom, ya que son pequeños Estados insulares en desarrollo, lo que se conoce por la sigla en inglés SIDS, y para quienes “es una cuestión de vida o muerte”.

“Quiero asegurarles que España es consciente de ello y seremos un aliado fiable”, afirmó Rajoy ante los asistentes, a los que recordó que “España lleva un cuarto de siglo cooperando con América Latina” en esta materia.

En ese sentido, dijo que “somos un socio a largo plazo, con el que pueden contar”, y defendió que España “ha sido abogado y valedor de los intereses del Caribe y se ha alineado con sus expectativas en asuntos tan importantes como el nivel de financiación destinado a la región, la supresión de visado que en breve beneficiará a algunos de sus países o la estrategia de seguridad para Centroamérica y el Caribe”.

“Sé que aún quedan muchos retos por delante y, mirando al futuro, puedo asegurarles que España seguirá siendo un aliado leal con el que podrán contar para que el Caribe ocupe el lugar que le corresponde en la agenda de la Unión Europea”, argumentó.

Rajoy insistió en su intervención ante sus homólogos caribeños en la idea de que “España no es un socio coyuntural”, y prometió una nueva reunión en septiembre en Nueva York para preparar la quinta cumbre bilateral.

http://www.caracol.com.co/noticias/internacionales/espana-busca-apoyos-para-consejo-de-seguridad-en-el-caribe-no-hispanohablante/20140702/nota/2303192.aspx

 

Heads of Government to meet business leaders: Work continues to revitalize regional economy

As the Region continues to take steps to respond to the economic challenges confronting it, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government are placing increased emphasis on the private sector as the engine of sustainable growth.

Heads of Government, on the second day of their 1-4 July meeting in Antigua and Barbuda, will engage captains of industry and commerce on implementing  the Community’s growth agenda. The decision to meet with the private sector at that level was made at the Twenty-Fifth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government, held in St Vincent and the Grenadines in March 2014.

The centre-piece of the March deliberations  was the economic situation facing Member States and ascertaining  appropriate ways to get back on track following the global recession of 2008-10 and other exogenous challenges. Those discussions were held in the context of the Commission on the Economy which was established in 2013, following the Twenty-Fourth Meeting of the Bureau of the Conference of Heads held in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Commission has as its overarching goal, the recommendation of short to medium-term actions that would restore growth in Member States’ economies. Since it was established, the Commission has begun the analysis of priority issues identified by the Bureau of Heads. It has taken on board the decisions emanating from the Twenty-Fifth Inter-Sessional Meeting and has prepared a Work-Plan to advance initiatives agreed by the Heads of Government in March.  The Commission is also expected to serve as coordinating mechanism to carry forward the output from ongoing regional initiatives directed at driving growth in Member States.  These initiatives include  Community projects such as the:  Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Growth and Development Strategy; Draft Strategic Plan for Regional Development (SPRD) and Aid for Trade Strategy; the Caribbean Convergence Model, proposed by the Honourable Winston Dookeran, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trinidad and Tobago; the World Bank-led Caribbean Growth Forum; Inter-American Development Bank-led Compete Caribbean  Initiative; and the International Monetary Fund-led Caribbean Forum.

Time is ripe
Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister of Barbados, Senator the Hon. Darcy Boyce, head of the Commission, stressed that the time was ripe for a meeting with the Region’s captains of industry as it is they  who make decisions on investments. It was time, he said, to ascertain, from them, their thoughts on how a better environment could be created for them to invest.

Areas that are likely to form the core of the high level consultations with the private sector include: the partnership between government and the private sector in driving growth and, in particular, creating the enabling environment for doing business in Member States; lessons from business success stories; and the pursuit of public private partnerships to ensure the production of critical economic services to improve the competitiveness of CARICOM firms.

In the run-up to the Heads of Government Meeting, a series of meetings between the regional business sector and Community Organs and offices were conducted.

In keeping with a decision made by Trade Ministers, the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) met representatives of the regional private sector in May. That engagement was aimed at establishing a formal structure within which the private sector and the trade policymakers could interact.

The wide-ranging discourse between COTED and representative bodies of the private sector covered integration at work through the private sector; the establishment of a conducive environment for business, trade and growth of the private sector, and by extension the  development of the Community. Public-private partnerships were also discussed. Focus was placed on key issues such as transportation for people, goods and services to move throughout the Region; ease of doing business in the Region, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to improve efficiencies and competencies, and the effective utilization of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) as a single space. The development of the CSME, a flagship programme of the Community, is intimately linked to the work of the Commission on the Economy. The pursuit of the CSME, Heads of Government acknowledged, would be illusive if the Commission’s focus of getting the economies back on track was not undertaken.

Regional engagement with the business community, ahead of the Heads of Government Meeting, continued with consultations that were aimed at shaping a policy for regional micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The consultations between the CARICOM Secretariat and representatives of the private sector of Member States began in Guyana and continued, via video-conferencing, with Grenada and Suriname and in at least four other Member States. The consultations are being conducted to fulfill the urgent need for a legislative and policy framework in which to nurture MSMEs. The MSME sector is considered a critical pillar of the economic development of CARICOM, as it contributes considerably to the GDP of some Member States and often employs more people than large businesses across the Region.

It is anticipated that a draft policy will be completed by September and presented to CARICOM Member States for review. A final draft, which will be presented to the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), is expected to be completed by October month-end.

http://www.caricom.org/jsp/pressreleases/press_releases_2014/pres169_14.jsp