El debate sobre la marihuana y la visita de Rajoy en el inicio de la 35ª Cumbre de la Caricom

Líderes de Caricom inauguran su 35 cumbre anual en Antigua y Barbuda

Uno de los puntos en la agenda es la legalización de marihuana que muchos países del grupo han querido llevar acabo.

Los jefes de Estado y de Gobierno de la Comunidad del Caribe (Caricom) participaron este martes en la ceremonia de apertura de su 35 cumbre anual, que se celebra en Antigua y Barbuda, país que presidirá la organización regional durante el próximo semestre.

La cumbre comienza con varias cuestiones como telón de fondo, entre ellas la reciente queja de Barbados de una “vergonzosa” falta de apoyo entre sus socios en la disputa que mantiene con EE.UU. por las multimillonarias subvenciones del país norteamericano a la producción de ron en sus territorios de Puerto Rico y las Islas Vírgenes estadounidenses.

El ministro de Comercio e Industria de Barbados, Donville Inniss, comparó esta semana la situación con el conflicto del plátano de los 90 y llamó al apoyo de los mandatarios de Caricom, para que “afronten la realidad y entiendan la importancia de la solidaridad”.

Un frente abierto más llega de Jamaica, donde su Colación para una Sociedad Saludable (JCHS, en inglés) criticó la declaración de Caricom de que impulsaría la eliminación de leyes en la región que criminalicen o discriminen a los adultos del mismo sexo que mantengan consentidas por ambos.

Sin embargo, el asunto que más atención atrae del exterior son los intentos de algunos de los países miembros de avanzar en la regulación del consumo de marihuana, especialmente Jamaica, que está tramitando una ley para dejar de perseguir su posesión en pequeñas cantidades.

El debate lo azuzó la semana pasada el secretario de Estado adjunto para la lucha antinarcóticos de EE.UU., William Brownfield, cuando se quejó de que esos avances estuvieran teniendo lugar sin consultar con Washington.

El primer ministro de Santa Lucía, Kenny Anthony, insistió la semana pasada en defender que la despenalización de la marihuana no se puede hacer país por país en una región formada en su mayoría por pequeñas islas en desarrollo, sino que debería consensuarse y aplicarse de forma coordinada.

Esta visión es compartida por el presidente saliente de Caricom y primer ministro de San Vicente y las Granadinas, Ralph Gonsalves, quien hoy defendió en su discurso durante la ceremonia de apertura -transmitida por la web de Caricom- que esta cuestión debe “afrontarse desde una actitud madura”.

Otras cuestiones sobre la mesa para los integrantes de Caricom son la renovación del tratado comercial con Canadá y la pretendida incorporación de República Dominicana a la organización.

Gonsalves, que traspasó hoy el cargo rotatorio al frente de Caricom a su nuevo homólogo de Antigua y Barbuda, Gaston Browne, aprovechó la ocasión para criticar una vez más los problemas puestos por República Dominicana para reconocer la nacionalidad a los descendientes de haitianos.

Por el momento, lo único que se ha adelantado de la agenda de la cumbre es que tratará de aprobarse un plan estratégico a cinco años que busca dar un impulso a la razón de ser de la organización: la integración de sus economías y sociedades con el objetivo de favorecer el desarrollo de la región.

Browne, que resultó elegido primer ministro de Antigua y Barbuda en pasado 12 de junio, pidió durante la ceremonia a sus colegas un esfuerzo en ese sentido, con especial atención a la población más joven, a la que le falta empleo y se ve a diario afectada por la violencia y el narcotráfico.

“Es momento de acción, es tiempo de avanzar en el movimiento integrador, sin dejar a nadie atrás, con un objetivo de desarrollo común”, dijo.

Browne también abogó por fomentar la cooperación en materia de energías renovables, porque “mientras que un gobierno puede no tener suficiente crédito en el mercado de capitales, dos o más gobiernos tienen más posibilidades de éxito” a la hora de atraer inversores.

“Nuestra región no está escasa de recursos. Contribuimos a nuestra propio empobrecimiento al no integrar nuestros recursos en una producción conjunta y en la creación de empresas conjuntas”, dijo el primer ministro refiriéndose también a la agricultura, el petróleo, el oro, los diamantes y los servicios financieros.

De cara al miércoles, el primer día de reuniones, se espera la visita del presidente del Gobierno de España, Mariano Rajoy, que buscará entre los integrantes de Caricom apoyos para la candidatura de ese país al Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU y tratará de reforzar las relaciones políticas y económicas con los países del Caribe.

http://www.elespectador.com/noticias/elmundo/lideres-de-caricom-inauguran-su-35-cumbre-anual-antigua-articulo-501715

 

History created as new CARICOM song is launched

Today, history was created for the Caribbean Community with the debut of the CARICOM song titled Celebrating CARICOM. The occasion was the opening ceremony of the Thirty-Fifth meeting of the Caribbean Community Conference of Heads of Government.

CARICOM Heads, Diplomats and Delegates converged at the Sandals Grande Antigua Resorts and Spa for the ceremony which was addressed by Secretary General of the Caribbean Community, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; Outgoing Chair of the Conference of Heads of Government, Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and Incoming Chair of the Conference of Heads of Government, Hon. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. The Triennial Award for Women 2014 was also presented to Ms. Marion Bethel of The Bahamas during the ceremony.

However, the evening could not have come to a close before talented songwriter, vocalist and flautist Ms. Michele Henderson of Dominica rousing performance of Celebrating CARICOM. The performance was supported by dancers from the National Dance Theatre of Antigua and Barbuda, while Ms. Henderson’s vocals were accompanied by a high quality regionally produced sound track that was prepared specifically for the event. The song has been recorded on CD and copies will be given to CARICOM Heads.

Following her performance, which had everyone singing and dancing in their seats, Ms. Henderson was presented with a cash prize of US $10,000 and a plaque by Secretary General LaRocque.

Beaming with pride, Ms. Henderson was all smiles as she accepted the award. She said she had always wanted to make a significant contribution to regional integration as well as to the history of the Community and this opportunity had given her the medium to do exactly that.

The song , which will be used at ceremonial and Community events, was written and produced by Ms. Henderson in collaboration with her husband Roland Delsol Jnr. as well as her band and other music colleagues in Dominica.

The CARICOM Song Competition was launched in April 2013 as part of the Community’s fortieth anniversary celebrations. The goal was to facilitate the involvement of CARICOM countries in choosing a regionally and internationally recognized song that promoted unity and inspired CARICOM identity and pride. A regional panel of judges comprising independent experts in music was nominated by Member States and the CARICOM Secretariat to choose the CARICOM Song. The competition was conducted in three rounds, where sixty three entries were condensed to the final three, of which Celebrating CARICOM was chosen as the winner.

The second place entry titled ‘My CARICOM’ came from Jamaican Adiel Thomas and the third place song was titled ‘One CARICOM’ by Carmella Lawrence from St. Kitts and Nevis.

In moving the vote of thanks at the closing of the ceremony, Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador to CARICOM, Mr. Clarence Henry expressed delight that “the Caribbean Community finally has an anthem”. He also seemed very excited about the song selected and remarked that he felt like getting out of his seat to dance during Ms. Henderson’s performance.

The Thirty-fifth meeting of the Caribbean Community Conference of Heads of Government will conclude on Friday July 4, 2014.

http://www.caricom.org/jsp/pressreleases/press_releases_2014/pres168_14.jsp

 

Find collective solutions to challenges – CARICOM SG

Even as the present cohort of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders returned to the place where political leaders in 1965 defined the integration ideals, CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque on Tuesday stressed the urgency of finding solutions to the economic conditions that threatened to erode gains the Community has made.

Ambassador Irwin LaRocque made this appeal at the historic Dickenson Bay, Antigua and Barbuda, the venue of the 35th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, urging political leaders of this day to find collective solutions to the serious challenges the Region faced.

The vulnerabilities of the small economies of CARICOM and the lingering effects of the global economic and financial crisis have combined to impede the Region’s ability to compete internationally and have resulted in “stubbornly low” growth rates, Ambassador LaRocque told the opening ceremony of the 4-day Conference.

Strengthening the call for urgent collective action, the Secretary-General said that heavy debt burden and falling fiscal revenues, leave CARICOM governments “with precious little room to manoeuver” in the face of what he described as a “misleading criterion” of per capita income, applied by International Financial Institutions, to graduate CARICOM countries from access to “much needed” concessionary development financing.

“Never before in recent history, have so many of our Member States faced such challenges at the same time for such a protracted period,” he said, adding an important footnote that neither the economic and financial crises nor the causes of climate change, another major challenge, originated in the Region.

Adding an element of hope in the face of those trials however, he said that as formidable as the challenges were, the Community’s history clearly showed that it has never been daunted.

“It is now, in this period of acute economic stress faced by our Region, that the spirit of unity which brings us together in all forms of adversity, is infusing our actions as we seek to build the Community’s resilience to withstand the shocks, whether they are economic, social or climatic,” Secretary-General LaRocque stated.
He said that the Region was looking to consolidate and reposition the integration process in an ever changing environment, as he welcomed the Hon. Gaston Browne, new Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda to the helm of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM.

“Our initial exchanges have demonstrated to me quite clearly your personal commitment to the advancement of integration which is in keeping with your country’s prominent historical role in the pursuit of Caribbean unity,” he told the new Chairman, adding his profound commendations to Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, for his stewardship over the past six months.

“Prime Minister, as Chairman, you guided us with dexterity and skill during your term and I express heartfelt gratitude to you on behalf of the Community,” he said.

The Secretary-General offered special commendation to Ms. Marion Bethel of The Bahamas, recipient of the 11th Triennial Award for Women, and to Ms. Michele Henderson, the winner of the CARICOM Song competition who performed a rousing rendition of her song ‘Celebrating CARICOM.’

http://www.caricom.org/jsp/pressreleases/press_releases_2014/pres167_14.jsp