GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders
begin their two-day inter-sessional summit in Guyana on Thursday with crime and
security, economic development and international
relations high on their agenda.
CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque, speaking ahead of the summit,
said that crime continues to pose a threat to the 15-member regional grouping
and is no longer just a national issue.
“It’s a regional one and hence it demands a regional solution,” LaRocque said,
noting that trans-border crime is “something one needs to address,” given the
need to reduce the “level of criminality” within the Caribbean.
But he noted that the regional leaders will not be in a position to sign onto the
arrest warrant treaty and recovery of assets treaty that would have resulted in
increased cooperation among member states and which
are part of the crime and security strategy adopted by leaders at their 24th
inter-sessional held in Haiti three years ago.
“At this point and time we are not yet in a position to say that we are going to
adopt this instrument at the sitting…our hope was to have done that but I have
to admit that some of the legal instruments require very careful examination.
“Both of those instruments are being renegotiated simultaneously and both are
in an advance stage of deliberations,” LaRocque added.
Guyana is expected to present the draft CARICOM Arrest Warrant Treaty for
ratification at the summit.
“The adoption of this treaty will simplify the procedures by which fugitives from
justice are returned to participating member states to face criminal prosecution
or serve judicial sentences,” said Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.
The regional leaders will seek to further develop the CARICOM Single Market
and Economy (CSME) initiative that allows for the free movement of goods,
skills, services and labour across the region.
LaRocque pointed to significant progress that had been made in the CARICOM
Single Market (CSM), especially its legal and administrative framework, but
acknowledged that more, however, needed to be done with respect to the Single
LaRocque said the leaders at their two-day summit will also discuss the region’s
productive sectors with much emphasis being placed on the tourism industry, a
major contributor to the region’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Consultations have been held with the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism
Organisation (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA)
which identified marketing, human resource development and strengthening
linkages with other sectors including transportation and creative industries as
areas to enhance the regional tourism product.
The regional leaders will also discuss the Single Information and Communication
Technologies (ICT) Space with LaRocque describing the ICT as a sector in its
own right as well as an enabler of development.
He said a roadmap to this end will be before the CARICOM leaders and issues
that it will cover include regionally harmonised ICT policies, legislation, technical
standards, networks and services, roaming rates, spectrum ad broadband
matters and regional best practices.