Use forum to unite CARICOM, seek better investment -Trotman
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM)’s Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) will conduct its annual review of the region’s relations with Third Countries and International Organisations during its 12th Meeting scheduled for this Friday and Saturday in Kingston, Jamaica.
It will also use the forum to determine policy initiatives that could guide future relations.
Leader of the Alliance for Change, Raphael Trotman, said that what he would like to see as Guyana’s position, is that the forum should be used to unite and organise CARICOM countries to be able to speak with one voice in an attempt to seek greater investment benefits from the developed world.
The AFC leader was of the opinion that operating like mavericks would not be beneficial to the region.
Trotman also noted that there must be mechanisms formulated to be more proactive in the monitoring of the financial climate and there must be more sharing of information and not waiting until a crisis is in full swing to seek to pick up the pieces.
“CARICOM must be more proactive,” said Trotman.
He noted also that the forum would also be a perfect opportunity of formally address the issues surrounding the use of the Corentyne River that Suriname has laid exclusive claim to, but Guyana insists on equitable use.
The AFC leader said that he would also like Guyana to forward its agenda of food security for the region, and seek to secure investment commitment in Guyana, a strategy that has been on the table for some time now.
Trotman urged that the Foreign Affairs Ministers should seek to ensure that this meeting is not just another talk shop, and mechanisms must be put in place for action, not just commitments.
He stressed that the Ministers should involve themselves in serious discussions as it relates to a regional witness protection program, in that witnesses where necessary, could be held safely in countries outside of their homeland until such time of the trial.
The Council, comprising of the Community’s Foreign Ministers, has promised to discuss Advancing Regional Integration and Development as a response to today’s global challenges as one of the themes of the meeting.
One of those challenges, the ongoing global financial and economic crisis, is a separate item on the agenda.
A report from a Task Force established to examine relations between CARICOM and the Dominican Republic will be discussed at the session as will relations with the European Union and the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States. The state of relations with traditional partners such as Canada and the United States will also come under the scrutiny of the Ministers.
In its Community Relations portfolio, the Council will examine a proposal for the establishment of a Hemispheric Development Fund for Haiti which arose out of discussions at the recently concluded Fifth Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad and Tobago.