Caricom SG pays courtesy call on Chilean President

Caricom Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque said he is satisfied with the  progress in the Plan of Action with Chile, when he paid a courtesy call on President Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday, the second and final day of his official visit to that country.

The president received the secretary-general at her office in Santiago and assured him of her country’s continuing support for the development of the Caribbean Community. LaRocque welcomed her assurance and thanked Bachelet for her country’s “genuine and meaningful efforts at co-operation with the Community.” He then extended sympathy on behalf of Caricom for the tragic loss of life and property due to the fires in Valparaiso, a press release from the Caricom Secretariat said.

“I feel very satisfied with the outcome of the discussions with the government of Chile and the various agencies that I have met,” LaRocque said. He said too that apart from building on the friendship with Chile, there had been progress in advancing the Plan of Action which had been guiding the technical co-operation between Caricom and Chile.

On Tuesday, LaRocque had discussions with the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNELAC) Antonio Prado and his team. They looked at ways that the two organizations could continue to collaborate in particular with respect to the negotiations for the UN Post 2015 Development Agenda and in the continuing efforts to have Haiti fully participate in the Caricom Single Market and Economy.

The secretary-general, who was accompanied by Caricom Assistant Secretary-General for Foreign and Community Relations Colin Granderson was kept abreast of the ongoing initiatives in the Caribbean by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) during his visit to the agency’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Raul Benitez, the Assistant Director General and FAO’s Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean and his team outlined the programmes. They also indicated areas in which the FAO would be involved in going forward. Both sides emphasized the need to build the Community’s capacity in the area of Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary measures. This was viewed as vital to boosting trade in agricultural products within Caricom and to external markets, the press release said.

During a visit to the University of Chile’s Seismological Centre, its Director Dr Sergio Barrientos explained the ongoing work in preparing for natural disasters, particularly earthquakes and tsunamis. The Centre has been lending its expertise to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and has also been building a relationship with the University of the West Indies Seismic Centre at the St Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago.

The work with CDEMA is under the auspices of the Plan of Action which emerged out of the Technical Co-operation Agreement between Caricom and Chile. The Plan of Action 2012-2014 is being implemented in the areas of education, agriculture, disaster management, health and programmes for Caricom diplomats.

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