The historic inaugural meeting between Secretary-General Edwin Carrington, Heads of CARICOM institutions under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, and other regional institutions, concluded in Georgetown with a commitment to maintaining a continuing dialogue.
The two-day meeting brought together twenty-two institutions including some not yet accorded officially the status of ‘Community Institutions’, according to a press release from the CARICOM Secretariat.
In keeping with “the Declaration of Needham’s Point”, A Community for All, issued by CARICOM Heads of Government at their Twenty-Eighth Regular Meeting in Barbados last July, the meeting saw presentations by the institutions on their mandates, roles, structure, functions, programmatic areas of focus, governance structure and financial arrangements, in a format consistent with the community’s central thrust and functional cooperation. The presentations provided unique opportunities for achieving greater collaboration and cooperation; avoiding duplication of effort and utilizing increasingly scarce resources, to the maximum benefit of the community.
The consensus, the release stated, was that the meeting maintained its focus and in that context, provided a comprehensive overview of regional institutions, recognising the need for them to better provide common services, to coordinate their policies and programmes, and where appropriate, to harmonise approaches to resource mobilisation.
As Chief Executive Officer of the community, the Secretary-General stressed the importance of a harmonised approach by the institutions in the implementation of their mandates. This need, he emphasised, was most evident in the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market which was launched in January 2006, and the framework of the Single Economy by the end of 2008.
According to the release, the deliberations were held against the background of three major intellectual and technical works on CARICOM, viz: “Towards a Single Development Vision and the Role of the Single Economy”, edited by Professor Norman Girvan; the “Report of the Technical Working Group on the Governance of the Caribbean Community”, and the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and the foundation document for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.
It was agreed to institutionalize the meeting with the Heads of Institutions meeting every two years. In the intervening period, follow-up meetings should be held between the CARICOM Secretariat and the institutions.