The regional Community Council of Ministers was expected to scrutinize and later approve the 2009 budget and work programme of the Caricom Secretariat yesterday as part of its deliberations on issues within Caricom.
Caricom Secretary-General, Edwin Carrington, who declared the twenty-third meeting of the council open, noted that the secretariat did not request any increase in the budget for 2009 over that of 2008, despite an inflation rate of some 8%. He made reference to the global economic meltdown stating that the secretariat is determined to work with the level of resources made available to it last year; though he pointed out that serious questions must now be asked regarding the issue of new mandates for the secretariat.
A status report on the secretariat’s strategic plan for 2009-2013 is also before the regional council, in addition to the plans and provisional agenda for the upcoming Twentieth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Caricom Heads of Government, which is to be held in Belize on 12-13 March.
Carrington emphasized the importance of the strategic plan in establishing the Single Economy and consolidating the Single Market, adding that, like the council, the secretariat must be positioned to play a decisive role in ensuring that the objectives of the community are attained.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Attorney General of Belize, Wilfred Erlington has assumed the chairmanship of the council, which is one of only two classified as principal organs of the community, the other being the Conference of Heads of Government.