Caricom Heads conference to focus on health

Caricom says the 32nd regular meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government set for St Kitts and Nevis tomorrow will focus on health, as the Community marks 10 years of achievements in that sector.

Acting Caricom Secretary-General Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite said health is one of the major success areas for the Community in its “arsenal of functional co-operation”. She was speaking at a press conference held last Friday. It is in this context, therefore, that the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases will take priority on the agenda of this Summit as Heads of Government fine-tune their preparations for that meeting set for New York in September, a press release said.

As a fitting tribute to ten years of achievement in health, since the 2001 Nassau Declaration -The Health of the Region is the Wealth of the Region, a ceremonial signing of the Inter-Governmental Agreement to establish the Caribbean Public Health Agency as a legal entity will be one of the features of this Summit.

Lolita Applewhaite

In outlining the programme for the meeting, the Ambassador told the media that the opening ceremony, scheduled for this evening at the Sir Cecil Jacobs Auditorium, would be addressed by the Presidents of Haiti and Suriname; Michel Martelly and Desiré D. Bouterse; the Prime Ministers of Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines; Freundel Stuart and Dr Ralph Gonsalves, and Heads of Government elected or appointed since the last Regular Meeting. Also, the Prime Ministers of Grenada and St Kitts and Nevis, Tilman Thomas and Hon Denzil Douglas, will address the meeting as outgoing and incoming Chairs, respectively. She also noted that for the first time the Head of Government of an Associate Member country  – Paula Cox, Premier of Bermuda – will address the Opening Ceremony.

The Conference will also confer the Order of the Caribbean Community on Sir Edwin Carrington, the former Secretary-General of the Community, and the Caricom Triennial Award for Women will be presented to Professor Dr Violet Eudine Barriteau, Deputy Principal of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus in Barbados.

On the second day of the meeting, President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza and Commissioner for Development, European Commission Andris Piebalgs (MEP) are expected to participate in an exchange of views.

The release said the Conference closes on Sunday with presentations of medals and awards to winners of the Sixth Staging of the Annual 10K Road race which would have taken place earlier that morning.

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