Zika, banking and climate change will be on the Caricom Intersessional agenda

Dear Editor,

A wide range of matters is carded for discussion when Caricom heads of government meet tomorrow and Wednesday at the 27th Intersessional meeting in Belize, ranging from the Zika threat, climate change, banking, financial services, CSME, and other areas.

Most of the member states from Haiti to Suriname will attend the confab at the Placencia Resort located on the southern side of the country when Prime Minister Dean Barrow will take over the chairmanship from Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart. Most of the nationals of the region are not happy with the pace of Caricom; they feel that decisions taken by the heads are not acted upon in a timely manner.

The burning question of the future of financial services will be ventilated because it is felt that the region was inaccurately categorized as high risk for financial services since there is very little or no evidence of wrongdoing by the financial institutions. The Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands, two overseas British dependent states are the leading territories in financial services.

The banking sector in the Caribbean has been experiencing a major challenge due to the severing of correspondent banking relations by US banks and the ensuing banking crisis is high up on the agenda.

Decisions taken at the historic Paris Agreement will also be discussed as they affect Small Island Develop-ment States (SIDS) in relation to funds for climate change. Public health is a major concern and it is expected that a considerable amount of time will be spent on this topic, especially now when Zika is a threat. In fact reports state that at least five Caricom member states are affected by the virus.

Cricket is not on the official agenda, but it is expected that the issue will be discussed in the light of yet another pay dispute between the players and the West Indies Cricket Board. A few cricket fans are calling on Caricom heads to intervene.

Yours faithfully,
Oscar Ramjeet

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