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Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart. (FP)??

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart will lead a high-level delegation at the upcoming Heads of Government Conference of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which is slated to take place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Trinidad and Tobago, from July 3 to 6.

Other members of the delegation will include Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean; Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM, Robert "Bobby" Morris; Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Sonja Welch;?? Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Charles Burnett; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Bentley Gibbs and Chief Research Officer, Paula Byer.

This year’s summit holds special significance, as it marks the 40th anniversary of the Caribbean Community. Although Heads of Government are expected to hammer out policies on a number of challenges facing the region, they will take the opportunity to mark this milestone.

As a CARICOM leader re-elected since the last Heads of Government Meeting, Prime Minister Stuart will be one of the three featured leaders to address the formal opening ceremony on July 3, and it is expected that he will review Barbados’ entire CARICOM experience, including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), for which he holds the portfolio in the CARICOM quasi cabinet. There will also be addresses by in-coming Chair of the Conference and host Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar; outgoing Chairman of the Conference and President of Haiti, Michel Martelly; Prime Ministers Perry Christie of The Bahamas and Keith Mitchell of Grenada; and CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque.

Concerns that emerged from the 24th Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference, which was held earlier this year in Haiti, will top the agenda, including major regional air and sea transportation issues and recommendations from the Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on transportation.

Leaders also hope to commence dialogue on issues and challenges being faced by persons with disabilities in the region; chart new paths for the growth and development of Member States; review proposals by some countries to become Members and Associate Members of CARICOM; and start preparations for the third Global Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which is slated for 2014.

The Heads will also be apprised of the progress towards the preparation of a Five-Year Community Strategic Plan and other aspects of the reform efforts.

Special guests at the summit will include the newly elected President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, His Excellency Nicolas Maduro; President of the Dominican Republic, His Excellency Danilo Medina; and President of Equatorial Guinea and Chairman of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group, His Excellency Obiiang Nguema.

Regional Heads are also expected to engage in bilateral talks with Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Guy Ryder; Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma; Secretary General of the Organisation of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza; Director-General of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, Abdulwahab Al-Bader; President of the 67th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Vuk Jeremic; and President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, Tiina Intelmann.

Leaders will also examine three draft Protocols, see how the region will advance the Information Communication Technology (ICT) agenda, and take steps towards the recognition of the OECS’ Economic Union within the Revised Treaty.

The United Nations post 2015 developmental agenda and CARICOM’s perspective will also be an area of priority for the caucus.

A communiqu?? will be issued at the end of the four-day conference.

cathy.lashley@barbados.gov.bb

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