Caricom Summit concludes with adoption of common foreign policy

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Castries. – The XXXIII Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) concluded today in Santa Lucia, with the approval of a common foreign policy and called for continued efforts for regional integration.

After rumors of an alleged disruption of the organization in three years, calls for maintaining their operation was one of the most important results of the meeting, with the approval of a joint agreement for the Community’s relations with the outside.

This policy seeks to coordinate regional efforts and common responses to political and economic changes in the world.

The meeting, which began last Wednesday, addressed, among other things, the reform process of the Community, issues related to youth development, trade, education and tourism.

The EU member states signed a memorandum Friday to help Haiti, including institutional support, promotion of agriculture and investment.

On a request from Haitian President Michel Martelly, the organizers announced that the next session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on the Revision of the Treaty of Chaguaramas will discuss the inclusion of French as an official language of Caricom.

Under that treaty, which gave rise to the regional bloc, English is the official language of the Community, but after the incorporation of Haiti in 2005, more than 55 percent of the population of the organization speaks French or Creole.

Among the major interventions during the three-day summit, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Kenny Anthony, who called his counterparts from the Community to reaffirm their faith in a common future and resolve the obstacles that hinder the achievement of regional integration.

Anthony said that the Community must rethink its foreign policy agenda, given the changes in the world in recent years.

The region should not miss when the winds of progress blow. The new geo-economic realities of politics require that we are willing to venture into uncharted waters, he added.

Prime Minister of Jamaica, Portia Simpson Miller, also reiterated his country’s commitment to the common foreign and trade policies of Caricom, after rumors of an alleged nation out of this block.

“Jamaica will continue to defend publicly the importance of our regional integration,” he said at the opening of the Summit.

The Summit also included a condemnation of U.S. trade policy for harming local markets and promote European industries.

Caribbean leaders rejected U.S. subsidies to a multinational UK rum, Diageo, which is, in his opinion, a danger to local productions.

A total of 14 leaders participated in the meeting, the largest such organization in addition to the general secretaries of the organizations of American States, José Miguel Inzulsa, and African, Caribbean and Pacific, Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

Founded in 1973 following the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, the organization aims to trade integration, the joint coordination of foreign policies and the promotion of cooperation in the educational, cultural and industrial.

Full members are Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Montserrat.

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