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Incoming Chair of CARICOM prioritises benefits for people in 2016

Incoming Chairman of CARICOM, the Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize

Incoming Chairman of CARICOM, the Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize

“People of the Caribbean Community, we have a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to. Let us strive to make 2016 one to remember as a landmark year for our integration movement.” – The Hon Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize and Incoming Chairman of CARICOM

With the firm resolution to strengthen the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to provide greater benefits for its peoples, the Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize assumes the six-month chairmanship of the Community from 1 January 2016.

He succeeds the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados.

In a message to usher in the New Year, Prime Minister Barrow pointed out that there was a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to.

Our resolution is to continue to strengthen our integration movement to deliver ever-increasing benefits to the people of our Community. We will continue our quest to improve our standard of living through providing a safe, viable and prosperous Caribbean Community. In so doing we will build on our successes and will be moving forward with a number of initiatives to achieve that aim,” he said.

Making a commitment to build on past successes and to become more efficient in the face of the “sternest economic test that Member States have had to face in recent memory,” the incoming-Chair looked forward to increasing the pace both of the CARICOM Reform process and the implementation of the Community Strategic Plan 2015-2019.

The Plan, which is designed to build CARICOM’s economic, environmental, social and technological resilience, has the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) as an important vehicle in that drive for greater resilience. Therefore, Prime Minister Barrow signalled CARICOM’s commitment to vigorously pursue the consolidation of the Single Market.

“We will be making our governance arrangements more flexible and dynamic.  We will be continuing efforts in the coming year to revise those arrangements for our integration movement to become more effective and relevant to the needs of our people.”

A significant element of his resolution as the New Year dawns is encouraging more Member States to join the Belize, Barbados, Dominica, and Guyana in making the Caribbean Court of Justice their final court.

In my view, another relevant factor in the lives of our people is the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).  The creation of our own jurisprudence will help define us as a people, and the excellent, well-reasoned judgements which have been the hallmark of the CCJ are ample proof of the intellectual quality of the legal minds of this Community.  During my stewardship of the Community, I look forward to more Member States joining the four of us in the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ,” Prime Minister Barrow said.

He emphasised the strength in unity in achieving CARICOM’s plans, exemplifying the manner in which it rallied to attain the objectives of the three major international conferences in the past year, most recently at COP 21 in Paris.

“The binding decisions taken on Financing for Development, the 2030 Development Goals and Climate Change have great potential to boost our growth and development and bolster our resilience.  It is therefore in our interest to use our coordinated foreign policy to advocate at every opportunity for urgent implementation of those decisions.  In so doing we will be seeking the support of our International Development Partners as well as other Small Island and Low-lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS),” the Incoming-Chairman stated.

“I assume the chairmanship of our Community, following the incisive and decisive leadership of the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Honourable Freundel Stuart.  His guidance during the past six months has been highly appreciated by his colleague Heads of Government,” he added.

Credit: CARICOM Today

The Decade of Sustainable Energy and the Post 2015 Development Agenda

Children using solar lamp to study in a remote village Credit: CARICOM Newsletter

Children using solar lamp to study in a remote village
Credit: CARICOM Newsletter

Decade of Sustainable Energy for All: We have now entered the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All, 2014 – 2024, which was established by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in December 2012. Inter alia, the resolution highlights the goals of increased energy access, renewable energy (RE) usage and energy efficiency (EE). The focus of the resolution recognises that sustainable development is not possible without sustainable energy (SE), as well as, the reality that one in every five persons on the planet still lacks access to electricity, while one in every three does not have access to clean cooking fuel.

SE provides new opportunities: children can study after dark, clinics can store life-saving vaccines, etc. Additionally, it enables businesses to grow, generates jobs and creates new markets, thereby fostering growth in countries through more resilient and competitive economies.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the launch of the SE4ALL Initiative, stated that “With Sustainable Energy, countries can leapfrog over the limits of the energy systems of the past and build the clean energy economies of the future.”

Many of these potential benefits are relevant to most CARICOM Member States, where the energy challenge has been established as a major binding constraint to achieving economic competitiveness, growth and overall economic resilience. The goals of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative are relevant to CARICOM, because:

  • The issue of lack of access is particularly relevant to some Member States; and
  • The main solution to the overarching energy sector challenges of the lack of affordability and\ the over-dependence on imported oil (characteristic of most CARICOM countries), lies in the increased diversification of their energy supplies with RE playing a major role, along with EE.

It is therefore considered useful for CARICOM to seek to be engaged with the developments in the context of the UN Decade of SE4ALL, given the potential support for SE development through this Platform.

Read more here.

Credit: CARICOM Energy Programme

COTED Energy Meeting Next Month

The Forty-First Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Energy will be held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from 27 February to 1 March 2013. The Ministerial Session will be held on 1 March following the Preparatory Meeting of Officials on 27 February 2013.

Two key items on the Agenda are the finalization of the Regional Energy Policy and Agreement by Member States on Targets and Strategies for Renewable Energy (RE) and Energy efficiency (EE) under the first phase of the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS). Learn more about this and other Energy matters in the Caribbean via CC Energy – Issue 13_Oct – Dec 2012.

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