Lag in growth performance between CARICOM States and other Small Island Developing States

By: E. Williams 

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BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JULY 9TH 2017 – Caribbean Heads of Government discussed key initiatives directed towards combatting transnational organised crime which continued to be the most immediate and significant threat facing the Region.

Focus during the 38th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at Grand Anse, Grenada was also directed towards the development of a CARICOM Counter Terrorism Strategy which is being finalised for adoption by the Heads of Government.

Heads of Government also deliberated on the implementation of border security and management projects and programmes, including the current expansion of the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) and the establishment of an Advance Cargo Information System (ACIS) which will enhance the safety and security of the peoples of the Region.

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 Heads of Government also discussed other legal instruments that would be required to facilitate the co-ordination of the fight against crime including advancing the work on the CARICOM Maritime and Airspace Security Co-operation Agreement.

 They considered the outstanding issues related to the implementation and operations of the Single Market and Economy, identified the critical issues and acknowledged the need to accelerate the use of the measures under the CSME.

 In that regard, they approved the Implementation Plan for the CSME 2017-2019 which coincided with the CARICOM Strategic Plan (2015-2019) and agreed that the Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP), as a critical Organ in advancing the CSME, must be more active. Heads of Government mandated that COFAP’s next meeting be held in October, 2017 and thereafter, prior to the annual regular meeting of the Conference.

Heads of Government acknowledged the consistent lag in growth performance between CARICOM States and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and acknowledged the prevailing implementation challenges and implementation deficit, which are critical constraints on sustainable growth and development in the Community.

In that regard, Heads of Government welcomed the collaboration between the Commission and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to advance proposals on the delivery unit mechanism to promote key reforms to improve productivity and competitiveness towards accelerating growth and sustainable development in Member States.

The Caribbean leaders also received and endorsed the Human Resource Development 2030 Strategy and commended the HRD Commission on its work in developing the HRD Strategy as mandated by the Conference in February 2014.

They recognised and expressed appreciation for the critical role played by the CDB in providing financial and technical assistance for the development of the Strategy. In accepting the recommendations of the Strategy and its accompanying Action Plan, Heads of Government noted the value of the comprehensive document in guiding both regional and national action on Human Resource Development.

The strategy outlines actions for basic education, from Early Childhood through Secondary, the tertiary sector and life-long learning in enabling CARICOM Citizens to reach their full potential in their personal and working lives, thereby contributing to their families, communities and national and regional development.

Heads of Government acknowledged that there had been significant progress with regard to access to primary and secondary education, with universal access to primary education and near universal access at the secondary level in almost all our Member States. They however recognised the imperative for a radically reformed system to address the requirements of 21st Century Economy and Society.

Heads of Government committed to working together to address the specific actions outlined in the Strategy to develop specific skills and competencies required for construction of a globally competitive, innovative, and seamlessly integrated education system necessary to drive inclusive sustainable development in the Region. In this regard, they agreed to share best practices and experiences with the other Member States.

 Heads of Government acknowledged the value of the Strategy in supporting and guiding the critical transformations required to align HRD sectors throughout the Region with the expectations, needs, and imperatives of development for the 21st Century. 

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