Prime Minister Freundel Stuart will leave the island tomorrow to attend the 27th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Belize from February 15 to 17.
Stuart will deliver an address during the opening ceremony on Monday, February 15, at the Belize Ocean Club Hotel in Placencia, Belize, in his capacity as Outgoing Chairman of the Conference.
Addresses will also be delivered by Prime Minister of Belize and Incumbent Chairman of the Conference, Dean Barrow and CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque.
Following the adoption of the Agenda, Heads of Government are expected to discuss a wide range of issues that are critical to the development of the region. These include; The Zika Virus As An Urgent Public Health Issue; The Climate Change Implementation Agenda; Associate Membership of The Community; Cricket Governance; The Future of The ACP Group of States; and Relations with the Dominican Republic.
Regional leaders will also seek to ratify a number of procedural matters and draft decisions arising from the 36th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, which was held in Barbados last year.
They will hold closed-door sessions to discuss regional security and border issues affecting Belize and Guatemala, as well as Guyana and Venezuela.
Issues arising from last year’s meetings with the President of the Republic of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez and United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, will also come up for discussion.
The applications of five “territories” which have applied for Associate Membership of CARICOM – Curaçao, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Saint Maarten – will also be considered during the conference.
President of the Republic of Chile, Michelle Bachelet will be a special guest during the three-day conference, which will be preceded by the Meeting of Ministers of Finance.
Other members of the Barbados delegation 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, Cecile Humphrey and Chief Research Officer Ronnie Griffith.
During Prime Minister Stuart’s absence, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy will act as Prime Minister. (CL/BGIS)