The Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the issue of blacklisting will be among the main topics up for discussion during the upcoming 40th Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government in St Lucia.
This was revealed by CARICOM’s Secretary General Irwin LaRocque during a press conference in Castries this morning. He said he expected a full attendance from member states at the meeting which will run from July 3 to 6.
LaRocque said 11 Heads of States were expected to be present, along with the heads of four associate members. Additionally, he disclosed that Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres would also be in attendance as special guests.
LaRocque said while CARICOM would be updated on the status of the CSME, there was a concern that not enough was been done to push the agenda.
“The CSME will feature prominently once again. You know we had set some timelines and a whole plan that had been agreed to by Heads of Government and basically we will get an update on who has done what.
“There has been some progress but not as much as I think we all might anticipate and for some there is good reason,” LaRocque pointed out.
On the issue of blacklisting, the Secretary General said Caribbean countries continued to be placed on blacklists, even when they adhered to rules and requests from international countries.
He said it appeared as though requirements for countries in the region were continually being adjusted.
“Another item on the agenda is blacklisting. It is a problem that is not going away. Many of our countries have been blacklisted, many of our countries have done what they have been asked to do, and yet they get themselves on the list.
“The goal post keeps shifting and we have a discussion and a strategy about how to go forward and that strategy has been put in place. Prime Minister [Allen] Chastanet has been leading on that as well as Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda [Gaston] Browne, so I think that’s going to be a very interesting discussion,” LaRocque said.
“But the issue is that we’re being blacklisted and very often we are not even being consulted to see what we are doing, and that is the member states.”
He further disclosed that crime and security, climate change and the blue economy would also feature prominently in the discussions.