Addressing the opening of the Special Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Community, PM Holness said the meeting intended to “tackle ‘head on’ what the imperatives if we are to make this important regional integration process deliver on its promise.”
Holness said he was “convinced that our deliberations over these two days will culminate in unity of purpose and consensus on a strategy to not only expedite the CSME implementation process across Member States but to also to make the CSME more effective.”
“We took the momentum generated at the 39th Regular Session held in Montego Bay to activate work that had lain dormant since 2013.
“We also took an important step to respond to the concerns of our Community Nationals that they want and indeed deserve to be treated better and with respect and dignity, when they are denied entry into a Member State.
“We adopted the Procedures on the Refusal of Entry, which provide the much needed guarantee that the rights of Community Nationals will be safeguarded when Member States assess that they are undesirable and will be a charge on the public purse. I trust we have all taken the necessary steps to implement the Procedures at our respective ports of entry,” Holness declared.
During the course of this special meeting, “we will... examine in more detail lessons that can be gleaned from the Report of the Commission to Review Jamaica’s Relations within the CARICOM and CARIFORUM Frameworks – a Report, commissioned by me with the ultimate goal of not only determining which aspects of our regional engagements have not met their intended objectives to advance the regional integration process, in line with the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, but what changes we should make / what recommitments could ensure that the goals of the CSME be successfully achieved in the interest of all our peoples,” Holness said.
He also pointed out that the meeting will “consider Some Salient Issues for Resolution in CARICOM - a Paper written by our colleague Ralph. As the longest serving Head of Government in our region and as the only Head of Government to have publicly commented on the contents of the CCRC Report shortly after its release, we are appreciative of the insightful comments of Prime Minister Gonsalves.”
The Jamaican Prime Minister and CARICOM Chairman however lamented that he saw the poor turn out of Heads at the meeting as a signal of commitment, is again, less than optimal.
“I could not close without recognizing the disappointing number of Heads of Government present today given the decision taken in Montego Bay and the expressed decision taken for us to have focused and pivotal discussions at this meeting. I know that Ministers are undoubtedly empowered to represent their governments, and I welcome you all, but the signal of commitment, is again, less than optimal.
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