This follows the unexpected cancellation of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to the CARICOM Intersessional Conclave due to criticisms over his government’s handling of the anti- pipeline protests which has affected rail service in that country.
Trudeau is being represented by his Foreign affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, who has been holding bi-lateral meetings with Caribbean heads.
A Jamaica House release this afternoon, said that "due to pressing national matters and to ensure the constitutional composition of the Cabinet of Jamaica, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has cancelled his scheduled trip to the 31st Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community underway in Barbados."
"The decision to forego the CARICOM Inter-sessional also comes as the Government focuses on preparations for the upcoming Budget Debates and other national and political matters. Prime Minister Holness presided over the meeting of the Cabinet yesterday ahead of the appointment of a new Minister," the media release said.
"The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson Smith is leading Jamaica’s delegation and will offer apologies on behalf of the Prime Minister," the release concluded.
CARICOM heads are expected to deliberate on a regional approach to the coronavirus (Covid-19) as well as the continuing challenges posed by non-communicable diseases.
In addition, they are also expected to examine the status of implementation of provisions of the Caricom Single Market and Economy and to have an engagement with representatives of the region's private sector, labour, and civil society.
Among other pressing economic development matters, the meeting is expected to discuss digital transformation in Caricom and an action plan for elimination of regional roaming charges.
The need for ongoing advocacy against the challenges of blacklisting, de-risking, and withdrawal of correspondent banking services is also expected to get the attention of the heads of government.
The leaders are also expected to address crime, violence, and security issues affecting the region as well as to hold discussions on a proposed Caricom/African Summit, among a number of other foreign and community relations matters.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:00 am today and end on Wednesday.
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